Skip to main content

Brisbane is Australia's best city to eat in

I’ve been a bit stunned by the vitriolic blog comments  in response to Natascha Mirosch’s Tuesday Courier Mail story “ Brisbane is Australia’s best city to eat in”.

Seems there are a lot of unhappy Brisbane diners out there. What I’m wondering is where are they eating? Sure we all have bad dining experiences where the food doesn’t match the expectations, service is poor or the menu is overpriced. I’ve had them in Brisbane and Sydney and Melbourne. But I’ve learnt from that and now I always do my research before I head out.

It’s easy to check in any number of ways from Urban Spoon to any of the great blogs on Brisbane food (mine included).

Surely, people, you can work out what you like and vote with your feet!

I’m also tired of people complaining that Brisbane doesn’t have cultural diversity in its food. We haven’t had great waves of immigration here until recently – that’s our history. I expect you’ll see more ethnic restaurants opening in coming years as our population changes. It doesn’t lessen the food we have.

By dismissing Brisbane as a great food city you are doing a disservice to all the hard working, national award winning restaurants this town has. Think Ecco folks, think Campos – Australia’s best coffee shop, think the Fish Mongers Wife – Australia’s best fish and chips.

Here’s a list of good places to go posted by Fifi of Newfarm as a reply on the Degustation blog. I think it’s worth repeating and I’ve added some of my own – please add your favourites in the comments at the bottom. Let’s give people some great Brisbane restaurants to visit.

Alchemy, City $$$
Anise, New Farm $$$
Baguette, Ascot $$$
Bar Alto, New Farm $$ Piaf, Southbank $$
Beccofino, Teneriffe $$
Blue Smoke, New Farm $$
Brents, Toowong $$$
Brothers Espresso, City $
Cantina, West End $
Choquette, New Farm $
Claret House, Teneriffe $$
Cirque, New Farm $
Citron, Wilston $$
Crosstown, Wooloongabba $$
Ecco, City $$$
Espresso Garage, Southbank $
Freestyle Tout, Valley + West End $$
Grasshopper Asian Kitchen, Teneriffe $$
Grill’d, Valley $
Jellyfish, City $$$
Kim Thanh, West End $
Libertine, Paddington $$
Manx, Portside $$
Manee Thai, Carina Heights $
Mons Ban Sabai, Camp Hill $$
Montrachet, Paddington $$$
Ortiga, Valley $$$
Pearl, Wooloongabba $$
Pearl Bus Station, City $
Rapide, Camp Hill $$$
Restaurant II  $$$
Salt, Rosalie $$
Sardine Tin, Southbank $
Sings, Rosalie $
Siana, CBD $$
Sono, Portside $$$
Thai Wi Rat, Valley $
Trang, West End $
The Lark, Paddington $$
Urbane $$$
Verve Cafe CBD $$
Vespa Pizza, Wooloongabba $$
Yum Yum Peking Duck, Darra $

Finally, there’s a reason why Matt Moran opened Aria in Brisbane. There’s also a reason why a Brisbane is opening is on the list for many southern chefs. This is a great place to live and the produce around is outstanding. It’s up to you to find ways to get what you like. Spread the word.


  1. Great list!
    To this I'd add a few of my faves that I can think of right now ..
    Green Tea - Fortitude Valley $
    Manee Thai - Carina Heights $
    Lefkas Taverna - West End $$
    Verve Cafe - CBD $$

    There's more but that's a start ...

  2. Love your list and will add above. My only dissent is Lefkas but I've only eaten there once. Too much chopped white onion over EVERYTHING!

  3. Anonymous10:32 am

    I heard a rumour (and let's hope that is all it is) that Aria Brisbane was closing?

    I agree with quite a few on your list but I have to admit that when it comes to value for money and quality Brisbane can be a little lacking.

    I guess it comes down to population numbers. Whilst Kim Thanh and Trang are great value for money and tasty, the cheap and cheerful contingent of the Brisbane dining scene lags far behind our interstate neighbours in so far as quality and number of venues.

    I really like what yourself and others are doing to promote the dining scene in Brisbane through blogs and tweets.

