A delicious dessert at e'cco Bistro | Image credit: Ariana Gillrie
Brisbane is littered with places to dine. There are regular haunts, quirky cafes, darling little places that pop up and recede before you can say, “is the soba noodle salad gluten free?” Then there is that stalwart band, that clutch of venues that seem to have been around forever. Iconic places that put Brisbane on the map, and have proven time and time again that ours is the greatest city in Australia.
Titans of industry, mavens of their craft, more cultured than a baker’s bowl; these are the indomitable institutions of Brisbane dining; places that have really gone the distance. Here are the dining institutions you should have been to if you live in Brisbane:
Pancakes, waffles, crepes and pancakes; that’s all you’ll get at Pancake Manor at any time of the day or night. Late night at the office? Flight just get in? Got lost on a walk? Roll on in for a stack and oh the unlikely friendships you will make. Since 1979, many beautiful connections have been forged between the stressed and hangry (from university students to chartered accountants) over a shared need for extra syrup.
My fondest memory of e'cco is as the place my parents were always scarpering off to when I was a kid. Now into their 21st year of trade and e’cco’s still the most likely place you’ll find Mama B on a Saturday night, and the experience is just as majestical as always with every bite of Philip Johnson’s iconic creations resonating long after the last plate has been scraped clean.
An inventive asset to the Brisbane palate, Il Centro champions Modern Italian vibes from the vantage point of a gorgeous waterfront setting. The new offsets the old with a menu that masterfully balances innovative dishes with fresh takes on trusty classics. I mean, where else are you going to get a sand crab lasagne?
Ever traditional and a tad French, Restaurant Two harks back to the days before casual dining. Case in point, the extravagant degustation option that has been sending punters on a whirlwind sensory tour for over fifteen years, and a reputation for some of the finest service in Brisbane.
Char Char Char Wine Bar & Grill
You’ll know it as the home of Brisbane’s finest steaks with a grill so nice they named it thrice. But just because they’re an institution doesn’t mean they take themselves too seriously. At the heart of Char Char Char’s operation is the simplest tenet: perfect cuts cooked really well.
The Breakfast Creek Hotel
Built in 1889, this institution is the same age as the Eiffel Tower and only marginally less famous. During its long life watering the Brisbane masses the historic Breakfast Creek Hotel has worked its way into the cockles of our hearts and set up shop for the long haul. 126 years has seen the swift and lucrative management of two brothels on the premises, the death of a drunken Lord Mayor from a second story balcony, and (most notably) Brisbane’s first ever drive-through bottle-o #innovation.
Three generations has seen Gambaro’s transform from a humble fish and chip shop into a fine dining monument. Now sporting a slick, new refurbishment and a few more limbs in their operation, Gambaro’s still maintains their reputation as the benchmark for fresh, locally sourced seafood in Brisbane.
Harveys Bar + Bistro
The chosen breakfast haunt of our fearless leader, Harvey’s is where the effervescently stylish go to abate the slings and arrows of a morning after. Since his arrival on our shores back in the 80s, Harveys chef and owner, PJ McMillan, has built a reputation for excellence and a legacy in Harveys as the benchmark of bistro dining in Brisbane.
Oh yeah, we went there. Don’t fight it, Friday’s is a legendary establishment best known for serving you your first legal drink and welcoming you back with open arms after you puked it up in the bins outside. The only thing ordinary about Friday’s are the all ordinaries everyone keeps talking about. What are they? I don’t know, better get to Friday’s and find out.
Looking for more of Brisbane's best restaurants? Check out our article 8 Of The Best New Openings In Brisbane!