As one of the few cities in Australia not currently in the midst of a COVID-19 lockdown, it’s practically our duty to make the most of our freedom. And what better way to do that than treating yourself to a night out at some of the best restaurants in Bulimba and Hawthorne?
Nestled on the leafy banks of the Brisbane River, Bulimba and its nextdoor neighbour, Hawthorne are home to a suite of international flavours just waiting to set your tastebuds alight. From tantalising Thai to all things Mexican, here are our top picks for the Hawthorne and Bulimba restaurants to add to your list.
Filling in for your annual trip to Bali, Melrose is a welcome addition to Bulimba’s bustling Oxford Street. The Indonesian-inspired eatery comes to us from the minds behind some of Brisbane’s most popular eateries—think Mons Ban Sabai, Monocle, Pawpaw Cafe and the drool-worthy Darvella Patisserie, which just happens to be downstairs. Complete with a fully retractable roof, wicker chairs, and plenty of greenery, you’ll need to book ahead to tuck into epic curries and other spicy eats while you take in the breathtaking sunset vibes.
King Crab Co
With summer just around the corner, King Crab Co is one restaurant you’ll want to keep in your back pocket. When the time comes, treat your troupe to the freshest, sweetest and juiciest seafood courtesy of Brisbane’s best crab house. You’d better come prepared to tuck in to a feast fit for a king—we’re talking crab in bags with your choice of sauce (it’s old bay butter for us), crab cakes, seafood chowder and soft shell crab rolls, as well as plenty of non-crabby eats. Count. Us. In.
If you’re a fan of family-sized feeds, book yourself a table at Downtown Istanbul. Their share plates are a highlight of their Mediterranean menu, featuring all your fave Turkish dips, breads, sauce and pastry. Once you’ve filled up on the first course, order a plate from their char grill menu, and treat yourself to a selection of lamb, adana and chicken shish. Top it all off with a serve of traditional Turkish delight, featuring real rose petals and fresh berries, and you’ll be booking a trip to Turkey the moment the borders open.
Ambrosia & Co
Inspired by the Greek word for ‘food of the gods,’ we can confirm: Ambrosia & Co lives up to the hype. The Mediterranean-style cafe, bar and grill has a dish for every occasion, making it the perfect crowd-pleaser when dining with picky eaters. Whilst you can eat in for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s their relaxed evening menu that’s earned a special place in our hearts. There’s simply no passing up their spanakopita or saganaki, not to mention their mouth-watering gyros. Finish off with the feta, chicken salt and special sauce fries for a few extra carbs.
A Bulimba icon for over 15 years, La Quinta has well and truly earned its place on this list. The Mexican cafe and bar is our go-to for comfort food that doesn’t break the bank. With different deals almost every day of the week, it’s worth swinging by more than once to get a true taste of their cult-worthy menu. Our personal fave? Fajita Fridays, where you can score fajitas and sangria for a budget-friendly $30. Although $10 margs during happy hour is a close second.
Make cheat day worth it with a meal at one of Brissy’s top contenders for the perfect pizza. Sugo Mi offers a tonne of Italian classics, but there’s no passing up their crispy, traditional pizza pies. Chow down on porcini arancini as you soak in the scent of freshly cooked dough wafting out onto the footpath, and count down the minutes until your meal is ready. Sweeten the deal with a modest selection of wines from Australia, New Zealand and Italy, and whisk yourself away to the seaside streets of Tuscany.
Can’t pass up a cheeky pub feed? Score yourself a steak and a parmi at Oxford 152, the local go-to for after work drinks and social catchups. Located right in the heart of Oxford Street, punters will enjoy live music every Friday and Saturday night as the main bar transforms into a popular nightlife venue with bands and DJs to keep you entertained. Better yet, you can even stop by from 6am to 11am for a hearty breakfast to soak up the remnants of last night’s festivities. Talk about full service.
Pawpaw Asian Kitchen
If you haven’t paid a visit to Pawpaw by now (sister venue to the Woolloongabba fave), get out from that rock you’ve been under and treat yourself to some of the best cuisine in Brisbane. Inspired by the exotic flavours and experiences gracing South East Asia, Pawpaw Asian Kitchen combines the best elements of its owners' other venues into one delightful, ambient setting. The neon green lights and towering plant life will draw you in, where you’ll be greeted by a menu filled with traditional and contemporary Asian eats. We recommend the island duck curry for a tropical taste you’ll soon be obsessed with.
Gather a group of your closest amigos and amigas, and book yourself in for a fiesta special courtesy of Mucho Mexicano. Known as one of Brisbane’s best Mexican restaurants, guests can choose from a list of delicious antojitos, comidas, tacos, nachos and more. The restaurant also offers daily deals so you can get the most bang for your buck, whilst treating your taste buds in the process. Our top pick is all-you-can-eat Tuesdays, where $25 will score you all the tacos you can handle.
Book yourself in for a flippin’ good time at Bulimba’s Charboys Burgers. Inspired by the towering American-style burgers we all know and love, Charboys offers a unique twist on an age old classic. Sourcing only the freshest ingredients and infusing them with the most aromatic herbs and spices, dinner at Charboys practically guarantees the greatest tasting burgers your taste buds will ever experience.
Rounding our list is The Oxford Taphouse, a cosy watering hole with six rotating taps dedicated to showcasing the very best beer and cider Australia has to offer. Known to locals as the Ox, they’ll even throw in the occasional Kiwi brew to keep patrons on their toes. The Ox’s taps are accompanied by a full menu of food, wine and cocktails, not to mention a cheese and charcuterie board for those keeping it classy. Of course, there’s no passing up a hushpuppy or two should the arvo call for it, either (think cheesy corn fritter with chipotle aioli. And then think, ‘yes’).
Looking for more places to add to your list? Check out Brisbane’s best restaurants here.
Image credit: Grace Elizabeth Smith, Judit Losh, Sugo Mi