Restaurants

Make A List, Here’s 50 Meals You Should Have Eaten If You Live In Brisbane

By Ranyhyn Laine
24th Sep 2020

a pink bowl of battered zucchini chips

When it comes to Brisbane’s best restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars, there are some dishes that are pretty much iconic. They’re the ones that never leave the menu, no matter how many new seasons come and go, and that are talked about in certain circles with a reverence bordering on obsession. Even if you haven’t tried them, you might have double tapped them on Instagram, drooled over them on a menu last time you looked for a place for dinner or heard about them from a friend.

If none of the above is true, then it’s about time it was. We’ve canvassed the Urban List team, scoured our own endless iPhone snaps and asked the people who know to list the 50 dishes that you should have eaten if you live in Brisbane—and frankly, there’s never been a better time to tick them all off. Go forth, support our local hospitality scene and give yourself a food baby while you’re at it.  

  1. Zucchini Chips | Hellenika. Any meal at Hellenika (or even just wines) should start with a bowl of these crispy, crunchy zucchini chips. 
  2. Duck Ragu Pappardelle | Beccofino. We should probably order something different one of these days, but Becco’s duck ragu is just too good to pass up. Best eaten with an Aperol spritz to wash it down.
  3. Triple Loco | Ze Pickle. This hefty triple-pattied burger sandwiched between two grilled cheese sandwiches might actually give you a heart attack mid-meal, so bite with caution. 
  4. Black Garlic Bread | Gauge. It may be on the dessert menu rather than the brunch menu these days, but the famous slice with burnt vanilla and brown butter is nothing short of iconic. 
  5. Cacio E Pepe | 1889 enoteca. It was a tough choice between 1889 enoteca’s gnocchi and this, but in the end, cheesy simplicity won out.
  6. Tonkotsu Ramen | Taro's Ramen. Do we even need to say more? Comfort food of champions and the best ramen in the city, don’t try to convince us otherwise.
  7. Red Curry Of Angus Beef Cheek | Same Same. But don’t even think about digging in until you’ve had the betel leaf to start. 
  8. Chocolate Sour Cream Cake | Jocelyn’s Provision. A party just isn’t a party without one of these bad boys on the table. 
  9. Breakfast Carbonara | Morning After. This West End cafe introduced us to the joys of eating pasta for breakfast when they opened and we’ve never looked back.
  10. Saganaki | Greca. Fried cheese with honey. What more incentive do you need? a pot of mussels with tomato sauce and a side of grilled bread
  11. Chilli, Garlic And Tomato Mussels | Bar Alto. There is no greater pleasure in life than tucking into a half kilo pot of mussels on Bar Alto’s deck and mopping up every ounce of sauce with grilled ciabatta. 
  12. Lobster Katsu Sandos | hôntô. Any meal at hôntô should start with a plate of these bite-sized morsels in their dark and cosy bar.
  13. Number 1 Pizza | Julius Pizzeria. Any one of Julius's pizzas is a damn good slice, but we always find ourselves going for this tomato, fior di latte, basil and prosciutto di parma number.
  14. Taco Tuesdays | Cheeky Poke. Sure, you can get Cheeky Poke’s crunchy poke-filled tacos any day of the week, but on Tuesdays you get them for $5, a bargain if we ever heard one.
  15. Snickers Pie | Pie Town. If you want to know exactly what you’ll find layered in this decadent dessert pie, just head here.
  16. One Pan Hotcake | Farmhouse. The toppings change with the season, but you’ll always find this fluffy hotcake on the menu at Farmhouse. Currently it’s a bread 'n butter pudding number topped with cumquat marmalade syrup, toasted walnuts and gelato. 
  17. Crema Bologna Gelato | La Macelleria. Along with pretty much everything else in their gelato cabinet…
  18. Beef Bolognese Gnocchi | Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers. Even if you think you’re not a gnocchi fan, you’ll be won over by this pillowy goodness. 
  19. Cracklin’ Twice Cooked Pork Belly | Libertine. A mouthful in more ways than one. Feast your eyes on the crispiest pork belly you ever did see—then set about demolishing it. 
  20. Dry Aged Steak | Walter’s Steakhouse. This is the best steak in Brisbane, no question. It comes still sizzling from the pan, and is best paired with a side of their insanely buttery mash.a platter of smoked meats and sides
  21. Barbecue Platter | Barbecue Mafia. Low and slow-cooked meat at its best, this plate is loaded up with smoked brisket, pulled pork, mac ‘n’ cheese, slaw, fries and bread rolls.
  22. Bacon And Egg Roll | Yolk. When it comes to hangover cures in Brisbane, this is pretty much the be all and end all to clearing up the cobwebs in your head.
  23. Feta Fries | The Yiros Shop. Not that you need to add a side of fries to one of the Yiros Shop’s loaded yiros, but these golden fries topped with feta crumbs could be a meal all on their own.
  24. Beef Cheek Massaman Curry | Pawpaw Cafe. Most Brisbanites probably know Pawpaw for their brunches, but it’s their massaman curry that has us coming back again and again. Just excuse us while we order some takeaway… 
