“What good new restaurants should I try?”

Broadsheet’s editors field this question, or a variation on it, almost every day. While we’d just as soon recommend one of Brisbane’s straight-up best restaurants or a long-standing institution, the pull of a hot new place is hard to deny.

So here it is: our edit of the best new restaurants in Brisbane from the past 12 months, updated monthly. Some of these places are redefining the way we eat and will go on to become classics. Others will be shorter lived. Either way, these are the spots we’re enjoying eating and drinking at in September.

Related Pages
Best Restaurants in Brisbane
Best Restaurants in Brisbane's CBD
Best New Bars in Brisbane
Best New Cafes in Brisbane

Agnes

Agnes is the latest restaurant from Same Same and Honto’s Tyron Simon, Bianca Marchi and Frank Li, and ex-Gerard’s Bistro head chef Ben Williamson. They’re four of the best restaurant brains in Brisbane. Step into Agnes and, much like Same Same or Honto, it’s a piece of theatre, with what looks effortlessly laissez faire actually a carefully scripted food service. Williamson’s team of chefs is split across two long, low-set counters and works solely with crackling wood fire and smoke – there’s no gas, no electricity. It all adds up to one of the most impressive food openings of 2020

22 Agnes Street, Fortitude Valley

Elska

This previously open-air breakfast spot is now a softly lit hideaway fitted out with pendant lights, blinds, sheer curtains, new furniture and a fresh coat of paint to give it a more intimate feel. The food changes day to day, but Elska’s previous menus have included salted goldband snapper with green aioli and desert lime; Mooloolaba prawn with black garlic, caramelised onion and nasturtium; and emu accompanied by quandong ketchup and saltbush. The wine list is straightforward, with a small collection of whites, reds, sparklings and a rosé that can be paired with the food. Fair warning: this place is wildly popular, so book well ahead.

3/1 MacGregor Street, Wilston
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Maya

Eleven Rooftop Bar has been relaunched as Maya, a pop-up Mexican restaurant designed to neatly slot into the stage-three easing of Queensland’s coronavirus restrictions. The result is a 90-seat open-air eatery serving a Queensland-produce-driven menu that explores a variety of Mexican influences, from the Pacific-inspired food of the north-west to the Caribbean-inflected dishes of the Yucatan Peninsula. For drinks, there’s an enormous range of tequila; a Mexican-influenced cocktail list (including four different types of Margarita); and an efficient wine list that favours whites, sparklings and vintage champagnes.

Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
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SK Steak & Oyster

No prizes for guessing what’s on the menu here. SK is restaurateur Simon Gloftis’s second restaurant at The Calile Hotel, after Hellenika. But where Hellenika focuses on the delicate flavours of Greek cuisine, SK focuses on big and bold ingredients such as dry-aged beef and prestige seafood. Start your meal with a prawn cocktail, or push the boat out and get a bug or lobster variant. Next, try oscietra caviar or oysters with champagne mignonette. For mains, dry-aged duck could do you nicely – but the pull of Wagyu steak is difficult to resist. The room is expansive and so is the wine list. If you’re after New York steakhouse glamour, this is where you’ll find it.

Ada Lane James Street, Fortitude Valley
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Same Same

And it’s another coup for The Calile Hotel and its Ada Lane dining precinct. Same Same is the successor to Longtime, one of Brisbane’s most celebrated Thai restaurants, which became a functions venue back in November 2019. And as the name would imply, none of Longtime’s DNA has fundamentally changed, it’s just been refined. The service is sharper, the space is more beautiful inside and out (though some may prefer the mismatch and darker palette of the old restaurant), and the food – courtesy of a new charcoal fire pit – is more vibrant than ever. New dishes include grilled chicken with lemongrass and shallots, and grilled pork neck with toasted rice. Old favourites such as beef short rib and som tum (green papaya salad) have had their spice levels dialled up, in a good way.

Shop AM3 Ada Lane 46 James Street, Fortitude Valley

Pasta Club

Pasta Club is Leila Amirparviz and Darcy Adam’s follow-up to CJ’s Secret Pasta Club, which closed earlier this year. It’s a dark, ambient, retro-inspired room that feels cosy and intimate (there’s even a record player – yes, you can BYO vinyl). The short menu changes depending on the produce available, but expect small plates of fresh burrata, truffled mushroom arancini and house-made focaccia, followed by a few vegetable dishes and a trio of pastas.

237 Boundary Street, West End
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El Planta

Adrienne Jory and Rick Gibson had always struggled to find good plant-based tacos in and around Brisbane. Their solution? El Planta. On the menu is a bunch of vegan tacos, including roasted and flame-grilled cauliflower with toasted cashews and cascabel salsa; blistered eggplant with cashew crema, salsa macha and toasted peanuts; and jackfruit with adobo sauce, grilled pineapple and salsa verde. Snacks include house-made guac and corn chips, and grilled corn with a chipotle vegan mayonnaise. To drink there’s Mexican beer, a slick selection of wines and a bunch of Latin American-inspired cocktails.

2/58 Hope Street, South Brisbane

Smokey Moo

Finally, Shalom and Wensley Bitton have launched a grown-up version of their celebrated East Brisbane barbeque shack, opening a slick 110-seat restaurant in the Gasworks precinct. Brisket, pastrami, ribs and beef cheeks can be ordered by weight or as part of a platter that comes with sides such as potato-skin chips, coleslaw, cob salad and creamed corn. The meats can also be ordered in sandwiches, and The Dirty Dozen combines all four meats on a platter with fries, caramelised onion, three cheeses and two sauces.

