The 20 Best Restaurants in Brisbane
These are Brisbane's must-visit restaurants for any discerning food aficionado.
November 20, 2023
THE 20 BEST RESTAURANTS IN BRISBANE
These are Brisbane's must-visit restaurants for any discerning food aficionado.
The Brisbane restaurant scene is in the midst of an ongoing renaissance. Older dining institutions are changing things up to keep up with the pack, and new eateries keep popping up all over our fine city, championing creative and approachable menus inspired by a diverse range of cuisines.
These days, the options are almost endless. We can treat ourselves at classic fine dining restaurants, be part of the cool crowd when eating at underground haunts, or revel in the delectable beauty that is local Queensland produce at joints that celebrate all things seasonal and sustainable.
With all this on offer, deciding where to go next is tough. So let us lead you in the right direction with our list of the best restaurants in Brisbane.
The Anyday hospo crew (Honto, Agnes, sAme sAme) brought brilliant but simple, old-school Italian fare to the Valley when they opened Bianca in 2021. The extensive antipasti menu could easily be where you start and finish your food journey, but for those after something more substantial, there’s superb pasta, a massive pork cotoletta and an even more impressive 850-gram black angus steak.
You’ll feast on some of the best Italian food in Brisbane either up at the bar or in the pink-hued dining room surrounded by wood-panelled walls and terracotta tiles.
The heritage-listed sandstone building on the corner of George and Elizabeth Streets is home to one of the best Chinese restaurants in Brisbane with Donna Chang. The fine diner fills its open space with pink, green and neutral toned decor, and the kitchen fills its patrons with fantastic Chinese dishes with Sichuan and Cantonese flavours and influences that blend the old and new.
Food options range from xiao long bao and Moreton Bay bug dumplings to whole roast barramundi, lobster rolls and char sui pork. The list goes on for both lunch and dinner, as does the mighty wine selection. A worthy spot to mark an occasion.
Bacchus has been among Brisbane’s go-to spots for an opulent restaurant experience since it opened in 2012 and it remains consistently and ambitiously good.
The menu has a strong focus on responsibly sourced, seasonally focused Australian produce, with champagne lobster, an exceptional roast duck, and a selection of steaks sourced from Queensland’s finest beef producers. Then there’s the stellar wine list that features more than 600 vinos, and an impressive cheese trolley to round out your dining experience.. What’s not to love about all that?
Like stepping into the heart of old-time Europe, 1889 Enoteca offers traditional Roman fare with a wine list that’ll make oenophiles weak at the knees and a beautiful interior to match.
It is evident there is passion behind the food and even more so behind the wine. ‘Enoteca’ translates to ‘wine library’, and wine can be seen everywhere – from the hundreds of empty bottles making up the decor to the full ones ready for drinking. Pair your chosen drops with the unassailable fried zucchini flowers, house made spaghetti cacio e pepe, or show-stopping bistecca and you’re sorted for a perfect night out.
Image: Nikki To.
For 22 years, e’cco Bistro wasn’t just a place to eat in Brisbane — it was one of the places to eat in Australia. In 2018, however, it said goodbye to Boundary Street and hello to Newstead, re-emerging with a progressive menu, more casual fit-out and a Brazilian charcoal grill to boot.
That might sound like a considerable amount of change for the classic Brisbane restaurant, but it’s still a must-visit. Maintaining the same fresh, simple, produce-driven ethos of culinary mastermind Philip Johnson, the grill takes centre stage where octopus, king prawn, beef tenderloin and even carrots all get the special treatment over the coals. Hot tip: do not sleep on the house fries.
When The Calile (arguably the best hotel in Brisbane) opened its doors on James Street in 2018, it didn’t just add a gorgeous hotel to the bustling strip. It also saw laidback-yet-sophisticated Greek restaurant Hellenika open its doors. It started with a bang and has only gained momentum since.