  25. Corn And Coriander Cakes | Chop Chop Changs. We could name half of Chop Chop Chang’s menu here, but the crispy coriander cakes with dipping sauce are a must try.
  26. Kentucky Fried Duck | Detour. Once an icon at Public, Detour’s head chef and owner brought the recipe with him when he left their kitchen, and boy are we glad he did. 
  27. Loaded Twistie Fries | Fritzenburger. We’re not sure if it’s the golden fries, the candied bacon, the cheese sauce or the Twistie salt that makes these fries so damn irresistible.
  28. Crab Souffle | Montrachet. This fluffy, double baked crab and gruyère cheese souffle has been on the menu longer than we’ve been online—and we hope it never leaves. 
  29. Cheese Wheel Pasta | Il Verde. This weekly pasta special served out of a literal wheel of cheese is such a hit that Il Verde is better known as “Home Of The Cheese Wheel Pasta.” 
  30. Naked Pop | Cowch. If you’ve never designed your own ice cream pop at Cowch, complete with dipping sauces and toppings, you’ve never lived.a perfectly stacked cheeseburger on a tray
  31. Classic Cheeseburger | Ben’s Burgers. This perfectly stacked burger is so quintessential we suspect they used it as inspo for the emoji burger. 
  32. Raspberry White Chocolate Doughnut | Nodo Donuts. Choosing just one of Nodo’s baked, gluten-free doughnuts might be divisive, but it really is the best. 
  33. Home Alone Avo | Pablo. We love our smashed avo in Brisbane, but if we had to pick just one, it would be Pablo’s pile of avo, grilled halloumi, labne, pistachio and pomegranate.
  34. Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder | e’cco bistro. It might only be on their takeaway menu for now, but it’s no less delicious—and better than anything you’ll ever make at home.
  35. Crispy Chicken Skin Yakitori | Bird’s Nest. These guys know how much you love chicken skin—so they’ve loaded up an entire skewer with it and grilled it until it’s nice and crispy.
  36. Steak Frites | Les Bubbles. This Valley restaurant does one thing and they do it well—perfectly juicy steak and bottomless fries. Yes, bottomless. 
  37. Basque Cheesecake | Agnes Restaurant. It’s the one baked treat that made the crossover from Agnes’ pop-up bakery to the restaurant—but you’ll need to book a few months in advance to try it.
  38. House Fried Rice | Happy Boy. This fried rice with shredded roast duck and preserved veg is practically a meal unto itself—not that we can ever resist the eggplant with roast pork belly. 
  39. M.C. Cheesie Toastie | Melt Brothers. We never know mac ‘n’ cheese could taste so good between bread until Melt Brothers showed us, adding maple bacon, BBQ sauce, aioli and even more cheese for the ultimate toastie. 
  40. Gonuts | Flour & Chocolate. Thursdays are gonut day at Flour & Chocolate, when they take croissant pastry, deep fry it and top it with all manner of creative flavours. a container of fries topped with pulled meats, sauce and cheese
  41. Filthy Fries | Getta Burgers. Covered in cheese, topped with smoked brisket, pulled pork, maple bacon and grilled onion, and finally smothered in BBQ sauce, ranch and mustard, these fries are the stuff of legend.
  42. Housemade Crumpets | Wholly Crumpets. If you’ve ever had a crumpet slathered with butter and honey at a Brisbane cafe, it was probably one of Wholly Crumpet’s, who supply venues around town with the goods. 
  43. Nutella Gnocchini | Prova Pizzeria. Any feast at this pizza spot should end with their dough bowl filled with fried pizza dough bites smothered in Nutella. 
  44. Popcorn Shrimp | Sake. Perfectly crispy, utterly delicious, these bites are best paired with one of Sake’s stellar cocktails. 
  45. Ricotta Hotcakes | Sassafras. Other breakfasts may come and go, but Sassafras’s ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter will never be replaced. Always get the crispy bacon and caramelized banana on top.
  46. Dessert Roti | Roti Place. For this treat, the biggest roti you’ve ever seen is fried up and twisted into a giant cone, before being drizzled with condensed milk. Watch how it’s done here.  
  47. Kale Salad | Botanica. Usually we don’t make friends with salad, but Botanica’s parmesan and crouton loaded kale salad is another story. You’ve got to ask for it though—tell them we sent you.
  48. Brownies | I Heart Brownies. You can choose any flavour you like (we’re talking original, Jaffa, raspberry and more), but you have got to tick these dense, chewy brownies off your list. 
  49. Breakfast Gnocchi | Sister Cafe. We’ve got a fixation on pasta for breakfast, we won’t deny it, but honestly this breakfast gnocchi is all your carb-loading dreams come true.
  50. Pub Steak | Breakfast Creek Hotel. There’s many a pub steak we could include on this list, but we’ll stick to the best, and the most iconic.

Want more? Check out the best restaurants in Brisbane here

Image credit: Grace Elizabeth Smith, Judit Losh, Barbecue Mafia, Ben's Burgers, Getta Burger

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