Brisbane’s best restaurants, cafes & bars
Whether you’re here to drink or dine, are a foodie or a newbie, Brisbane’s hip restaurants, cafes and bars will satisfy. From Greek fine dining and riverside Italian to rock 'n' roll Mexican and burgers you’d travel across town for, our stomachs are rumbling with the thought of trying them all.
So, whether you’re planning a date night or compiling a bucket list, this is your ultimate list of restaurants, bars and cafes in Brisbane.
*Please book in advance to avoid disappointment
For smart-casual European dining in the city, look no further than Motorwagen. With an extensive menu that caters to all tastebuds and banquet options that leave a little extra in your purse for a cocktail (or two), you’ll be sure to make this a regular spot. While you’re there we recommend their twist on an Aussie classic - slow-braised beef cheek sausage roll with prosciutto & house tomato ketchup. Drool.
Another indulgent Italian restaurant to add to Brisbane’s carb-loaded list? Count us in! Brisbane’s newest neighbourhood Italian bar and trattoria is serving up old-school, unforgettable Italian eats alongside a natural wine and rich Negroni menu in the fast-growing South City Square Precinct. A simple ethos: good food, dim lights, ambience, good times. We’re there.
Brisbane says a very warm welcome to a cosy and classy new inner-city home for classic bistro dining. Rothwell’s Bar & Grill brings with it an air of elegance and deliciousness, born out of the collaboration between the owner of 1889 Enoteca and the former head chef of Aria Brisbane. Need we say more? We can, by telling you that they have a seafood platter, selection of pastas that are making our mouths salivate, and a grill menu that leaves you spoilt for choice (you have to add the Moreton Bay bugs cooked with Café de Paris butter). Nestle into their indulgent abode and experience it for yourself.
Take a big breath out and fully relax at the refreshed Southbeach Social, situated a river’s breeze away from South Bank’s Streets Beach. Inspired by a holiday beach shack, with a Brisbane City twist - dust off the sand and step into Southbeach’s relaxed coastal atmosphere with a Lychee & Lemon Spritz in hand and oysters on the way. All they ask is for you to do three things – Sip, Savour and Socialise.
Italian brother-duo famous for their mouth-watering pizza and pastas, have opened their much-loved Gemelli Italian on the leafy James Street. With seven years of experience in the art of Italian dining, this expansion is one we are very happy to celebrate while savouring their 8-hour slow cooked ragu. Pass the wine!
Essa, Fortitude Valley
Dining made different. Essa brings an experience to the Brisbane dining scene that sets it apart from the rest. Unexpected, simple and considered is what they are all about. Working with local farmers, hunters, and providores, to provide an environmentally conscious approach to their curated and always-changing menu.
Deli, pizza and bar – they have it all covered at Mr Badgers. If casual dining is your thing , pull up a chair and tuck into their shared style, Mediterranean inspired menu. Best part is you can pick your faves and take them home from the Deli. We suggest picking up one of their Deli sandwiches too - did someone say meatballs?
We love a restaurant that gives you an experience. Kid Curry is one of Brisbane’s hottest (in a curry sense too) restaurants to hit this year. A rotating menu of curries from around the world, like the crowd-fave Massaman or the Sri Lankan carrot curry in a spiced coconut milk sauce. These renditions aim to stay true to the spirit of the original dishes but are adapted to suit our sub-tropical home. Get your gang together and your curry on, Wednesday through Sunday nights.
Share food is the key to happiness, and Stafford’s newest restaurant Oh Boy Bok Choy! will keep your mouth-watering long after you’ve left, with their flavour incarnations from our neighbours in Vietnam, China, Malaysia & Thailand. With the Oh Boy prawn toast, make-your-own bao buns and “I don’t share” beef pho, it’s set to be an experience best enjoyed with many, because you’ll want to taste it all.
OTTO, South Brisbane
Fine dining and Italian, a combination delicious dreams are made of. OTTO has found a new home on the banks of the river, occupying arguably one of the most picturesque spots in Brisbane. For the full authentic experience head to their Ristorante and be treated like the royalty you are while you indulge with their champagne lobster spaghettini, or if you’re after a more casual experience they’ve opened their Osteria for bites and beverages.
