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The EAT List

The 9 best Brisbane restaurants

Take your taste buds on a trip around Brisbane’s vibrant dining scene

Morag Kobez
Written by
Morag Kobez
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Brisbane restaurants are a celebration of the city’s diversity. From a sprawling Greek taverna overlooking the river and a tiny, Nordic-inspired fine diner to a contemporary Chinese eatery with a spicy Sichuan fish broth that will make your eyes water, these are the places Time Out recommends for a culinary adventure in the River City.

Best Brisbane restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • Fortitude Valley
  • price 3 of 4

What is it? Proof that good things come in small packages; it has just ten seats.

Why go? It’s an intimate, immersive dining experience in the Valley where the kitchen and dining room are one and the same, and the succession of small dishes is a little bit Scandy, a little bit Japanese, and crafted with a whole lot of heart. Watch the delightful owner-chef Sarah working her magic before your very eyes, serving up a set menu of artfully presented morsels.  

  • Restaurants
  • Scandinavian
  • New Farm
  • price 3 of 4

What is it? Translated from old Nordic, the name means love, and this 12-seat degustation restaurant is clearly a labour of love for owners Freja – who oversees the warm timber-lined dining room – and chef Nathan, who is responsible for creative, hyper-seasonal 15-course menus.

Why go? You might be lucky enough to experience the Wagyu with smoked garlic, black garlic and sweet onion broth, or crocodile tail with native curry, but whatever’s on the menu it’s sure to be a unique blend of local produce cleverly intertwined with Nordic style. Seriously, the minimalist menus here read like ingredients lists – or surrealist poems.

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  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • Fortitude Valley
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? The brainchild of chef and co-owner Ben Williamson, who shuns electricity in favour of an open woodfired kitchen with all its tantalising sights and smells.

Why go? You saw the fire-themed series of Chef's Table dincha? Take our advice and be sure to order the grilled chicken tails with garlic cream and pickles, and the scallop doughnut with preserved lemon, green onion and Vietnamese mint, with gnarled brick walls and mood lighting adding to the drama in this former warehouse. 

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • South Brisbane
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? It’s exactly what a wine bar should be: the use of Coravin allows for all kinds of wonderful wine by the glass, and dishes designed to perfectly complement the vast array of wine varieties, spanning hot dishes, raw dishes, charcuterie and cheese. We’ll be back for the best-ever kangaroo tartare with black garlic. 

Why go? Genuine hospitality is alive and well here: with chef-owner Paul on the pans and partner Bailee working the floor, you will be very well looked after indeed.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Woolloongabba
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? A smart French restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner offering classics like mornay of Fraser Island Crab, Angus tartare and Parisienne gnocchi.

Why go? For Champagne and caviar in the rooftop bar, aptly named ‘Ooh la la!’ You’ll see the Brisbane skyline in a whole new light.

  • Restaurants
  • Bistros
  • Teneriffe
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? An institution. Owner and chef Philip Johnson was a pioneer of the Brisbane restaurant scene, and continues to keep it simple with favourites like salmon carpaccio, gnocchi with shiitake, mizuna and walnuts and fresh desserts like citrus parfait, meringue and crème fraîche sorbet.

Why go? More than 20 years on, Johnson’s unfussy fare is still a favourite, ​​and the three- and five-course set menus are exceptional bang for your buck.

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  • Restaurants
  • Asian
  • Fortitude Valley
  • price 1 of 4

What is it? A bustling contemporary pan-Asian indoor-outdoor casual diner in Fortitude Valley which really comes to life at night beneath the giant fairy-lit poinciana tree outside.

Why go? Spice up your life with either the fish slice or prawn and pork wontons drowned in Sichuan chilli broth, or chow down on comfort-food favourites like Taiwanese fried chicken on miniature milk buns.

  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • Fortitude Valley
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? A big,fat good-times taverna in the Howard Smith Wharves precinct with a view of the Brisbane River thrown in. ​​Kick back on the terrace amid the giant potted olive trees and ever-present breeze.

Why go? Enjoy a couple of plates of mezedes like saganaki or calamari, or go all out with the Almighty Aphrodite set menu.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Fortitude Valley
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? Behind the very unassuming façade lies a hive of activity with Nicolo and his team kneading, folding and coaxing handmade pasta into delicate tortellini and silky ribbons of fettuccine to serve his loyal following in the small dining room.

Why go? There is simply no better pasta in all of Brisbane. The dreamy carbonara is reason enough, but the innovative Italian wine seals the deal. 

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