Over the last few years a culinary renaissance has been slowly burbling in the background of Australia’s dining landscape. It hasn’t made a fuss, yet those in-the-know have reaped the benefits of this extraordinary food revolution. Where, you ask? Brisbane, of course.
The city’s dining scene is a true sight to behold, helmed by a new-wave of dining delights. Inner-city enclaves like New Farm and Fortitude Valley have ramped up speed, joining CBD venues in the culinary ranks.
If you’re heading to Brisbane (or you’re already here), then you may need a little help deciding exactly which foodie hubs are worth exploring. Here are our picks for the best restaurants in Brisbane – for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
New Farm was once called Brisbane’s ‘Little Italy’, but these days it’s perhaps better known for what must be the city’s highest barista-to-resident ratio. You’ll find some of its best at Little Loco.
After a strong opening in 2015, the café has gone from strength to strength in reputation, service, and food. Come for the sunny outdoor seating, and stay for the innovative and delicious menu – house-made dukkha sprinkled over thyme roasted mushrooms, anyone?
Animal friends are also welcome – with a free puppacino available with every meal purchase.
Address: 121 Merthyr Rd, New Farm
“Enjoy the night before, indulge the morning after” – with a slogan like that, it’s hard not to expect to have a good time at this light-filled sunny oasis.
Morning After caters to the experimental breakfast palette, with a mix of modern classics on the menu, many with an innovative twist.
The MaMuffin is a hash-brown upgrade to the iconic staple, and the breakfast carbonara features pappardelle, 63-degree egg, mushrooms, guanciale and pecorino romano. We predict you’ll be back every morning after.
Address: Cambridge St, West End
Far from your standard eggs and bacon joint, Naim brings Middle-Eastern cuisine to a quaint corner shop atop a Paddington hill.
The eatery takes its name from the Hebrew word for pleasant, and finds a way to continually sprinkle that energy throughout. On the menu you’ll find a few Western tweaks to traditional Middle Eastern food – think falafels, hummus bowls, and all the other good stuff.
Address: 14 Collingwood St, Paddington QLD 4064
If you’re a sucker for natural light and some impressively decorated walls, you’ll feel right at home at The Smug Fig.
This garden shed turned cafe features high-ceilings, a spacious courtyard, and an-all day brunch menu that is positively top notch. Locals come for the extravagant variations of French toast, so be sure to check out the specials if your taste buds are wowed.
For more laid-back dining options, peruse our list of Brisbane’s best cafes.
Address: 999 Stanley St E, East Brisbane
Take in the best of the Brisbane River at Stokehouse Q, nestled right on the banks of the iconic waterfront location.
A daytime sitting in the open-plan restaurant gives patrons the chance to take advantage of the location and bask in that famous Queensland climate. Upscale diners will revel in the main area which serves as an elegant backdrop complete with Mediterranean fare.
For longer lunches, Stokebar Q serves as the restaurant’s more casual space, with a menu designed for sharing in bigger groups.
Address: Sidon St, South Brisbane
Enjoy signature, authentic Greek fare in an array of upscale environments. Whether it be a casual bite by the pool, or alfresco dining with friends – there are myriad options to suit in this rooftop oasis.
Address: Level 1/48 James St, Fortitude Valley
Since opening in 2019, Nota has reinvigorated the lunch palette of Paddington diners.
With its uncomplicated, yet luxurious approach to European plates, you’ll be shocked at how accessible these price tags are. Snacks start from $5, with smoked cheese and semi-dried tomato scattered throughout, and mains such as slow-cooked octopus start at $22.
All this is served in a historic building filled with brass features, exposed brick and cosy brown trimmings.
Address: 224 Given Terrace, Paddington
Combining the best of upmarket seafood restaurants with everyone’s favourite local fish ‘n’ chip shop, One Fish Two Fish is a fresh take on the suburban restaurant and bar, with something for all schools of seafood lovers.
For those who welcome a relaxed and low-fuss dining experience set to a lively ‘80s soundtrack, this might just be the place for you.
With classic fish and chips done perfectly, new-school fancy fish dishes, and versatile and irresistible sides, One Fish Two Fish is the new go-to for lazy lunches and as many oysters as you can muster.
Address: 708 Main St, Kangaroo Point
The beauty of Otto’s menu is just how simple it is. It needn’t show off with outlandish bells and whistles, it simply lets the quality of the regional produce do all the talking.
Otto’s celebrates the extravagance of people, place and la dolce vita through the modern Italian cuisine. Peruse an a la carte menu, tasting menu, vegan menu and curated wine list while overlooking the iconic Brisbane River.
Colourful interiors and a vibrant cityscape will keep you company, alongside perfectly al dente Blue Swimmer crab ravioli, or local squid cooked on the wood grill. Bellissimo.
Address: 4/480 Queen St, Brisbane City
The light, industrial space offers minimalism in spades, alongside an affordable dinner menu that covers all the bases. The house fried rice is a popular choice, as well as the Beijing duck pancakes.
Address: 8 East St, Fortitude Valley
Same Same is another beautifully designed venue from the team behind The Calile – and it’s anything but ordinary.
They’ve managed to take the heat, flavour and pace of classic Southeast Asian cooking and shake it together with a liberal dose of personality and hospitality. The results are a bustling, enigmatic restaurant that comes alive every night of the week.
A table booked here is a guaranteed fun night out, with plenty of opportunity for post-dinner play in the hip hood of Fortitude Valley.
Address: Shop AM3 Ada Lane, 46 James St, Fortitude Valley
You may have heard Jonathan Barthelmess’s name from his acclaimed Sydney venues, The Apollo and Cho Cho San, which frequently top the city’s best-of lists. In 2018, the Gold Coast-born chef returned to Queensland to unveil Greca, a Greek restaurant at Howard Smith Wharves.
The old warehouse serves as an old white taverna, boasting a menu that revolves around the charcoal and wood fire grills. Encounter plenty of seafood and meats, alongside other traditional Greek dishes that you’ll have lots of fun trying to pronounce – taramasalata, spanakopita, dolmades.
Address: Howard Smith Wharves 3, 5 Boundary St, Brisbane City