I am the first to admit that Brisbane is seriously coming up in the foodie world. Gone are the days when meeting someone for dinner meant choosing between a handful of worthy venues, with so many awesome places to choose from and a sense of culinary bravado on every inner city corner, it’s been hard to get a list down to just fifty of the best Brisbane places to eat and drink.
Lonely Planet thinks the scene is pretty special too, crowning Brisbane Australia’s “hippest city” back in 2014. I know, I too chuckled ever so slightly when I first heard the news (a cackle only a born and bred Brisbanite could get away with, mind you) but, after basing myself in some of the foodie capitals of the world for the past five years (think New York and Melbourne) I am extremely excited to be back in my hometown on a semi-regular basis, mostly just because there’s so many places (both old and new) to eat and drink with abandon. We aren’t rivalling the aforementioned cities…yet. But it’s wonderful to witness the sling-shot pace at which progress is rearing its very welcome head! So if you’re looking for me in Brisbane you’ll know where I’ll be, indulging the senses at one of these joints…
Best Brisbane Places to Eat and Drink – Coffee Spots
Bunker down in a vine-riddled old bomb-shelter and wrap your lips around one of the best artisan coffees in Brisbane at Bunker Coffee in Milton. $
If coffee were a person then Jamie’s Espresso off James Street, New Farm would be that cool kid everyone wanted to get to know. $
Grab a short black on your way to higher education at El Divo Espresso in St Lucia. $
Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Pourhouse is a converted delivery bay hole in the wall inside one of Brisbane’s most charming woolstores, serving up some mean soy-latte’s for discerning Teneriffer’s on their way to work. $
Best Brisbane Places to Eat and Drink – Breakfast
Enjoy Brisbane’s year-round sunshine and spend brunch on the patio of Corner Store Café in Toowong, enjoying the views of the organic herb garden grown out back. $$
See why the locals keep going back to Harveys on James Street, New Farm for breakfast again and again and again. $$
Take in the ambience of a Parisian yesteryear over a Croque Madame at Pearl Café in Wooloongabba. $$
It’s little wonder quaint Saabi on Manson has been a Hendra favourite for five years, their Vegetable Fritter Stack with Double Smoked Bacon, Fried Egg, Avocado and Rocket is to die for. $
Venture down a Wolloongabba side-street for a wholesome and tasty “diner experience” at Paw Paw Café. $
Who can resist a cafe that sources its produce locally from South East Queensland? By the looks of the crowds at Alcove Café and Deli on the weekends, no one in Wilston can. $
Sassafras in Paddington is like the little black dress of brunch spots: always there when you need it and always makes you feel good. Take a newspaper and chill out in the courtyard out the back. $
Best Brisbane Places to Eat and Drink – Lunch & Dinner
Enjoy expertly cooked Paella and Tapas in rustic ambience at one of the only Spanish restaurants in Brisbane, Peasant at The Barracks. $$$
Experience the unique interiors of Depot in West End and feast on equally distinctive locally sourced dishes that are pretty ace for your taste buds.
Hidden behind the bravado of James Street shops, Gerard’s Bistro is a little gem serving up Moroccan-Australian dishes like nobody’s business. $$
For a new kid on the block, Hatch & Co at Newstead’s Gasworks Precinct are rivalling the local big guns with their fresh approach to design and food.
Beach Burrito in Fortitude Valley and now West End bring the beach to Brisbane with their colourful outdoor vibe and killer Mexican menu. $
You know a Greek place like Lefkas Taverna in West End is the real deal when pretty much the entire Greek community of Brisbane eats there. $
Spoil yourself with breathtaking river views and a five-star menu and service to match at Brisbane’s Stokehouse in South Bank. $$$
Kingsleys Steak and Crabhouse is the place to go for Muddies. Bibs ‘n all. Oh and the view overlooking the river ain’t bad either. $$$
I did a little write-up on A Night in India in Toowong many-moons ago. And guess what, nothing has changed, it’s still the best Indian in the universe! Short of actually going to India.
