The round-up: Brisbane’s best bento boxes
Offering almost unparalleled choice and value for money, the traditional bento box is one of the best options for lunch. Brisbane is slowly fostering a bento culture worthy of the meal, with restaurants serving up the popular option from the City to the suburbs. Leave your sandwiches and leftovers at home – bento boxes are the way to go for lunch. If you don’t know where you can grab a bento near you, allow us to blow your mind with this list.
Kadoya Japanese Restaurant, Brisbane City: Over on Mary Street sits a perfectly positioned lunch spot for hungry inner-city workers. Kadoya stocks a huge range of bento to snack on, with just about every popular flavour combination plus some enticing experimental flavours. Pick from options such as steamed dumplings, deep-fried oyster, hamburger, vegetable croquettes and much more – you won’t be left wanting.
Bento King, Sunnybank: It’s a big call calling one’s self the king of bento, but a quick glimpse of the menu here and we’re inclined to dub this spot an eatery fit for a crown. The options here offer great value for money and a host of choices, from marinated drumstick bento and pork-chop bento to thick chicken schnitzels and marinated diced beef.
Kabuki Teppanyaki Restaurant, Brisbane City: Nestled within the Stamford Hotel is a lively teppanyaki restaurant that is perfect for anyone seeking a satisfying inner-city lunch. Kabuki offers bento boxes alongside the usual flame-grilled options – with flavours including sashimi and sushi sets alongside traditional teriyaki chicken and beef options.
Osaka Japanese Dining, Ashgrove: Brisbane’s west is where you’ll find Osaka Japanese Dining, a long-standing institution serving hearty Japanese fare. The bento selection here includes tempura, pork gyoza, miso soup and fresh salad (add sushi and sashimi if chowing down on the dinner bento), as well as mains such as karaage, bulgogi, spicy pork and tofu.
Hato Gyoza and Grill, Brisbane City: If you can see past the delicious baos and dumplings on offer at Hato Gyoza and Grill on Elizabeth Street, you’ll find the eatery’s bento-inspired options on offer in the set meals section of the menu. These feasts features assorted bites such as udon, gyoza, beef teriyaki, katsu chicken and yakitori – all served with rice, salad, soup and a side.
Tatsu, Fortitude Valley: Chinatown Mall mainstay Tatsu is a chic Japanese eatery and bar that doubles as a great spot to get your bento fix. At lunch Tatsu serves bento boxes stuffed with the likes of teriyaki chicken, karaage, chicken katsu, pork and ginger, and yakitori. All boxes come with vegetable croquettes, agedashi tofu, Japanese pickles and miso soup.
Nippon Ramen, Brisbane Airport: This express kiosk can be found inside Food Collective at Brisbane Airport’s domestic terminal. Noodle fiends will be able to slurp up their noodle soups, but those craving a pre-flight bento have several kinds to choose from, including chicken teriyaki, karaage chicken and chasu don.
Sushi & Nori, Fortitude Valley: King Street’s home for sushi and other delicious Japanese bites serves up a great variety of bento to grab and go. Patrons can nab a sushi bento filled with healthy quinoa rice, cooked vegetables, gyoza, takoyaki and your choice of meat or curry. Sushi lovers can also grab a mixed box boasting a combination of rolls and nigiri!
Motto Motto, various locations: The place so nice they named it twice! Motto Motto boasts several locations in Brisbane (Mount Gravatt, Indooroopilly and Chermside) to get scrumptious Japanese eats, including a particularly luxe bento box. Select your choice of rice bowl and add karaage, miso soup and fried edamame – now you’ve got a lunch to make your friends and co-workers jealous.
Bishamon, Spring Hill: This Japanese institution cooks a mind-boggling array of dishes that make for a delicious and inexpensive feast. The lunch menu features a range of sets to choose from, including the likes of chicken katsu, yakiniku wagyu beef, tuna sashimi and vegetable croquettes.
