There’s nothing that grabs our attention like the whispers of a new spot to eat and drink (well, that and anything involving cheese, Nutella or rosé), and this year our attention has been piqued by more than a few new venues. From suburban cafes to takeaway spots and every cocktail bar in between, here’s a few we couldn’t get enough of.
Otto | CBD
One of many southern venues to make their way to Brisbane this year (and plenty more to come), Otto had everyone talking when they landed on our (river) shores. Between the stunning views, the gorgeous décor and the 14 page wine menu, exquisite dishes like their black pepper Moreton Bay bug are practically an afterthought – but it’s definitely the cuisine you’ll walk away remembering.
The Apo | Fortitude Valley
Just because it was a whole 12 months ago that this classy Valley bar upped and and changed the Brisbane cocktail game for good, doesn’t mean they aren’t still one of our fave new additions for the year. Thanks to them, we now expect freshly shucked oysters and spiced goat tacos whenever we go out for a few cocktails.
The Wolfe | East Brisbane
Proving once and for all that fine dining isn’t just a city thing, The Wolfe showed us that you could have an incredible dining experience without having to pay a fortune for parking. An ever changing seasonal menu has going back again and again – the BYO policy on Tuesday and Wednesdays doesn’t hurt either.
Blockhouse | Nundah
We were already a little enamoured with this suburban café come champagne bar – then they went and put dishes like breakfast ramen and mac ‘n’ cheese balls on the menu. If only we could get champagne with our breakfast, we’d be there on the daily.
Umami | Fortitude Valley
With the kitchen headed by Chef Minh Le, who swapped forks at the now closed Foraging Quail for chopsticks at Umami, the menu at this new Japanese spot is all about the fifth flavour. Their dishes might all be made for sharing, but there’s no way we’re sharing our saltbush lamb belly, no matter how many Vietnamese espresso martinis you ply us with.
Seven South | Yeronga
It only took one bite of Seven South’s lemon, thyme, blueberry and ricotta hot cakes on opening day before we decided they were our new breakfast beau. Throw in the cheesiest croque madame we ever did see, and we’d happily cross suburbs for this sophisticated spot.
Hai Hai | Paddington
When Hai Hai arrived, we said bye bye to our 2 minute noodles for good. How could we settle for them when steaming bowls of Tonkotsu ramen with flavoursome pork broth, egg noodles, pork belly and hanjuku egg awaited us?
Piggy Back Cafe | Jindalee
When the crew behind Pawpaw Café open somewhere new, it’s time to take notice. And take notice we did – how could we not when red velvet French toast and rainbow lattes were involved?
Ristorante La Famiglia | Woolloongabba
Frankly, there’s always room for another Italian restaurant in Brisbane, especially when it’s one that dishes up feeds this good. Don’t just ask how many courses of Italian fare it’s acceptable to eat – ask how many of their pea and pancetta arancini balls you can fit in before a big slice of mamma’s lasagna.
Mucho Mexicano | South Bank & Milton
Make your own tacos and all the margaritas and sangria you can handle – Mucho Mexicano just gets us, you know? If there’s on tip we can give you, it’s to get the haloumi tacos – holy mother of all the things Mexican are they good.
The Priory | Woolloongabba
There’s nothing we like more than sampling creative new breakfast dishes, so when The Priory opened up with a whole menu full of them, we were in there like a flash. We’re still tossing up whether the avo toast with grilled haloumi and pomegranate or the bubble and squeak bhajis is our fave, but we might be able to decide after another three visits.
Chingon | CBD
As dedicated taco aficionados, we were ready for Chingon to open their doors the moment we heard whispers a taco joint was coming to Eagle Lane. And they certainly didn’t disappoint – even if we found ourselves more addicted to the crack corn they dish up on the side than their fish tacos and epic tequila list.
Allium | New Farm
All it took to get us addicted to Allium’s casual fine dining was hearing they would serve us six courses of their creative fare for $85. And then they started doing brunch – uh, can we just make a weekly booking?
Il Verde | Bowen Hills
Three words: Cheese. Wheel. Pasta. We went crazy for it, you went crazy for it, and now they’re booked out weeks in advance and we can’t get a table. Thanks guys. Luckily, the rest of their menu is just as good as their Tuesday & Thursday special, so we can still get our fix of arancini balls and four cheese pizza.
Vaquero | Albion
Blink and you’d miss it, but this butcher come Spanish-inspired eatery was one of the tastiest surprises of the year. Lovers of a good charcuterie platter should definitely put this one on their hit list, along with anyone with an adventurous palette.
Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers | Paddington
Whoever would have thought a menu of nothing but gnocchi would be so damn irresistible? It is when it’s Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers gnocchi anyway, and their first bricks and mortar venue had us counting down the days until they opened their doors.
Blind Tiger | Bulimba
It might only fit about 25 people, but this tiny speakeasy bar is well worth waiting for a seat (on an antique couch, no less) to wrap your lips around one of their cocktails. Surprisingly for somewhere so small, there’s even a menu of bar nibbles – so you don’t have to give up your chair to go find a bite to eat.
Winner Winner | Paddington
What else would a place that serves delicious chicken dinners be called other than Winner Winner? Dedicated to nothing but fried chicken, they had us clucking for more after first bite.
The Kitchens | Robina
Melding our love of eating food, learning about food, shopping for more food, and talking about food into one glorious, super-sized shopping trip, Robina’s new food precinct is pretty much the only reason we’re planning a few extra beach trips this summer. With everything from an espresso martini bar to a butcher that makes vegan sausages on the line up of venues and retailers, it’s definitely worth a road trip or two.
Bring on 2017!
Words by Ranyhyn Akui