  4. Thanks for the comments - again it's up to us all to vote with our feet.

  5. Re Aria closing - haven't heard this one and think it is unlikely so early. Too much invested to let close up shop. I was there on Tuesday and the food was superb.

  6. There are definitely heaps of excellent dining options in Brisbane, I don't doubt that. What I think Brisbane really lacks is the small stuff - good delis, good bakeries, good dessert places. It's sad when the only places I can think of to get a bagel are Starbucks and Woolworths. And, apart from Freestyle, 16th on Park, and a handful of other places, it is incredibly hard to go out for dessert after 8pm anywhere - lest you go to the Coffee Club or the Pancake Manour (nothing against either!:) )

    I've got to add Sing's, Rosalie ($) and Siana, CBD ($$) to the list!

  7. It's true Ally, hard to get a good dessert unless it's at Freestyle. I've been to both Coffee Club and Pancake Manor and try not to do it again.

    We did have bagel places years ago and they closed. Anyone know of new ones?

    And how could I forget Sings...

  8. Re Aria - the word is from the man himself that they are here to stay - listen up Brisbane!

  9. I agree 100%, Brisbane is rich in fantastic eateries, cafes and fine dining establishments! Here's a few of my favourites I'd like to throw into the ring:
    Era Cafe & Bistro - South Brisbane ($$)
    The cafe is one of our breakfast favourites and the Bistro is a wonderful place to have drinks and tapas after work, although more often than not we find ourselves having a romantic meal in the quiet candlelit dining room.
    Obsession Chinese - South Bank ($$)
    From the upmarket atmosphere to the gorgeous al fresco seating, meals that arrive unbelievably fast, a great little wine list and delicious food to boot!
    Music Cafe - West End ($)
    Staff members refer to you as "Love" "Mate" and "Sweetheart" and the massive smoothies arrive in plastic cups. Breakfast is cheap and comes heaped on massive dinner plates and the pancakes are as devine as grandma used to make on Sunday mornings.
    And one or two others:
    Siam Samrarn - West End ($)
    Best Thai I've eaten outside of Phuket itself. Highly recommend the Pork with Chinese Broccoli, amazing!
    Wilson's Boathouse - Portside ($$)
    With a sister restaurant at manly, both are fantastic places to enjoy some of the freshest seafood around! The seafood platters are to die for.

  10. hi kerry

    our office manager leigh came up from sydney less than a year ago and is addicted to your blog!

    Uses it to find great new places to eat.

    I think there are lots of great places to eat both Brisvegas and Gold Coast, you just have to find them :-)


  11. I'd like to add the following to the list:

    Azafran, Annerley $$$
    Confit, New Farm $$$
    Cinco Bistro, Camp Hill $$$
    Piaf, South Brisbane $$
    Continental Cafe, New Farm $$
    Little Singapore, Sunnybank $
    Vietnam Corner, Sunnybank $

  12. Yes Kerry - Bagelos! They were a great chain bagel store. Good God - and that was in the nineties too. We're going backwards.

  13. Just remembered a blog post I wrote last year about the attitude towards Brisbane restaurants I was coming across from both chefs and diners, and some ideas on how we can get a positive vibe going, which at the end of the day will benefit us as diners and food lovers!

  14. Can you give a link Claire?

  15. I tried, but couldn't figure out how, so I just included it in my name URL - I'll have another go -
    For some reason I've managed to paste it in now tho!


Post a Comment

I love getting your comments - really makes my day! If you like this blog please follow by email or subscribe.

Popular posts from this blog

Brisbane's top 10 'chew with a view' restaurants and cafes

It's a beautiful day! Where can you go and dine in the warm sun with a view that you'll never want to leave?

Here are ten top places in and around Brisbane to while away a lunch hour or a whole afternoon when the weather is warm and the skies are blue .

River Quay, South Bank

South Bank’s River Quay precinct has plenty of opportunities to relax in the sunshine and just about any restaurant at River Quay will offer a great spot for a winter lunch with a large, grassed lawn rolling down to the river bank.  You can even lie in the sun if you so desire.

