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The Latest on Brisbane’s Dining Scene

July 22, 2020 Visit Queensland No Comments Email Email

There’s no doubt Brisbane’s dining scene has gone through a period of change and adaptation. Thankfully many of our old favourites as well as some new hip restaurants, bars and cafes are throwing open their doors again and offering Brisbane a warm welcome.

Here’s our highlights of places in Brisbane’s inner city which are back open and good to go.

What’s New

Maya, Fortitude Valley

Bring on the margaritas! Brisbane’s popular rooftop bar Eleven has transformed itself into a six-month pop-up Mexican restaurant called MAYA – which opened earlier this month! With its breathtaking views over the CBD to Newstead and beyond this is the perfect place to unwind and wrap your chops around some Mexican street food. Picture fresh Australian produced cooked in the authentic style of the Maya region of Mexico with a touch of Coastal Pacific, Yucatan and Sonoran influences. Plates are designed to be shared and enjoyed family style with an option of three tasty delicious deserts to finish on. We recommend the Churros, with cinnamon sugar and dulce de leche.

City Winery, Fortitude Valley + Brisbane City

A winery in the city? We’re sold! City Winery has been bringing the love of wine making to the Fortitude Valley since 2019 and has now also opened a second temporary cellar door venue in the heart of Brisbane City. Freshly launched in mid-July, the pop-up space on Edward Street offers wine experiences such as blending wine and learning how to match wine with cheese. Plus, don’t forget the industrial Valley venue on Wandoo St is open and housing not only Gerler’s wine barrels and bar but also a restaurant and private dining area.

MICA Brasserie, Newstead

We’ve died and gone to pastry heaven. From the amazing Shannon and Clare Kellam, behind Montrachet and King Street Bakery comes Mica Brasserie. Offering French cooking at its finest, you can now sample a special selection of artisan breads, gourmet pies, croissants, sweets, savoury treats, and coffee for you to take away. We’re just going to leave this here for you to think about –the Ora King Salmon: Pastis and citrus cured Ora King salmon, whipped fromage blanc, poached free range egg, dill and olive oil, served with hot and crusty roasted fennel, potato and sumac sour dough. Brisbane, breakfast is served.

Hey Joe Coffee + Co, East Brisbane

Shall we brunch? This new warehouse style venue brings you a seasonal menu with an Indian twist. Try the eggs kerjiwal bhurji or the slow-cooked smashed pumpkin with chilli to start your morning off right. With a breakfast menu till 3pm, a full vegan menu and dinner menu in place, you are bound to find something to get your tastebuds tingling. This venue is also doggo friendly! So don’t forget to bring your fur friend for an outing.

Coming Soon

Eterna, Fortitude Valley

The Valley will soon be home to a brand new late-night Italian restaurant Eterna. From the team who delivered Salt Meats Cheese comes Eterna: a venue for dinner and drinks (with lunch in the works) celebrating the food of Rome, dished up in a venue inspired by the energy of New York! Launching Thursday, July 30, Eterna is situated in the heart of Brisbane’s premier entertainment precinct, Fortitude Valley, in the spot formerly occupied by Longtime.

What’s Open NOW

Inner-City Restaurants

Greca, Howard Smith Wharves, Brisbane City

The most recent addition to the Howard Smiths Wharves precinct is modern Greek taverna Greca. Built for long and lazy lunches by the river, Greca wants you to savour every bite and advocates a type of slow eating. Start with taramasalata, saganaki cheese and spanakopita before moving onto grilled calamari, Moreton Bay bugs, cumin-spiced lamb ribs and baked lamb shoulder.

Stanley, Howard Smith Wharves

This Howard Smith Wharves eatery has all of us turning heads at the stunning two-storey interior and delectable menu. Turning the old water police headquarters into a Cantonese paradise, Stanley has also put a Los Angeles star chef behind the pans, serving up the likes of Cantonese roast duck with plum sauce, Lobster lo mein with garlic butter and Mongolian lamb ribs with cumin.

Massimo Restaurant & Bar, Brisbane City

Sip, snack and take in the sunset views at this new riverside Italian restaurant. You won’t walk past without a second-glance at the dreamy, modern interior but it’s the food that will have you walking in and taking a seat. Their focus is on simple and authentic style cooking and much to our delight, seafood is consistently a star of most dishes. Think chargrilled octopus, baby stuffed squid on squid ink pasta, and Roman-style lamb shoulder – but we promise the whole menu will have you shouting delizioso!

