The round-up: Brisbane’s best new restaurants as voted by you
We’re the first to admit it – Brisbane is absolutely brimming with innovative minds that are willing to take a chance in the often-fickle world of hospitality. Our dining scene continues to go from strength to strength thanks to the creative culinary wizards choosing to put their passions on a plate – and as a result, we have a kick-ass roster of amazing restaurants that have opened in the past 12 months. Naming the best would be an impossible task – so that’s why we left it up to you, our trusted readers, during our most recent EAT/drink Awards . You all have great taste – here are the spots you chose as the ten best new restaurants in Brisbane.
Winner: Little Valley, Fortitude Valley
When we caught word that the award-winning team behind beloved Gold Coast restaurant Rick Shores would be bringing its flavour wizardry here to Brisbane, we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed – and you agreed, awarding modern Chinese marvel Little Valley the best new spot to nosh. The beautiful multi-faceted eatery highlights a fresh take on Chinese cuisine – head chef Jake Pregnell has drawn inspiration from China’s distinct and varied regions to craft a menu that incorporates dim sum and yum cha, as well as some traditional dishes given a creative spin. The venue has already hosted a number of innovative events and dinner collabs with other esteemed eateries within its first year, working hard and proving its worth as one of Brisbane’s best new restaurants.
Runner-up: Hellenika, Fortitude Valley
The anticipated arrival of The Calile Hotel on James Street didn’t just get tongues wagging – we were all practically salivating when it was announced that celebrated Greek eatery Hellenika would be making the journey north as the venue’s flagship restaurant. Restaurateur Simon Gloftis brought us a new iteration of his award-winning concept, slotting in seamlessly with The Calile’s sleek, chic and modern aesthetics. The restaurant has garnered its beloved reputation by fusing authentic Greek dishes with modern serving techniques, with many recipes based on time-honoured family traditions. Saganaki and spritzes by the pool? Don’t mind if we do!
Runner-up: ARC Dining, Brisbane City
Howard Smith Wharves has brought a brand-new wave of culinary excellence to The City, and one spot that has captured our collective hearts is modern Australian marvel ARC Dining. The lauded concept is led by the fearless and detail-oriented duo of acclaimed sommelier Ian Trinkle and homegrown chef Alanna Sapwell, who have created a cutting-edge food and beverage offering all wrapped up in stunning surrounds. If the Anna Spiro-designed space and riverfront views don’t win you over, the fare will do the trick – unconventional snacks, the freshest produce and a top-to-tail approach to animal usage make for a truly unforgettable experience.
Joy. Restaurant, Fortitude Valley
It’s not just you, our readers, who back the brilliance of Joy. – this pint-sized Fortitude Valley arrival earned itself New Restaurants of the Year in the recent Good Food Guide Awards (as well as two shiny new hats). These accolades are a testament to the venue’s innovative concept, stellar service and exquisite food, proving that the best things often come in small packages. The restaurant is the brainchild of duo Tim and Sarah Scott, who have used their extensive combined resumes to craft a dining experience based on what makes them happy – inventive cuisine cooked their way, where everything on the plate has a purpose.
Greca, Brisbane City
One of the best ways to win Queenslanders over is by keeping things fresh and lively, while seamlessly weaving the indoors and outdoors. Celebrated Sydney restaurateur Jonathan Barthelmess hit the nail on the head when he opened Greca at Howard Smith Wharves in December last year, bringing Greek and Mediterranean vibes to the riverside. The foundations of Greek cuisine underpin the fun and youthful menu, but Jonathan has let Queensland’s unbeatable produce shape what ends up on the plate. Share-style dishes are king here – think sizzling saganaki cheese, spanakopita and fried calamari with prawns and mussels.
Hôntô, Fortitude Valley
They say good things come to those who wait, and this is particularly pertinent in the case of Hôntô. LONgTIME’s hotly anticipated sibling opened in August 2018, bringing a wave of reimagined Japanese cuisine to its moody alleyway location. The seductive space makes way for a menu of contemporary Japanese eats, all focused on delicate and considered flavour pairings. Snack and nibble on the likes of tuna and avocado drumsticks, prawn doughnuts with red shiso and kimchi mayo and lobster katsu sandos or go large with whole snapper karaage, wagyu beef with mustard greens, shichimi-spiced lamb shoulder, and pork belly with kome vinegar.
Donna Chang, Brisbane City
Doing justice to a stunning heritage-listed space can be very tricky, but when Donna Chang set up shop in the former home of the Queensland Government Savings Bank, it became clear very quickly that the team behind it had done it more than justice. Joining the Ghanem Group family in September 2018, Donna Chang swiftly earned a reputation for serving up some of the best modern Chinese fare in Brisbane – a team of experienced hands from Australia and further abroad deliver authentic flavours made with predominantly Queensland ingredients. Fried Black Silkie chicken with lemon aspen, suckling pig with Sichuan salt, pan-fried cumin lamb buns, stir-fried spanner crab … Donna certainly earned her spot in our coveted list of Brisbane’s best new restaurants.
La Cache à Vín, Spring Hill
Set within a warm and sophisticated subterranean space in Spring Hill sits La Cache à Vín, the mind-blowing new restaurant from acclaimed chef and wine importer Thierry Galichet. Thierry created the space to evoke the restaurant scene of Burgundy in France, tapping into a beautiful niche that Brisbane was yet to be treated to. The former Montrachet owner has crafted a menu alongside head chef Bruno Richeux, showcasing simple and hearty French cuisine (with an absolutely killer wine list to match). Cheese, charcuterie, foie gras and snail ragout will transport your tastebuds to Europe – c’est magnifique!
Three Blue Ducks, Brisbane City
For years, the only way we could sample the amazing fare from Three Blue Ducks was by driving to Byron Bay or hopping a plane to Sydney. That all changed last year when the much-loved New South Wales restaurant group opened its first Queensland location at the swish W Hotel in The City. The flagship won hearts with its paddock-to-plate ethos, upholding the core business value of using sustainable, ethical, seasonal and locally sourced produce. From sunrise to sunset, hungry patrons can feast on favourites like chargrilled king prawns, maple-glazed roast pumpkin, butter-coated Moreton Bay bugs and succulent lamb shoulder – all fresh as heck and cooked to perfection.
Ripiena, Fortitude Valley
The people of Brisbane are suckers for a damn good bowl of pasta, so it’s no surprise that Ripiena made the list of Brisbane’s best new restaurants. The pasta laboratory is the work of Nicoló and Anita Campagnari, two certified masters in the art of creating authentic carb-heaven. The key to this hole-in-the-wall’s success is in its simplicity – nothing but perfected technique, the best ingredients and a pure passion for the product. Diners can sample a range of freshly made long pasta, filled pasta and sides, or take home cooked or uncooked varieties.
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