Brisbane. Brissy. Brisvegas. The Queensland capital is one of the fastest-growing cities in Australia, best known for its vibrant urban precincts, outdoor lifestyle, friendly locals and stellar weather all year round.
And while it may be home to some of the finest breweries this country has to offer, what you may not know is that Brisbane also has a burgeoning foodie scene waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. In recent years, the city has undergone a rapid culinary come-up, filled with fine dining, inventive dégustation experiences, edgy modern Australian cuisine, and fresh takes on comfort food classics.
Naturally, making your way through them will probably take a fair amount of time – not to mention you’ll probably want to spend some time in the gym between each visit – but it’s certainly a journey we’d love to take ourselves. If choosing any of these restaurants for date night, you’ll no doubt be interested in our choice of the coolest bars Brisbane has to offer to keep the night going.
These are the cool Brisbane restaurants you must try next time you find yourself in town.
Chu The Phat
A cleverly-named new jewel in the crown of South Brisbane’s up-and-coming Fish Lane dining precinct, Chu The Phat draws on flavours from the hawker stalls of Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan to dish out a diverse spread of Asian street food. The sprawling multi-level venue boasts two kitchens, two bars, and industrial-meets-old-world décor for chic nights out with dates or mates.
111 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane, 4101
07 3255 2075
Sydneysiders can’t have all the fun. The acclaimed OTTO has landed in Brisbane and made quite the entrance. Otto Brisbane shares similar DNA to its Sydney counterpart, but with a slightly lighter menu focused on southern-Italian style dishes to suit the warmer temperatures. If you’re keen on a light bite, Bar Otto is opposite and perfect for breakfast, lunch or an after-work tipple or two.
4/480 Queen Street, Brisbane City, 4000
07 3835 2888
Miel Container proves simple, familiar food can still be an exceptional experience. The gourmet hamburger joint calls two red shipping containers home and has had the city’s burger-loving citizens buzzing since it opened in 2013. Premium cuts of meat, gourmet cheeses, and an impressive list of toppings and condiments make Miel’s burgers something to ‘gram home about.
1 William Street, Brisbane City, 4000
07 3210 1869
It’s hard to guess what might be on the menu at The Wolfe, and that’s all part of its charm. The elegant eatery, helmed by chef-owner Paul McGivern, changes its menu every month, but always delivers quality Euro-inspired cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, local produce, as well a politely attentive (never intrusive) front-of-house staff.
989 Stanley Street East, East Brisbane, 4169
07 3891 7772
If you’re still on the Asian street food trip after visiting Chu The Phat, your next stop is Junk – named after the traditional Chinese sailing ship, not the quality of its meals. Junk focuses on serving fuss-free food made with locally sourced ingredients that are best enjoyed as a shared-eating experience. Influences come from all across East Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, China and Malaysia.
5/476 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba, 4350
07 4642 1227
In the age of Instagram, there’s no such thing as too many trendy breakfast spots. Miss Jones is dishing out some of the tastiest, most snap-worthy versions of the day’s most important meal in Brisbane. The charming cafe has all the makings of a bona fide social media star, from a sleek Scandi-inspired aesthetic to a menu of brunch classics and healthy salads (plus ice cream-topped waffles for when you’re feeling naughty).
1/599 Brunswick Street, New Farm, 4005
0413 630 012
Revel in an innovative and traditional Japanese menu by Head Chef Daisuke at Eagle Street Pier’s Saké. With 5 private dining rooms, a communal banquet dining area featuring sunken tables, and a sushi bar, Saké is the perfect city escape for any occasion. Unique flavours meet an extensive sake, cocktail and wine menu to surprise and delight your tastebuds.
45 Eagle Street, Brisbane City, 4000
07 3015 0557
Arguably one of the most iconic restaurants in the Brisbane dining scene, Gerard’s Bistro is among the latest venues to hit the fashionable James Street precinct. It’s a little Middle Eastern and a little hipster, but most importantly, it’s visually spectacular. An elegant blend of fine lines, sharp angles and smooth finishes are combined with a menu inspired by Head Chef Ben Williamson’s sabbaticals from southern Europe to northern Africa with a unique Brissy twist.
