The Best Restaurants in Brisbane, Australia

The 12 Best Restaurants in Brisbane, Australia

Lining the banks of the Brisbane River in sunny Queensland, get ready for alfresco dining and international influences in the state capital. Enjoy spanner crab wontons and kingfish sashimi as you enjoy views of Story Bridge or dine on Chinese BBQ banquet-style in Fortitude Valley.

From La Rotisserie ovens imported from France to world-class sommeliers and foraged seasonal produce, Brisbane embraces and curates an incredible array of culinary techniques from across the world and from closer to home. Whether you love Wagyu steaks, fish tacos, or sourdough pizza, Brisbane’s got you covered. 

With so many great restaurants, you might not know where to eat in Brisbane. So, we’ve compiled our list of the absolute best places to eat in Brisbane for you. Stick to these fun and unique Brisbane restaurant recommendations, and there’s no doubt you’ll have an amazing time getting to know Brisban’s fantastic restaurant scene!

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The 12 Best Restaurants in BRISBANE

1. Agnes

Unique Restaurants in Brisbane: Agnes
Images courtesy of Anyday

Since first firing up its woodfire pits in 2020, Agnes has already gone on to win a string of prestigious awards in Australia. Head Chef Ben Williamson and his crack team operate what is effectively a posh smokehouse in Fortitude Valley, where they break down both the meat and the wood to its most basic elements. 

The exciting menu changes with the seasons, and the tastes and flavors of the beef, pork, duck, and fish cuts you’ll be enjoying depend as much on the type of wood that’s available as it does on the meat. Wood-roasted and smoked chicken is served in house mustard, rock oysters are served with a coal mignonette, and Wagyu ribeye with a garlic confit.

2. Same Same

What Restaurants to Try in Brisbane: Same Same
Images courtesy of Anyday

One of the best restaurants in Brisbane if you love authentic Thai cuisine is Same Same, where every dish is a little bit different. Drawing on the long-time expertise of Head Chef Arte Assavakavinvong, Same Same creates Thai flavors through its mix of fresh spices and use of searing hot woks heated over hot coals. 

The menu is a delightful fusion of fresh Aussie ingredients and traditional Thai recipes, but at its core, the dishes at Same Same offer an impressive spread of the culinary heritage found across Thailand. There are oysters, scallops, and crispy prawns to start, Panang curry, stir-fried chili squid, and kor moo yang for mains, and coconut panna cotta and warm tamarind pudding for dessert.

3. Joy

Best Restaurants in Brisbane: Joy
 Images courtesy of Joy

Often booked out months in advance – thanks to the small but quirky dining room that seats just 10 people at a time and the fact that it’s run almost exclusively by its founder, Sarah Baldwin – Joy is one of the most delightful Brisbane restaurants. 

If you can secure a reservation, then this is an intimate dining experience, with one long dining bar overlooking an open kitchen where Chef Sarah prepares the eight-course tasting menu. The menu changes depending on the seasons and the creative mindset of the chefs, but you can expect it to be inspired.

4. Greca

What Restaurants to Try in Brisbane: Greca
Images courtesy of Greca

Sip on a glass of Greek wine or brave the licorice tang of an ouzo as you take a seat overlooking the waterside at Howard Smith Wharves. The setting is Brisbane at its finest, but the menu at Greca will take you back to a Greek taverna of old.

Contemporary and modern, yet inspired by home Greek cooking, you can start your dinner at Greca with a selection of traditional dips, including tzatziki and fava. Poseidon’s Plate, featuring oysters, prawns, and mussels, is perfect for sharing, while classic mezze dishes include calamari, eggplant moussaka, and feta pie.

5. Moo Moo

With an incredible location in the old Port Office overlooking the river, Moo Moo is one of the best restaurants in Brisbane for steak lovers. With private dining booths and a walk-in wine cellar, this is a wine bar and grill that oozes with romanticism. 

Book a table for you and your date, and you’ll be dazed by an extensive wine list curated by Head Sommelier Mark Ganga. The list is from near and far, featuring locally sourced wines from across Australia and vintages procured from vineyards as far afield as Lebanon and Chile.

Move onto the steak menu, and you’ll find that every single cut of beef is labeled with the breed, age, and source of the cow, and of course, each cut is cooked exactly to your personal tastes. If you can’t choose between the Wagyu Rump Cap Roast and the Jack’s Creek Black Angus, then we’d suggest the Beef-Tasting Platter.

6. Essa

One of the top restaurants in Brisbane, Essa offers a unique experience that takes diners back to basics. Head Chef Phil Marchant has a culinary ethos that connects local farmers and hunters with city dwellers through a carefully curated tasting menu that really loves raw flavors, pickling techniques, and wood-fired dishes.

With such an ethos, Essa serves a seasonal menu that’s constantly changing, so you’ll never quite know what’s for dinner until you sit down at your table. You might indulge in raw tuna, buffalo curds, and quail skewers, or you could find oysters, parsnip risotto, and wood-fired Murray cod on the menu. 

