Brisbane’s Best New Restaurants To Try (Updated 2023)

portrait of hotel concierge
10 minutes Jul 17th, 2022
a table filled with food and cocktails

In the past few years, Brisbane has rapidly become one of Australia’s most happening cities. And like everything that’s increasing in popularity, there’s been a flood of restaurants popping up all over the place.

Even if you’ve been before, chances are you’ll be staggered by the variety and quality of new restaurants that have recently bloomed in sun-drenched Brisbane. So get your knife and fork ready, and let’s take a deep dive into Brisbane’s best new restaurants – with food to die for.

Best of all, you won’t have to travel far to enjoy these gems – they’re all within 15 minutes’ drive from Punthill Spring Hill, so you can be back to the hotel in no time after dining in one of the gorgeous establishments we’ve scouted for you.

Gemelli, Fortitude Valley

the interior of an italian restaurant in brisbane



Gemelli (‘twins’ in Italian) was originally a Gold Coast restaurant which has just made the move to Brisbane. Their ethos is based on freshness and authenticity, even sourcing products from Italy.

With its warm timber and rattan aesthetic, Gemelli is the perfect place for a gathering. The menu is unpretentious yet intense, featuring traditional favourites made with meticulous care and expertise.

Starting with the antipasti, highlights include Arancini al funghi, with mixed mushrooms, buffalo mozzarella, truffle oil and parmesan. Or why not try the Fiori di zucca, pan-fried stuffed zucchini blossoms with ricotta and anchovy served with slow-cooked caponata?

You can’t get more traditional than a wood-fired pizza – but it’s a dish that’s so hard to get right. Gemelli’s pizza menu highlights include Pescatore (Fior di latte, prawns, calamari, garlic oil
& parsley), and the ultra-indulgent Principessa (Fior di latte, gorgonzola, provolone, dried figs, and 24-month aged prosciutto di parma).

Of course, Italian’s all about the pasta, and Gemelli doesn’t disappoint with the superb Rigatoni Salsicce (Homemade fennel, pork and chilli sausage, olives, roast capsicum, chilli, and napoli sauce).

If you’re here with a group, you’ll also be tempted to dive into the banquet options, with a set menu including such delicacies as Rigatoni ragu (a succulent eight-hour slow-cooked oxtail and pork shin stew).


Essa, Fortitude Valley

a waiter pouring a cocktail in a restaurant



In this stunningly unconventional new Brisbane restaurant, Head Chef and co-owner Phil Marchant seeks to create plates and an experience that warrants a repeat visit, while showcasing the work of farmers, hunters and providores.

The menu varies, with seasonal highlights including wood fired Mooloolaba tiger prawn; raw kingfish, hazelnut miso, caper leaf, and cumquat; or smoked potato agnolotti, parmesan & kombu emulsion, with guanciale. For dessert, you’ll be treated to delicacies such as chocolate sorbet, charred orange marmalade, liquorice, and rye.

But remember, this is only a small sample of the amazing variety and inventiveness you’ll encounter at Essa. As the chefs at Essa say, ‘our menu is seasonal and can change daily depending on the produce available to us from our growers.’ It’s a great reminder of the embrace of seasonality at this unique establishment.

And if you’re after a more communal experience, why not try Essa’s Sunday School, billed as ‘Kind of like a family roast but a bit more boozy’? It’s a great way to sample Essa’s unique delights in a social atmosphere.


Revel Rivermakers Restaurant, Morningside

a plate filled with hamburgers, steaks and fries



Attached to this brewery is a restaurant that offers that perfect ‘food to go with some of the world’s best beers’ experience. It’s a menu for comfort, not experimentation – and all the better for it! As a cavernous, family-friendly space, come to the restaurant for a great social outing, not a quiet, intimate dinner.

As you’d expect, the cuisine is perfectly tailored to go with your brew of choice, which means maximum heartiness and bold flavours. The burger menu’s front and centre – and since meat-free’s getting increasingly popular, why not try the plant-based burger with vegan aioli and cheddar? Or perhaps you’d like to go ultra-traditional, and opt for the Works Burger with beer-candied bacon, aged cheddar, pineapple, and beetroot (among its many other charms).