14/15 James Street, Fortitude Valley, 4006
07 3852 3822
Gauge marked an ambitious new era in Brisbane eating when it opened in 2015. The café-by-day and restaurant-by-night dishes up some of the city’s most creative culinary contributions in an ever-evolving seasonal menu. Gauge offers two or three-course dinner menus and a seven-course set menu featuring plenty of boundary-pushing combinations, as well as a selection of small-but-mighty plates for those with less time to spare.
77 Grey Street, South Brisbane, 4101
07 3638 0431
When you’re hangry, why should you have to make difficult decisions? Brisbane’s Libertine marries two of your favourite cuisines – French and Vietnamese – so you never need to choose. Found in the historic, heritage-listed Barracks building, Libertine features all the finer things in life: chandelier-adorned ceilings, decadent wallpapers, gold leaf embellishments and locally designed timber furniture. Pair that with an indulgent menu and handcrafted cocktails, and Libertine is nothing short of jaw-dropping.
5/61 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane City, 4000
07 3367 3353
No need to stray too far from the beaten path to find Woolloongabba’s Detour, where you can treat yourself to the wild concoctions coming from ex-Public chef Damon Amos’s kitchen. It’s only been open but a few years, but this fledgeling eatery serves up quality with a side of edginess for both herbivores and omnivores – like gunpowder-cured salmon accompanied by black ants, emu tartare, octopus with miso butter, and the much-loved Kentucky Fried Duck.
11 Logan Road, Woolloongabba, 4102
07 3217 4880
If your tastebuds thirst for the innovative and alternative, Madame Wu is an exclusive, elegant and funky dining experience sure to please your adventurous palate. Designed by the crew at DS17, Madame Wu is all about delicate silhouettes, shadowy lighting features and a magnificent bamboo entrance that transports you to a land where spice and flavour rule supreme.
71 Eagle Street, Brisbane City, 4000
07 3229 5070
Brainchild of Restaurateur Jonathan Barthelmess, the highly anticipated Brisbane venture GRECA brings a crystalline focus to great food and fun times to the Brisbane foodie scene. Nestled within the heritage Howard Smith Wharves precinct, GRECA provides an interactive dining experience in the midst of the city’s waterfront entertainment mecca. GRECA serves a contemporary take on the traditional Greek taverna (think Kalamata olives, grilled whole sardines, calamari, lamb ribs and Greek donuts) while the menu is focused around communal eating, Mediterranean style.
Howard Smith Wharves 3, 5 Boundary Street, Brisbane City, 4000
07 3839 1203
Restaurateur Jonathan Barthelmess’ Yoko Dining is another riverfront venue that will make you drool. Translating Tokyo’s izakayas, music bars and pop-infused counterculture to a raucous split-level bistro, Yoko Dining marries Brisbane’s au vent lifestyle with Japan’s sophisticated culture. The menu celebrates classics like fresh sashimi, tempura, seasonal gyoza, tempura, noodles and salads, as well as large-format dishes like Tonkatsu, a premium wagyu selection and grilled reef fish with ponzu, all designed to share between friends over yuzu slushies, wine on tap or bottles from Yoko’s 100-strong wine list.
Howard Smith Wharves 2, 5 Boundary Street, Brisbane City, 4000
07 3236 6582
If you’re feeling particularly fancy then pay a visit to Bacchus. The hotel/restaurant is a go-to venue for high tea, but it has an equally mouth-watering menu for evening dining too. It’s so good in fact, that Bacchus has been the recipient of multiple awards and is, therefore, often regarded as one of the best restaurants Brisbane has to offer. Service is impeccable to the point where it feels as though it’s rehearsed during the very early hours before the restaurant begins welcoming diners.
Rydges South Bank, Corner Grey & Glenelg Streets, South Bank, 4101
07 3364 0837
Restaurant Dan Arnold
If French fine dining mixed with local Australian ingredients is your idea of a great dining experience, then Restaurant Dan Arnold will happily hold its doors open for you. Owner and head chef Dan spent six years perfect his craft in France before returning and opening the restaurant in 2017. The menu is incredibly simple, you just need to choose between three tasting menus, each with a varying number of courses. No matter which you choose, expect some of the finest food on the east coast of Australia.
959 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley, 4006
07 3189 2735