Brisbane's best Italian restaurants come steeped in tradition, with the tried and tested combo of carbs and cheese with a healthy smattering of prosciutto, grappa, and truffle thrown in for good measure.
From red-and-white checkers to pristine white tablecloths, here’s where you’ll find Brisbane’s best Italian restaurants.
Along with its sibling Julius in South Brisbane, Beccofino has long wooed Brisbane’s hungry Italophiles. Front and centre on the ordering agenda is the perfectly tender calamari fritti, followed up with a main-sized serving of the duck ragu pappardelle. Get the full experience with a few Aperol spritzes or a bottle of their finest red.
Part restaurant, part wine cellar, 1889 enoteca is the first name in intimate dinners, lavish wine lunches, family spreads on Sunday and, of course, Roman cuisine. With an interior reminiscent of the Belle Époque, 1889 enoteca is your best bet at an authentic and refined Italian feast paired with incredible wines. We recommend the zucchini flowers and iconic truffle gnocchi.
Set in a stunning heritage building on the edge of the Valley, Rosmarino is turning heads for its exceptional eats and collection of Italian wines, especially from Etna. Whether you opt for bar bites and vino in the bar or a full-on feast, on the menu you'll find out-of-the-ordinary Italian fare that will leave you wanting more. Must-orders include the crespelle ai funghi and slow-cooked rolled lamb belly, but really, you can't go wrong.
One of Brisbane's most recognisable restaurants, Bar Alto is a triple-threat of style, substance and location. Perched alongside the Brisbane River inside the iconic Brisbane Powerhouse, this Italian restaurant is the spot to settle in to when you're craving authentic, hearty dishes with a sprinkling of escapism. From their famous mussels to wood-fired pizzas and light-as-air fried zucchini crisps, Bar Alto sets the bar for unrivalled river views—pasta in face, Aperol in hand.
Run by a stalwart of Italian hospitality, Tocco Italiano is a traditional restaurant is all about rich, authentic Italian feasts. Choose from Tocco’s expansive menu of rustic pizzas, luscious pastas and perhaps the most comprehensive list of Italian desserts in town.
From the minds of some big hospitality veterans with experience at Ovolo hotels comes this warm and funky space that's not afraid to push the boundaries a little. Choose a table inside or on the breezy balcony, and don't miss Sasso's burrata topped with a take on bagna cauda, yolk-filled ravioli in brown butter, charred-edge pizzas and whole grilled seafood. Feeling fancy? Sip on a birth-year Negroni made with vintage Campari.
Gemelli Italian's glam, split-level space with dark wooden archways and a patterned ceiling is just the place for negroni and some antipasti, before making the difficult choice of whether to order pizza or pasta. For us it's between the slow-cooked oxtail and pork shin ragu with rigatoni and the Roma pizza topped with fior di latte, prosciutto di parma and burrata cheese.
Featuring hearty cuisine, charming service, and welcoming old-school interiors, Tartufo restaurant offers the freshest produce and ingredients available, with a strong focus on using local suppliers. Their dishes take you on an Italian journey via Umbria, Tuscany, and Naples, while the wine list exceeds more than 200 labels, predominantly from Australian vineyards.
Inspired by central Italian cuisine, La Lupa is a Roman-style pizzeria-cum-modern Italian restaurant offering an epic natural wine selection to accompany. Begin with their seasonal starters like roasted Roman artichokes with ricotta and bottarga or burrata with beetroot, prosciutto and olive crumble before moving on to their classic pizzas and pastas (with a few unexpected twists).
Having moved from its CBD spot to a sunny riverside perch in South Bank, OTTO's open dining space transcends into their food, which subs out the generous tangles of unctuous, rustic Italian in place of delicate and refined dishes that wouldn’t be out of place in other hatted restaurants. If you want to sample the fare without sitting down for an exxy lunch or dinner, they've also got a stunning osteria/bar space, which whips up a mean Aperol spritz as well as smaller bar bites and snacks without the white tablecloth.
Ready for a salmon-hued exploration of all the best Italian flavours? Settle in to James Street's Bianca restaurant for a side of antipasti, house-made pastas and epic desserts with your people watching. Choose your own adventure from their antipasti list before moving on to more substantial dishes like Wagyu bistecca, whole fish, and chicken cotoletta and finish with a house-made soft serve featuring flavours like fior di latte.
Coming from a team that had serious chops for their beloved pizza truck, Pizzantica, Antica is a bricks-and-mortar spot serving up some serious Italian vibes. Start with their massive burrata that's recommended for 4-8 people before moving on to expertly wood-fired pizzas, ricotta and orange ravioli with duck ragu, and cannoli filled with limoncello custard (and maybe a barrel-aged Negroni).
A Paddington newbie, Elementi comes to us from former Julius and Beccofino chefs—so you know it's got to be good. Wood-fired pizzas and pastas are the heroes of the menu, all of which can be paired with something from the lengthy list of intriguing wines.
Italian cuisine is often billed as comfort food, but under the guidance of head chef Enzo Ninivaggi, Vine is here to make sure that it doesn’t get overlooked as a fine dining venture. What could be finer than burratina with prosciutto and smoked eggplant or a confit duck risotto with a bottle of natural wine? Despite these fancy repasts Vine retains its soul as a family-run business and provides a warm, versatile dining sanctum for locals.
Sitting right at the Grey Street entrance to Fish Lane, Julius is the perfect jumping off point for a delicious night in this emerging foodie precinct. Headed by the minds behind Teneriffe institution Beccofino, Julius’s pizzas and pastas are an authentic continuation of a fine legacy, with the Tartufo pizza being one of Brisbane's must-try dishes in our books.
Like something a bit more hands-on? Check out Brisbane's best pizzas.
Image credit: Otto Brisbane, 1889 Enoteca, Sasso Italiano, Bianca Restaurant