7. Madame Wu

Cool Restaurants in Brisbane: Madame Wu
Image courtesy of Madame Wu

From the alfresco deck of Madame Wu, you’ll have exceptional views along the Brisbane River toward Story Bridge. During the day, the scene is magnificent, but at night, seeing the city lit up while you browse the wine list is quite the experience. 

Madame Wu is a Brisbane favorite, and the famous restaurant serves up an eclectic menu merging Asian flavors and Aussie products. Curated by Executive Chef Brendon Barker, you’ll love a menu that features kingfish sashimi, pork, prawn, and spanner crab wontons, and steamed duck buns. Order from the a la carte menu, or opt for the sharing banquets to be arrayed across your party’s table.

8. Happy Boy

If you love Chinese dishes paired with Australian wines, then you’re going to love dining at Happy Boy. One of the best Brisbane restaurants for casual fine dining, Happy Boy serves excellent food and even better wines in a large banqueting hall that spills out onto the surrounding streets of Fortitude Valley.

Drawing on the southern styles of Cantonese cooking, you can start by ordering plates of wontons, spring rolls, and duck pancakes to the table. The classic Chinese BBQ is a hearty affair, and if you can’t choose between the house fried rice or beef chow ho fun, then the Chef’s Banquet is a fine option. 

9. Rothwell’s Bar & Grill

For an old-world dining experience, one of the top Brisbane restaurants is Rothwell’s Bar & Grill. Located in a heritage-listed building in central Brisbane that dates back to 1885, you can start your evening with a selection of oysters and raw scallops on the long marble bar.

The house special is the Beef Wellington, served with a red wine sauce. It’s so hearty it’s intended to be shared by the table. Fish pie, coral trout, Wagyu beef, and ribeye steaks make for a classic menu, while the wines have been handpicked everywhere from the Rhone Valley to Margaret River.

10. Baja

Cool Restaurants in Brisbane: Baja
Images courtesy of Jamie Alexander / FREND

Year after year, Brisbane’s dining scene becomes more and more multicultural, and if you’re craving the tastes, spices, and flavors of Mexico, you’ll love what’s cooking at Baja. Bringing the traditional cuisine of Baja California to Fortitude Valley, prepare yourself for a delightful night of fish tacos and mezcal margaritas. 

Combining Aussie produce with Mexican spices, you’ll find the best dishes are simple options like charred street corn and tomato tostadas. There are no fajitas or burritos on this menu, but you can order lamb barbacoa and pork belly adobada to share, accompanied by freshly baked maize tortillas and a plentiful side of mole sauce. 

11. Biànca

Cool Restaurants in Brisbane: Biànca
Images courtesy of Anyday

If you love a good old-fashioned Italian restaurant, then you’re going to love Biànca. Combining the atmosphere of an Italian trattoria with the contemporary chic of Fortitude Valley, classic Italian dishes here have been perfected for the Australian palate. 

The bread is baked in wood-fired ovens, and the pizza bianca or smoky sourdough makes for an excellent appetizer. Select a few antipasti, including roasted peppers or calamari fritti to start, before diving into a lobster tagliolini or a prosciutto pappardelle for the pasta course. 

Lamb shoulder, Black Angus sirloin, and salmon cutlets are for those still feeling peckish, and if you’ve made it to dessert, there’s tiramisu and gelato to be had.  

12. Bisou Bisou

Bisou Bisou offers French cuisine and a Parisian atmosphere in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. The day starts early here, and you can enjoy a French croissant prepared in a very Aussie style, with flaky pastries “fully loaded” with brekkie and brunch favorites like salmon, bacon, and poached eggs. There are breakfast burgers and croque monsieurs, making Bisou Bisou a truly international morning eatery.

At dinner, there’s a more formal tone to occasions, and you’ll love how the chefs have imported an authentic La Rotisserie oven from France in order to slow-cook sumptuous chickens to be served with your choice of Bernaise, Madeira, or Chestnut sauces. 

Moules mariniere is served with a crusty French baguette, the steak tartare and pork croquettes are to die for, and the wines have been selected from both French and Australian vineyards by Senior Sommelier Chris Entwistle. 

There you have it! The 12 best restaurants in Brisbane. What’s your favorite restaurant in Brisbane?

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  • Richard Collett

    Richard is an award-winning travel writer based in Southwest England who’s addicted to traveling off the beaten track. He’s traveled to 75 countries and counting in search of intriguing stories, unusual destinations, and cultural curiosities.

    Richard loves traveling the long way round over land and sea, and you’ll find him visiting quirky micronations and breakaway territories as often as he’s found lounging on a beach (which is a lot).

    When he’s not writing for BBC Travel, National Geographic, or Lonely Planet, you can find Richard writing for the Wandering Wheatleys or updating his off-beat travel blog, Travel Tramp.

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