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Ten Must-Visit New Brisbane Restaurants That Opened Their Doors in 2023

From celebrity chefs to eating dinner off the side of a building, these are the 2023 newcomers that you need to try ASAP — or revisit.
By Sarah Ward
December 13, 2023
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By Sarah Ward
December 13, 2023
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TEN MUST-VISIT NEW BRISBANE RESTAURANTS THAT OPENED THEIR DOORS IN 2023

From celebrity chefs to eating dinner off the side of a building, these are the 2023 newcomers that you need to try ASAP — or revisit.

Before 2023 rolled around, enjoying a meal with a view in Brisbane didn't mean hanging off the side of a building while you eat. Tucking into a degustation didn't happen on a bus decked out to become a fine-diner, either. They're two of the gems that this year has brought the River City's culinary scene — and two restaurants that you need to try as soon as you can, if you haven't already.

Queensland's capital welcomed in everything from new celebrity chef-run venues and New York-inspired riverside joints to decadent Japanese spots and mouthwatering steak havens over the past 12 months, all to the delight of Brisbanites' tastebuds. Wondering where to start playing catch up? Which eateries to revisit? We've picked ten that impressed us in 2023. Bon appétit!

  • 10

    Goodbye Three Blue DucksRiver City outpost at the W Brisbane hotel, hello cocktail trolleys and tableside caesar service. The inner-city space that the acclaimed restaurant called home for five years is now The Lex, which takes inspiration from New York City, but also celebrates being in Queensland. That means pairing the spectacular water views that come with the eatery’s location with nods to both the Big Apple and the Sunshine State, aka the W Hotels chain’s starting point and its Brisbane berth.

    The NYC vibes flow through in a grill-heavy eatery, and in the style of dishes served; however, southeast Queensland produce is the star of almost every plate. From a seasonal menu, options include lobster rolls, dry-aged beef using local cuts and those tableside caesar salads, as well as barbecue grilled Mooloolaba prawns, floral pavlovas and cocktails that take their cues from around the state.

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  • 9

    After a $9-million revamp, The GPO is back and giving Brisbane gifts. If you’re eager for a luxe sitdown meal, contemporary dining venue TAMA is your go-to. The sprawling 100-seat restaurant filled with natural light has taken over the site’s ground level, offering diners a radiant experience thanks to the high ceilings and double-storey windows in the two-storey atrium that doubles as the main dining room — plus an old-school vibe, and a cellar stocked with 1000 handpicked bottles of vino and champagne.

    In the kitchen, Executive Chef Richard Ousby is using his experience overseas and locally to shape the restaurant’s menu. Standout dishes include cold seafood platters among the starters, charcoal calamari and beef tartare, plus half and full lobsters. There’s also a selection of handmade pasta dishes that includes mushroom tortellini and crab bisque linguini. Feeling particularly cashed up? Opt for the caviar service

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  • 8

    Got beef? The answer is yes at West End’s West Village, but no one is quarrelling. Rather, Rich & Rare wants to fill Brisbanites’ plates with steaks, steaks and more steaks — so much so that 15 different cuts are on the menu. The focus: prime beef. The vibe: high end. The wild card? Upscale surf ‘n’ turf combinations are encouraged. Hailing from the Tassis Group, Rich & Rare also goes big on seafood, as the hospitality company’s Fatcow Steak & Lobster did over at Eagle Street Pier and will again in 2024 on James Street.

    Rich & Rare serves up its favourite types of protein both indoors and out, seating 150 people. The Manhattan-style spot goes for a sleek and sophisticated mood, with both a cylindrical glass walk-in dry-ageing room and a temperature-controlled walk-in cellar greeting patrons as they arrive. Prime dry-aged steaks are the star, using cuts from Australian farms as well as Japan. If  you only try one (and can afford it), the wagyu tomahawk is cooked over an open flame, rested to up its juices, then carved at your table.

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  • 7

    During its Sydney run, Longrain was a must-visit for fans of Thai cuisine. In Melbourne, the Victorian version has proven the same, as has the Tokyo offshoot in Japan. Brisbanites can now head to Short Grain instead, with former Longrain co-owner, founder and Executive Chef Martin Boetz setting up his latest venture in Fortitude Valley. Short Grain marks a homecoming for the Brisbane-born kitchen wiz, who had a 14-year association with Longrain in Sydney and a seven-year link to its Melbourne eatery.

    Brisbane’s new 60-seat Thai restaurant inside Marshall Street’s Stewart & Hemmant building also features an Asian food store, as the brick building also once housed in the 90s. So, patrons can stop by for dinner or Sunday lunch, or pick up ready-to-go meals and house-made sauces. If you’re dining in, you’ll find Thai dishes aplenty on the menu — changing seasonally — plus wine to match and a small dessert selection.

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  • 6

    A 140-seater in West Village’s Garden Pavilion, Ippin Japanese Dining boasts a seafood- and meat-heavy menu that pairs Queensland produce with products imported from Japan, all in a space that also takes a mix-and-match approach. Ippin’s decor ties into its both its culinary influence and its setting, with the minimalist Japanese design working with the timber and brickwork that’s prominent around West Village. Another Brisbane touch: the greenery views, including peering down on an openair lawn from its second-floor perch.

