The round-up: Brisbane’s best spots to crack into crab and other crustaceans
There are few foodstuffs as quintessentially Australian as the trusty prawn, and barbecue season is perfect for chucking a few on the grill. That being said, there is more to the crustacean family than just prawns – we also go loco for lobster, cray cray for crayfish and bug out over Moreton Bay bugs. There are so many tasty morsels swimming about under the sea – we cast a net and have hauled in a list of spots to get your claws on some cracking crustaceans this seafood season.
SK Steak & Oyster, Fortitude Valley: If the name didn’t already give it away, The Calile’s new refined bar and eatery SK Steak & Oyster specialises in two things – meat and seafood. The latter is what is drawing our attention today, as one glimpse of the menu reveals a host of sumptuous seafood options. Various seafood cocktails are available, stuffed with the likes of Mooloolaba king prawns, Moreton Bay bugs and Southern Tasmanian rock lobster, while SK’s seafood platters are heaped with prawns, bugs, mussels, marron and lobster. If your hankering goes further, you can also treat yourself to Moreton Bay bug pasta, Moreton Bay bug salad, or grilled lobster with sides.
King Crab Co, Bulimba: If you’re eager to get crackin’ on some crustacean, King Crab Co in Bulimba has got what you’re after. This Oxford Street restaurant serves the likes of five kinds of crab (Alaskan king and snow, Australian blue swimmer, Fraser Island spanner crab, and Queensland mud crab) as well as redclaw crayfish, Cloudy Bay clams and Jonah crab claws in a bag, doused in your choice of sauce. That’s not all – the menu also boasts crab cakes, a spicy seafood hotpot (filled with prawns, mussels and clams), grilled fresh Moreton Bay bugs, soft-shell crab rolls and lobster and crab sliders.
Gambaro Seafood Restaurant, Brisbane City: This dining institution is one of Queensland’s most awarded seafood restaurants – and for good reason, the fare here is of exceptional quality! Favourites include crayfish (served thermidor or with Mornay sauce), barbecued Moreton Bay bugs, a seafood hot mix with crumbed prawns, scallops, fresh fish, calamari and chips, and live mud crab served with garlic, lemon butter, Singapore chilli ginger or soy and shallots. Holy shrimp!
Louisiana Redclaw, Fortitude Valley: Are you ready to get your hands dirty? Louisiana Redclaw’s flavoursome and aromatic take on traditional Southern-style crawfish boils is a must-try for anyone who adores nosh with nippers. The menu is your oyster, with platters boasting Queensland redclaw crayfish, local colossal prawns, diamond clams, mussels, sand crabs, Jonah crab claws and Moreton Bay bugs, as well as Cajun bowls filled with Maine lobster, Alaskan king crab and plenty of crayfish. The rest of the menu also offers soft-shell crab tacos, clam chowder, and baked crab mac’n’cheese.
Roti Place, Brisbane City: This Malaysian eatery is an unheralded resource for crab. If you can tear your attention away from the buttery roti, you’ll spot some enticing crab-based dishes. Here, spanner crabs are served in four styles – Singapore style (rich, creamy and spicy), Malaysia’s kam heong style (where the crab is cooked until golden and fragrant), Cantonese style (imbued with ginger and shallots), and butter-herb style, which means doused in an irresistible butter sauce with a dash of chilli.
The Lighthouse Restaurant, Cleveland: There are few spots more appropriate for enjoying a seafood feast than at Cleveland’s The Lighthouse Restaurant. Boasting views of Moreton Bay, the restaurant specialises in everything the ocean has to offer, including the likes of green-lipped mussels, garlic and chilli prawns, Hervey Bay scallops, sand-crab lasagne, Moreton Bay bugs simmered in garlic and chilli butter, wild-caught NT lobster tail and seafood platters heaped with lobster, bugs, crab, prawns, mussels and more.
Donna Chang, Brisbane City: The CBD’s luxe Chinese restaurant has live tanks filled with seafood to choose from. Here, you can savour rock lobsters (served wok-fried with garlic-butter sauce or XO sauce), or Queensland mud crabs (wok-fried with kampot pepper and dark soy or XO sauce. Other seafood options include roasted jumbo prawns, halved and fried Moreton Bay bugs, Cloudy Bay clams, and kung pao Queensland tiger prawns.
Rico Bar & Dining, Brisbane City: Eagle Street’s Spanish-inspired riverside locale is an underrated spot to sample crustaceans, but a quick glimpse of the menu will showcase a host of options. An on-site marron tank is filled with snappy swimmers, which can be enjoyed as part of a serve of paella or chargrilled and served with a saffron beurre blanc. If you’re after a different kind of ocean’s bounty, opt for the seafood paella, which comes with mussels, prawns and clams.
St. James Crabhouse & Kitchen, Hamilton: It’s a no-brainer that this spot makes the list. Did you read the name? St. James Crabhouse & Kitchen in Hamilton does seafood in a way you are unlikely to experience anywhere else in town. Don a bib and some gloves and get cracking on some king crab, snow crab, Australian blue swimmers and Alaska king as well as crab cakes, South Australian mussels and sizzling garlic prawns. Be warned: things will get a little bit messy.
