Taro's Queen Street Eatery Is Now a Ramen Joint by Day and a Food-Focused Izakaya at Night

Pair sake and umeshu with special dishes that change daily, such as kingfish sashimi, grouper karaage, tuna katsu skewers and duck ramen.
Sarah Ward
Published on March 15, 2024

Getting Brisbane slurping for over a decade, Taro's Ramen is the type of chain that could keep its brothy bowl-slinging format intact for years and years and always be one of the River City's go-to eateries. Owner and chef Taro Akimoto isn't throwing away his recipe either in the kitchen or out of it, much to the delight of the brand's long-term devotees — but he has given Taro's Queen Street location a new twist by night, turning it into an izakaya.

For lunch seven days a week, hitting up 480 Queen Street still means noodle soups aplenty. Each evening, ramen also remains on the menu. But the new after-dark approach has seen the CBD site get a new name — Izakaya and Ramen Taro's — and turn into a food-focused izakaya once the sun goes down. Here after 5.30pm, you can pair sake and umeshu with special dishes that change daily, such as kingfish sashimi, grouper karaage, tuna katsu skewers and duck ramen.

The switch means that no one is missing out on their midday bowls, but heading back after work gives patrons a different experience. Akimoto was inspired to make the shift due to the lack of affordable izakaya options in Brisbane. Indeed, when it comes to ramen, he was sparked to start Taro's back in 2010 for similar reasons.

The Queen Street site rebranded in February, with its drinks menu also pouring Asahi and Yoyogi brews, jelly liqueurs and a range of vino.

Food-wise, past specials have included sashimi prawns, snapper karaage, grouper usuzukuri, homemade chicken jerky with shichimi mayonnaise, eggplant ratatouille, Hokkaido scallops carpaccio, and potato and egg salad with curry salt. A range of dishes, such as vegan karaage, wagyu garlic steak and, of course, ramen, are fixed on the menu, so you can tuck into them whichever night you drop by. Also, sashimi sets come with a choice of three or four dishes — and chocolate fondue with mochi ice cream is often on offer for dessert.

Taro's Ramen's other venues at Ascot, Stones Corner and South Brisbane remain unchanged. And no matter what else you feast on at Izakaya and Ramen Taro's, Akimoto still recommends finishing with the obvious: Taro's beloved ramen.

Find Izakaya and Ramen Taro's at 480 Queen Street, Brisbane, open from 11.30am–2pm Monday–Friday and 12–2pm Saturday–Sunday — plus 5.30pm–8.30pm daily. Head to the Taro's Ramen website and Izakaya and Ramen Taro's Instagram for more details.

Top images: Anwyn Howarth.

Published on March 15, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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