Rico Bar & Dining, Brisbane City

Think Latin flavours and citrus cocktails all served in a divine setting by the river. Sounds perfect hey? Well then get down to Rico Bar & Dining to enjoy just that. With a tantalizing menu featuring Australian produce (the braised beef cheek empanadas are definitely our go to), it’s the perfect location for an after-work drink and nibbles or a romantic dining experience with your special someone.

Phoenix, Brisbane City

Southern tastes have expanded north with the group behind the four popular Phoenix restaurants in Sydney, recently opening another venue in Brisbane Quarter. With a moody setting accented with black, gold and red, these yum cha specialists will be serving contemporary and classic Chinese cuisine including fresh crab-meat xio long bao, scallop and caviar shumai, steamed pork ribs and more.

Olive + Angelo, Brisbane City

Meet Olive + Angelo, the new restaurant bringing authentic Italian food to the people of Brisbane through recipes with a wealth of history. In true Italian style, the pizza is wood fired and the pasta menu serves a range of classics to curb those carb-fueled cravings. We suggest starting with the burrata, and then follow it up with the likes of braised beef rib ragu on homemade rigatoni, a romana pizza with spicy sausage, garlic oil and rosemary and tiramisu to finish – obviously.

Signature, South Bank

Pastel perfection, modern Australian cuisine and top-notch vinos make up Emporium’s new showpiece restaurant Signature. With a focus on using locally sourced produce, you can expect an ever-changing a-la-carte and dedicated vegan menu paired with a carefully curated wine list. Start with the blueberry cured ocean trout, then the Flinders Island lamb and finish with the black fig & guava – because dessert is a course you should not pass up here.

sAme sAme, Fortitude Valley

Longtime’s restaurant has officially closed its doors up the Chinatown end of Fortitude Valley and moved its digs to James Street, just outside The Calile. Expect the same vibe and same great food just under a new name, appropriately called sAme sAme. We can’t wait to tuck into their coconut & turmeric Moreton Bay bug curry again.

SK Steak & Oyster, Fortitude Valley

Any guesses as to what SK Steak & Oyster will be dishing up? Unfortunately there’ll be no prizes for guessing correctly as fresh seafood and prime cuts are the obvious hero of this menu. The crew behind famed modern Greek restaurant Hellenika have opened this passion project outside The Calile in Ada Lane.

Hellenika, The Calile, Fortitude Valley

James Street’s lush hotel has a distinctly Greek flavour. The favourite Gold Coast restaurant has opened a huge second location in Brisbane that sprawls with poolside cabanas and a patio to catch the breeze.

Baja, Fortitude Valley

This isn’t your regular run-of-the-mill Mexican you grab for a quick, takeaway lunch, because Baja has style, and a long, relaxing lunch or dinner is the best way to enjoy this modern Cali-Mex cuisine. You’ll feel right at home in the warm and aesthetic interior, but it’s the menu you’ll be riding home about. King fish ceviche, burrata de buffalo and any of the tacos (obviously) are all must-haves – paired with a specialty cocktail of course.

Mosconi Restaurant & Wine Bar, Fortitude Valley

Now you spend every waking minute enjoying delicious eats along Arthur Street as Mosconi Restaurant & Wine Bar has opened next to local favourite King Arthur. Serving crisp wines and specialty cocktails alongside a menu of European-inspired delights means you can pop by for a nibble and a drink or stay for the full feast – we think the latter is most likely.

joy. restaurant, Fortitude Valley

Brisbane’s laneways continue to improve with Japanese and Nordic-inspired fare now serving out of Bakery Lane. This tiny space (we’re talking only 10 seats in its entirety) has an ever-changing menu depending on inspiration at the time so you’ll never know what to expect – except that it will always be delicious of course.

The Matriarch, Newstead

Have you ever found yourself dreaming of 19th century Parisian countryside? Well put those dreams at ease, because The Matriarch’s new opening in Newstead features a swanky garden patio lined with olive trees and crystal chandeliers, perfect for an inner-city cocktail escape.

