Where to dine out with a view in Brisbane
Whenever we have guests staying from interstate or overseas, the one thing that’s for certain is that we’ll want to show off our city. Naturally, one great way to do this is dine some place nice with an epic view.
We’re done the hard yards and gathered Brisbane’s finest restaurants and cafes that’ll have you popping bottles by sunset over the river, in front of mountain ranges and by the bay.
Cheers to the good life.
Views, check. Excellent service, check. Exquisite food, check. New kid on the new block (that’s the 480 Queen development FYI) OTTO is an all-round winner in our books with epic riverside views. Drink in the Story Bridge with your Aperol spritz from its perch four storeys up, and tuck into a feast of fine Italian cuisine.
White table linen lines rows of tables that sit on the terrace beneath the striking historic Customs House on the Brisbane River. Enjoy fresh and seasonal produce at a moderate price.
One of Brisbane’s top restaurants, Esquire offers a seamless flow multi-course menu that changes by design each day. Its a la carte little sibling Esq is an easy way to treat yourself without settling in for 12 or more courses.
A classic choice for riverside dining, the Eagle Street Pier precinct’s unwavering popularly might have something to do with the top-grade restaurants and views they offer. If we listed them out individually we could be here a while, so let’s just promise you can’t go wrong with the fine diners along this stretch.
After a seafood feast? Book a table at Jellyfish. Steak? Cha Cha Char is your man. Japanese cuisine? Sit down at Sake. Classic Italian, modern twist? Try the sand crab lasagne at Il Centro. Bulk meat? Brazilian churrasco Navala has your back. Modern Asian? The Moreton Bay bug dumplings at Madame Wu are insane. Theatre of the kitchen? Pony’s kitchen cooks over an open fire. Just want excellent contemporary cuisine? Go to BlackBird Bar & Grill. White tablecloths and the full shebang? Book into exquisite fine diner ARIA Brisbane.
Then of course there is the less formal Bavarian Bier Café for German, George’s Paragon for Greek, Riverbar for gastropub eats and Bar Pacino for a snack and riverside beverage.
As the name suggests, expect a degree of magic when dining at the award-winning Alchemy. Head chef Brad Jolly offers both a la carte or degustation menus to enjoy with uninterrupted views of the Story Bridge.
In one corner of South Bank, right down by the river, this award-winning, architecturally designed patch of grass is surrounded by five excellent all-class restaurants. With the best vantage point, Stokehouse Q offers a contemporary menu with views of Brisbane City. Nearby, dine on Italian cuisine at Popolo, French at Aquitaine, seafood at River Quay Fish and modern Australian with an Indonesian influence at The Jetty.
Helmed by executive chef Josue Lopez, GOMA Restaurant is making serious waves with a dining experience as fresh and forward-thinking as the artwork that surrounds it. While it doesn’t quite have panoramic city or river views, the food is too good to not include in this list.
GOMA Café, the bistro alternative when at the gallery, takes the lower floor alongside the river. It’s a gorgeous leafy spot to enjoy lunch, with nature-interrupted views - yep, there are trees between you and the river. Sorry, not sorry.
Older sibling to South Bank restaurant of the same name, The Jetty at Bulimba is a favourite spot for late breakfasts and long lunches at the end of Oxford St. Drop in for a relaxed vibe and modern Australian menu. Keep an eye out for Saturday supercars.
Catch the CityCat out to Brett’s Wharf stop at Hamilton and wander over to the Portside precinct. Here, Lebanese-inspired Byblos is the place to be on Sunday afternoons. It serves a modern Lebanese tapas menu.
Next door to Byblos, Gusto di Gianni is a favourite family Italian bistro. Drop in for apperitivo and stay for dinner. Be warned, cruise ships often dock at Portside and this can block your views of the river – best check.
Filling the upper level verandah of the Brisbane Powerhouse, Bar Alto is a classic choice for good Italian by the river. Plenty stop in pre or post show for a bowl of pasta and a cheeky red wine.
Also in the Brisbane Powerhouse, Watt Bar and New Farmer’s Kitchen take up the lower, riverfront level in the building. The bar serves a tasty menu of snack foods, while the kitchen serves substantial meals from breakfast through to late.