Sushi Kotobuki, East Brisbane: One of the most popular sushi spots in town, Sushi Kotobuki in East Brisbane is known for its dragon rolls, but the Lytton Road spot also makes a few bento selections offering grilled wagyu beef, grilled salmon, chicken and vegetarian options.
Mizu, Teneriffe: Mizu is a must try for its bento boxes alone – the deluxe boxes are terrific if you feel like splurging. Herbivores are in for a special treat, with the vegetarian box filled with four kinds of veggie tempura, fried tofu, eggplant and zucchini, vegetable gyoza, greens and rice.
Koto Sanpo, Brisbane City: FudoDori’s Kyoto teahouse-inspired eatery is a handy spot for a quick lunch, with a classic bento set menu encompassing tasty options like chicken nanban, barbecue eel, yoshoku hamburg steak, beef katsu and more.
Miko’s Bento, Toowong: A short stroll from Toowong Village sits a bento outlet that is great for those looking for an economical option. Miko’s Bento sits around the $15 mark, and boasts fillings along the likes of barbecue beef, soft-shell crab, teriyaki chicken, sushi and tempura, unagi and spicy pork.
Ku-O at the Gabba, Woolloongabba: Tucked away inside Trafalgar Lane, Ku-O is commonly known as a go-to for top-shelf sushi and sashimi. But the dinner sets are the best bet for the bento-seeking crowd – sample assorted marinated skewers, katsu chicken, tempura vegetables, sashimi and more with salad, soup and rice.
Oshin, Brisbane City: This Japanese culinary institution has been pumping out bonza bento boxes for years, making it a fixture of the lunch-set scene. Each box is served with rice and miso soup, paired with mains including the likes of yakitori, sashimi, pork katsu, vegetable korokke, karaage and more.
SONO, Hamilton: Portside’s premier Japanese restaurant is a destination for anyone looking for quality Japanese fare, including authentic lunch boxes. SONO’s bento boxes are the crème de la crème of bento in Brisbane and as such are priced higher than most, but those who can’t put a price on quality will get a kick out of this meal.
Izakaya Goku, West End: This cozy bar and eatery will have you stuffed to the brim with its sizeable bento selection. Each box comes with steamed rice, miso soup, assorted tempura, gyoza, vegetable spring rolls, pickles, sashimi or fish nanban salad, and then you can select a main option from choices including teriyaki wagyu beef, spicy kimchi pork, slow-cooked pork belly, teriyaki salmon and more.
Izakana-Ya Okuman, South Brisbane: South Brisbane boasts its own dynamo destination for well-priced bento boxes, with Izakana-Ya Okuman scoring major points thanks to its inexpensive selection. Fancy some ginger pork, chicken schnitzel, vegetable tempura or sashimi? Get it in bento form and be glad you did.
Japanese Deli Mazri Kitchen, Underwood: Southside locals rave about the bento at Japanese Deli Mazri on Logan Road, and for good reason. This spot gives you an almost unparalleled range of choices for your lunch box. Start by picking a main dish, which includes teriyaki, nanban, katsu, karaage and dumpling options, then pair it with a selection of sides such as spring rolls, crab cream croquettes, fried lotus root, salmon and chive omelettes, seaweed salad and more.
Fry Chicken Master, Sunnybank and Robertson: Although Fry Chicken Master in Sunnybank is Taiwanese in focus, its take on the bento box needs to be seen to be believed. The Master Bento Boxes come with the likes of pork chops, garlic pork belly, fried Maryland chicken, Taiwanese pork sausage and more. Come hungry – the portions are substantial.
Bento Plus, West End: This humble Japanese hideaway has bento in its name, so expectations are understandably high for its offering. The menu boasts small and large bento boxes, filled with the likes of teriyaki chicken, chicken katsu, karaage tori, yakiniku beef, tempura, unagi and vegetarian sets. The dinner boxes allow you to double up on the main, which is an exciting prospect for the exceptionally hungry.
Got a favourite that you think is deserving of a mention in our list? Let us know by emailing [email protected].
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