From the team that brought you Death & Taxes and Cobbler, comes their newest CBD cocktail bar, Dr Gimlette. In honour of the late surgeon who first added lime cordial to the daily gin tot of the men in the Royal Navy, crafting the Gimlet Cocktail - and yes, they have a house version for you to try. These cocktails are curated to perfection, and best enjoyed along their nine-metre-long marble bar.
Step back in time to the hidden gem that is Cindy Chows. A speakeasy that you won’t just stumble across, head down into Ling Lings on Brunswick Street, but before you enter, take a right at the bottom of the stairs and you’ll find the entrance to the glitz and glam of Shanghai in the 1920’s. Try their signature ‘Lady Absinthe Fountain’ for the full experience.
What’s the ultimate Sunday session location? A rooftop brewery. Ride an elevator above Cloudland and you’ll step into a carefully designed and full-of-life brewery, complete with rooftop views, woodfired pizza and a charcoal grill. What more could you want?
Another rooftop bar to add to the list, perched above the super-trendy Hotel X. We love a Sunday session, and Iris has this sorted with RNB tunes, Mediterranean-inspired eats like slow-cooked lamb shawarma and flatbread with handmade burrata and Baba Ghanouj, cocktails named Coco Cabana and Fruits of the Forest, and stunning views of the city skyline from 3pm. No excuses, get your head in the clouds and experience a touch of luxury.
For Bali nostalgia look no further than Melrose Restaurant. With an authentic Thai and Indonesian fusion menu and unique cocktail list, you’ll be transported to travels gone by well before the first sip of your Mangga Martini. Located in Bulimba, just a short ferry trip across the river from Teneriffe, this rooftop restaurant is the ultimate in alfresco dining with an open roof - dine under blue skies by day and stars by night.
We don’t know about you, but the endless list of Italian institutions in Brisbane make our hearts sing. Persone Italian Restaurant is very deserving of the title “Best Italian Restaurant Queensland” in 2020 with their mouth-watering cuisine, paired with unmatched panoramic views of Brisbane City.
Bianca, Fortitude Valley
Who doesn’t love Italian? Especially when the pasta, bread and cheese are made fresh. Bianca is a classic Italian trattoria in Fortitude Valley’s James Street. The restaurant honours the Italian culture by perfecting traditional dishes and pairing them with the finest wines. Book online for a table or a private dining experience.
Opa, Brisbane City
Celebrate your next occasion at Opa Bar + Mezze, one of Brisbane’s best Greek restaurants. Their menu is packed to the brim with traditional Greek foods and a variety of seafood and dessert dishes. To truly experience the flavours of Greece, try their all-day Mezze menu, perfect for waterfront dining along the Brisbane River. Book online for a table and try to catch the afternoon sunset. OPA.
The love affair between Brisbane and Italy continues with COPPA at Eagle Street Pier. COPPA brings Italian flavours and flair to the table with indoor and alfresco spaces available.
Treasury Brisbane – Will & Flow at Queen’s Wharf Brisbane. The overwater bar and eatery is promises a summer experience in The City that you won't want to miss.
Felons Barrel Hall is a Brisbane take on the German beer hall experience with fresh beer, a modern menu and live music.
City Winery, Brisbane City & Fortitude Valley
A winery in The City? We're sold. City Winery is bringing wine making to the heart of Fortitude Valley and has opened a space that houses not only Gerler's wine barrels and bar but also a restaurant and private dining area. One of only a few inner-city wineries in Australia, drinkers will be able to enjoy tastes from the barrel and paddock-to-plate food within this industrial space on Wandoo St, or sip on wines at the Brisbane CBD cellar door location on Edward St.
Joey's, Kangaroo Point
Joey’s is your answer to sippin’ spritzes cliffside in summer. Perched on the Kangaroo Point cliffs, the European summer-inspired décor, iconic Brisbane CBD skyline views and a Mediterranean food and drinks menu to match make Joey’s the perfect spot for a Sunday sunset soirée. They’ve cleverly decked out the place with misters and fans too - so you can enjoy your spritz, no sweat.
