In the land of hypotheticals we’re often asked what precious items we would save if our house went up in flames, or what necessities we would hope were in our backpack if we were to wash up on the shores of a desert island a la Tom Hanks in Castaway.
Touch wood these situations stay in the realm of make believe, but what would you eat if you only had one night left to live… in Brisbane? Or got rich quick overnight and had a hankering for one of Brisbane’s most decadent, big-ticket meals?
These 25 eats are worthy of blowing out both your budget and your diet, which is a double win in our books. Without further adieu, Brisbane’s bucket list eats.
1. The Double Burger at Ben’s
This is a marathon, not a sprint. Let’s start things off easy with a double-decker from Ben’s Burgers. Grab a BB Special, whack on an extra patty and some candied bacon, add a side of chili cheese fries and a strawberry jam milkshake and you can happily slip into a food coma.
2. 1889 Enoteca’s Bistecca
The Romans know the secret to living la dolce vita, and a big part of that is eating well. Really well. Really, really well. The bistecca alla Fiorentina at Woolloongabba’s 1889 Enoteca is a grass-fed Tasmanian t-bone made for two and comes in at $90 a kilo. BONE appetite!
3. Public's Soft Shell Crab
The Kentucky Fried Duck is a perpetual Urban List favourite, but we’ve decided to go a touch more upmarket for this Public installment with the soft shell crab, served with tomato and peanut. Then there’s the brisket, the scallops, the massive hunk of pork belly… Basically what we're saying is Public is the perfect end-of-days Brisbane restaurant to gorge yourself silly.
4. Wagyu Brisket at Gerard’s Bistro
Gerard’s Bistro is one of few places where you can enjoy 5-star eats without a 3-figure price tag. The slow roasted Wagyu brisket for two with seasonal accompaniments works out to be just $24pp, which means more budget for cocktails. In other words, you're saving money.
5. Beccofino’s Duck Ragu
The duck ragu from Beccofino is a given on any must-eat list. The pappardelle al Ragu d’Anatra—to use its formal title—is a heaping bowl of handmade ribbon pasta slathered in a duck and tomato ragu. It's the house specialty and moreish with a capital Mmmm.
6. The Ark from Rogue Bar + Bistro
When Noah loaded up two of every creature great and small onto his mythical vessel, he probably didn’t think, ‘You know what? This would make a great idea for a share platter.’ Rogue Bar did, though, and for this we’re forever thankful. Have your choice of three ‘animals’ plus three sides for 45 bucks to share with your favourite bug-out buddy.
7. The Shared Lamb Shoulder from Pony
A cool $89 will see you hoeing into 1.2 kilograms of eight-hour slow roasted, Moroccan spiced lamb shoulder at Pony Dining. Save room for a dark chocolate fondue for two. Do we hear Valentine’s Day plans being locked in…?
8. Eye Fillet at Cha Cha Char
A moniker as Queensland’s best steak restaurant sets the bar pretty high, but the rich, supple Wagyu eye fillet at Cha Cha Char delivers. It’s served with roast ‘taties, smoked mozzarella, pesto and sweet pickles. The entire steak menu here is enough to make you simultaneously weep with delight and debt-filled sorrow.
9. Esquire’s Degustation
As our fair city’s only three-hatted restaurant, Esquire is the pinnacle of fine dining in Brisbane and the degustation menu is the only route to take. On any given night you will be presented with a choice of 12–25 items (changing depending on what's fresh at the market that day), racking up a bill of $120–$160 per person. So worth it.
10. Chouquette’s Croquembouche
The Eiffel Tower of French dessert, the croqeumbouche is truly a work of art. New Farm boulangerie et patisserie Chouquette sculpts these pyramids of crème-filled profiteroles up to 65cm in height—that's 120 choux for you!
11. Roquefort Cheese Brulee at Montrachet
This enigma of a French restaurant is so 'oo la la' it doesn't even open on weekends. Swing by Montrachet in Paddington after work to tickle your palate with an amuse bouche of Roquefort brulee or foie gras for two.
12. Chocolate High Tea at The Stamford
High Tea is good, but CHOCOLATE High Tea? Now you're talking. Indulge at The Stamford's chocolate buffet. Yes, a buffet. Of chocolate. A chocolate buffet. Reservations are essential.
