Over the past decade, Brisbane has put itself on the map as a foodie destination in Australia. Strong immigrant communities (Chinese, Italian, and Indian, to name a few) enrich the city's culinary heritage, while the emergence of a sustainable ethos focused on local, seasonal ingredients has pushed chefs to innovate.
While your trip to the Queensland capital may start off as a stopover on your way to the Great Barrier Reef or the surrounding beaches, you'll soon find yourself inundated with unmissable dining experiences. From pizza to oysters and everything in between, read on for our full guide to Brisbane's best restaurants.
This restaurant, located in the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in the South Bank cultural precinct, aims to reflect the creativity of its surroundings on the plate. Local and sustainable ingredients are highlighted, with contemporary Asian influences adding additional interest. The Chef's menu is a great option for groups to share, and the excellent wine list is dominated by Australian growers. GOMA's restaurant is open for lunch Wednesday through Sunday; walk-ins are welcome.
Since 2012, Gerard's Bistro has built a reputation as one of the city's most iconic food experiences. This understated venue serves balanced, flavorful, and sharable plates inspired by North Africa and the Middle East, with the menu changing daily to make the most of the fresh produce available. Diners can be seated at the bar, in the courtyard, or in the dining room, depending on your preference. Gerard's Bistro is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday in Fortitude Valley, the entertainment precinct north-east of the city center.
This on-trend spot is popular for weekend dinner, with an exciting selection of cocktails, beer, sake, and Japanese spirits on offer at the upstairs bar. When it comes to food, the menu is short and sweet, featuring small plates of tempura, sashimi, nigiri, noodles, vegetables, meat, and seafood. For dessert, a soft serve machine produces the fanciest ice cream in town. There are also two set menus available at different price points. Yoko Dining is located at the Howard Smith Wharves in Fortitude Valley; it's open Monday through Thursday for dinner only, and Friday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.
Like its sister restaurant in Sydney, Otto in Brisbane's city center is all about simple, seasonal, and southern Italian food. You won't find pizza here, just freshly made pastas, traditional salads, and locally sourced lamb, pork, beef, and seafood. Choose from delicate desserts and cheeses to finish off your feast. A vegan set menu is also available. Despite its stellar foodie reputation, the atmosphere at Otto is fun and relaxed, with views over the river. Open Wednesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, bookings are recommended.
Located on a laid-back street in East Brisbane, the Wolfe is a local favorite. The dining room and courtyard are luxuriously styled, but the food is even prettier. Chef Josue Lopez cut his teeth at GOMA and is now making a name for himself with a seasonal menu featuring unique local ingredients like kangaroo, emu, and lobster. The Wolfe is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday; bookings are recommended.
In the Fish Lane arts precinct in South Brisbane, Gauge is an intimate yet unpretentious space where you can sample adventurous food and wine. Expect unexpected combinations of flavors that highlight oysters, mussels, and cuttlefish, as well as colorful plates of purple carrots, finger limes, and radishes. There are also excellent bar snacks on offer if you're just stopping by for a glass of wine. Gauge is open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday with a set menu, plus Saturday lunch.
Now located in the neighborhood of Newstead, a 10-minute drive from the city center, the trailblazing E'cco Bistro changed Brisbane's dining scene for good when it opened back in 1995. Chef Philip Johnson has since become well known across Australia and his native New Zealand for his simple yet innovative food drawing on Italian and Middle Eastern flavors. The E'cco dinner set menu—which comes with optional wine pairings—is available Wednesday through Saturday, while lunch is offered on Fridays only. Bookings are recommended and vegetarian and vegan options are available upon request.
This modern Thai eatery in Fortitude Valley is known for its street food-inspired dishes, like soft shell crab baos, grilled Bundaberg Bay bugs, and roasted pork belly pad see ew. The wine list is designed to complement the menu's fiery tendencies with refreshing rosés and rieslings, as well as organic and biodynamic wines from across Australia.
Alternatively, head upstairs to Los bar (open Fridays and Saturdays) to sample their extended wine list, more than 100 tequilas, and Thai-inspired cocktails. If you want something to nibble on, you can order from sAme sAme's snack menu downstairs and eat it at the bar.
Housed inside an airy space and featuring an outdoor deck, this Fortitude Valley eatery is a popular spot for drinks and dumplings before hitting the surrounding bars and clubs. They serve up regional Chinese dishes alongside classic crowd-pleasers like mapo tofu, roast duck pancakes, and crispy pork belly. The wine list focuses on small Australian producers, while beer lovers will find craft brews on offer, too. Banquets are available, as are excellent lunch specials. Happy Boy is open for lunch and dinner every day except Monday; bookings are highly recommended in the evenings.
Across the road from the Gabba, Brisbane's top cricket and AFL stadium, Detour is a modern, industrial space that opened in 2017. Here, food walks the fine line between creative molecular gastronomy and a simple satisfying meal. The menu is short and intentionally curated for both omnivores and herbivores, with a focus on sustainably sourced meats including emu, spanner crab, and lamb. The unconventional cocktail and wine list doesn't disappoint either, and the open kitchen gives diners an insight into the consideration that goes into every plate.
Located at the base of the Alex Perry Hotel and Apartments complex in Fortitude Valley, Restaurant Dan Arnold is minimalist yet welcoming. Chef Arnold boasts two stints working at French Michelin-star restaurants (L’Espérance and Serge Vieira), but his classical training enhances, rather than dominates, the fresh local produce at his eponymous restaurant. His set menus have been known to feature duck, tiger prawns, and coral trout, with diners choosing between three, five, or seven courses. It's open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, and lunch on Fridays only.
This cozy pizzeria manages to combine a casual, stylish atmosphere with a passion for authentic Italian dining. The menu features both red and white pizzas (rosse and bianche), topped with everything from prosciutto and pancetta to mushrooms and mozzarella. Parents will be happy to read that there is a decent kids menu, as well as a delightful selection of gelato and other desserts. You can find Julius in Fish Lane, not far from the museums and galleries of South Brisbane. It's open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, plus lunch Friday through Sunday; walk-ins are welcome.