Craving something French for breakfast? No worries. Brisbane’s French brasserie and aperitivo bar awaits you in Fortitude Valley, serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner plus lobby snacks (it’s conveniently located under Hotel X on Brunswick Street). Transport yourself to the streets of Paris while indulging in a French-inspired menu and self-proclaimed “revolutionary cocktails”. We’ll take the plat du jour, s’il vous plait.
With the sweet-sour-salty-savoury hallmarks of Thai cuisine, you'll find a regional restaurant menu with bold flair at Eagle Street Pier. Enjoy views of the Brisbane River with delicious dishes and cocktails amid vibrant design by Anna Spiro.
La Costa, Fortitude Valley
Indulge in Italian delights at the Valley’s La Costa restaurant. Offering restaurant and bar dining, you’ll feel the laid back atmosphere of a coastal Italian city town smack bang in the middle of Brisbane. Seeking antipasti? Done. Craving a pizza? Sorted. Want mouth-watering pasta dishes? All yours.
Eterna, Fortitude Valley
Indulge, explore and delight in dishes that draw from the history of Rome’s Testaccio Market at Eterna. Touting classic Roman cuisine, you’ll find a simple line up of pasta, antipasti and share plates for the evening meal, plus wines and cocktails to match (of course). There’s a vegan menu on offer here, too.
Boom Boom Room Izakaya is a reimagined Japanese-style restaurant and bar under Donna Chang’s. There’s plenty of Japanese-inspired eats to share and stunning cocktails on offer.
Situated under the train line in Fish Lane, Southside serves up quality East Asian dishes from its industrial and pared back restaurant. Dim sum, share plates, noodles and banquets are all on offer here.
The restaurateurs behind Morning After and Yolk can do no wrong as far as we’re concerned, and Ping Pong is no exception. Head along to enjoy Thai street eats and killer cocktail slushies served alongside mood-altering light installations and a secret oasis in Newstead’s Gasworks precinct.
This venue serves traditional style Mexican food from the Bajio region, which is known for it's slow-cooked flavoursome dishes, soups and spice-filled marinades.
Agnes, Fortitude Valley
In a beautiful old brick warehouse, tucked away in the Fortitude Valley, you'll find the wood-fired cooking delights of Agnes. The ethos: Cooking stripped back to its primordial elements, food cooked over a flame and flavoured with a variety of different woods and prepared in exciting ways. From the brilliant minds of sAme sAme and Honto, Agnes is sure to set your heart ablaze.
Maya, Fortitude Valley
Bring on the margaritas. With its breathtaking views over the Brisbane to Newstead and beyond this is the perfect place to unwind and wrap your chops around some Mexican street food. Picture fresh Australian produce cooked in the authentic style of the Maya region of Mexico with a touch of Coastal Pacific, Yucatan and Sonoran influences. Plates are designed to be shared and enjoyed family style.
We’ve died and gone to pastry heaven. From the amazing Shannin and Clare Kellam, behind Montrachet and King Street Bakery comes Mica Brasserie. Offering French cooking at its finest, you can sample a special selection of artisan breads, gourmet pies, croissants, sweets, savoury treats, and coffee for you to take away.
Shall we brunch? This warehouse style venue brings you a seasonal menu with an Indian twist. With a breakfast menu till 3pm, a full vegan menu and dinner menu in place, you are bound to find something to get your taste buds tingling. This venue is also doggo friendly, so don't forget to bring your fur friend for an outing.
Specialty cafe and coffee roaster The Maillard Project is bringing breakfast up a notch in Brisbane’s CBD. And it’s no wonder, being a project by the locally loved Margaret Street cafe Coffee Anthology. Stop by for unique blends and beautiful breakfasts and pick up a pastry while you’re at it.
Stanley, Howard Smith Wharves
This Howard Smith Wharves eatery has all of us turning heads at the stunning two-storey interior and delectable menu. Turning the old water police headquarters into a Cantonese paradise, Stanley.
Walk past the arched James Street entrance to the Calile Hotel, down Ada Lane and into popular restaurant-slash-bar sAme sAme. It's the sort of place that calls for a cocktail with dinner and the coconut turmeric curry is a must.
Big Roddy's on the move. Fish Lane's saucy ribs, burgers and wings have crossed the river to open up a second venue in Fortitude Valley. Expect a bigger space but the same great pulled "ribwiches", secret sauce ribs, wings and more.
