By day, we flock to Woolloongabba to perk up on specialty coffee and buy industrial quantities of cheese at the delis. Come night time, Brisbane’s antiquing homeland lights up with bistros, restaurants and bars flogging everything from Napoli-style pizza to pork roasts with some live tunes and a hell of a lot of whisky and wine thrown in.
Screw Uber Eats, put on some layers and get amongst it you couch pests. These are the best restaurants in Woolloongabba.
On any given morning Pearl is a brunching wonderland, but for some sensational staggered service come by after sundown and check out the bistro’s dinner game. The seasonal menu is built on the freshest available produce, so any choice is a good one, and we definitely recommend mulling it over with the charcuterie board and a Negroni. Or, in the ultimate act of faith, ‘let the chef decide’ with a five-course feast.
Half restaurant, half wine cellar, 1889 enoteca is as much about the drop as it is about the dish. The focus for their wine selection is on Italian natural wines (read: low intervention), which harmonises nicely with their Roman-style menu of classic Italian dishes including pasta and stuffed zucchini flowers. They’ll even go full Italian and bring you into the family fold with a three-course Sunday lunch.
This smashing pizza operation can summarise their edict with a three-pronged credo: pizza, vino, beer. And that’s exactly what you’ll get. Whet your appetite with garlic bread and a foxy red, then get stuck straight into the pizza situation. The pizzas are made on cold-risen, hand-shaped dough, and fired off in Sorellina’s wood-powered oven. As for toppings, pick something tasty and traditional off their menu, or keep an eye on their socials for the weekly special.
This weird and wonderful contemporary bistro comes to Woolloongabba at the behest of Damon Amos, the man behind Public’s most revered dishes. The same kind of innovative flair dresses the menu at Detour, which is conveniently split into two agendas catering to either omnivores or herbivores (the latter of which is also conveniently vegan). Expect Amos signatures like the Kentucky Fried Duck and fossilized carrots alongside some fresh newbies like emu tartare and gunpowder wagyu.
There’s a lot going on in this quarter and it feels like every inch of space is working harder than Kris Jenner. Downstairs, Electric Avenue splits between their expansive bar offering cocktails and the best bar food you’ve ever had, and the pillowy bistro area serving up share plates, hearty burgers, and decadent mains for the main event. Upstairs is the secluded Jack Rabbits whisky lounge where you can settle in with a smoky nightcap and mellow in some live jazz like the prohibition-era scoundrel you wish you were.
Paw Paw Café
Known for slammin’ breakfasts on weekends, Paw Paw Café also offers pretty hectic fusion situation for dinner on Wednesday through Sunday. Stuff like pineapple fried rice, pad thai and massaman curry are all on offer, making it the perfect pleaser for those nights when you can’t decide between Indian or Thai.
Maybe this verges too close into the bounds of East Brisbane but we’re looping it in with the Woolly round-up because they’re just too good and deserving of airtime to ignore. A brainchild of Paul McGivern, The Wolfe makes delicious feasts from unconventional flavour pairings, offering a tidy menu of just really good food that’ll impress the socks right off your feet.
For a classic French bistro experience you can’t pass up C’est Bon. These guys kick it old school with traditional dishes from escargots and duck a l’orange to thin and flaming Crêpes Suzette. If, like me, you nosh at the behest of a tyrannical sweet tooth, order C’est Bon’s dessert degustation, which gets you three desserts and relieves the panic of indecision.
The Morrison Hotel
If you’re bordering on hangry and looking for a winner, dinner at the Morrison Hotel cuts to the damn chase. They offer a whole bunch of quality pub grub but it’s the steaks everyone gathers round. Using only high quality Australian beef, these cuts are cooked perfectly and come complete with toppers and sides. Once you’re done head over to their resident Naked Whisky Bar to fulfil your Ron Swanson fantasy.
Image credit: Hayley Williamson; Tash Sorensen for The Urban List