Food & Drink

Treat Yourself At 16 Of Brisbane’s Best Restaurants Right Now

By Urban List Writers
26th May 2022

A moody dining room filled with diners at Agnes Restaurant Brisbane

If there's one thing Brisbanites do well, it's eat. From modern Asian dining to classic Italian eats, we're huge enthusiasts of a great feed, and love to spread the word wherever possible.

Fair warning: like a fourteen-course degustation, we could go on for hours, so let’s skip the small talk. These are the best restaurants in Brisbane right now. 

Same Same 

Fortitude Valley

Located in the chic Ada Lane next to The Calile, Same Same is essentially former favourite Longtime supplanted into a sleek new venue with separate Thai-inspired bar space to match. Combining atmosphere by the bucket load with your favourite modern Thai dishes, Same Same captures the flavours we know and love, but with serious attitude. Our picks? The soft shell crab bao, grilled prawns in curry butter and THAT twice-cooked lamb shank massaman curry.

Gerard's Bistro

Fortitude Valley

From the talk around town, you might be forgiven for thinking Gerard was just a really popular guy in Brisbane’s inner circle. Really, you’re not wrong. Any diner worth their salt has heard whispers of Gerard’s Bistro, and with Executive Chef Adam Wolfers at the helm, the Middle Eastern bistro is leading foodies into their densest fever dreams. Changing regularly, the menu features an array of flavour-packed dishes made for sharing and epic house-made breads.

Keen to visit Gerard's Bistro soon? Purchase a restaurant gift voucher here

Essa

Fortitude Valley 

A sleek spot from the ex-head chef of South Brisbane’s renowned GaugeEssa is perfect for an intimate date night thanks to its moody and atmospheric feel, created by dark wood panelling, exposed brick walls and windows offering a view to lush greenery. Everything that comes out of Essa’s kitchen showcases local farmers and providers, with their seasonal produce heroed in simple, yet utterly delectable main dishes. Make sure to leave room for their signature Jerusalem artichoke cream bun for dessert.  

Takashiya

South Bank

A true omakase experience with some contemporary flair, Takashiya is a must-try for seafood lovers or those hankering for a little slice of Japan. Chefs Takashi and Kazu guide 12 diners through (around) 16 courses of seasonal fare, including small plates, nigiri and temaki sushi using incredible seafood from around the world, and hot dishes. If you can't squeeze an omakase booking, it's worth paying a visit for the a la carte offering and sake flights available in the front bar.

Rogue Bistro 

Newstead 

Rogue Bistro is a bit of a secret gem, tucked away in a semi-industrial area. Their six-course degustation menu is one of the most creative but drool-worthy dining experiences you'll have in Brisbane, and changes monthly, so you have to keep going back. They offer menus for plant-based, pescatarian, and GF/DF degos, too, so nobody has to miss out.

Agnes 

Fortitude Valley 

You'd have to have been living under a rock if you hadn't heard of Agnes—but actually getting a booking at Brisbane's favourite new restaurant is another matter. When you do nab a table, you'll be treated to a feast cooked entirely over fire, from snacks like the scarlet prawn doughnuts to heartier feeds like smoked lamb neck with ancho mole, garlic yoghurt and flatbread. Be sure to take dessert up on the rooftop terrace—not that the moody, industrial dining room isn't extremely easy on the eyes.

OTTO

South Bank 

All roads lead to Rome, but the wildest ravioli cravings lead straight to OTTO. Here, top-notch Australian wines go best with a pared-back menu of fresh, seasonal Italian flair. Superstars from their Sydney lineup—tender blue swimmer crab ravioli and pan-fried gnocchi with sweet pork shoulder—are doled out as diners drink in the views from one of Brisbane's best restaurants. While we love a white tablecloth, the Osteria menu also packs a serious punch with its menu of smaller plates and snacks.

Joy Restaurant

Fortitude Valley

Occupying a tiny corner tenancy in Bakery Lane, Joy Restaurant has just 10 seats, all of them overlooking the action being carried out in the kitchen by owner and chef, Sarah Scott, and bartender Maddie Smith. So, how good can a restaurant that seats just 10 people be? Well, they're booked out six months in advance, so we'd say pretty damn good. Choose either a short or long degustation, sit back to make friends with your neighbour, and leave seriously impressed.

