For Brisbane foodies at least, 2016 has been an incredible year thanks to the dozens and dozens of new restaurants that have opened their doors and welcomed us in for some truly memorable meals. We have waited in anticipation, we have celebrated openings with a glass of wine, and we have chowed into some damn good feeds. Now it’s time to regroup, assess, and determine what were some of the best Brisbane restaurant openings of 2016.
We had high expectations for The APO and when they finally entered our lives earlier this year, they more than exceeded these expectations. Head chef Ben Williamson has fashioned a minimalist menu that maintains the flair and creativity we expect of a sister establishment of Gerard’s Bistro, Gerard’s Bar, Laruche, and Hatch & Co. With a distinguished wine selection and cocktails that are inventive yet understated, The APO is a very welcome addition on the Brisbane dining scene.
When we heard the much-anticipated NYC-style eatery, Brooklyn Depot, would finally be hitting the streets of Brisbane, our mouths starting watering. With over a dozen burgers to try, not to mention wings, hotdogs, ribs, chilli bowls, and slaw, I haven’t even scratched the surface of everything Brooklyn Depot has to offer. Add to that their exceptional cocktail menu and selection of beers, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a killer dining experience.
Fromage The Cow
When we hear the words “licensed fromagerie” our ears perk right up. A Queensland first, Fromage the Cow takes my pathetic attempt at a wine and cheese platter (string cheese anyone?) and show us how it’s really done. Using cheese in ways that defy expectation, and expertly pairing wine and cheese for your evening drinks, Fromage the Cow have added a level of class to Brisbane dining that was previously missing.
The first in a new wave of French restaurants to open in Brisbane, Greenglass is the second venture from the team at much-loved Chinese-come-wine bar Happy Boy. Tucked away in a sort-of-secret location in the CBD, Greenglass' take on traditional French classics at a pirce that doesn't make your eyes water is a refreshing change to the (often) overpriced dining spots in Brisbane city.
Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers
Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers have long graced us with their authentic, stellar gnocchi at some of Brissy's finest food markets, but now we are truly blessed thanks to their opening of Australia’s first gnoccheria, right here in Brisbane. Winning team Ben Cleary-Corradini and Theo Roduner have introduced us to just how versatile and delectable gnocchi can be, with inspired flavour combinations and rich sauces. Mmmmmmmm.
Chingon Cantina Y Taqueria
Long has Melbourne celebrated their exceptional Mexican, courtesy of badass Chingon Cantina y Taqueria, and after teasing us for a few months they have finally head north to share their authentic, Mexican street-food with the grateful folk of Brisbane. Everything you love of Mexican cuisine—tacos with orange and honey charcoal chicken, fiery hot salsa, and creamy rich guacamole—served alongside a stellar line up of imported beers. Arguable the best summer nosh.
Nickel Kitchen & Bar
Stepping into Nickel Kitchen & Bar is like stepping into a prohibition-era Manhattan bar, where the likes of Zelda Fitzgerald or Al Capone wouldn’t be out of place. Classic dishes are restyled with modern twists, and indulgent champagne, classic cocktails, imported wines, and craft beers flow freely. Refined and timeless, Nickel has brought a touch of class to Brisbane.
The Hope & Anchor
Nautical themed The Hope & Anchor proves that the ‘gastropub’ cannot be easily dismissed. After all, where else can you chow down on an authentic seaside-English-pub meal with surprising gourmet twists? Need an example? Mussels steamed in white wine, pork belly with habanero and maple glaze, and the most decadent chip butty of your life. With a menu that combines the best of English pub food with fresh Australian produce, The Hope & Anchor is a welcome addition.
Madame Rouge Bar & Bistro
You'd be forgiven for thinking you've stepped back in time to 1920's Paris at Madame Rouge. From the menu to the decor (we're talking floor to ceiling red velvet curtans, folks), everything is luxurious, and perfectly vintage France. Think we're kidding? Try the gruyere cheese biegnet and let us know.
Brainchild of husband and wife team James and Kylie Gallagher, Allium brings fine dining to the suburbs in a warm, approachable setting. The menu is seasonal and ever-changing, but you can expect to see flavour combos such as slow cooked pork neck, carrot, orange, watercress, and wagyu inside skirt with caramelised onion, miso eggplant, black garlic. Follow it up with a walk along the river for the ultimate date night.
Otto is making waves along the riverside, and when you peruse the delightful (if somewhat overwhelming) menu you’ll understand why. Whether you’re after tradition dishes, modern experiments, or a full on degustation, Otto’s delivers exceptional Italian food to satisfy even the finickiest of foodies. Drink your way through the wine list and revel in the delight that is sharing a meal with friends.
For even more awesome dining spots in Brisbane, check The Directory.
Image credit: Yaseera Moosa