What about the mains? Well, there’s a couple of standouts – the grass-fed sirloin is as juicy and cooked to perfection as you’d expect from a pub classic, while the classic chicken breast parmigiana with Napoli sauce is the perfect accompaniment to an ice-cold lager.

To accompany all this full-on pub fare, you’ll (of course) be able to choose from a wide selection of beers from Revel River, including such brews as Heritage Haze and Neo-Mexicanus Black IPA.


NOTA, Paddington

using cutlery to cut into fancy food at a restaurant



Accommodating up to 60 people sit-down or 90 people cocktail style, NOTA is quite an intimate restaurant with a serene ambience. Chefs Sebastiaan and Kevin explain their philosophy as ‘a celebration of great ingredients’ with ‘simple yet satisfying meals’.

The emphasis is on community, with each dish designed to be shared. While these are liable to change, current delicacies include the Ham hock and foie gras pressé with quince and focaccia; the Casa Motta Buratta with house salad and caramelised balsamic; and the Brisbane Valley quail with sweet corn polenta and burnt butter jus.

For those dining with a group, why not try the Chef’s feast for $95 per person? Designed to be shared among the whole table, one of the feast’s highlights is the Fraser Isle Spanner Crab pasta – or for a more traditional feel, the Black Onyx steak may be just right.

The wine list is perhaps most notable for its emphasis on dessert wines – for example, the Emilio Lustau Pedro Ximénez Murillo is a perfect accompaniment to Nota’s Chocolate fondant with vanilla ice-cream.


Melrose, Bulimba

light meals sitting on a table with wine



Promising to ‘escape the ordinary’, Melrose offers Indian and Thai-inspired dining under the open air. Offering a beautiful and memorable family dining experience, the menu showcases contemporary Asian dishes with handmade sauces – all sourced from as close to Bulimba as possible.

To start with something distinctive, try the Pomelo betel leaf with lemongrass, lime leaf, and crispy shallot. Then, perhaps move onto the crispy enoki mushroom with soy caramel and sticky rice. For a larger experience, why not order the Crispy Borrowdale pork belly, with green nahm jim and green apple salsa for a unique flavour combination.

Of course, with the strong Thai focus, curries are a particular focus. The Fried tempeh and tofu rendang, with young jackfruit and curry leaf, is a pungent ode to the country’s traditional flavours.

The restaurant’s signature dessert is the black rice with mango and coconut crepe cake, a genuinely striking taste experience. From start to finish, Melrose will immerse you in evocative and unforgettable tastes.


Hibiscus Room, Brisbane City

pizza and cocktails sitting on the table outside



With its sun-drenched, terracotta-paved environment of umbrella-shaded dining, the Hibiscus Room makes the most of Brisbane’s natural dining environment, being ‘Brisbane’s new go-to for cocktails and classic Aussie fare’. It’s a great contender for one of the most surprising new restaurants in Brisbane City.

The house’s signature cocktail is the Hibiscus (Sour 20, 42 Below, Rhubi Rhubarb, Hibiscus, and Lemon). Or for the ultimate tropical beverage experience, give the Coconut and Pineapple Mojito, with Bacardi, Black Cockatoo coconut rum, pineapple, and lime a shot. If your tastes run to wine, the Hibiscus Room’s capacious list is a cornucopia of esteemed Australian reds and whites, sprinkled with some European marvels.

The food menu, meanwhile, goes heavy on tradition. We mean it – for example, check out the famous Wonder Pies by Ray Capaldi (at the time of writing, the Pie of the Day is Peas and gravy). For a special with a local flavour, perhaps the Southern Queensland lamb loin chops with coriander and mint jelly will do the trick.

In line with the restaurant’s unpretentiousness, there’s a natural choice from the dessert menu – the Pavlova, served with seasonal Queensland fruit.


Lina Rooftop, South Brisbane

a bowl of oysters on a table with wine



This is one of the most spectacular rooftop bars, with an open-air terrace and prestige restaurant – all capped off with an infinity pool with priceless views of South Brisbane’s skyline.

Right from the entrees, you know you’re somewhere special. The freshly shucked live oysters with veuve mignonette dressing is a perfect place to start; then, move on to the Kingfish Crudo, with sweet pickled fennel, pomegranate, orange infused white wine reduction, and fennel leaves.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth for beverages, one of the house’s greatest creations is the Melada Fizz, with Joseph Carton Apricot Brandy, Leatherwood Honey & Apricot Jam, and Prosecco.