Inner-City Cafes

Industry Beans, Newstead

Famed Melbourne coffee specialists have ventured north to open one of their award-winning cafes in the heart of Newstead. Industry Beans is not just your run-of-the-mill cafes. Expect the likes of fruit sashimi or an epic breakfast roll with porcini dusted eggs for breakfast, coffee rubbed wagyu burgers for lunch and ginger beer pork belly and black rice prawns for dinner. Yes this eatery is open all hours of the day.

Yolk, Newstead

The humble bacon and egg roll is the hero at Gaswork’s new breaky joint, Yolk. Whether it’s a hangover cure you’re after, or an easy breakfast on the go, this Aussie staple is sure to satisfy those hunger pangs. Choose from the classic bacon and egg, steak and egg or mushroom and egg and don’t forget to add on a hash brown – it’d be criminal not too.

Paradise Cafe, Fortitude Valley

It looks like Alfred Street is getting a revival with a new minimalist but super trendy brunch spot opening in the building formerly occupied by Alfredo’s Pizzeria. The kitchen is headed by a former Masterchef contestant, serving hearty food with an edge like the truffle mushroom pesto and sweet Matzo Brei along with Padre Coffee and Jocelyn’s Provisions treats.

Pablo, New Farm

There were tears among New Farm residents when popular local cafe Pablo closed its doors back in 2016. But now regulars can rejoice, as the owners are bringing their delicious cafe fare back to the neighbourhood. Expect to find some original favourites back on the menu as well as a range of new specials to delight new and returning patrons.

Inner-City Bars

Death & Taxes, Brisbane City

Who knew the mastermind behind Cobbler, Savile Row and Finney Isles still had the energy to do anything else, but he’s surprised (and delighted) us all by opening another joint down Burnett Lane. Wander through double wooden doors to find a moody lounge bar encompassing low light, leather couches in the back room and shelves lined with delectable drops ready for any liquor connoisseur to sip and enjoy.

Mr Percival’s, Howard Smith Wharves

We’re channeling those endless summer vibes at Mr Percival’s, Brisbane’s newest overwater bar. Drop in for a lazy lunch on the deck, aperitif’s at sunset and live music to ease you into the night as you look back onto Brisbane City. Did we mention it’s directly under the Story Bridge?

Felons Brewing Co, Howard Smith Wharves

Sit along the riverbank and toss back a cold one at Felons Brewing Co. Sitting under the Story Bridge at Howard Smith Wharves, the beer is freshly brewed on site within the confounds of the old heritage sheds.

The Sound Garden, Fortitude Valley

If you’re one to enjoy free live music with a drink in hand, then Brunswick Mall’s newest two-level live music venue, The Sound Garden, is the place you want to be. The expansive space houses a modern-Australian bistro, lengthy bar and plenty of room to listen and dance along to a lineup of up-and-coming artists. Plus, it’s convenient location next to Fortitude Music Hall makes it the perfect place for a pre-show bite and beverage.

Suzie Wong’s Good Time Bar, Fortitude Valley

Stepping into the former Bowery Bar digs is Suzie Wong’s Good Time Bar, the newest venture from the owners of Brisbane City’s Brooklyn Standard and Fat Angel Sports Bar. This Hawaiian-inspired dive bar has a focus on live music and uncomplicated drinks. So grab a beer and get yourself to the dance floor.

Next Episode, South Brisbane

This hidey-hole is hidden in the backstreets of South Brisbane, only noticeable by a neon sign and lit up barbers pole. Once found, enjoy signature cocktails, artisan spirits, craft beers and wine within the confined walls of this 35-seat speakeasy bar. What could possibly make this place better you ask? Next Episode doesn’t want you going hungry, so you can order food from nearby Big Roddy’s Rippin’ Rib Shack to snack and drink the night away.

The Terrace, South Bank

The Terrace, Emporium Hotel’s eagerly anticipated rooftop bar is finally open to the public. With views for days, fluffy bar stools that blend in with the clouds, and an all-day food menu to keep you hydrated and hunger-free, The Terrace will easily become the place to spend a lazy day this summer.

Lefty’s Music Hall, Caxton Street

It’s back! This Brisbane institution couldn’t keep its doors closed for long before Hallmark Group Australia decided to reopen the much-loved venue, keeping intact all the quirky vintage vibes that’s kept this a long-term favourite among locals and Caxton Street goers.

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