Nestled between the relaxing Sunshine Coast and the lively Gold Coast, Brisbane combines the very best of everything. With its laid back atmosphere and outdoor lifestyle, this river city is a haven for eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset.
Rivalling its cosmopolitan neighbours Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane’s food scene is one to watch and more importantly enjoy.
After spending five years eating and drinking my way through this beautiful city, I’ve discovered a few gems that I would like to share with you. From classical to contemporary these eateries are guaranteed to delight and satisfy even the hungriest of tourists.
If you ever find yourself on the sunny southern hemisphere I hope this little guide helps you to discover what Brisbane has to offer, and trust me the delicious food is just the beginning.
Brisbanites would pick a brunch date over dinner any day of the week; it’s all part of the outdoor culture. The sun rises at an ungodly hour, and the people follow suit. Luckily for the late risers like myself breakfast rolls into lunch, and therefore you are always guaranteed a delicious start to the day.
The Balcony Café, Baroona Road, Rosalie
Avocado on toast is an Aussie staple, and you can’t leave the land down under without trying it. The Balcony Café in Rosalie will never disappoint. Their Avocado Smash is more special than most. Handmade haloumi, organic sourdough and lime wedges all combine to wake your taste buds up quicker than coffee. Devour this goodness on the outdoor balcony, and watch the world go by below you. Before you leave, pay a visit to the Gourmet Market downstairs. I must warn you it is impossible to leave empty handed as every shelf is lined with goodness.
Chapter IV, Latrobe Terrace, Paddington
A visit to Chapter IV will tick two things off your Brisbane bucket list. Firstly, you will get to try the best breakfast burger in existence and secondly, you can enjoy it in a traditional Queenslander building. These classic homes are scattered all around the city and are unique to the State. Try and get a seat out the back to soak up a spectacular view of Brisbane. Come back another evening for tapas and star gazing.
Flourish Superfood Café, James St, Fortitude Valley
The prettiest and yummiest acai bowl in Brisbane will be found in a shipping container on James Street! Flourish Superfood will provide you with a super healthy bowl of goodness that you can take with you as you explore all of the beautiful boutiques this leafy street has to offer.
Bagel Boys, Adelaide St, & Queen Street, Brisbane CBD
If you are stuck for time, the best brunch on the go comes in the form of a bagel from the one and only Bagel Boys. They began with a small stall at the weekly city market and now they have their very own bustling store right in the heart of the city. You can’t go wrong with the B.R.A.T (bacon, rocket, avocado and tomato with a slither of aioli) served on a garlic bagel.
As the sun sets, it is time to focus your mind on dinner. No matter what cuisine you are craving, Brisbane has it all, and everything will be served with a unique Aussie twist. As it is a compact city, you will find yourself wandering into Brisbane’s best known suburbs to embark on a culinary trail that will leave you more than satisfied.
Bucci, James St, Fortitude Valley
This Italian gem is a little on the fancier side, but its authenticity and incredible food means it is worth the splurge. Start with the talleggio stuffed arancini balls, they come served with a tomato relish that is very saucy and a little spicy. In terms of pasta, you can’t go wrong with the seafood dishes. The spanner crab linguine is sensational. Be sure to leave yourself a little time to go through their extensive wine list.
Yard Bird Ale House, Given Terrace, Paddington
If chicken wings are the way to your heart, look no further than Yard Bird. Served in six different ways, reading the menu alone will have you salivating. The best part is they won’t break the bank either, twenty lip-smacking wings will only set you back $20. If your eyes are bigger than your belly, the sweet potato fries with aioli will push you over the edge.
Harajuku Gyoza, Queen St, Brisbane CBD
Possibly one of my favourite things about Brisbane is that there is a whole restaurant dedicated entirely to gyoza! Prepare to be greeted with a great welcome when you visit this Japanese dumpling bar. Grilled or poached, they are little parcels of mouth-watering goodness. Make your own chilli soy dipping sauce to your liking and you are good to go.
