Brisbane’s ten best restaurants as voted by you
When it comes to ranking the best of the best, we think it’s almost too tall a task to consider. Which is why we graciously pass on the opportunity to you – our dear readers – to give us the 411 on what is considered Brisbane’s best. The EAT/drink Awards is our yearly retrospective of what tantalised tastebuds around town, rewarding excellence across bars, cafes and restaurants. You voted in droves for the latest edition of the awards, so we thought it was only fair to give you a comprehensive rundown of the ten best of each major category. This week it’s restaurants – here is your pick for Brisbane’s best places to sit down to a special meal.
Winner: Gerard’s Bistro
When it comes to praise, there is nothing more we can heap upon Gerard’s Bistro that hasn’t already been said in abundance. The jewel in the Moubment Group’s crown has wooed diners since opening in 2012 with its divine selection of Middle Eastern fare cooked by award-winning head chef Ben Williamson. It seems that when it comes to the best of the best, Gerard’s Bistro is at the pinnacle. You’ve got some good taste, Brisbane.
Runner up: LONgTIME
There is absolutely no shame in second place, and the following eateries could very well see themselves catapulted to the top of this list next year. LONgTIME is an incredibly popular restaurant tucked away in the heart of Fortitude Valley. Specialising in the vibrant flavours of South-East Asian cuisine, LONgTIME has captured the hearts and senses of diners with its communal atmosphere and menu of adventurous morsels.
Runner up: Gauge
The minds behind Sourced Grocer and Maker sure know what they are doing when it comes to top-notch nosh. Gauge is locavore heaven, situated a few doors down from South Brisbane’s prominent food strip Fish Lane. Specialising in dishes constructed from fresh and local ingredients, the chefs at the kitchen’s helm are no strangers to experimentation. Meals such as charred flank steak with koji cream and oyster pearls, local prawns with sobrasada and chargrilled red cabbage with spicy pork Bolognese are responsible for getting Gauge to the top – and frankly we aren’t surprised you love it as much as you do.
Blackbird Bar & Restaurant
The Ghanem Group’s Blackbird Bar & Restaurant makes Brisbane’s top ten restaurants list thanks in no small part to its combination of stunning 180-degree riverside views, it’s seasonal menu (including a formidable steak selection) and celebrated wine list. If those three things don’t sound enticing to you then you might be in the wrong place, pal!
South Bank’s reputation as a diner’s paradise was bolstered considerably when Stokehouse Q arrived on the scene in 2012. Since then it has remained one of the most inventive and popular spots to eat on the river – wowing patrons with the likes of king prawn tacos, sand crab risotto, roasted beetroot tarts, pancetta-wrapped chicken with fresh figs and baked stracciatella cheesecake. Seafood lovers and fine-dining fiends would be well advised to tick this off your list as soon as possible.
The great thing about pizza is how versatile it can be. Few dishes scale up as sublimely as pizza when it comes to fine dining, and we know just the place to go for the best. Julius Pizzeria in Fish Lane is responsible for some of the finest slices in town, not to mention a menu of Italian delights including fried baby calamari, crumbed and fried pork sirloin, pan-seared scallops and piles of primo pasta.
Woolloongabba mainstay 1889 Enoteca has kept its high standing amongst Brisbane foodies with its flavoursome and timeless approach to Roman cuisine. Set within a gorgeous heritage-listed building on Logan Road, this award-winning restaurant pairs class and charm with a suitably rustic approach to traditional Italian. Oh, and the wine selection here is nigh on unbeatable, so that’s certainly a plus.
Esquire and esq.
We know that it may be cheating to list two restaurants as one like this, but it’s hard to separate Esquire from its charming sibling simply because both are exceptional. Ryan Squires has established Esquire as one of the best spots to take in a delightful degustation experience, while esq. is renowned for it’s stripped-back a la carte menu of delights. Whether you want a multifaceted (and multi-course) experience, or are content to pick and choose your preferred dish, these Eagle Street restaurants won’t let you down.
QAGOMA is at the top of its game when it comes to showcasing world-class artwork, and the GOMA Restaurant is similarly accomplished. Head chef Josue Lopez has helped establish the restaurant as one of Brisbane’s best, plating up meals so good looking they may as well be exhibited in the gallery below. If you are seeking some creative contemporary fare made from local ingredients with a great selection of new world wines to accompany, book a table at GOMA Restaurant next time you have the itch to take in some culinary art.
An icon of Brisbane’s dinner scene, Urbane has been keeping foodies fed for years. Its substantial reputation has been established thanks to a combination of high-quality food and stellar service. The culinary stylings of Urbane’s ever-evolving menu defy classification, but it incorporates techniques from various cultures as well as a heavy sprinkling of Australian charm.
Best New Restaurant: Billykart West End
Ben O’Donoghue and De-arne Wicks expanded their Billykart family to West End in the final weeks of 2015, narrowly missing out on consideration for the EAT/drink Awards that year. This means that by the time the 2016 edition came around the space was firing on all cylinders. Following the example set by the popular Annerley location (which won best cafe for a few years running), Billykart West End has done its lineage proud by taking out Best New Restaurant. Dinner morsels include kangaroo and mushroom pie, fennel and rosemary porchetta, sesame-crusted ora king salmon and spiced yoghurt roasted lamb – dishes that will see Billykart West End crack the top ten soon enough.
Runner up: Otto Brisbane
The Fink Group made a big splash in town when it brought its acclaimed restaurant Otto to Brisbane. With a loyal following already established thanks to Otto Sydney’s Woolloomooloo location, anticipation was high as soon as it was announced that the Otto name was coming north. The restaurant didn’t disappoint, with a gorgeously appointed venue boasting views overlooking Customs House and the Story Bridge pairing perfectly with a menu of sumptuous delights.
Runner up: Hello Please
What Hello Please lacks in kitchen size, it more than makes up in flavour and atmosphere. This Fish Lane-based shipping container eatery specialises in Vietnamese street food – packing enough zesty tastes to wow even the most hardened palate. Alongside the food, Hello Please also served a specialised selection of wines, Vietnamese beers and Asian-inspired cocktails. What’s not to love?
Best Institution Restaurant: Beccofino
If you’ve already been to Julius Pizzeria and loved it, then consider also checking out its older sibling Beccofino. This Teneriffe icon has been a stalwart destination for authentic Italian fare for years, pairing detailed flavours with fresh produce. If fried artichokes with whipped ricotta, mozzarella, smoked bacon, Portobello mushrooms and truffle paste pizza followed by Italian-style trifle with mascarpone and sponge fingers sound like a dream dinner, then Beccofino is the place for you.
Runner up: e’cco bistro
Philip Johnson’s e’cco bistro has fed thousands of locals over the years, never failing to impress with a consummate and memorable dining experience. Since 1995, the e’cco bistro kitchen has been using locally sourced ingredients in all of its exquisite dishes. This restaurant has stood the test of time and shows no signs of disappearing.
Runner up: The Vietnamese
Fortitude Valley diners are spoiled for choice when it comes to value-packed dinner options, but few spots can match The Vietnamese when it comes to flavour, portion size and price. Down giant bowls of pho or get your hands busy by constructing your own rice paper rolls – there is no wrong choice at The Vietnamese, which explains its popularity and longevity.
If you are keen to try more of Brisbane’s best, make sure you are also across the city’s excellent bar scene. Check out Brisbane’s ten best bars here.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 1800 places to eat, drink, shop and play.