Where to dine in Brisbane's bayside suburbs

Brisbane’s bayside suburbs of Sandgate, Brighton and Shorncliffe to the north, and Wynnum and Manly to the south are growing nicely – as are their food scenes. We've done the legwork and wrapped up the cafes, restaurants and bars you need to check out.

Northern bayside

Shorncliffe Pier

Sandgate is 22km from the Brisbane CBD and is steadily transforming from a retiree escape to a busy bayside hub for young families. The weekend crowds flock to the waterfront parks and the recently renewed Shorncliffe pier, and the array of food options range from hipster hideouts to family-friendly fare.

For fish and chips on the Sandgate waterfront, both the Sandgate Fishmonger and Doug’s Seafood Café won’t leave you wanting. The Fishmonger dishes up amazing calamari and the chef’s choice salad changes daily, while you can’t go past Doug’s for huge portions and bang for your buck (beware, Doug’s is cash only).

On Third Avenue is Il Forno Pizzeria, which Quest Newspapers named as having the best pizza in north Brisbane in 2015. The wood-fired pizzas (try the L’Anatra – shredded duck, hoisin sauce and mozzarella topped with fresh spring onions and cucumber) are crisp and delish, and the beer fridge is heaving with the best European and craft brews around.   

From here, it’s a quick stroll to either of Sandgate’s cute laneway bars, Mr Henderson and the Cardigan Bar. Both offer great brews, wine and packed cheese platters, and locals line up to take advantage of the food trucks that often pull in on weekends.

If breakfast and a caffeine hit or three are on your mind, Farmor’s Crepes (get the ham, gruyere, pickle and dijon toastie), Satori Organics (grab a Coconana bowl and time your visit for its Sunday organic markets) and Cypher (yummy Bear Bones Espresso coffee) have you covered. Towards Shorncliffe, Matthew Thomas cafe is housed in the historic Masonic Hall on Eagle Terrace and has a view spanning most of Bramble Bay. 

In neighbouring Brighton, EclecTea Vintage Café is all about fair-trade food and coffee, and you can drop in for a craft beer and a burger on Friday nights. For probably the best breakfast options around, Wes’ Brighton has a great value menu (try the field mushrooms on rye) and a massively loyal following for its Belaroma coffee.

Those seeking a family-friendly pub option should head to the Full Moon Hotel. The menu goes above and beyond for a suburban pub and the kids’ room will keep the littlies entertained for hours. In the heart of Sandgate at the historic post office building, the Chandelier Bar & Grill serves solid pub food that’s easy on the wallet.

Southern bayside

Mother and daughter at Brisbane's bayside

Just a 30-minute drive south of Brisbane the Manly Harbour Village foreshore is home to many restaurants, cafes, bars and a massive marina full of magnificent yachts. The largest man-made marina on Australia's east coast, many establishments overlook the 1500 boats catching a breeze on Moreton Bay.

There is no shortage of restaurants for the discerning diner, cafes to kick back in and cool bars to enjoy. For drinks of the caffeinated kind head to hip laneway cafe Cambridge Lane; sit on the deck of Café La Mer for long lunches; Keiths on Cambridge for brunch, or perch yourself at the end of the William Gun Jetty at Cafe Bullfrog for the views.

Trendy tapas bar Sailor and Walrus is the perfect spot to start or finish an evening, its menu is available 11.30am-11.30pm seven days and it's the best spot in the bay for creative cocktails. Nearby Barramundi Boys Fish Cafe is the prime spot for fancy fish & chips by the bay.

Manly Village Pizzeria let's you take a bottle of vino to enjoy its full range of Italian food; Manly Deck Bar & Restaurant has a modern, relaxed atmosphere; Celtic Corner offers a taste of Ireland; Oliver’s @ Manly occupies a prime spot near the marina; and Wilson’s Boathouse Seafood Restaurant mixes great views with delicious seafood.

Over in Wynnum, local coffee roaster Dramanti Roasting House is the spot for coffee and free wi-fi; Frenchies Cafe is a dog-friendly establishment for fur babies and their owners; slip away at The Rabbit Hole Cafe with its all-day breakfast menu; combine coffee and books at Little Gnome; or drop into brunch cafe and tapas bar Cedar & Pine for an all-day breakfast.

For later in the day, join the locals at a little Italian joint known as Casa Di Louie; pop by the historic Waterloo Bay Hotel for a classic pub bistro vibe; go for something more refined at Sylvia's; or head back to Cedar & Pine for a cheeky vino and a few tapas plates.

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