Stop for champagne, oysters and more at Cove Bar and Dining, enjoy French provincial food at Aquitaine Brasserie, take in the river view from a Balinese daybed while you tuck into the contemporary menu at The Jetty, feast on Italian cuisine at Popolo or sip a long drink on the riverside deck of Stokehouse Q where the menu draws on local produce combined with bold flavours from the Mediterranean.

River Quay is the spot for Sunday …

Thar she blows - how to hunt whales the friendly way

A grunt and a spurt of seawater rising into the air show the position of a mother humpback whale and her three-week-old calf.

I'm on purpose-designed whale watching boat and we have motored for an hour over the calm seas of the great sandy straits up the coastline of Fraser Island

Captain Phil tells the 50 or so people aboard that the tip of the island is where we will see the whales and he is right.

Our first mother and calf are a little shy at first, keeping the boat at a good distance but I can clearly see the much smaller calf swimming strongly beside its mother.

I'm fascinated by the large circles of calm water that float past us and Phil tells us these are whale footprints

"They break the water tension when they flick their tails to swim down resulting in the clear circles on the water,” Phil says.

Sailors used whale footprints to track whales back in the bad old days when whales were valued more for their blubber than their beauty.

Our next mother and calf are a l…

Lunch amongst the lavender in the Scenic Rim

It was time to brush the cobwebs off the motor bike over Easter and head out of Brisbane into the beautiful Scenic Rim.

We started down the highway towards Beenleigh in beautiful autumn sunshine and stopped for a coffee at The Outpost Cafe at Canungra.  This is a well known bikies hangout but don't expect too much in the way of chains and dreadlocks - it's more favoured by the middle aged bikie enjoying the freedom of the road second time round.

The road less travelled is always our favoured route for this type of outing and we back tracked through Rathdowney before reaching our destination for the day, Kooroomba Lavender Farm about 65 minutes from Brisbane in the Scenic Rim at Mt Alford near Boonah.

Autumn is not the premium time for viewing either the vineyard or the lavender but the view across the valley to the mountains was still outstanding.  The building has a New Zealand lodge feel to it with plenty of stone walls both inside and outside, complimented by timber and ex…

Ten top things to do in Noosa Heads

It doesn't matter how many times I head down the hill on Noosa Drive towards the ocean, I still get a little shiver of excitement every time. This very special part of the world has achieved international recognition for its unique environment and I am privileged to be able to dip my toes into it on a regular basis.

Here are ten of my favourite Noosa pastimes.

1. Although it’s always tempting to sleep in, I don't like to waste a moment of the day when I wake up in Noosa. The best way to start is in the coffee queue at Sails on Hastings Street and then a stroll along the winding boardwalk to the National Park, koala spotting along the way.

Depending on my mood and energy level, I continue the walk through the park to enjoy the beachside views. Some like to run it. You can pick up a coffee at the information hut in the national park as well.

2. After a bit of exercise there's nothing like a big breakie at Aromas and a spot of people watching. With t…

Lots to explore at Brisbane's South Bank

Four markets in one day - what a way to spend a Sunday!

We started at the organic markets at Downy Park, Windsor which was not such a good idea. Why? Well we took the dog and the place was full of puddles - he's a corgi with very low legs - it all ended up being very messy.

Also, these markets definitely finish up on their advertised closing time of 10.30am.  Call me slow or just plain lazy but I find it hard to get out and about early on a Sunday morning. We arrived primed for breakfast at 10am just as everyone was shutting up - they had even run out of bread for French toast!

However, this market was just the first on our list. Next, we drove to South Bank Parklands to explore the Young Designers Market and the Granite Belt Flavours Market - both on the same day.

Several designer/clothes/jewellery purchases later, K2 subdued his inner male and agreed to look for the Granite Belt Flavours market which was not in its usual spot.  On the way, we walked through the regular South Ba…

A night of firsts at Urbane

It was a night of firsts - my first duck tongue and my first lamb sweetbreads.

I've always avoided offal, scarred by an unfortunate experience as a child when my mother tried to make me eat liver, but as Ubane owner Andrew Buchanan said, best to try it first cooked by a great chef - so I did.

Seated at a long table we were there to experience the new Urbane menu under Alejandro Cancino. He looks like he's just out of short pants, but this chef has a list of restaurants and awards on his resume that demand attention.

