Where to eat Italian food in Brisbane
Love Italian? Then you’ll love this list of the city’s best Italian dining, cafes and gelato. From pizza food trucks to white tablecloth fine dining, Italian bakeries to authentic gelato – get out there and satisfy those cravings.
For a celebration dinner, nice evening out or family get-together, try Tartufo for its truffle-stuffed pizza crust; 1889 Enoteca for soft, cloud-like gnocchi; Grappino for top-quality classics; Bar Alto for alfresco dining by the river and Il Centro for the famous sand crab lasagne.
For modern Italian, Otto Ristorante steps it up a notch, offering a fine dining experience above the hustle and bustle of the CBD streets and accompanied with an excellent view of the Brisbane River and Story Bridge. Every course is a delight, the wine list is extensive and the service is all-star. Across the river, Popolo offers authentic Italian cuisine either seated in the restaurant or packed in a picnic basket to sit on the grassy green below – that's amore! Persone
Last but not least, Gambaro Group has opened Persone, a smart-casual Italian bar and bistro on the first floor of the luxury W Hotel that has a big balcony overlooking the Brisbane River and South Bank. All the dishes look delizioso but must trys include the pork and beef ragu and handmade cannoli and tiramisu for dessert.
There can never be too many Italian restaurants and this is evident by all the delicious options offered around town. There’s a divide in the casual dining category between those keeping it classic and those serving modern dishes and drinks – but trust us, they're all still carb-heavy and full of flavour.
For a modern twist try Coppa Spuntino for its negroni list and Italian tapas plates; Salt Meats Cheese to satisfy those doughy cravings (especially with all-you-can-eat pizza on Mondays); Tinderbox Kitchen for its small share plate menu and wood-fired pizzas; and Bucci for modern Italian dining and the chocolate nemesis del "The River Cafe," which translates to the best flourless chocolate cake ever.
Those chasing classic Italian greats head to Julius Pizzeria or Beccofino for thin, crisp pizzas and duck ragu; Il Posto for seasonal eats; Marinara Trattoria for check tablecloths and hearty bowls of pasta; Jamie’s Italian for great antipasto and lunch specials; Mister Paganini for a classic bistro in South Bank; and Pizzeria Violetta for simple and authentic wood-fired pizzas.
The list doesn't stop there. Continue your Italian trail at Ristorante la Famiglia with fresh gnocchi on Tuesdays and Wednesdays or head to Il Verde for the famous cheese wheel pasta on Tuesdays and Thursdays, because death by cheese wouldn't be the worst way to go.
With a pizza list as long as your arm, Corbett & Claude presents some tough choices when it comes to choosing the toppings, but their award-winning pizza bases mean you'll always choose a winner. Enjoy your space as well as your Italian feast at multi-level dining venue Casa Cibo (they also have vegan and gluten free menus) or tantalise your mischievous taste buds with the weekend pizza specials at Sorrelina.
We've all visited an underground bar, but what about an underground Italian eatery? Verve serves all the classics with a few modern twists including pork belly linguine and bacon & sweet potato risotto. If your wallet's looking tight, look no further than a cheap but extremely cheerful menu from the masters at Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers.
Cafes, markets and gelato
Three cafes spring to mind when chasing Italian sweets. In the CBD, Marchetti has a counter of cakes and goodies, Ashrove's Gerbino's Pasticceria is a family-run business selling cakes, traditional Italian biscotti and gelato, while Clayfield’s Dolci Sapori bakes hundreds of biscuits and arancini balls each day.
Browse through rows of freshly made pasta at Brisbane's first pasta labratory. Similar to a bakery, Ripiena has a focus on take home options but will also be cooking up plates of their freshly filled pasta in store for those who simply can't wait.
At the markets, hunt down restaurant-quality wood-fired pizzas from the back of the Pizzantica VW van. If you're roaming the town, look out for various food trucks serving fresh pastas, pizzas and classic Italian bites from their side windows including La Cucina Mobile and Abbiocco.
Gelato lovers need to try La Macelleria (owned by two gelato artisans both called Marco, both from Bologna), Gelateria Cremona (keep an eye out for special flavours) and Milani (for its awarded scoops).
Sydney favourite Gelato Messina is now serving scoops of their famous gelato in South Bank while real Italian gelato can be found down an alleyway next to Sugo Mi's quaint Italian restaurant.
Cook your own
Want to bring restaurant quality Italian to your own kitchen? Learn from the experts at Salt Meats Cheese in one of their cooking classes at West Village in West End – you'll be rolling pasta like a professional in no time.