Serving up meals and drinks for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, Hellenika is consistently abuzz with local diners and delighted patrons of the hotel. For breakfast, you can expect all your brunch favourites (with a Greek twist), but the lunch and dinner menu is where this Brisbane restaurant shines brightest. There’s a focus on grilled meats, the ocean’s finest and fine wines — of which there are over 500 to choose from, including some banger Greek entrants.
There are no prizes for guessing what’s on Sushi Room’s menu. Again, a venue located at The Calile Hotel, the focus of this stellar spot is right there in its name.
Its focus is on simple ingredients, sophisticated dishes and traditional preparation — while still turning the act of making its meals into an experience and giving the whole process its own spin along the way. Yes, sushi and sashimi are the stars of the show, but the long menu also includes grilled yakimono dishes alongside omakase and enkai options if you’d prefer the chef to choose or just like the ease of a set menu.
From ex-Moda duo Kevin Docherty and Sebastiaan de Kort, Paddington’s Nota has a philosophy of “simple yet satisfying meals”, according to de Kort. The modern Euro menu aims to be uncomplicated and approachable, while always highlighting quality ingredients and big flavours.
Kick things off with the superb tempura fish sandwich, beef carpaccio or warm confit duck salad with hazelnuts and grilled fig, before exploring the mains that take you from Italy with the chilli and garlic laced prawn casarecce to the east of France with the luxurious beef bourguignon. The tight, well-considered list of wine from across Europe, Australia and NZ makes choosing your evening’s drinks a breeze.
Whenever the craving for a taste of France strikes, C’est Bon has Brisbane covered. Five mornings a week, it functions as a creperie over breakfast and brunch, making spanner crab-topped crepes made with buckwheat flour from Brittany. For lunch and dinner, its a la carte menu includes lobster tarts, pigs head terrine, Paris-style gnocchi and blackcurrant gateau.
And for drinks with a view (particularly wine and cocktails over Appellation oysters and croque monsieurs), the Woolloongabba restaurant also boasts a rooftop bar called Ooh La La if you want to make the most of a sunny Sunday arvo. After more than a decade, C’est Bon really is the goods.
Image: Mitch Lowe.
You don’t have to veer off the beaten path to find Woolloongabba’s Detour — physically, at least. Diving into its menu? That’s another thing entirely. When was the last time you ate emu tartare, gunpowdered wagyu brisket, salmon with black ants, and fossilised carrots with dukkha and curry? Or Kentucky Fried Duck with cornbread, the restaurant’s signature dish?
Nestled into the cute-but-busy end of Logan Road precinct, the eatery aims to serve up a meal you’ll remember. If you want to challenge yourself with something different next time you hit up a Brisbane restaurant, head to Detour.
After earning years of Michelin-star restaurant experience in France, Brisbane-born chef Dan Arnold returned to his hometown with Restaurant Dan Arnold bringing refined, creative dining to the heart of the Valley.
Diners can choose between three-, five- or seven-course set menus ($110/$165/$210) and can expect modern Australian flavours with a French twist, artfully presented on the plate. A perfect option for your next special occasion when you really deserve to be treated.
Image: Dane Beesley.
If you’ve ever visited Tokyo’s izakaya and music bars, you’ll be well prepared for Yoko Dining. Tunes spun on vinyl, an infectious energy and a retro-futuristic feel transport guests to the buzz of Shinjuku’s bar scene.
In the kitchen, a hibachi has pride of place. The seafood-heavy menu heroes those unique smoky flavours that come from the Japanese-style charcoal grill. And there’s a raw bar serving up fresh sashimi and ceviche. Yoko promises a fun, boisterous night out that forgoes pretension and polish and will put you right in the party spirit.
At the start of 2021 Otto Ristorante made the move to South Bank in the striking, ultra-scenic riverfront space. At this Brisbane restaurant, head chef Will Cowper still leads the charge, championing southern Italian dishes made with regional Aussie produce.
Given the outdoor setup, it’s a great place for a few drinks with a killer vantage from midday until late Wednesday–Sunday — so get ready to sip wines from the same area of Italy, plus a selection of cocktails, while you feast on classic Italian fare.