Sugo Mi, Oxford St, Bulimba
Not only is this the best pizza in Brisbane, it is also a great excuse to take the ferry down the Brisbane river and soak up all the sights as you make your way to Bulimba. This tree lined suburb is packed wall to wall with incredible eateries, but Sugo Mi is a true gem. Their wood fired pizza menu is split in two. Rosso (with sauce) or Bianco (without), the difficult choice is yours.
There is no fear of going thirsty in this city. With some of the world’s finest wine regions scattered all over the country, you really will be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting a glass (or bottle) of vino. Craft beer is in great supply too, with local boutique breweries such as Newstead Brewing Co. and Green Beacon offering a vibrant selection.
Super Whatnot, Burnett Lane, Brisbane CBD
Hidden behind Queen Street Mall, this pint-size bar is to be found in Burnett Lane. The beers on tap change daily and the cocktail menu is to be handled with caution because once you start, you’ll find it difficult to put these delightful creations down. A relaxed atmosphere and intimate setting makes this a local favourite.
Riverbar & Kitchen, Eagle Street, Brisbane CBD
It can be hard to take your eyes off the view at Riverbar to even concentrate on the menu, but the wine list is worth a look. A refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from one of the country’s best wineries is the perfect thirst quencher at this riverside watering hole. You will not find a better place to have a sundowner than this airy and vibrant setting, overlooking Brisbane’s infamous Story Bridge.
Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Caxton Street, Brisbane
Music lovers are in for a treat at Lefty’s! This retro style country music bar is kicking six nights a week. Famous for its freshly squeezed apple gin and cracking music, once you step foot in the door, you will be transported to different era. There’s also a little treasure to be found inside, with a secret bar tucked away, out of sight, but worth a find.
The Scratch, Park Road, Milton
The hipster scene is very much alive and kicking in Australia but The Scratch in Milton can pride itself on being an original craft beer venue. Roving taps make every visit a novelty. Help yourself to a side of nuts to wash down the ale and bring your competitive streak with you, as jenga and connect four tournaments threaten to tear even the best of friends apart.
Archive Beer Boutique, Boundary St, West End
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into a library when you enter this music venue in the heart of West End. Books line the walls from floor to ceiling and mix match furniture gives the place a vintage vibe. The eclectic mix of beer and cider will keep you occupied for hours. Play a game of pool, enjoy the live music and soak up this very Aussie and very authentic bar.
It is impossible not to mention the market culture in Brisbane. Local produce and fresh food are in great supply as more and more markets pop up every week. It is a regular ritual for Brisbanites to visit the market to pick up their fruit and veg or sample one of the newest food trucks that is making tracks on the Brisbane food scene.
Eat Street Markets, Hamilton
Tipped as Australia’s cleanest and greenest city, Brisbane’s Eat Street Markets really do show the positive side of upcycling and recycling. Taking an old ship yard and transforming it into a bustling night market every weekend has made Eat Street a foodie heaven. Food trucks of every kind roll in and local artisans have transformed old shipping containers into a shopper’s paradise. Ride the ferry to this Hamilton wonderland and take your taste buds on a culinary world tour.
Jan Powers Farmers Market, New Farm
New Farm park plays host to the weekly Jan Powers fresh food market every Saturday. Pop along for a healthy juice or fair trade coffee and wander through the various stalls that are all trying to tempt and tease you with their delicious wares. While there drop into the Powerhouse venue for a lemon, lime and bitters on the banks of the river.
Boundary Street Markets, West End
Music spills out of a giant warehouse at the Boundary Street markets every Friday night as hungry market goers feast on Spanish paella, Turkish pide, and Venezuelan arepa. Set in the heart of West End, this is a great place to grab an evening snack before wandering to one of the many bars on Boundary Street.
Passionate about sustainability and social media, this red haired lass is documenting her travel and taste experiences on Instagram @SauceandCo for all to enjoy.