Food & Drink

17 Of The Best Places For Lunch In The Brisbane CBD

By Annabelle Allpass

It’s undeniable the relief you feel exiting the freezing office (because they're always freezing) to get some fresh air and sunlight come lunchtime in the Brisbane/Meanjin CBD. Throw in an endless array of delicious lunch options within a block or two and it's enough to make you leave the leftovers at home every day of the week—or at least, that's how it is in the Urban List office.   

If that salad in the fridge and mini bag of pizza shapes is looking more and more unappealing by the minute, read on to find the best spots for an elite lunch in the Brisbane CBD, whether you need to grab and go to eat at your desk or you can sit down and enjoy your hour off clock properly. Alternatively, if you're looking for somewhere fancy, find the CBD's best restaurants here

Grab And Go

Scugnizzi

2/168 Adelaide Street, Brisbane CBD

Kicking our casual spot list off, you can be in and out of Scugnizzi in 10 minutes or less. If you missed out on Euro summer, here's where to score the best Italian cuisine has to offer—singular (but loaded) slices of pizza, single servings of pasta, and one of the best sandwiches you’ll ever have. In a downright diabolical twist, you can even get takeaway burrata bowls. We’ll have about 17 thanks. 

Melt Brothers 

8/280 Queen Street, Brisbane CBD

There are few combinations as iconic as the humble toastie and coffee combo—and you can score just that at Melt Brothers, but not as you know it. Forget ham and cheese, here you’ll find stacks loaded with mac ‘n’ cheese, maple bacon and caramelized onion jam or grilled eggplant, roast capsicum and basil pesto. They also offer unbelievable deals like the Cappy Hour, where from 10 am to 12 pm, you can snag a small coffee for just $3. Add one of their $5 stacked avo toasts and that’s a late breakky sorted for under 10 bucks. 

Fishbowl 

256 Adelaide Street, Brisbane CBD

For those who have not tried Fishbowl yet, they specialise in fast yet healthy vegetable-packed bowls, featuring a variety of cult house favourites that put wellness first but in a non-pretentious way. Enjoy options like the original salmon sashimi bowl, the coconut chicken bowl, and the warm 12-hour braised brisket bowl. Personalise your bowl by choosing a base from brown rice, sushi rice, glass noodles, mixed cabbage, mixed leaves, or soba noodles. Better grab a kombuch’ on the side. 

Joe’s Famous Deli 

123 Albert Street, Brisbane CBD

lunch sandwiches from joes deli in the brisbane cbd
Image credit: Joe's Famous Deli | Facebook 

If Scugnizzi is the Italian deli, Joe’s Famous Deli is definitely the New York version. This laneway spot dishes up American-style subs like the Original Deli, packed with cold cuts, provolone, pickles, red onion, iceberg lettuce, and mustard. Another standout is the Famous Meatball, filled with pork and veal meatballs, Napoletana sauce, parmesan, Swiss cheese, aioli, and salsa verde. While they do takeaway, if you can sit down for a mo, they also serve up natural wines, margaritas, and local beers to accompany your sub, hot dog, or salad.

Doughcraft

181 Mary Street, Brisbane CBD

With its impressive sourdough credentials backing them up, Doughcraft is anything but just another sanga-slinger. Hailing from their OG bakery in Albion, the team have expanded into the CBD—and we for one are glad to see it. Perfect for the hustle and bustle, the daytime menu now features a new range of paninis, including the Daniela (porchetta, ‘nduja, capsicum, and stracciatella), the Veronica (mortadella, stracciatella, and pistachio crumble), and the Viviana (eggplant, artichoke, capsicum, feta, and sunflower seeds). The mumblings from the city's sandwich enthusiasts ring true after the first bite—this is one not to miss. 

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Sinjeon 

5/158 Adelaide Street, Brisbane CBD

With over 700 stores worldwide, Sinjeon’s second Brisbane location has just opened in the CBD (the first is in Sunnybank), drawing Korean street food enthusiasts in with its authentic, affordable eats. Indulge in classic dishes like kimchi fried rice and Korean fried chicken, or try Sinjeon’s unique jabchae fish cake, filled with jabchae noodles and veggies, along with signature ramen. Don't miss their crowd-pleasing topokki and kimbap menus—Sinjeon is Korea’s top topokki franchise brand, and their cheese topokki is a must-try, served with a hot cheese pour for the ultimate cheesy experience.

O Bagel

1/97 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane CBD


Image credit: O Bagel | Instagram

There’s so many reasons we love O Bagel for a lunchtime pitstop. Firstly, they have a Bopple ordering platform so you don’t have to waste precious break time standing around waiting for your bagel. Next, there’s the sheer amount of choice on offer. O Bagel offers six types of made-in-house bagels as the base for simple schmears and sandwiches.

You can go basic with the likes of house-cured salmon with cream cheese, avocado, whipped citrusy feta, spinach and tomato, or smash a heartier option like the Drop The Beef, with barbecue brisket, chipotle sour cream, barbecue sauce, provolone, jalapeno, and onion. Pair your bagel with a coffee for the perfect on-the-go meal. 

Greenstreat 

262 Adelaide Street, Brisbane CBD

We all know that salads can be both delicious and nutritious, but creating exciting and satisfying ones at home isn't always easy or budget-friendly. That's where Greenstreat comes in—a 'fast food' salad bar that is not only complete with locally sourced ingredients, but topped off with award-winning sauces and dressings.

