It’s easy to overlook Brisbane's CBD restaurants when you’re planning a dinner out. Our city has a wealth of burgeoning suburbs and blink-and-you'll-miss-it local eateries, so often it can seem easier to avoid the city when you don't know where to dine. But that would be remiss.
While Brisbane continues to grow and evolve, we are spoilt with incredible new openings on the regular. But there are a handful of restaurants that have been around for years, still doing some of the best grub in the country.
From fine dining to casual eateries, these are the 14 best restaurants in the Brisbane CBD.
Walter’s Steakhouse combines sophisticated service with a New York steakhouse-style menu. Decked out with a classy and timeless fit-out that has restored Old Mineral House to its former glory, it's the closest thing to NYC steak this side of the Atlantic.
Located in the Eagle Street Pier precinct, ARIA Restaurant, in the Brisbane CBD, co-owned and operated by Matt Moran, has spectacular views of the Brisbane River with the Story Bridge providing a perfect backdrop for diners. The dining experience at Aria Restaurant is reflective of the Brisbane lifestyle; it is relaxed, yet elegant, with an innovative and contemporary menu.
Spilling out onto the spacious lawns of Post Office Square, Isles Lane is a hidden refuge from the bustle of the CBD. One of only a handful of gastropubs in Brisbane, Isles Lane's ethos is decidely simple; to serve good pub grub and to create a beautiful yet relaxing space.
Pony Lounge & Dining
Boasting one of the best spots along the Brisbane River, at Eagle Street Pier, Pony Lounge & Dining is a famed Brisbane CBD restaurant serving up impressive Australian seasonal produce in a elegant setting.
Multi-award-winning, hatted restaurant Urbane is one of Brisbane's fine-dining institutions. With a sophisticated menu that combines classic techniques with modern flourishes, Urbane serves up a heady mix of modern Australian cuisine, effortless beauty, and pared-back intimacy, making it the perfect venue for when you're in need for some seriously fine dining.
Trading out of a Heritage-listed, neo-classical building on George Street, the harmony between modernity and antiquity defines Donna Chang. The menu sees ancient Cantonese cuisine and Sichuan flavours executed with modern techniques, and the resultant feast makes for an ultra-modern fine dining experience.
Brisbane Asian-fusion restaurant, Madame Wu boasts stunning river views and a menu that celebrates the best of Queensland produce, and the best of Asian cuisine. An epic cellar, cracking cocktail list, private dining rooms, and one heck of a view of the Story Bridge make Madame Wu a no-brainer for post-work drinks and an indulgent feed.
If you're craving impeccable Italian dishes, then OTTO is the only place to head. Award-winning, beautiful, and full of European charm, the decor is just as elegant as the food. With incredible views of the CBD skyline, a hand-picked wine list and an ever-changing seasonal menu, there is nothing quite like this Italian icon.
Tucked away down Gresham Lane, Red Hook is the O.G American diner and bar in Brisbane. If NYC-style cheap eats is your sould food, this is where to go. From their fried chicken burher to spicy tacos and famous salt and vinegar shoestring fries, this is comfort food at its best.
Another NYC-inspired Brisbane restaurant, Public continues to push the culinary envelope. From their famous 'Kentucky Fried Duck' and saltbush organic lamb shoulder, Public is the quirky igh-end eatery you crave.
Iconic Brisbane restaurant, The Euro is next-level European-style dining in the heart of Brisbane CBD. Bridging the gap between fine dining and casual eatery, The Euro’s menu offers the best of both worlds; refined bistro-style dishes that are stunningly presented but still substantial enough to really hit the spot.
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 & Claude
Corbett & 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!
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.
Wash it all down at one of Brisbane's best wine bars.
Image credit: Hayley Williamson; Grace Elizabeth Images for Urban List