While Melbourne and Sydney often steal the limelight, Brisbane is a buzzing and vibrant metropolis with its own unique identity. The city has a rich list of great restaurants that have been awarded for their prestige in gastronomy, design and atmosphere. Celebrating Australia’s third most populated city, here’s our guide to 10 restaurants that highlight Brisbane’s creative and vibrant cultural individuality.
Restaurant, Australian, $$$
One of the most highly awarded restaurants in Queensland, Esquire has been celebrated as Brisbane’s most sought-after dining experience. Executive Chef Ryan Squires and Head Chef Ben Devlin are proud of the restaurant’s daily changing menu of small artwork-like courses made from the best local produce. Creativity is paramount in the kitchen’s exploration of contemporary international cuisine, and texture, form and taste are fused to create plates that strive to leave a lasting impression while also playfully evoking memories. The restaurant’s design has been widely praised for its sophistication and elegance, and the views from its riverside position make Esquire a standout cultural destination.
Australia’s seafood is a point of pride for many national chefs and Brisbane’s Jellyfish Restaurant comes highly recommended. The restaurant’s ongoing pursuit of culinary perfection sounds almost scientific and their perseverance rewards diners with gastronomic delights. Guests can enjoy dishes like crispy fried whole baby Barramundi with soy sauce and spring onion, oven baked Barramundi with lemon and shallots, and grilled swordfish with smoked tomato emulsion.
Public has quickly grabbed the attention of Brisbane socialites as a vibrant dining destination of flavor and style. The menu features little treats like chorizo and manchego mac and cheese, wagyu tataki with sake and sesame, and KFD – Kentucky fried duck. This award-winning restaurant also has an innovative cocktail menu.
Subtitled ‘Brisbane’s signature steakhouse’, Cha Cha Char takes advantage of Australia’s iconic cattle produce, serving over 10 different cuts of quality pasture and grain fed beef. The restaurant is housed in an eye-catching contemporary building and its elegant interior adds to the atmosphere of the dining experience. The detailed steak menu includes information such as where the produce is from, how long it was aged, the amount of time the cattle was grain fed and the chef’s recommended cooking temperatures. In addition to this, the restaurant also offers an a la carte menu influenced by both Asian and European cuisines, letting flavor not tradition take focus.
Brisbane knows how to do top quality Japanese food; the city is home to Australia’s longest running Japanese restaurant. Sake Restaurant offers a modern take on traditional flavors. Diners can enjoy plates such as spider maki sushi with fried soft-shell crab, cucumber and mayonnaise with spicy tobiko and chives; grilled miso-marinated cone bay sea Barramundi with pickled daikon radish; and 12-hour braised pork belly with daikon radish, onsen tamago, 640c hens egg, truffle oil scallions. The restaurant’s design matches the contemporary oriental feel and its menu of sake and other Japanese drinks makes this an overall great place to dine.
Zuri Bar & Dining has a vibrant atmosphere where ‘19th century elegance meets 21st century opulence’. The venue has a number of rooms that exude their own unique and enchanting baroque themed atmospheres, inspiring guests to explore and experience the ambiance of each. The food served is described as ‘Asian-inspired’ and includes delicious Japanese tapas such as battered squid with paprika mayo, and seared sliced wagyu beef with Zuri’s special citrus sauce. The restaurant also offers kushiyaki and sashimi, and on Wednesdays Zuri features all you can eat sushi.
E’cco Bistro is repeatedly praised as a top venue. Owner and celebrated chef Philip Johnson views the essence of a bistro as simplistic and no-nonsense, with the focus being placed on creating a relaxed yet efficient atmosphere. Menu highlights include lamb shoulder with warm freekeh with dates, lemon, broccolini and mint yogurt; roast duck breast with pear, sour cherry and pine nut tarte tatin, balsamic and braised gem cos; and confit salmon with asparagus, soft-cooked hen’s egg, brioche croutons, herb crème fraïche and osietra caviar. A vegetarian menu is also available, making E’cco Bistro a great location for all diners.
Cloudland is an extravagant restaurant of enchanting visual stimulation and delicious Italian cuisine. The decoration of Cloudland includes 5,000 lush plants, a sparkling waterfall flowing from behind spiral staircases, lights made from thousands of crystal balls and also features a retractable roof. Fresh and high quality produce is used here to create dishes such as risotto funghi with portobello mushrooms, spelt, maize and reggiano; manzo braised beef with red wine, bay leaf and garlic; and spice dusted calamari with coriander, chili and crispy shallots.
A cafe and wine bar that has become a favorite among locals, Brew brings to the fore two things that Australians are very proud of: good coffee and delicious sangas (sandwiches). Brew is open from breakfast to dinner, and its menu features morning meals such as breakfast salad with haloumi, spinach, mushrooms, tomato, house dukkah and a poached egg; tapas such as morcilla pintox with white anchovies, mozzarella and watercress; sandwiches such as smoked chicken, roma tomato, pesto, mozzarella and rocket; and main meals like slowly braised beef cheek in Spanish red wine on pumpkin puree.
Bacchus is a prestigious venue which is best summarized in its byline: ‘Bar. Restaurant. Pool.’ Bacchus is home to Brisbane’s only rooftop poolside bar. The restaurant serves award winning modern Australian cuisine, and diners can enjoy a degustation menu as well as choices from the a la carte menu such as pan roasted snapper with eggplant puree, provencal vegetables bouillabaisse and olive oil emulsion, and consommé, shredded duck leg emmental cheese dumpling. With an award winning wine menu and a list of tempting cocktails, Bacchus offers a glamorous and vibrant experience.