68 Longland Street, Newstead

Stanley

Jonathan Barthelmess is also partially to thank for this one – when he caught up for some beers with chef Louis Tikaram (whose star in the US has been steadily rising), he convinced Tikaram to give Brisbane a shot. Now, we have Stanley (also at Howard Smith Wharves). It’s a Cantonese-inspired restaurant that prioritises attention to detail and letting the quality of local produce speak for itself. The star dish is the Cantonese-style roasted duck (which takes four days to prep). Other highlights include a dish of steamed Hervey Bay scallops with vermicelli and XO sauce, and painted tropical crayfish lo mein.

5 Boundary Street, Brisbane
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Yoko Dining

All hail Howard Smith Wharves: the riverside precinct has well and truly established a stranglehold on Brisbane’s (and arguably Australia’s) dining conversation. But who can complain when the food’s this good? Yoko Dining is the latest entry from blockbuster restaurateur Jonathan Barthelmess (also of Greca, next door, among other projects interstate and abroad). Dishes include whole steamed reef fish, charcoal chicken with sansho pepper, and toasted rice served with spanner crab, edamame and tobiko (flying-fish roe). This is a hearty and highly snackable take on Japanese food. Choose to sit by the river in one of the long booths, or head inside, where the design is reminiscent of a bento box.

Howard Smith Wharves 5 Boundary Sreet, Brisbane

Little G

Little G has closed in Dutton Park and been reimagined in a fancy tenancy in Woolloongabba’s Drapery development previously home to Paul McGivern’s Corella. Brother-and-sister duo George and Danielle Diacos have carefully lightened the modern and moody space. What hasn’t changed is the selection of pizzas, arancini and rotating Mediterranean-inspired specials such as chermoula lamb ribs and the restaurant’s popular fried chicken. Pizzas include margherita; prosciutto and pear; hot salami with pickled red onion and stracciatella; and mixed mushroom with truffle.

54 Logan Road, Woolloongabba

Potato Boy

Peter Gloftis returns to King Street with Potato Boy, a love letter to the fish’n’chip shops of his youth. The shop has a simple, approachable menu of fish and chips, chip butties, a couple of burgers and a bunch of sides, including calamari, potato scallops, onion rings and house-made pickles. Still, Gloftis has a couple of knockout punches up his sleeve: hand-cut, triple-fried chips, and New Zealand-caught sea perch cooked in a Heston Blumenthal-inspired batter that mixes vodka with beer and three types of flour for super crispy results.

2 King Street, Bowen Hills

Baja

Locals might know Daniel Quinn from his shipping container cafe Milk Box, but he has more than two decades of experiences working in bars and restaurants in Sydney and London. He wanted Baja to reflect his love of Mexico’s food and culture. He’s brought in chef Julio Aguilera, a young gun of the North American dining scene, who’s worked in some of California’s finest restaurants. The menu he’s created includes classics such as a Baja fish taco with beer-battered kingfish and chipotle slaw alongside other refined share plates. Plus, Baja is one of the finest places in Brisbane to try mezcal, tequila’s smoky cousin.

211 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley

Hello Please

Hello Please isn’t exactly new – it opened back in 2016. But since moving into its new digs, just across the road from its original location, it’s felt brand new. Now that it’s moved across Fish Lane to a more permanent location (it used to be beneath a South Brisbane rail overpass) there’s a confidence about Hello Please. That extends to the fit-out, which is sleek and bold in equal measure, offset by a sunny awning that garlands the exterior. On the food front, old favourites such as the crispy chicken ribs are joined by a new dishes such as a Chinese bolognese and a Korean beef tartare.

Fish Lane, South Brisbane

Za Za Ta

This stunning Middle Eastern restaurant and bar blends Victorian-style interiors with Queensland architecture. There is velvet seating, vivid colouring, wooden furniture and globe lighting. Different sections have their own names and themes. The food is equally impressive; the menu is contemporary, plant-based and designed to be shared. Think charcoal eggplant with bullhorn peppers and walnuts, and an oyster mushroom shish cooked on a robata grill. A 100-bottle wine list is split four ways between drops from the Middle East, France, Italy and Australia.

1000 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
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Charboys

When a temporary pop-up stretches into a two-and-a-half-year stint, you know that whatever it’s selling is good. And Charboys’ burgers are very good. So when it announced the closure of its shipping container in the CBD to go somewhere permanently, the excitement was palpable. Now Charboys’ permanent home is in Bulimba on Oxford Street. The space has a straightforward fit-out, stripped back to polished concrete and filled with simple wooden tables. After all, you wouldn’t want to steal any attention away from the burgers. Whether you get the Classic Cheesburger, the Carnivore, the Southern Fried Chicken burger or the Scorcher, it’s nigh on impossible to go wrong.

190 Oxford Street, Bulimba

Rico Bar and Dining

When Matt Moran’s Aria closed in 2019, many wondered what would be made of the space on Eagle Street Pier that housed it. Michael Tassis – who also owns Massimo and George’s Paragon on the Eagle Street Pier – took it over and turned it into Rico Bar and Dining. The result is classy but fun. Echoes of Aria can still be spied in the basic layout, but it now has a completely different feel. There is comfy, casual furniture decked out in soft pinks, greens and greys. The food is Latin American and Spanish inspired. Think pintxos, tapas and paella, with jugs of sangria.

45 Eagle Street, Brisbane