Whether you’re dining on a budget or wanting to impress someone special – there’s a huge selection of restaurants to choose from (and they seem to increase on a daily basis!). From haute cuisine with spectacular views of the river to the kebab store on the corner, there’s plenty to experience.
The city provides quick lunches and strong coffees for city workers, as well as plenty of sushi stores and bubble tea shops. The outer limits of the city see Eagle Street Pier play home to some of Brisbane’s most highly acclaimed restaurants. There are steakhouses, Japanese cuisine, seafood and modern Australian, all complete with the backdrop of the shimmering Brisbane River winding beneath the Story Bridge.
The city’s Elizabeth and Charlotte Streets and Fortitude Valley’s Chinatown and Brunswick Street are packed with tasty and affordable Asian eats. If you’re after an even larger selection of Asian restaurants and markets, then check out Sunnybank, just 15 minutes south of the city.
New Farm and West End are the eclectic hubs of Brisbane, serving up locally roasted coffees and delicious all day breakfasts. They also host an array of cocktail bars, lounges and pubs, ensuring that even the fussiest of drinkers will be happily satisfied.
Planning on making your night a little more memorable? Then head to Fortitude Valley (‘the Valley’) for a night of dancing and meeting new friends. Thursdays are student nights in the city, so keep an eye out for drinks specials and hordes of young people lining up outside the clubs. Toowong is home to the Wednesday student night with the RE and the Regatta keeping the students of UQ well and truly entertained.
Queen Street Mall is the home of comfort food in simple al fresco style. Eagle Street Pier boasts Brisbane’s fine dining scene. You’ll find some of the best steaks in Brisbane, beautifully plated sashimi and exquisite modern Australian cuisine all overlooking the bright lights of the Story Bridge or try Elizabeth and Charlotte Streets for slightly cheaper but super tasty fare.
A wander down Burnett Lane (a hidden laneway running parallel to Queen Street Mall) will see you venture into one of two speciality cocktail and beer bars. For a cheap night out, check out Edward Street. Thursday night is student night at most of the city’s clubs, so cheap drinks abound. For a more sophisticated evening, check out Eagle Street Pier for cocktail lounges and after-uni drinks venues.
Chinatown Mall is the home to some of the best (and cheapest) Asian cuisines. There’s Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Korean and Chinese restaurants. Away from the hustle and bustle of Chinatown is The Emporium complex which houses more upmarket restaurants – think French, Middle Eastern and Italian.
“The Valley”, as it’s affectionately called, is home to Brisbane’s biggest nightlife, offering up something for all music tastes. There is R&B and hip hop clubs on Brunswick and Warner Streets, dance clubs on Wickham and Mclachlan Streets and indie music lining Brunswick Street Mall. For intimate cocktails, Ann Street boasts a number of lounges and bars, while Wickham and Ann Streets are home to Brisbane’s gay community.
This area represents the quintessential hub of Brisbane’s best breakfast cafés. Teneriffe houses Commercial Road, which is the home of serious coffee.
New Farm represents the somewhat classier end of Brunswick Street (away from the Valley), with cocktail bars, wine and tapas bars and casual pubs. Teneriffe kicks it up a notch with the more specialised hangouts – there’s a wine bar where the staff seem to know absolutely everything there is to know about every bottle.
Little Stanley Street not only provides one of the best views of the CBD but also enables you to become a culinary globe-trotter. Spanish cuisine is nestled in next to the sizzling of a Teppanyaki grill and the sweet aromas of waffle cones coming from a gelato store. It offers something for every budget – from a quick sandwich through to a perfect four-course meal.
A popular after-work drinks spot in the centre of Little Stanley Street is Greystone, which serves up cocktails, wine and everything in between till the early hours. It’s worth visiting on a Friday night when salsa classes are held right outside the entrance. A buzz of activity radiates from the CBD Bar and The Bar at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), as theatre-goers prepare themselves for the evening ahead.
Boundary Street is the home of Bohemia in Brisbane. Vegan cafés, quirkily decorated restaurants and an eclectic mix of patrons embody the soul of West End. There’s everything from Vietnamese, Thai and Malaysian, to Indian, Greek and Australian (as in kangaroo, emu and crocodile dishes).
Determining which scene is more prominent in the West End is hard – there’s an assortment of beer boutiques, specialising in craft brews and everything that’ll add a hop to your step. There’s also an array of cocktail lounges that tantalise the tastebuds while bartenders shake up beautifully constructed tipples, which look (almost) too good to drink.