One of Kangaroo Point’s best-kept secrets, Medley Café & Restaurant fronts the river on the quieter side of the point. Pull up a chair on the expansive deck to eat around the world with its exotic lunch menu that includes a Fijian cassava curry, Indonesian bebek betutu, South African lamb sosatie and more. Medley is also open for breakfast and dinner.
Another little-known patch of Brisbane, this cafe sits next to the tiny Northside river beach (where you can rent a kayak for pre or post-lunch paddle). It serves breakfast and lunch.
Better known as a rooftop bar, we personally think Eleven is even better for a boozy lunch or bevs and tapas at sunset. From its sky-high vantage point, Eleven experiences pretty epic views of the CBD.
Another of Brisbane’s best-kept secrets – have you seen the view from the deck at the Jazz Club? Sitting on the river opposite the CBD, watch the sky turn all shades of pink and orange and the skyscrapers light up as the sun sets. Best of all, the food is inexpensive and the drinks at RSL prices.
Well, the name says it all really – Summit Restaurant sits at the top of Mt Coot-tha, a popular spot for tourists and locals to soak in views of the whole city. Naturally the restaurant offers a sunset dinner special along with a la carte for lunch and dinner. Drop in for high tea on Sunday afternoons.
Perched at the top of the famous Kangaroo Point Cliffs, the Cliffs Café experiences some fine views over the City Botanic Gardens and CBD skyline. The cafe is fairly typical, offering a standard breakfast menu and burgers and sandwiches for lunch.
For destination dining at its finest, head out to Spicers Hidden Vale in Grandchester in the Ipswich region and feast on fine local food. Head chef Ash Martin is behind the pans, pulling together unique dishes using locally sourced produce alongside that grown on site. Hidden Vale is home to its own brood of pigs and has a massive kitchen garden filled with herbs, leafy greens and more.
The Clifftop Dining Room at Binna Burra Mountain Lodge sits 800m above sea level and is nestled amid subtropical rainforest. The views from here are spectacular and the food is hearty and generous country-style food. Definitely worth the trip.
Vineyard and brewery Ocean View Estates has both a cellar door and restaurant. Tony Tierney heads up the kitchen that explores a modern Australian menu with Japanese and French fusion twists. Order a la carte or opt for a degustation while enjoying vineyard views. There is also the option to grab a pre-made picnic hamper and enjoy among the vines, or do a "Vine & Bine" tasting – pairing both beers and wines with courses.
French food oozes romance, and no restaurant does it quite like Lutece. Dine on the famous sand crab lasagne or half duck while admiring floor-to-ceiling views out to the west.
The Kooroomba Kitchen is an experience you won’t quickly forgot. With stunning mountain views and a seasonal menu, head chef Ray Boyer knows what he’s doing when it comes to paddock-to-plate dining.
Birches Restaurant is a hinterland gem at Mt Mee. Head chef Darren Page serves a modern Australian menu for lunch and dinner with breakfast on weekends too. The homestead overlooks the gorgeous rural countryside.
Enjoy two or three courses overlooking lush rainforest in the heart of the Scenic Rim at Pethers. The kitchen uses primarily locally sourced goods from the region, or its own garden.
If you don't mind making your cake and eating it too, challenge yourself with a two-hour class at Wild Lime Cooking School. The end result is a three-course lunch paired with local wine that can only be enjoyed on the deck overlooking some pretty incredible views. To us, that's the great Australian dream defined.
The epic views over Bribie Island and Pumicestone Passage aren't the only prized item here. The venue just took out national Regional Hotel of the Year at the 2016 Australian Hotels Association awards. Drop in for lunch, enjoy an afternoon sitting on the rolling green lawns with a bucket of prawns from the oyster shed or head there for a mini festival.
Each morning the head chef drops by the trawler boats out front in Scarborough Harbour to pick from the daily catch. It means Tempest Seafood serves the freshest local fish in its wide variety of dishes. Tempest also has a teppanyaki grill with multi-course banquet and a la carte offerings.
Located within the Mon Komo Hotel, Cabana is a great spot for sunset drinks with water views and bistro eats with a Caribbean twist.
By the bayside in Redcliffe Preece’s At The Jetty is a popular and classic choice for breakfast.
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