In Food + Drink

Five Of Brisbane’s Best New Restaurants And Bars To Try

Brisbane has a slew of new bars and restaurants with broad appeal. They’re located within its vibrant cultural precinct, which buzzes on a beautiful riverside stretch, dotted along its revitalised wharves and tucked into high-end hotels.

The city has become more like a BrisAngeles than BrisVegas, the ironic yet affectionate term used to describe Queensland’s capital.

Not sure where to start? Below we’ve rounded up five of the best new Brisbane restaurants.

ARC, Howard Smith Wharves

Arc Brisbane restaurants

ARC is near Felons Brewing Co. and Mr Percival in Howard Smith Wharves. Image: ARC / supplied

Wander around the Howard Smith Wharves under the arches of Brisbane’s Story Bridge for a snapshot of the city’s ever-improving vibe. The Wharves are part of a large-scale vision to transform the formerly scrappy and rundown riverside area into a high-profile restaurant precinct.

ARC sits on a curve of the river near to Felons Brewing Co. and Mr Percival’s and has given the Howard Smith Wharves an added sheen.

Head Chef Alanna Sapwell, formerly of Saint Peter in Sydney, champions the local terroir with dishes like spanner crab, gala apple and cranberry hibiscus and Spanish mackerel with zucchini, chilli and native ginger.

Expect one-on-one attention from sommelier Ian Trinkle (ex-Aria) who has curated a 400-strong list of mostly natural wines designed to complement the contemporary Australian menu.

Polpetta, The Fantauzzo

Polpetta Brisbane restaurants

Polpetta is one of four bars and eateries to open in the new The Fantauzzo. Image: Polpetta / supplied

Polpetta is one of four food and beverage outlets to open at The Fantauzzo, the new Art Series Hotel under the Story Bridge.

The Italian kitchen and bar at the six-storey boutique hotel is, like Brisbane itself, laidback and relaxed. Styled after the trattorias that tumble onto the piazzas in Rome, the new casual concept is a top spot to watch the passeggiatta on the promenade.

The six-storey $100 million hotel celebrates the works of acclaimed Australian painter Vincent Fantauzzo – married to actress Asher Keddie – and overlooks the new Howard Smith Wharves’ hub.

The earthy interior – all-natural rock and timber highlights – takes its cues from the soaring sandstone cliff face and surrounding parkland.

Here, taste Polpetta’s namesake dish: veal and pork polpetta, tomato sugo and smoked scamorza with a side of grilled broccolini and smoked almonds. Only after something small? Head to the rooftop terrazza, Fiume, for bar bites.

City Winery

City Winery Brisbane restaurants

City Winery is a boutique micro-winery in inner-city Brisbane. Image: City Winery / supplied

It’s been 160 years since inner-city Brisbane last had a winery.

Enter City Winery, a boutique micro-winery led by Adam Penberthy and winemaker Dave Cush. Cush sources grapes from across Australia’s key growing regions and transforms them into beautifully complex varietals.

The converted warehouse on Wandoo Street in Fortitude Valley feels far from the urban hustle of Brisbane’s busy, buzzy streets. And the wines are a beautiful expression of myriad terroirs and temperaments.

The winery’s cellar doubles as the dining room where chef Travis Crane cooks over charcoal. Listen to the waiter when he recommends the smoked mussel with nduja aioli and brown rice wafer. It pairs well with the 2016 Gerler Chardonnay from Orange.

Hellenika Restaurant & Bar


Hellenika is a Greek restaurant inside the Calile Hotel. Image: Hellenika / Facebook

Hellenika is all tactile concrete curves softened with tasteful plantings and soft finishes. Located in the architectural showstopper that is the Calile Hotel, it’s where the up-from-Sydney and down-from-the-Goldie brigade come for long lunches and big dinners, and where the crowds are as good-looking as this stunning urban resort.

You don’t have to be a guest to dine in at the open-air restaurant where you can order poolside bites like the very bikini-ready zucchini chips. Or for something with a bit more heft, go with the htapodi (grilled octopus) or hirino (salty pork belly with braised leeks).

Sip on a chilled beer or gin and tonic under the midday sun. To buy you time to admire the beautiful people by the people, order a round of Little Greek Sweets to finish.

Maeve Wine


Maeve Wine showcases Brisbane’s quintessential bar culture. Image: Maeve Wine / supplied

If you want to embrace Brisbane’s quintessential bar culture, Maeve Wine is a good place to start.

The trio behind the European-style wine bar comprises Eleonor Cappa (former wine buyer for Movida), Jessie Stevens (of Ol’ School and ex Pier in Rose Bay) and Maris Cook (Hello Please and Ol School), all of whom hail from Brisbane.

The bar is hidden behind the heavy copper doors of the Heritage-listed National Bank building, opposite the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

As a result of its location, the bar has become a popular spot for theatre-goers before or after an evening show. The kitchen, open from 4pm to midnight, aims to deliver great food and wine to the city’s thirsty denizens.

The fact the cast of various shows make cameos in the bar leads to a sort of bonhomie. Sit at a stool, drink at a table, take a deep dive into the wine list.

(Lead image: Polpetta at The Fantauzzo / supplied)

Published 08 April, 2019