Finding the best steaks in Brisbane is always a hotly contested topic but Regatta Boatshed in Toowong still consistently tops the lists. I know around ten thousand of you will disagree. So sue me. $$$
If you feel like being treated like royalty, try fine-dining at Moda in Brisbane’s CBD. $$$
The most unassuming restaurant of the Eagle Street Pier precinct, is also the most delicious. Alchemy Restaurant is mod-French-Australian food in a contemporary setting. $$$
Escape to the other side of the world at Montrachet in Paddington. A mainstay on the Brisbane culinary scene, the French restaurant has a glowing reputation and a dining experience to match. $$$
Try the succulent slow-cooked lamb shoulder or the crab pasta at Italian restaurant Bucci on James St New Farm. $$
Practice your chopsticks skills at upmarket Japanese eatery Sono in Portside Wharf and Brisbane CBD, serving fresh sashimi daily. $$$
Best Brisbane Places to Eat and Drink – Bars
A shining beacon for beer on Teneriffe’s sleepy Helen St is Green Beacon Brewing Co, a working micro-brewery hand-making all-natural ales right in front of your eyes. $
Have a Pimms and Lemonade in the “Yard” at Sixes and Sevens, a gorgeous public house come gastro pub inhabiting a heritage-listed weatherboard cottage on James St, New Farm dating from 1878. $
Tucked above Urbane and The Euro is a cosy little watering hole known as The Laneway in Brisbane’s CBD, serving innovative and classic cocktails and boutique brews. $$
Join the suits and bask in breathtaking river views at Jellyfish Bar on Eagle Street. $$$
Revel in the colourful history that is Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall in Paddington, a heritage listed hall that has been home to both the Labor Party and a burlesque strip club. $
Settle in for some ’80s rock, craft beer and chicken wings with blue cheese sauce at Tippler’s Tap in New Farm. $
Get stuck into the best beers found anywhere in Brisbane at Newstead Brewing Co. $
Go on a round-the-world wine odyssey guided by experts at the beautiful wine-room Anise in New Farm. $$
Hola with the Mariachi Band and down some Agua Fresca at kitchy Mexican joint Chilliwow in Fortitude Valley. $
Order a “Fruity Wench” at The Mill on Constance St in Fortitude Valley, an eclectic old mill steeped in ghosts and history. $$
Seek refuge from the razzle dazzle of Park Road in Milton and visit The Scratch Bar, a sultry dive with some of the best craft beers around. $
Best Brisbane Places to Eat and Drink – Markets
Start your Sunday mornings with a trip to Northey Street Organic Markets in Windsor to top up your kitchen with fresh produce.
Get the freshest catch of the day (most of it Australian) at the Duong Dong Fish Markets in the Inala Civic Centre.
Best Brisbane Places to Eat and Drink – Specialty Vendors
Get your green juice on at Bang Bang Lulu on Brunswick Street in Fortitude Valley. $
Take your date for dessert at Three Monkeys in West End and challenge them to a game of Chess in the courtyard. $
Stock up with goodies from Sourced Grocer in Tenerife and picnic in beautiful New Farm Park. $
Clear your meat-conscience at The Meating Place in Paddington, where all meats are sourced from organic and local producers who emphasise animal welfare and happiness. $$
For everything Paleo and sugar-free, go to Primal Pantry in Tenerife. $$
Oi! Taco Food Truck is dishing up authentic Bajo-Californian meals daily. Follow on facebook for locations. $
Fancy a side of sustainability with your fish and chips? SwampDog in South Brisbane only sources from environmentally conscious fisheries. $
Try a cooking class at The Golden Pig, situated inside a converted warehouse at Breakfast Creek. $
Follow @swirlsniffspit on Twitter or Facebook to nab a place at one of its (free) themed monthly wine tastings.