13. Bacchus' Dessert Degustation
Speaking of death by chocolate, nobody does it better than Bacchus. For $49 ($69 with matching wine), you can take a sweet, culinary adventure over five courses of dessert that actually turn into 10 as each comes with a pre-dessert. It should also come with a personal valet to roll you away at the end.
14. Popolo’s Famous Suckling Pig
While the menu at Popolo changes now and then, the Kingaroy free-range suckling pig has stood the test of time to become one of Brisbane's must-eat meals. Save room for zeppole (Italian doughnuts), dusted in orange sugar and pistachio crumble, served with sweet basil gelato. That's amore.
15. Mighty Mighty’s Devil Dripped Pork Ribs
Bibs at the ready! Mighty Mighty's devil dripped pork ribs are suitably devilish, sensuously rubbed and smoked in sticky barbecue sauce and coddled up next to one damn fine Idaho potato with blue cheese and honeyed bacon. God bless the land of the free and home of the full.
16. Lavender Crumpets from Statler and Waldorf
This gastronomy pub may be better known for its nighttime offerings like corned brisket and ham hock burgers, but breakfast is where they hide their extra dollops of panache. The lavender crumpets with fresh strawberries and cream are a must at Statler and Waldorf, with a fresh coconut to sip on the side.
17. Attic’s Oysters
Get shucked at Attic—also known as the upstairs eatery of Malt on Market Street. Slurp up your aphrodisiacs with naught but a spritz of mignonette dressing, Japanese-style with apple and ponzu gel, or buttery beignet style with a salumi crumb and Malt sauce. The signature salted caramel brownie dessert is also dripping with epicness.
18. Pork Belly Tacos from The Survey Co
The pork belly tacos from long-time laneway love The Survey Co are something every Brisbanite should chow down on at some point in their life. There's also a Death Row Meal (priced on arrival) or a whole duck of the day if you're feeling particularly snackish.
19. Truffle Ramen at Taro's
This is no normal ramen. For $30 a bowl, you can ingest a hot, brothy bowl of truffle-made noodles, swimming in truffle stock with shaved truffles added at your table from the ramen master at Taro's. Best. Ramen. Ever.
20. Jamie Oliver’s Black Angel Spaghetti
Once you've whet your appetite with one of Jamie's signature 'planks', smattered with everything from mortadella to beetroot-cured salmon, prepare for a massive main of black angel spaghetti. The dark and mysterious squid-ink pasta is made in-house, dressed with scallops, chili, anchovies and capers.
21. The Breakfast Degustation at 85 Miskin Street
If you didn't know about the breakfast degustation at 85 Miskin Street, shame on you! It's okay—there's still time to add it to your Brisbane bucket list. Your $55 breakfast (with drinks) includes pan-fried chorizo with spinach and parmesan croute, a jamon croquette with slow-cooked egg, and grilled banana bread with maple and cardamom whipped butter.
22. Papa Jack’s Mac and Cheese
The truffle and herb encrusted mac and cheese from Papa Jack's is like a big warm hug from the driver of an airboat on the marshy everglades of Louisiana. That's a good thing.
23. Open Ravioli at The Euro
The one-hatted, multi-awarded Euro is your perfect option for upmarket dining without taking out a personal loan under the table as you tally up the bill. The open ravioli with 630 egg, cow's ricotta and truffle crumb is an absolute winner.
24. Getta PBJ Bacon Melt Sandwich Special at Getta Burger
It's probably for the best that this monster of a toasted sandwich is only available intermittently. Piled sky high with peanut butter, strawberry jam, and maple-smoked streaky bacon, then grilled until gooey, Getta Burger's sanga special is one to save for your last day on earth, 'cause it's so good it might kill you.
25. Coconut Bombe Alaska from Lambert’s Restaurant
Last but by no means least is dessert from Brisbane's most recently resurrected treasure, Lambert's Restaurant. Not just any dessert, mind you: the signature, chef-recommended coconut bombe Alaska with chilled cherry soup and a chocolate cigar.
Want more of the best restaurants in Brisbane? Search 'best restaurants' in our Directory!
Image credit: Poet in the Pantry