It’s easy to skip past the CBD when you’re planning your next feast—we get it. Brisbane is bursting at the seams with nooks of deliciousness left, right, and centre, but, we say it’s time to start showing the CBD some love because it’s dining calibre is seriously top tier. So, the next time you’re hungry (or just really need a drink) reach for this list and make a beeline for the CBD (or, you can download Brisbane Marketing's nifty little Dish guide right here!) Plus, because we care about you guys, we’ve even gone and marked out the best (and cheapest) parking locations below.
So, make like Dora and get to exploring these hidden CBD gems.
The Cheese Pleaser
When we say “café dedicated to all things cheese” you’d probably hit us with the, “ugh, I wish Brisbane had something that cool,” right? Wrong. Brisbane’s newest CBD spot, Cheese Pleaser is all of that, and then some. Described as a sanctuary for cheese lovers, we’re thanking the cheese Gods for blessing us with this new opening, and their Croque Monsieur.
Greenglass is the definition of a hidden gem. Perched atop George Street, behind a hole-in-the-wall doorway, next to a topless bar, we’ll forgive you for walking past Greenglass a million times without realising it even existed. Don’t be discouraged by the entrance either, the anonymous stairs and eerie space leads to a seriously breath-taking, light-filled space, and an even better menu. Inspired by the tastes of France, the menu is affordable yet fancy. Think breakfast panna cotta for less than 20 bucks and locally sourced wine that won’t break the bank, but will wow your taste buds.
Corbett And Claude
Corbett And Claude is tucked away down a quaint lane off Elizabeth Street. With beautiful exposed brickwork, huge bay windows, and a pizza menu that means business, Corbett And Claude demands a trip into the CBD. The Consultant is one of our favourite pizzas, like, ever, and comes loaded with thinly sliced potato, crispy prosciutto, and rosemary, while the range of nourish pizzas mean we can still pig out, but actually be healthy while doing so. Winning!
e’cco Bistro is the pinnacle of Brisbane dining. Headed up by legendary Brisbane chef, Philip Johnson, the ever-changing menu at e’cco Bistro needs to be eaten to be believed. Think bistro dining, with a serious dash of fanciness thrown in. Chicken liver parfait, confit lamb oyster blade, dark chocolate marquise…we’re drooling already.
Lennons Restaurant And Bar
If you’ve ever walked through Queen Street Mall absolutely famished and dying to sink your teeth into something delicious, you’ll be kicking yourself for not stopping to look up at the stunning pool deck at Lennons Restaurant and Bar. With views across bustling Queen Street and the historic buildings and a menu made for feasting, this is one of our fave CBD spots. The desserts here are seriously luscious, too.
Did someone say laneway gem? Survey Co. sits tucked away in Burnett Lane, and takes its moniker from the laneway's famed surveyor, Burnett. The sweet corn and potato cigarillos with saffron mayo are one of our all-time favourites, while the butter poached Moreton Bay bugs and the fried lamb cutlets with savoy cabbage and mustard take the gong for dish of the day. Plus, the ‘death row meal’ (baked beans, smoked pork hock, and crackling) is just that—a meal so delicious you’d request it as your last.
If authentic Japanese fare is your game, Sono is where you need to be. With tatami seating, a sushi bar, and a very impressive sake collection, Sono feels like a trip to Tokyo. Order the shabu shabu if you want to feel truly authentic, or opt for their world-class sashimi if you’re looking to experience sashimi like they do it in Japan. We have to give a special mention to the soft shell crab, too—even seafood naysayers will scoff this down.
Riverbar & Kitchen
Cocktails, killer views, great atmosphere, and delicious food? Check, check, and check. Riverbar & Kitchen has it all nailed. The cocktails are Riverbar’s staple, and for good reason: Ladies Doing Lunch, Cult Classic, Gin ‘n Jam and Dr Gonzo are all mainstays on the menu. Plus, they even do a bevy of cocktail jugs (including Winter Sangria) that are made for long afternoons in the sunshine.
Super Whatnot is another hidden laneway gem that you definitely need to discover. For drinks with amazing atmosphere and classic American eats, Super Whatnot is the perfect starting point for a night in the CBD. The Nachos Locos here are deliciously loaded (black beans, cheese, Pico de Gallo, 12-hour beef), and the Rasta Chicken will go down as some of the best chicken you’ve ever eaten.
Doo-Bop Jazz Bar
Bet you didn’t know Brisbane had a hidden jazz bar. Doo-Bop Jazz Bar spans across different levels, with a basement jazz bar, a brasserie, and a piano bar. Aside from great, local live jazz music, their menu also wows and delights. Expect classics, done right, like the braised rabbit pappardelle.
Mr & Mrs G’s Riverbar
Views don’t come much better than Mr and Mrs G’s Riverbar, do they? With pretty much unparalleled views of the Brisbane River and CBD, and a loaded bar, Mr and Mrs G’s is the perfect spot for cocktails before dinner. And an even better place to catch the sunset. Don’t miss out on their killer lunch deals, either.
The Silver Fox Wine Bar
Hands up if you’ve never tried The Silver Fox Wine Bar? We’ll forgive you for sleeping on this one, as it’s truly a hidden gem. Tucked away in the old Mineral House on Edward Street this spot has vintage vibes and is perfect for a catch up over wine, cocktails, and a jam-packed cheese board.
Hungry for more of the CBD? Download the Dish Guide here and start planning your next trip.