Where to Eat Outside in Brisbane When You Need Some Vitamin D

After being holed up all week in the office, get out and soak up sunny Brisbane.
Ellie Grounds
Published on April 11, 2018

Where to Eat Outside in Brisbane When You Need Some Vitamin D

in partnership with

After being holed up all week in the office, get out and soak up sunny Brisbane.

Ah, Brisbane. The home of the Brown Snake, Powderfinger, the mighty Milton Mango, Kevin 'The Milkybar Kid' Rudd, Darren Lockyer's right foot, Darren Lockyer's left foot. But for all the euphoric Queenslandy things the state's capital represents, it's the pretty much permanent state of blue skies that we are most proud of. The licence plates don't lie! We truly do live in the Sunshine State. And we love to soak it up with a spritz in-hand at one of the many bars and eateries set outdoors. The only problem? There are too many to choose from.

That's why we've partnered with American Express to create The Shortlist. We've sifted through our directory and handpicked the best casual dining spots that have some sweet outside seating (and take Amex, of course). So grab your SPF50+ and slip, slop, slap — here are the best places to eat outside in Brisbane when you need some vitamin D.

Got yourself in another dining situation and need some guidance? Whatever it is, we know a place. Visit The Shortlist and we'll sort you out.

Top image: Anwyn Howarth. 

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    Set right on the river, Byblos is where the northeasterners flock for a bev in the sun. The Portside Wharf venue has a sizeable open terrace with tables both undercover and out in the open — meaning you and your mates have a high chance of nabbing a seat.

    Make sure you get down on a Friday night — Byblos has a happy hour from 4pm to 6pm, live music from 5pm to 8pm, and a great Lebanese menu you’ll want to get stuck into. It runs the full gamut from baba ghanoush and haloumi, right through to falafel, grilled skewers and Lebanese dumplings filled with lamb and pine nuts.

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    For the city slickers hankering for a bit of vitamin D after a day cooped up in the office, Mr Edwards Alehouse & Kitchen is the place for you.  It boasts an indoor dining area as well as an outside street-front beer garden and has all the liquid deliciousness you’ll ever need to drown out a bad day at work. The alehouse celebrates all things craft beer, with a three-page menu featuring drops from around the country and around the globe. On tap is a delightful range of beers, but if you can’t decide between them, a three-beer taster paddle will only set you back 12 bucks.

    Beers aside, Mr Edwards champions its food as much as its drinks, offering a Euro-centric menu of slow-cooked share plates. Kick things off with a little something from the charcuterie menu before moving on to the Moroccan lamb ($32), juniper-infused smoke chicken ($28) or cider-braised pork belly ($29). On Thursday nights also does a three-course special where you can tuck into (among other things) a pear, walnut and feta salad, the pie of the day and an oozy chocolate brownie for only $25.

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    Santa Monica is mixing cocktails and actually good food at the top end of the Brisbane CBD. So sit back, relax and enjoy a post-work wine in the sun. Located on Ann Street across from Central Station, you’ll have no excuses to not get a boost of vitamin D after leaving the office — even if you just fit in one bev before your train.

    Cocktails are the bar’s speciality, as well as — as the name suggests – pizza and burgers. You can’t go wrong with any of the drink selections, but enjoying a This Is My Jam (gin, Campari, boysenberry jam, lime and cherry bitters) outside on the deck is our idea of a good time.  The Figa (gin, Joseph Carton, elderflower, mint, cucumber, lychee juice and lemon juice) is the ultimate refresher or, if you’re not a gin-lover, go for the Broad-Stage (vodka, Paraiso, strawberries, lime juice and rhubarb bitters). 

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    It’s a no-brainer that soaking up some rays and watching City Cats cruise down the Brown Snake go hand in hand. But throw in the backdrop of the Story Bridge and you’re really talking. You get all this and more if you choose to eat at Jellyfish Restaurant on Brisbane’s iconic Eagle Street Pier. Take a seat on the riverside outside tables and watch the world go by as you dine on fresh seafood and sip on delicious wines.

    Jellyfish serves up to 14 types of fish daily, so you can get your vitamin D and Omega 3 boosts in one go. The chefs then customise each with sauces, batters and crumbs to really bring out the flavours, as well as curating an extensive range of side dishes to round out the meal. The wine list features drops from lesser-known boutique vineyards, as well as the classics, so budding somms will be kept happy as well.

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    The exterior of Breakfast Creek Hotel - home to one of the best steaks in Brisbane.

    It goes without saying that the Brekky Creek is a Brisbane institution. Arguably the most famous purveyor of pub grub in the city, the hotel’s riverside (well, creekside) location gives a whole new meaning to the term watering hole.  The iconic openair beer garden is the perfect place to enjoy an ice-cold schooner and an even better place to enjoy a steak. Boy, do they do them well. 

    The kitchen has been grilling steaks since 1967 and the result is as expected — they’re near-perfect every time. Line up, choose your cut and watch as the hotel’s chefs grill it in an open kitchen before your eyes. The Brekky Creek offers 12 cuts of premium quality beef from predominantly southeast Queensland cattle farmers, so you’d be mad to order anything else, but if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there are options aplenty. Go for the USA-style pork spare ribs ($34), the mushroom and quinoa croquette ($27) or the iconic Queensland-themed prawn, macadamia and avocado salad ($29).

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    As one of Brisbane’s original (and best) waterside dining venues, Watt sits below the beautifully repurposed Brisbane Powerhouse. You can choose to sit inside or out — both have great views of the river across to Hawthorne — but the outside dining area is our pick.  The waterfront location provides an ever-changing backdrop and a welcome breeze in the stinking Brisbane summer.

    Speaking of the warm weather, nothing screams summer more than a drink and listening to killer beats while the sun goes down — and Watt does both. The bar has a rotating list of live music acts on Saturdays (2–6pm) and Sundays (1–5pm) and is currently running sunset sessions from 5–7pm. You and your mates can share three share plates and a cocktail jug for 45 big ones — it’s the perfect way to wind down after a hard day or rev up for a big night ahead.

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    Gerard's Bar

    Who would have thought a car park could make for a fancy outdoor eating spot?  The folks at Gerard’s, that’s who — and boy were they right. Nestled within an outdoor car park of the James Street Precinct, Gerard’s boasts a relaxed deck where you can enjoy wine and cheese in the sunshine.This ain’t no Passion Pop and Kraft slices scenario, either – Gerard’s know what it’s doing when it comes to cheese and charcuterie.

    You can get into all manner of meats — prosciutto, jamon and salami included — alongside an array of mouthwatering hard, soft and blue cheeses.  Or put your faith in the chef and opt for one of the selections boards. You can actually get the team to pack up one of the charcuterie boards into a picnic box for a sunny park session, but if you are staying on campus, it would be a shame not to road test the bar’s eponymous cocktail, Gerard the Drunk – a zingy blend of vodka, passionfruit, lemon, rose and orange blossom.

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As you drink and dine with your American Express, reap all the sweet rewards of being a Card Member. Explore the many ways American Express has your back here.

Header image: Anwyn Howarth.

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