Brisbane’s iconic seafood palace makes a play for foothold on Gold Coast

The Gambaro Group has long been synonymous with epicurean experiences in Brisbane, boasting a portfolio of some of the city’s most notable restaurants, including iconic Gambaro Seafood Restaurant, Gambaro Hotel, the Black Hide Steakhouses and Italian restaurant Persone.


Jan 19, 2024, updated Jan 19, 2024

Last year, the hospitality family announced it would be opening not one, but two new venues on the southern Gold Coast – Mediterranean restaurant Pipi’s and casual noshery Awaken Cafe, both taking prime position atop Point Danger overlooking Rainbow Bay. Exciting new details have now been revealed about the coast’s newest beachside dining spots, including the targeted opening date. Here’s what we know …

The Gambaro Group’s soon-to-open Gold Coast venues are currently coming to life on the first two floors of the recently completed $42-million Awaken Residences tower, located on the former Cafe Dbar site, with diners set to be treated to stellar panoramic views over Rainbow Bay, Snapper Rocks and Duranbah Beach.

Drawing on The Gambaro Group’s family heritage, sophisticated dining spot Pipi’s will embrace the healthy and wholesome elements of Mediterranean cuisine, utilising fresh and sustainable meat, seafood and vegetables.

Seafood platters brimming with local catches, a highlight at both Gambaro Seafood Restaurant and Black Hide Steakhouse, will also be front and centre on the Pipi’s menu. Thomas Boisselier, who opened the group’s Black Hide venue at Treasury Brisbane, will take the reins as executive chef, alongside head chef Francesco Lervolino, whose resume includes the likes of Sydney dining institution Firedoor.

Pipi’s bright, ocean-inspired interior, a collaboration between the creative folk at BYculprit. and S.SHYNE, has been designed to emulate the sand-dwelling pipi shell, with warm tones and soft textures throughout. The 100-seat restaurant is set to feature a private dining room, an oyster display and sleek bar area, while diners will be able to catch glimpses of the action from the open-plan kitchen and its flaming Josper grill. The 180-degree ocean views will surely have Pipi’s patrons swivelling their seats to the east.

Coastal furnishings with a retro nod, including floor-to-ceiling timber bread displays, will shape Gambaro’s 40-seat Awaken Cafe, which will sprawl out onto parklands beneath Pipi’s restaurant. Adopting Coolangatta’s laid-back vibe, Awaken Cafe will serve breakfast, lunch, Merlo coffee and baked goods (from croissants and pastries to doughnuts), as well as freshly baked bread. Plus, there will be a selection of grab-and-go and made-to-order gourmet sandwiches and salads for a healthy post-surf feed.

Both Pipi’s and Awaken Cafe are in final stages of construction, with The Gambaro Group targeting an opening date of mid-to-late February. We’ll have more details and an inside look at these new beachside arrivals within weeks – stay tuned!

Image credit: Artist Impressions of Pipi’s and Awaken Cafe, supplied Gambaro Group

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