A visit to two-Hatted Montrachet should be on the cards for any Brisbane foodie — especially anyone who is a devotee of true French cuisine. And don’t forget the wine. It boasts one of Brisbane’s most impressive restaurant wine programs.
Indulgent diners can find the likes of double baked soufflé with crab meat and gruyere cheese, seafood bouillabaisse and Grand Marnier brûlée on offer for sit down meals from the seasonal menu — or the whole-table chef’s menu for $145 per person is an ideal way to sample the restaurant’s best. Elegant food and brilliant service are the cornerstones of Montrachet’s fabulous restaurant offering.
When Brisbane favourite Longtime shut up shop, it marked the end of an era. Thankfully, when one door closes, another one opens — in this case, upscale eatery Same Same from the same crew.
The focus on delicious Thai street food remains the same, however Same Same has plenty of surprises in store. The space is altogether more contemporary, the menu has grown larger, dishes are somewhat more refined and creative and the team have created a couple banquet menus for those who love to feast but hate to choose the best dishes themselves. They’ve nailed what Brisbane diners are looking for when it comes to having a great night out.
Perched on Robertson Street, this Fortitude Valley restaurant opened in 2021 under the lead of ex-Gauge chef Phil Marchant — who brought a strong focus on local produce and harvest-driven dishes to a striking split-level space just off James Street.
Marchant strives to highlight the work of the farmers, hunters and providores he’s sourcing his ingredients from. On the menu (which changes regularly), that approach translates to dishes that endeavour to pair the familiar with the surprising, as well as a big focus on raw, pickled, smoked and wood-fired meals. Celebrate all things local and creative at this exciting addition to the Brisbane restaurant scene.
Nestled into one of the best spots in the city — the Howard Smith Wharves precinct — every aspect of this Greek restaurant has been designed to capitalise upon the scenic location and Brisbane’s sultry climate.
Settle in for a shared dinner, duck in for a casual lunch or pop by for an after-work drink — and whichever you choose, a relaxed Mediterranean-inspired space, river views, a seafood-heavy menu, and both indoor and outdoor seating all await. Owner Jonathan Barthelmess (who also runs The Apollo in Sydney) has created an eatery with an old-meets-new atmosphere and some of the best Greek food in Brisbane.
Image: Nikki To.
Pork katsu sandwiches, salmon tartare tacos, raw slices of kingfish paired with yuzu ponzu, and smoked eggplant chilli ramen with burnt nori — they’re just some of the inventive dishes on the menu at Alden Street’s moody Japanese restaurant Hôntô.
While Brisbane boasts plenty of Japanese eateries, this addition adds its own twist to classic flavours of the cuisine. The cocktails and drinks are of equal importance here, with an expert bar team who can be counted on for the perfect pairing for each moment of the Hôntô experience.
The concept behind Sarah Scott’s Brisbane restaurant couldn’t be more straightforward: it’s a celebration of the joy of food — and hospitality in every sense of the word. It’s able to be achieved at this Bakery Lane space because it seats just ten people.
At Joy, customers perch themselves at the chef’s table. On the other side, the food is prepared and cooked, all in plain view of their hungry diners. The restaurant is basically welcoming its patrons into the kitchen while it puts on each night’s set menu (an eight-dish tasting spread for $175 per person). Let the Fortitude Valley eatery take you on an intimate journey accented with Japanese, Nordic and modern Australian flavours.
Step inside Agnes’ three-level space in Fortitude Valley to find a trio of drinking and dining spaces. Those keen on a drink can head downstairs to the wine bar or up to the rooftop. If you pick the former, you can sip your vino over snacks and dessert, or a first stop before dinner.
But a trip to Agnes’ main dining room is a must for any true foodie. The incredibly talented Executive Chef Ben Williamson focuses on elevated wood fired cooking. From game-changing baked oysters to wood roasted duck, every dish has the careful application of smoke and fire to its creation. What might sound simple is a dining concept that is one of the most exciting and special in Brisbane (and beyond).
Top images: Greca by Nikki To.
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