Think Latin flavours and citrus cocktails all served in a divine setting by the river. Sounds perfect hey? Well then get down to Rico Bar & Dining to enjoy just that. With a tantalizing menu featuring Australian produce, it's the perfect location for an after-work drink and nibbles or a romantic dining experience with your special someone.
Elska is an intimate twelve-seated degustation restaurant. Its set menu is designed to take the guest on a journey and to evoke emotion, and the focus stays on serving fresh produce whipped together using Nordic culinary techniques.
Popular with those who live for all things aesthetically pleasing, The Calile’s Hellenika has a distinctly Greek flavour. This is its second location and sprawls with poolside cabanas and a patio to catch the breeze.
Phoenix, Brisbane City
With a moody setting accented with black, gold and red, these yum cha specialists serving contemporary and classic Chinese cuisine.
If you've been craving a tasty two-hander, then never fear, Charboys is here. Charboys serves up great burgs featuring succulent meats and fluffy buns, but we can’t go past The Goodfella with filthy fries again (if you know you know).
Dieters beware, the following content is not suitable for the health-conscious. Brisbane's burger scene continues to impress with Milky Lane at Gasworks Plaza. This favourite turns heads with their over-the-top burger combinations, tasty sides (bacon mac & cheese croquettes included), and milkshake-inspired cocktails.
Meet Olive + Angelo, the restaurant bringing authentic Italian food to the people of Brisbane through recipes with a wealth of history. In true Italian style, the pizza is wood fired and the pasta menu serves a range of classics to curb those carb-fueled cravings.
Any guesses as to what SK Steak & Oyster will be dishing up? Unfortunately there'll be no prizes for guessing correctly, as fresh seafood and prime cuts are the obvious hero of this menu.
Put your hands together and prepare those stomachs for this delicious Thai eatery in The City. Located above The Embassy Hotel, Jumbo is heating up the pans to treat customers to a variety of upscale and authentic Thai dishes.
Pastel perfection, modern Australian cuisine and top-notch vinos make up Emporium's showpiece restaurant Signature. With a focus on using locally sourced produce, you can expect an ever-changing a-la-carte and dedicated vegan menu paired with a carefully curated wine list.
Have you always dreamed of sipping a cocktail as big as your head? Well, now you can at Ling Ling's Bar in The Valley. Accompany your soup bowl cocktails with pan-Asian eats, Ling Ling's serves their delicacies late into the night, so you can get your street food-fix at any time.
Hey ya'll, an American-style barbecue joint has swung open its doors in Windsor and all we can smell is the delicious scents of smoked brisket, mac n cheese, buffalo wings, juicy burgers and jalapeno poppers. Wash all this down with whiskey or pint of beer and you've got yourself one hell of a food rodeo.
Baja, Fortitude Valley
This isn't your regular run-of-the-mill Mexican you grab for a quick, takeaway lunch, because Baja has style, and a long, relaxing lunch or dinner is the best way to enjoy this modern Cali-Mex cuisine. You'll feel right at home in the warm and aesthetic interior, but it's the menu you'll be riding home about.
Sip, snack and take in the sunset views at this new riverside Italian restaurant. You won't walk past without a second glance at the dreamy, modern interior but it's the food that will have you walking in and taking a seat. Their focus is on simple and authentic style cooking and much to our delight, seafood is consistently a star of most dishes.
Even plant-based eaters get cravings for saucy burgers, crispy fries and creamy shakes, so Lord of the Fries is serving just that, plant-style. Forget the meat because everything at this joint is vegan-friendly. But meat-free doesn't mean it's any less delicious – try for yourself.
Have you ever found yourself dreaming of the 19th century Parisian countryside? Well put those dreams at ease, because The Matriarch in Newstead features a swanky garden patio lined with olive trees and crystal chandeliers, perfect for an inner-city cocktail escape.
Now you can spend every waking minute enjoying delicious eats along Arthur Stree.. Serving crisp wines and specialty cocktails alongside a menu of European-inspired delights means you can pop by for a nibble and a drink or stay for the full feast – we think the latter is most likely.
This tiny space (we're talking only 10 seats in its entirety) has an ever changing menu depending on inspiration at the time so you'll never know what to expect – except that it will always be delicious, of course.
