There’s only one location in Brisbane where you can start your night sipping cocktails with a tropical twist, whisk your tastebuds away on a full Italian itinerary, and wrap up the feast with Turkish treats to remember. A mecca of culinary delights, South Bank has earned the title repeatedly by playing home to a huge range of quality dining destinations.
We’ve done the legwork through the winding bougainvillea arbour and riverside greenery to track down the best dishes and cocktails that South Bank has to offer. From after-work feasts and Taco Tuesday happy hours through to fine-dining finesse, there’s something for everyone, all week long.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. As the name suggests, Embers has plenty of both to spare. Harnessing the complexities that fire brings to all dishes that it touches, this elegant eatery located within local favourite The Charming Squire offers flavour-forward, modern Australian fare. From wood-roasted to smoked, grilled and finished over ironbark coals, fire unites the menu all the way through to the cocktails. Pair a Smoky Old Fashioned with Mount Tamborine stracciatella and local mushroom and truffle arancini, followed by coffee cured and smoked duck breast. If wine is more your speed, there are over 100 to choose from or make the most of the house-made beer on tap. Daydreaming of your next date night? Check out the whole menu over here.
If you’re dreaming of the Italian Riviera but an international jaunt isn’t on the books, Popolo is your next best bet. Relaunching last month, be one of the first to experience Popolo’s new-look menu. Diving into tradition, the menu is built with lesser-known dishes, crafting authentic Italian with a contemporary touch. For the whole Mediterranean experience, dive into Skull Island prawns with garlic, chilli and butter lemon sauce, saffron and pea arancini with fontina and paprika aioli, and finish with traditional tiramisu al Caffe. We think Italian feasts are best demolished while the sun is in the sky, so make the most of Popolo’s Wednesday to Sunday lunch-through-evening hours and book your dappled dining experience over here.
There’s one thing we love just as much as a long lunch on the weekend, and that’s a budget-friendly mid-week meal with mates. For super fresh flavours and extensive options for meat-lovers, vegetarians and vegans alike, Mucho Mexicano is the place to go–especially on Taco Tuesday. Offering half-price tacos every Tuesday from 11am, this vibrant eatery is great for catching up with a group of friends or a date night that won’t break the bank. Alongside an array of tacos, including sticky Waygu beef cheek, roasted cauliflower, and beer-battered snapper, find the likes of Oysters with mezcal and lime and the must-try Chorizo con ulpo–a flavour-forward combo of chorizo, octopus, fresh watermelon and chicharron. For the full menu and to book your table, head over here.
When we think of exceptional Italian fare, we think of juicy vinos and simple dishes detailing the best in local produce. Otto Restaurante nails both in a big way. Our pick for a decadent night out, start with Sydney rock oysters with pickled cucumber and finger lime, and woodside goat’s curd with truffle honey. The main event must-tries are the Vitello Tonnato, Champaign Lobster Spaghettini, and the Bistecca di Manzo. With a dedicated vegetarian menu and an extensive selection of spritzes, wine and bespoke non-alcoholic beverages, Otto opens its arms to all food and drink lovers alike. To salivate over the dessert menu and for all the information you need to plan your next Italian culinary adventure, head over here.
For all the finesse of Otto Restaurante paired with the ease of spontaneity, put sister bar Otto Osteria in your go-to file for after-work drinks, vibey catch-ups with mates and an unbeatable walk-in option. Offering a succinct Northern-Italian-inspired menu, Otto Osteria's offering is casual bar dining with a difference. Encompassing local bay squid, extensive affettati including black truffle and squid ink salami, mortadella and pork and pepperberry salami, and Rangers Vallet steak, you can linger on some nibbles or enjoy a full dinner with ease. Big fans of classic cocktails, Osteria is your go-to for an ice-cold martini or perfectly built negroni to see in the sunset. For a sneak peek at all that’s on offer, head over here.
As its apt name suggests, this is another of South Bank's waterside offerings, with extensive views and modern Australian fare. Spice up a long lunch with a seafood extravaganza starting with chilli mussels, Blue Swimmer crab tian, and fresh-cut Moreton Bay bugs. And for all cheese-lovers, we'd be doing you a disservice if we didn't draw your attention to the incredibly gooey Barossa Baked Camembert. With an extensive menu, The Jetty is dietary friendly, making it the perfect spot to welcome the morning with a lush breakfast or see in the sunset any day of the week. To take a peek at the full menu and book your table, head over here.
Classic American fare compliments this must-visit venue for beer lovers. With an extensive range of rotating brews, including ales, lagers, and ciders, Tippler’s Tap champions local and noteworthy sips. Take your taste buds to Chicago, with a menu curated with a nod to the Windy City. Try Southern cauliflower wings, pork belly bites and eight-hour stout braised beef ribs. If you’re on the lookout for after-work options, put Parma Wednesdays on your list for $18 chicken parma every Wednesday from midday. For all the details, head over here.
There’s something about a concept cocktail that hits a little different, and at Southbeach the concept is community. Curated for sharing with friends and showcasing flavours that will transport you to a tropical location, this is a must-do for anyone who loves a cocktail. Featuring raspberry, rhubarb and rose, and apples and pears spritzes, the signature spritz tree offers three tiers of flavour, totalling twelve spritzes, for all tastes. For those in smaller groups who still want the thrill of the experience, give the cocktail balloon a go, featuring lychee and lemon, peach and ginger, or pink gin spritzes. A full menu accompanies an extensive selection of classic cocktails with a twist with the likes of steak fritz, Jerusalem artichoke agnolotti and Szechuan calamari. To book your experience head over here.
Ahmet’s Turkish Restaurant
Ahmet’s offers an extensive drinks list for those after a tipple with a kick or totally kick-free. Options range from Turkish apple tea to warm the soul and a selection of non-alcoholic mocktails to their signature rosewater and pomegranate martini topped with Turkish delight. Settle in for a full Turkish feast of pide and charcoal grill, or stop by to satiate your sweet tooth with revani, baklava and a lychee Caipiroska. Welcome to walk-ins and reservations, see the whole menu over here.
No matter what piques your palette’s fancy on any given day, the winding pathways of South Bank will lead you to a delish venue. With heaps of parking options and the super convenient cultural centre station, it’s a winner for a stress-free commute any day of the week.
Win A Staycay And Dinner For Two
To celebrate South Bank’s recovery from the recent floods and COVID disruptions, eatSouthBank is giving you the opportunity to win a weekend away at Emporium Hotel South Bank, plus a luxe dinner for two worth $500, and two tickets to a show of your choice.
For your chance to win, simply follow this link and complete your details.
Image credit: Feature image by Jason Vaughan @foodmoodjason, supplied
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