Eden’s Table, Brisbane City: The Westin’s flagship restaurant is renowned for its sustainably sourced fare, and its seafood selection is impressive in its own right. Grab a pal and tuck into a seafood platter for two, which comes with Moreton Bay bugs, mussels, freshly shucked oysters, peeled prawns, spanner crab and condiments. Don’t feel like sharing? Why not slurp up some Moreton Bay Bug spaghetti with a grilled baby lobster tail on the side for good measure.
One Fish Two Fish, Kangaroo Point: As you can tell by the name One Fish Two Fish is a dependable place to score some top-notch seafood. This applies to crustaceans, too, with crispy soft-shell crab baos, house made linguette with Fraser Island spanner crab and seafood risotto with prawns, mussels, cod on the menu.
George’s Paragon, Brisbane City: This iconic seafood restaurant is a destination that will make anyone become a prawn-again crustacean lover. With a dedicated crustacean portion on the menu, patrons can choose the likes of barbecued bugs, whole lobsters (in mornay or thermidor varieties), mud crab and fresh king prawns (plus a platter offering them all at once if you feel like splurging). If that wasn’t enough, the marinara is filled with prawns, scallops and mussels, while the prawn fettuccine is filled with, well, prawns! What more do you need?
Phoenix, Brisbane City: Although predominantly a go-to for yum cha cuisine, this Brisbane Quarter restaurant has live-seafood tanks filled with morsels you can sample. Lobster, snow crab and mud crab are available at market price, while the a la carte menu itself also features lobster tail with garlic butter and black pepper, jumbo king prawns in chilli-bean sauce, sauteed scallops and seafood hot-pots.
Creole Soul Kitchen, Spring Hill: Creole cuisine is exceptionally inventive when it comes to incorporating seafood, and Spring Hill’s Creole Soul Kitchen brings the best dishes to Brisbane. Build your own pasta dish with your choice of pasta, sauce and ingredients (including prawns, crab and clams), or order a serve of the Soul Kitchen prawns, soft-shell crab crusted in cornmeal, or seafood gumbo, which is loaded with prawns, clams and scallops.
Blackbird Bar & Grill, Brisbane City: This chic inner-city locale brings it’s A-game when it comes to surf and turf, but it’s the surf that has our tongues wagging. Be selfish and order a shellfish platter to yourself, heaped high with Mooloolaba king prawns, Moreton bay bugs and Hervey Bay scallops.
Yellowfin Seafood & Grill, South Bank: Few restaurants do seafood as well as Yellowfin – it’s a bona fide specialty. Start off your feast with the restaurant’s signature crab stack or some Moreton Bay bugs, before tackling the sizeable platters on offer. The seafood platter boasts stacks of Moreton Bay bugs, Queensland sand crab, Hervey Bay scallops, Pacific plate oysters, chilled king prawns, New Zealand clams and prawn skewers, while the lobster platter adds half a grilled lobster to the mix.
Kingsley’s Steak & Crabhouse, Brisbane City: This sophisticated eatery covers all bases when it comes to sweet morsels of crustacean goodness. Kingsley’s a la carte menu offers up the likes of Alaskan king crab, chilled Mooloolaba prawns, freshly shucked regional oysters and Fraser Island spanner crab linguine.
Suncrop Seafood Restaurant, Sunnybank: If you’re keen to sample some seafood prepared Chinese style, have a glance at the offering at Suncrop in Sunnybank. Here you can devour the likes of braised lobster with ginger and shallots, mud crab with Singapore chilli, lobster sashimi, stir-fried king prawns and prawn dumplings.
Wilson’s Boathouse, Manly: Out in Brisbane’s bayside is a terrific seafood institution, Wilson’s Boathouse. With a legacy spanning 22 years, the crew here know everything there is to know about crustaceans, and its menu is a reflection of this. The a la carte menu features tasty morsels including whole lobster mornay, black pepper chilli blue swimmer crab, barbecued Moreton Bay bugs with garlic butter and the famous reef and beef, which pairs a 200g Black Angus tenderloin with king prawns, Moreton Bay bugs and calamari,
Jellyfish, Brisbane City: Another renowned Eagle Street seafood source is Jellyfish, a go-to for fresh catches of all kinds. Here you can start small with Moreton Bay bug rolls and baked XL ocean king prawns with kombu butter, before gradually scaling up to Fraser Island spanner crab spaghettini, Southern Rock lobster tagliolini, and share platters with Mooloolaba prawns, Moreton Bay bugs, Pacific oysters, local sand crab and scampi.
The Golden Palace, Fortitude Valley: This landmark Asian eatery pulls out all the stops when it comes to its seafood offering, which is nearly unrivalled in Fortitude Valley. If morsels of fried crab claw stuffed with prawn meat, salt and pepper king prawns, deep fried Moreton Bay Bugs and live King Island jumbo lobsters and Queensland mud crabs sound like your kind of meal, then you’ve found your next dinner destination.
Il Centro, Brisbane City: Eagle Street’s dining precinct provides safe harbour for seafood lovers in Brisbane, and Il Centro offers more than just a picturesque location to enjoy dinner. The modern Italian menu has a few gems for crustacean-loving eaters throughout, including the decadent lasagne alla granseola (sand crab lasagne with creamed crustacean sauce) and the spanner crab tortellini.
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