Greca, Howard Smith Wharves, Brisbane City
Built for long and lazy lunches by the river, Greca wants you to savour every bite and advocates slow eating.
Neesh Bar & Restaurant have transformed the area into a light-filled eatery and beer garden serving breakfast, lunch and evening bites – why would you ever leave? This neighbourhood joint promises to be your new favourite local.
Industry Beans is not just your run-of-the-mill cafes. Pay a visit for a unique brunch and coffee experience, including the working coffee roastery, coffee greenhouse and coffee bar. The menu is seasonal and changes every three months, so while it's not great for your attachment issues it is great for your belly.
The humble bacon and egg roll is the hero at this Gasworks breaky joint, Yolk. Whether it's a hangover cure you're after, or an easy breakfast on the go, this Aussie staple is sure to satisfy those hunger pangs.
This minimalist but super trendy brunch spot is bringing a little slice of paradise to Alfred Street. With specialty coffee and divine food, it's a win-win.
Eastsiders need not travel for their picturesque breakfasts as the team behind Miss Jones in New Farm has a sibling cafe in Hawthorne, aptly named Sister. Linger a little longer at this street-side pastel paradise and enjoy a fresh and quirky breakfast.
There were tears among New Farm residents when popular local cafe Pablo closed its doors back in 2016. But now regulars can rejoice, as the owners have brought their delicious cafe fare back to the neighbourhood. Expect to find some original favourites back on the menu as well as a range of new specials to delight new and returning patrons.
Mr Percival's, Howard Smith Wharves, Brisbane City
We're channeling those endless summer vibes at Mr Percival's, Brisbane's overwater bar. Drop in for a lazy lunch on the deck, aperitifs at sunset and live music to ease you into the night as you look back onto The City. Did we mention it's directly under the Story Bridge?
If you're one to enjoy free live music with a drink in hand, then Brunswick Mall's two-level live music venue, The Sound Garden, is the place you want to be. The expansive space houses a modern-Australian bistro, lengthy bar and plenty of room to listen and dance along to a lineup of up-and-coming artists. Plus, its convenient location next to Fortitude Music Hall makes it the perfect place for a pre-show bite and beverage.
This hidey-hole is hidden in the backstreets of South Brisbane, only noticeable by a neon sign and lit-up barbers pole. Once found, enjoy signature cocktails, artisan spirits, craft beers and wine within the confined walls of this 35-seat speakeasy bar.
Bringing a mini French Quartier into the historic heart of Woolloongabba. This spot offers charming and cosy spaces for locals and visitors alike to dine and linger from their first breakfast espresso right up until the post-dinner digestif.
Lefty’s Music hall brings American vibes combined with a modern day flare. This much-loved venue’s quirky old-timey decor has kept this a long-term favourite among locals and Caxton Street goers.
The Terrace within South Bank’s Emporium Hotel provides views for days, fluffy bar stools that blend in with the clouds, and an all-day food menu to keep you hydrated and hunger-free. The Terrace will easily become the place to spend a lazy day this summer.
Not another rooftop bar – said no one ever. Tetto, together with Corbett & Claude, has a two-level venue at Everton Park's Park Lane precinct. Oozing coastal Italian vibes, this rooftop establishment is your next go-to for Italian fare, refreshing cocktails and sun-soaked afternoons.
Who knew the mastermind behind Cobbler, Savile Row and Finney Isles still had the energy to do anything else, but he's surprised (and delighted) us all by with another joint down Burnett Lane. Wander through double wooden doors to find a moody lounge bar encompassing low light, leather couches in the back room and shelves lined with delectable drops ready for any liquor connoisseur to sip and enjoy.
This Hawaiian-inspired dive bar has a focus on live music and uncomplicated drinks. So grab a beer and get yourself to the dance floor.
Felons Brewing Co, Howard Smith Wharves, Brisbane City
Sit along the riverbank and toss back a cold one at Felons Brewing Co. Sitting under the Story Bridge at Howard Smith Wharves, the beer is freshly brewed on site within the confines of the old heritage sheds.
With an irresistible menu and handpicked wine list, this multi-level bar is sure to be the perfect place for after-work drinks and lazy Sunday sessions.