Passionate about fine dining, Argentinian-born Alejandro has spent the last 10 years working with some of the best chefs in the world, naming the great chef and innovator Andoni Luis Aduriz at Mugaritz in Spain, Luca Fantin at Bulgari Tokyo and Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in England as his mentors. In Australia, he calls Dan Hunter at the Royal Mail in Victoria his local guide, having worked together at Mugaritz.

Last April Alejandro was Stagie…

North Stradbroke Island - 10 top things to do

One of the largest sand islands in the world, the relaxed bliss of North Stradbroke Island is only an hour's drive from Brisbane.

The trip from the mainland to the island takes 45 minutes by barge, which also takes your car or 25 minutes by fast water taxi but it's more of a journey into a different realm where it's hard to work up the energy to get stressed about anything.

When there's plenty of beach to roam, friendly folk to chat with, incredible vistas around every corner and comfortable accommodation and food, life seems pretty sweet.

Apart from swimming at any of the beaches, here are my top 10 things to do on Straddie. What are yours? Please leave your Straddie tips in the comments section at the end.

1. Start your Straddie sojourn at the Island Fruit Barn on the main drag in Dunwich where you can pick up all your holiday supplies.  There's a surprisingly good range of deli items from the essential to the unusual, high-quality fruit and good cake and coffee…

10 top tips for Bunya Mountains weekend

With a long weekend looming we clocked off early on Friday to head to the Bunya Mountains, home to the world's largest stand of bunya trees and more nature and wildlife than your eyes can absorb.

It's about 150km from Brisbane, and as we prefer to travel in daylight hours on the motorbike, a 2 pm departure was planned.  Unfortunately, with a few stops along the way to meet up with group members, road works and a speeding fine (you know who you are) from a friendly copper, it was dark and raining when we hit the last 30 minutes of the ride and a dirt/gravel stretch. The boys were not happy, and it was a slow procession to our accommodation.

Our group of four couples was staying in two side-by-side cottages in the small village in the middle of the national park.  There is also a camping ground in the same spot and a couple of others close by. Despite popular opinion, I like to camp and have camped here before, but on a motorbike, it's easier to stay in accommodation.


Have you been to Queensland’s favourite café?

Once you’ve eaten at Indulge in Bundaberg, it comes as no surprise that this small cafe has been voted as Queensland’s favourite.

Now taking the title for two years in a row as People’s Choice in the Brisbane Times Good Food Awards, Indulge is a showcase for the Bundaberg region’s fabulous produce.

Established by passionate food lovers Amanda and Larry Hinds, this café has been the catalyst that has propelled local farmers into the spotlight as premium primary producers.

Amanda is adamant that it’s the rich red tomatoes, the full-flavoured potatoes, the crisp capsicums, luscious eggplants and the vibrant ginger, that make all the different to the meals she dishes up to eager crowds.

As Amanda says, there’s something very special about knowing where your food comes from and who grew it.

I clearly remember my first meal at Indulge. It was scrambled eggs dusted with thinly sliced truffle and anointed with duck ham. My first taste of duck ham, I was fascinated with the flavour and eager …

Next Door Kitchen and Bar, South Bank, Brisbane.

The line up of restaurants at South Bank just keeps getting better with Next Door Kitchen and Bar as the latest addition in Little Stanley Street.

Styled on speakeasy establishments of the 1920s, Next Door has positioned itself as a cocktail bar with an emphasis on shared dining. The fit out is glamorous fit-out with smooth timber, vintage décor and mirror detailing.

Harun Gencerler, a member of the family which runs Ahmet's Turkish Restaurant right next door, has opened Next Door Kitchen as his first solo venture.

Head Chef Dean Brewer has selected a range of shared plates which tie in with the 1920s theme.

“Our menu consists of larger shared plates such as whisky beef cheeks, with creamed blue cheese polenta and smaller dishes including fresh oysters, with gin and cracked pepper vinaigrette,” Deans says.

We started the night with a fresh baguette and a combo of Pepe Saya Butter and house made sardine butter.  I loved both but I needed more bread to enjoy all the butter.

Our sha…