Where can you find a great lunch in Brisbane? I've picked out 10 of my favourites which all tick the boxes for different reasons, to share with you.
If your favourite Brisbane lunch spot is not covered, please leave a suggestion in the comments section below.
Gerard's Bistro, Fortitude Valley
The plate arrived with perilla leaves face down over small parcels of yellow fin tuna, salted mulberries and black ants. It was my first pick when perusing the menu at Gerard's Bistro in Brisbane's food centric James Street, where Chef Ben Williamson's food has almost reached legendary status.
My pick: Suckling pig, fossilised pear, caramelised blood, Jerusalem artichoke and walnuts.
Best for: Fabulous all rounder with interesting food that will also entertain. Works best as a share plate.
Remy's, PaddingtonThe Remy's promise is simple tasty food served in a streetside, open-air cafe setting amongst the buzz of Paddington's Latrobe Terrace. On a typically beautiful day, Brisbane does this type of dining very well and Remy's has the mix just right and it works. The food is simple, but well priced and certainly tasty, and my prime source of information on this cafe vouched for the quality of the drinks.
My pick: Haloumi salad included rich red ripe tomatoes and cheese that was grilled to perfection - golden crisp exterior and unctuous white interior.
Bottom line: Lunch prices range around $12 - $13.
Best for: Casual, relaxed lunch with or without friends.
Lennons Restaurant & Bar
Who would have thought that fish tails would taste like this? Tender, fine white-fleshed fish rolled into ovals topped with spiced yoghurt and a dash of coriander and ginger to complement, but not overwhelm the delicate fish flavour. It was a dish almost too pretty to eat, but eat it I did along with a good selection of others from the kitchen of Executive Chef Todd Adams in Lennons Restaurant & Bar, Brisbane.
My pick: Coconut sorbet dessert with ginger mouse and lime jelly and torn pieces of sponge cake that looked identical to sea sponges. The flavours were intense and sharp, contrasting strongly with the smooth texture of the coconut sorbet. A light but extremely refreshing dessert.
Bottom line: Pasta is around $28, burgers $18 and pizzas $18 - $22. Mail plates vary from $29 to $35. Grill prices range from $28 to $48.
Best for: CBD dining where food flavour and provenance and light, modern decor tick the boxes.
The Charming SquireIt's much bigger than I expected with different levels, private rooms and a loo with a view. I'm talking about The Charming Squire which has taken up residence on the Grey Street side of the Brisbane Convention Centre at South Bank. It's named after Australia's first brewer, the reputedly charming James Squire and is yet another venture from the Mantle Group who have a series of venues around town including Pig 'N Whistle and Jimmy's on the Mall.
My pick: Di Carne pizza with soppressa, prosciutto, cacciatore, mozzarella, tomato, olives and basil.
Bottom line: Pizzas are around $20 and steaks range from $21 to $41. There's also a good selection of share plates around $16.
Best for: Drinks with friends, large groups and beer lovers as there is an onsite brewery.
Ole FuegoThere's plenty to be excited about at Ole Fuego. It's a sister to Ole at Southbank and another addition to what's fast becoming Brisbane's newest dining hot spot, Station Road, Indooroopilly. While the offering at Ole Fuego is very similar to Ole at Southbank, there's also significant differences that will delight your taste buds. I'm talking about dishes of slow cooked crispy lamb belly with roast grapes and another of confit duck with sauteed mushrooms, Fino sherry, shallot puree and kale. Both were very impressive with their range of flavours and presentation. It was 'lick-the-plate' stuff.
My pick: The slow cooked crispy lamb belly with roast grape, definitely the lamb.
Bottom line: Tapas are priced around$12 to $15, large dishes for two to three people to share $45 to $60.
Best for: Good for groups or singles, casual atmosphere, efficient service.
NantuckettBringing a fresh touch of the Americas to downtown Indooroopilly, Nantucket Kitchen & Bar on Station Road in part of the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre is a venture from TJ and Kim Peabody with Paul McGivern as General Manager and Chris Sell as Executive Chef. The look is sleek and polished but with plenty of comfort. Think clean white walls, soft upholstered, comfy dark wood chairs, a separate double-sided bar, divided dining areas, and a private dining room.
My pick: Spanner crab and fennel salad,caramelized orange dressing and fresh herbs.
Bottom line: Entrees are around $22, Mains around $32 and desserts $14.
Best for: Head there for lunch, dinner or even a coffee just to use the toilet. Good for groups or singles.
Billy Kart KitchenBilly Kart Kitchen in Brisbane's suburban Annerley is just what I would expect from a food professional like chef Ben O’Donoghue. It’s like walking into your corner store only the food is a lot, a lot better. That’s no surprise because the premises actually housed the local corner store for many years. Owner/operators Ben and Dee O’Donoghue say they’ve been pleased by the popularity of the restaurant/café which is a great mix of light but extremely well flavoured food with dine in and takeaway options. They are also keeping the corner store tradition alive with fresh bread from nearby Banneton bakery, milk and papers available for sale.
My pick: Kale, sprouts, avocado, broccoli raw salad with toasted seeds
Bottom line: Lunch prices range from $14 to $26
Best for: Great local restaurant, perfect for lunch with friends or a simple coffee.
Moody, with texture aplenty, funky lighting and atmosphere overload, West End's Habitat has set the scene for many a friendly drink, cosy meal and late night Brisbane drink, Rugby legend Scott Higginbothan and business partner Malcolm Watts describe this third addition to their restaurant/cafe portfolio as a flagship venue.
My pick: Crispy pork belly, blue cheese semolina gnocchi, wood ear mushrooms, tomato herb salsa
Bottom line: Lunch mains range between $19 and $33.
Best for: Great locals hang out, casual meals with a few drinks at the bar first.
BucciEvery week an email arrives telling me what I could be enjoying for lunch on Bucci's Express menu.It's a clever bit of marketing as it titillates my taste buds, keeps the restaurant top of mind and also offers great value.
My pick: Crumbed barramundi fingers with a creamy garlic aioli and lemon served with a rocket and roast tomato salad topped with a little parmesan.
Bottom line: The choice is two or three courses with a glass of wine - two courses $29.95 and three for $34.50. With the average price of a glass of wine hovering around $9 - $10, the lunch is great value for money.
Best for: Couples or friends but can get noisy when busy.
The EuroIt should come as no surprise that dining at The Euro is an exceptionally rewarding culinary experience.
With award winning chef, Alejandro Cancino at the helm the food is both comforting and innovative full of twists and unexpected flavour combinations. Who would have thought that eucalyptus ice cream could taste so good, but under Alejandro’s deft hand it was a delight.
My pick: Queensland guava slaw with Cabassi wagyu Cotoletta
Bottom line: Mains range from $32 to $42.
Best for: It doesn't have to be an occasion to treat yourself with a lunch here.
Browse my other top 10 lists