SK Steak And Oyster

Fortitude Valley

Dress up and step into a New York steakhouse at this very James Street restaurant serving up stunning steaks, glistening raw seafood, and old-school charm. Grab a martini and start your experience at Sk Steak & Oyster with a seafood platter on ice before substantials including premium steaks (perhaps with a side of seared foie gras) or lobster risotto, and don't skip the sides including classic chopped salads and Romanoff potatoes.

Sk Steak & Oyster Brisbane Restaurant Seafood

Donna Chang

Brisbane City

Pack your chopstick A-game for a skip down George Street, where a heritage-listed former bank has been completely transformed. In its place, you’ll find Donna Chang, a sprawling pink dining room lit with chandeliers, marble tables and perfectly pink booths for big groups—or just loosening your belt. They caught our attention with Seinfield-inspired fortune cookies, but they reeled us in with fresh rock lobsters, crispy roasted duck, and passionfruit custard buns.

Bianca 

Fortitude Valley 

A peach-hued stunner drawing inspo from the Mediterranean region, Bianca is by the crew behind Agnes, Same Same and Honto, and fully decked out in terracotta tiles, while the ceiling—lined with a perimeter of wine bottles—is covered by metal gridwork (pink, of course). The best seats in the house are undoubtedly at the salumi bar, where you can watch the kitchen team at work as they artfully assemble plates of mortadella, prosciutto, salami and more. All this plus fresh pasta, grill dishes, epic desserts and an Inglorious Basterds-themed cocktail menu, and you’ve got one heck of a night out. 

Detour

Woolloongabba

At Detour, the experience is just as much artistic expression as it is dining. Clever flavours will have you perched on your seat’s edge, with a hard focus on ingredients as unique as the experience. The iconic Kentucky Fried Duck is a superstar, here, buddied up with jalapeno cornbread and sour cream, but really, you’re spoilt for choice. From a delicate emu tartare with burnt shallot, chili and egg yolk to carefully fossilized carrots, the whole meal is an adventurous journey.

Southside 

South Brisbane

A two-level pan-Asian stunner from the team who brought us Rick Shores, Southside’s interiors are part jungle temple, part concrete warehouse—which fits in perfectly with the laneway vibes outside. Chinese-leaning but crossing multiple east-Asian influences, the menu features signatures like their potato and truffle spring rolls and duck noodles, plus refined dishes like whole quail with red vinegar caramel and steamed coral trout with cured pork and shiitake broth. Take a big group, because you’ll want to try it all.

Southside Brisbane Restaurant

Rothwell's

Brisbane City

Dine on glamour in spades at this marble-clad, chandelier-lit establishment in a former tailor's in the heart of the city. An amalgamation of owner Dan Clark and chef Ben Russell's favourite grill spots around the world, Rothwell's is all about the classics like a textbook Nicoise, solid steaks, seafood platters, and freshly baked madeleines for dessert. Room after your meal? Pull up a seat in the front bar to watch the hustle and bustle of Edward Street, martini in hand.

Hôntô

Fortitude Valley

Tucked through a secret door behind The Wickham, Same Same’s sibling is turning heads like nobody’s business. The dark, moody Hôntô is undoubtedly the black sheep of the family, but dimly lit tables hide none of the splendour escaping this contemporary Japanese kitchen. Find love at first bite over fresh, raw tuna inside savoury drumstick cones, lobster katsu sandos and grilled baby snapper with chicken dashi butter and kale furikake. 

Hellenika

Fortitude Valley

Welcome to the Greek Islands... kind of. Hellenika’s breathtaking location by the pool at the Calile Hotel has us entranced, not to mention the spades of spanakopita, slow-cooked lamb and zucchini chips you won’t want to share. Take some time browsing the cocktail menu utilising fresh flavours and Greek spirits, and see out your meal with dripping golden honey puffs.

Still hungry? Once you've slept off your food coma from the best restaurants in Brisbane, find the best breakfasts here.

Image credit: Agnes, Essa, Sk Steak & Oyster, Southside, 

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