The round-up: crack into Brisbane’s most delicious crab and crustacean dishes
There are few foodstuffs as quintessentially Australian as the trusty prawn, and barbecue season is approaching pretty fast. 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.
Creole Soul Kitchen: 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.
Gambaro Seafood Restaurant: 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!
George’s Paragon: 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?
River Quay Fish: The revamped South Bank eatery River Quay Fish offers some of the most picturesque riverside dining with some delicious seafood to boot. Dishes like the crab gazpacho soup, Singapore-style blue swimmer crab, grilled Moreton Bay bugs, grilled scallop lemon thyme risotto and seafood linguini will sate any large crustacean cravings.
The Cube Seafood: This Sunnybank locale has some fantastic seafood prepared and served in a traditional Chinese style. Fresh lobster and crab feature in the menu, as well as a show stopping mixed seafood soup that features scallops, prawns, calimari and fish.
The Spaghetti House Trattoria: This staple of Italian dining ups the ante when it comes to crustacean-centric dishes. The risotto con aragosta features sauteed lobster meat, seafood bisque, tomato and cream, while the cicale di mare sees a helping of linguine topped with Moreton Bay bugs, cherry tomatoes, onion garlic, chilli and basil.
St. James Crabhouse & Kitchen: It’s a no-brainer that this spot makes the list. Did you read the name? St. James Crabhouse & Kitchen in Kangaroo Point 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 spanner crabs, crayfish, Moreton Bay bugs and lobster. Be warned: things will get a little bit messy.
Blackbird Bar & Grill: This chic 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, or show some restraint and opt for the North Queensland rock lobster with olive oil emulsion, cucumber jelly and high tide crumb. There is no wrong choice here.
Ristorante La Famiglia: Woolloongabba’s spot for home-style Italian fare offers sumptuous chargrilled king prawns served with a chilli, garlic, evoo and lemon salsa. If that doesn’t sate your prawn cravings, the linguini al gamberi boasts king prawns cooked with cherry tomatoes, chilli and garlic, which is served on a bed on linguini.
The Golden Palace: 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.
Fresh n Wild Fish: If you like your crustaceans packaged a little bit differently, Portside’s Fresh n Wild Fish might be up your alley. Trust us, these guys are absolutely krilling it right now! Try the soft shell crab bao buns or the seafood chowder (available seasonally) or order the succulent grilled Moreton Bay bugs served with mustard, lemon and butter.
Il Centro: 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.
Casa Nostra Ristorante: The Italians sure know how to make great use of seafood – take the fare at Casa Nostra Ristorante for example. The Fortitude Valley restaurant’s menu features dishes such as agnolotti all’arogosta (agnolotti pasta filled with lobster and bechamel), antipasto sfizioso (scampi, vongole, prawns and mussels served in seafood bisque sauce) and gamberi e capesante (local prawns and scallops served in the shell with tomato, fetta and avocado sauce).
Kingsley’s Steak & Crabhouse: 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 snow crab legs and Queensland mud crabs, not to mention the crab cakes served with scorched corn and lime aioli and the hot and cold seafood tasting plate, which features beer battered prawns, chilli salt squid, tempura bug tail, soft shell crab, chilled snow crab and freshly shucked oysters.
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