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.
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.
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.
A sleek spot from the ex-head chef of South Brisbane’s renowned Gauge, Essa 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SK Steak And Oyster
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you’re searching for authentic and inspired artisanal French food experiences, look no further than Hervé’s Restaurant and Bar. Delivering a moody atmosphere with ceilings clad in rich wood and black metal accents throughout, Hervé’s is all about the sophisticated French vibes. They’ve captured the sleek Euro feel perfectly and created a menu to match.
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.
Howard Smith Wharves
If you’re a fan of Greek cuisine, this stunning riverfront restaurant is practically guaranteed to sweep you off your feet. Greca is a vision in white and polished concrete, giving off those laid-back beachy vibes we’re all so desperately craving. Set your watch to island time and indulge on contemporary dishes championing the wonders of the Mediterranean flavour wheel. Sounds pretty good, huh? Just wait until you try the saganaki.
Howard Smith Wharves
If you’re a fan of Asian cuisine (let’s be real, who isn’t?), set your sights on Stanley, Howard Smith Wharves’ stunning two-level Cantonese restaurant. Located at the northern end of the strip, the restaurant boasts stunning views out over the Brisbane River, plus plenty of drool-worthy Cantonese feeds to boot. We recommend the Byron Bay Berkshire pork belly, although the saucy Mongolian lamb ribs are worth a taste, too.
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.
Howard Smith Wharves
Yoko Dining is our go-to for all things Japanese. This split-level bistro is serving up izakaya-style bar snacks and shared dishes alongside epic city views. But before you go gorging on kimchi okonomiyaki, soba noodle salad, and chicken karaage, remember to save room for dessert. Yoko’s white sesame mochi ice cream is a total game-changer.
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.
A mini French quarter in the middle of Brisbane, C'est Bon encompasses a cafe, bar and rooftop, but it's the intimate restaurant where you'll find chef and owner Andy Ashby's talents best put to use. Opt for the seven-course Chef's Tasting Menu for the full experience, which will see you eating through the best dishes from each season's offering. The sweetcorn brulee is a signature here—after being told by multiple diners he had to have a brulee on the menu, Ashby finally added a savoury version to appease the crowds while still going against the grain, a theme which you'll find evident throughout the rest of the creative menu.
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,