Multifunctional nanoparticles (NPs) with simultaneous multimodal therapeutic and imaging capabilities are very necessary for biomedical applications. We successfully prepared bowl-shaped gold@polydopamine yolk-shell NPs (bowl-shaped Au@PDA YNPs) by a novel and facile method. The unique bowl-like structure enables a drug loading rate of 92% (920 μg mg-1). The bowl-shaped Au@PDA YNPs are biocompatible, have good photothermal conversion and strong near-infrared (NIR) absorption, and can control drug release under pH/NIR dual response. Bowl-shaped Au@PDA YNPs can also be employed as contrast agents for computed tomography/photoacoustic imaging for dual-modal imaging-guided chemotherapy and photothermal therapy due to the presence of Au NPs.