The menu features a variety of tossed-to-order salads and warm bowls, like our fave protein-packed Blackened Chicken Burger Bowl (cos lettuce, raw slaw, avocado, blackened chicken, tortilla chips, and burger dressing) and the Farmer's Harvest (baby spinach, grains, roasted vegetables, semi-dried tomatoes, feta, and toasted seeds). Burritos filled with fresh produce and protein are also available. 

Mercatus Deli

291 Adelaide Street, Brisbane CBD


Image credit: Mercatus Deli | Instagram

Mercatus Deli seems like the spot your boss's boss would go for a quick lunch—it’s a European-style providore offering a variety of artisanal pantry items, freshly made sandwiches, and coffee, all served up in a warm yet sleek space. Central to Mercatus is the extensive deli counter, featuring tubs of olives, slabs of cured meat, and imported cheese. Nearby, you'll find a selection of baked sweets, breakfast burgers, pork Cotto baguettes, caprese-filled croissants, veggie bagels, and spicy prawn salad bowls—perfect for a lunch break treat.

Red Hook 

3/88 Creek Street, Brisbane CBD

Nestled in Gresham Lane just off Queen Street, Red Hook feels distinctly Brooklyn. From the exposed chipboard and concrete to the laneway location, it's the perfect spot to head for those in need of a bit of transportation away from the brown snake.  For lunch, indulge in options like cheeseburgers (try the Grandmaster Flash or Brooklyn), NYC hot dogs, Red Hook lobster rolls, and Kung Fu duck tacos. Complete your feast with sides like hand-cut fries, buffalo wings, mac 'n' cheese squares, and battered pickles. 

Sit Down A While 

Hanwoori

1/70 Mary Street, Brisbane CBD


Image credit: Hanwoori | Instagram

Hanwoori is Korean barbecue, but make it elevated. With its sleek and stylish interiors and unbeatable deals, this spot is the ultimate lunch destination, especially since because from Monday to Friday, you can score an unlimited lunch buffet for only $35pp. Yes, we said unlimited. Pile a plate with all the Korean meats, salads, snacks and soups, though fair morning, you may need a nap under your desk afterwards. 

Taro’s Ramen 

 L2/480 Queen Street, Brisbane CBD

Anyone who has endeavoured to try and do a take-away ramen knows that eating in is always the better option. The same rings true for Taro’s Ramen in the CBD. Here, you’ll find Taro’s renowned tonkotsu ramen, featuring a rich broth made from Bangalow sweet pork bones simmered for two days, or the milder red tonkotsu. Other options include shio ramen and the extra spicy fire tonkotsu, made from Bangalow sweet pork bone broth with a hint of garlic, cooked in a high-pressure cooker and topped with char siu pork, nori, egg, and shallots.

Shabu House 

1/70 Mary Street, Brisbane CBD


Image credit: Shabu House | Instagram

Tucked away in the M on Mary complex, Shabuhouse is a Japanese buffet restaurant offering some of the best value dining in Brisbane CBD. Tables at Shabuhouse are all set for shabu shabu, a traditional Japanese hotpot where fresh ingredients and sauces are cooked on a hotplate right at your table. Choose your soup base first (miso is our fave), then pile a plate with a variety of vegetables, meats, seafood, and noodles, before adding it to the simmering pot at your table. As well as hotpot, you can also hit the sushi bar and a hot food bar—all of it included in the buffet price. 

Roti Place 

42 Charlotte Street, Brisbane CBD

Light and bright interiors welcome you to Roti Place in the CBD—they’re playing a clear homage to the old teahouses of Malaysia. With another location already in West End, Roti Place has become our go-to for authentic Malaysian cuisine when we’re out in the concrete jungle. At their core is a commitment to making fresh roti daily from local ingredients, and naturally their star dish is the roti canai with curry sauce, but we also crush on their other signature dishes like Hainanese chicken rice and spanner crab prepared Kam Heong style. 

Mr Bao Brisbane

10/80 Ann Street, Brisbane CBD


Image credit: Mr Bao | Instagram

At Mr Bao, they’ve been perfecting their craft - making the best bao you’ve ever had. As an Asian Fusion Restaurant and Bar in Heritage Lanes Brisbane, you'll get to enjoy your food and drinks in the outdoor dining area with regular, fantastic live music right in the centre of Brisbane CBD. The menu is literally bursting with Bao buns, from the soft shell crab, crispy tofu, crispy honey soy chicken, and braised pork. The atmosphere is laid-back and inviting, ideal for a casual midday get-together.

Momo Chicken & Beer 

93 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane CBD

Get ready to satisfy your midday cravings for crispy, fried goodness at Momo Chicken & Beer, the ultimate destination for Korean fried chicken and ice-cold beer. Located in the heart of the city, Momo brings together the bold flavours of Korean cuisine with a trendy and relaxed atmosphere. Dive into crispy and succulent chicken pieces, perfected with a variety of signature sauces like tangy soy garlic or fiery hot pepper. Maybe even pair them with a beer, if you feel the need (we usually do). 

Cheeky Poke

2 Ulster Lane And 211 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane CBD


Image credit: Cheeky Poke | Instagram

Cheeky Poke if you read this, I am your biggest fan. Take it from us that Cheeky Poke Bar will knock your socks off with their incredible flavours and new take on the poke experience. Park up at their sleek Ulster Lane locaish and choose one of their signature poke bowls or design your own, piling a bowl high with turmeric rice, raw and steamed vegetables and proteins like fresh salmon and pulled chicken. If you prefer to branch out, there's always their infamous poke tacos, as well as noodle soups, nachos, bone broths and taro crisps (these are necessary). 

Looking for lunch outside the Brisbane CBD? Head here: 

Image credit: Cheeky Poke | Instagram 

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