    Diners tuck into lunch and dinner menus that feature traditional starters, sides, mains and desserts. Try the karaage chicken, wagyu beef tataki, snow crab rice croquette and matcha creme brûlée, or sashimi from the raw bar and toothfish from the robata grill. The drinks include Umenoyado’s fruit-flavoured sakes (think: peach, orange, lychee and pineapple), yuzu whisky sours and Matcha-gronis (made on matcha-infused gin, matcha powder, Midori and vermouth).

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  • 5

    You’ve seen Guy Grossi on TV. You might have some of his cookbooks on your shelves. When you’ve been in Melbourne, perhaps you’ve hit up Grossi Florentino, Ombra and Arlechin for a bite to eat. Brisbanites, your next way to interact with the star chef and his culinary creations is here, and involves heading out in the River City — and getting transported to Italy over dinner while you’re there. Meet Settimo, the restaurant that’s just settled into The Westin Brisbane, and is Grossi’s first in the city.

    Settimo goes all in on its Italian theme, taking specific inspiration from the Amalfi Coast. That means pairing coastal Italian dishes with Brissie’s sunny weather in an airy 150-seat space that features light, warm yet muted hues. The menu serves up everything from breakfast cacio e pepe omelettes through to Amalfi lemon chicken. Other highlights: pasta dishes such as pasta al limone (with lemon, butter and parmigiano), Guy’s Papa’s Lamb (slow-cooked lamb covered in breadcrumbs and paired with parmigiano and sage) and pepperoni imbottiti (aka stuffed peppers).

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  • 4

    When a restaurant hits the road, usually it heads away from its usual bricks-and-mortar base for a temporary pop-up or residency elsewhere. But for Brisbane’s Da Biuso, its home is the road — as the River City’s first fine-diner on a bus. Eat here and you’ll be served a degustation dinner in its meals-on-wheels setup inside a mobile coach, with the unique eatery hailing from Head Chef Biagio Biuso, a veteran of Fortitude Valley’s Casa Nostra Ristorante.

    With his wife Sarah and their son Joseph, this team takes top-notch fine-dining degustations to regularly changing locations, all in the kind of venue that the city truly didn’t already have. The opulent 12-seater restaurant doesn’t actually move during the meal, but does shift its sites. So, make a booking a few months later and you’ll be staring at different scenery from the bus windows as you eat Mediterranean-inspired meals made with seasonal produce.

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  • 3

    Maybe you’re always on the hunt for new experiences. Perhaps you can’t go past a meal with a view. You could be keen to indulge your adrenaline-junkie side any way that you can. Or, you just might want to see Brisbane from a different perspective. All of the above is on the menu at Vertigo, as is dinner. Sure, a great bite to eat should satisfy your tastebuds and your stomach; however, this Australian-first vertical dining experience will also get your blood pumping and pulse racing.

    Serving sky-high diners Thursday–Sunday weekly, Vertigo is part of Brisbane Powerhouse. The twist: it isn’t just located on top of the riverside New Farm venue, but hangs off of the site’s industrial facade. Forget just living on the edge — this is dining on the edge, and literally. Obviously, the views are spectacular. Given that patrons climb out to their seats while donning a safety harness, then eat food from Alto downstairs four stories (and 17 metres) up, so are the thrills.

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  • 2

    Whether the hankering strikes for a steak, a bowl of pasta or a combination of the two — wagyu sirloin bolognese, perhaps? — Brisbanites have a new restaurant that heroes both to hit up. Boasting Ben O’Donoghue in the kitchen, Fortitude Valley’s Establishment 203 serves up beef and Italian dishes. Usually a visit to the Valley’s stretch of Ann Street means grabbing drinks; however, top-notch meals are the attraction here.

    Think: woodfired bone marrow bruschetta, steaks from the fire, beef cheeseburgers, saltimbocca made with Brisbane Valley quail and scampi linguine. Diners who like to watch the chef in action will find that on the menu as well, as the Billykart talent whips up farm-to-table fare with Queensland produce — including those hero steaks — and also traditional pastas. And as for what you’ll be washing down your meal with, the drinks lineup spans signature cocktails, Italian red wines and Brisbane craft beers.

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  • 1

    Fosh slings fish, prawns, scallops, bugs, oysters and the like — by the river, and with impressive views. Here, peering at the water while enjoying fresh lobster and doing caviar bumps is firmly on the menu. So is hitting up the island bar and enjoying the fireplace’s warmth (when the weather calls for it) at this 700-square-metre spot.

    Fosh is two venues in one. Fancy a more casual experience? Fosh Tails does fish and chips in a more relaxed setting, complete with picnic tables. Otherwise, Fosh’s menu starts with whipped taramasalata and fish finger sandwiches among the snacks, those caviar bumps with optional vodka and champagne, and a raw seafood lineup heroing oysters. From there, it moves onto prawn cocktails and Hokkaido scallops as starters, then mains such as dry-aged fish, Moreton Bay bugs with spaghetti, pan-seared snapper and one-kilogram servings of black mussels.

    Image: Markus Ravik.

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