The stunning grill selection is an event in itself, with the Seafood tasting plate featuring such delicacies as freshly shucked oysters, Mooloolaba king prawns, lina and snapper ceviche, and chef’s choice sashimi. For dessert, the Chocolate Marquise with berries, honeycomb, and raspberry powder is a miniature masterpiece.


Stratton Bar & Kitchen, Newstead

three types of dishes on a table with cocktails



Featuring a barrel-vaulted dining and bar area with plant-filled atrium, this modern industrial venue also boasts a dedicated function space for casual or formal dining. This loud and fast-paced venue – actually converted from a pair of WWII aircraft hangars – is perfect for anyone seeking an unforgettably distinctive dining experience, from couples to groups.

Boasting a distinctive Asian fusion theme, the restaurant’s signature dishes include spice salted squid with yuzu and garlic aioli; or the kimchi-heavy Korean pork pull-apart milk bun.

A rich vegetarian dish is a standout among the larger plates – the Tofu and sweet potato massaman curry, which will warm your bones and stick to your ribs. And don’t forget the noodle options, with green tea soba noodles with chicken and green miso one of the standouts. Wash it all down with one of the house’s elaborate mocktails – for example, a Watermelon Spritzer with Lyres Aperitif Rosso, Lyres Italian orange, watermelon, and soda.

It’s tough to pick a highlight among the sterling dessert selection, but it’s hard to go wrong with the Coconut panna cotta with rum and pineapple granita.


Cartel Del Taco, Hawthorne

fresh ingredients on tacos



Inspired by real Mexican street food, Cartel Del Taco is a vibrant new Brisbane restaurant with intense tacos, abundant share plates, and diverse vegetarian options. With a combination of local and Mexican ingredients, Executive Chef and Co-Owner Eric Martinez has created a menu inspired by the flavours of Mexico City. It’s a great place for a cheerful lunch or dinner, and kids are most welcome too.

If you’re ravenous, try the pescadillas – deep-fried quesadillas filled with red snapper and served with pico de gallo, salsa valentina and lime. Or you might prefer the octopus tostadas – slow-cooked octopus, salsa bruja, coriander, onion, lime, mayonnaise and a homemade secret spicy sauce … all served on two crunchy corn tortillas, made with that indefinable expertise.

And for the main, we recommend the lamb barbacoa shank with pasilla chilli, pumpkin puree, charred onions, and nopales (all served with corn tortillas).

The tacos are out of this world, with a signature variety being the Vegan Pastor (Jackfruit marinated in pastor guajillo and ancho chilli adobo, served with pineapple, onion and coriander).

Wash these flavour bombs down with your choice of cocktail from their insanely creative selection. How could you resist a refreshing concoction that’s irreverently entitled Busting My Mandarins, with Patron Añejo, tangerine, mandarin, citrus, and ginger?


Downtown Istanbul, Hawthorne

gozleme on a wooden board with vegetables on the side



A flavour of Turkey’s just the ticket in this great value establishment, which brings Middle Eastern cuisine to family dining. It’s perfect for a busy, social catch-up with family or friends … or a tasty take-away option.

Starting off with the Mezze shared plates, our pick is the Sigara Borek, hand-rolled filo with feta, mozzarella, spinach, parsley and garlic yoghurt. To go with it, the Mercimek Corbasi (traditional lentil soup) is a sure-fire winner.

The burger menu’s amazing – case in point, the haloumi burger with sweet potato and red capsicum – but it’s the char grill that’s probably the source of that delectable smell that grabs your attention right out on the street. So, what about diving into the Garlic prawn skewers, charcoal-grilled and marinated in a blend of garlic and lemon?

We haven’t even covered the impressive selection of mains (highlight: the Pilic Sehrazat, char-grilled chicken breast with beetroot, creamy mushroom sauce, and rice pilaf) and pides (the Kiyamali pide, with ground beef, capsicum, onion, tomato, and parsley, as one of many shining examples).

And given this, one of the best new budget Brisbane restaurants, is called Downtown Istanbul, do I even need to list the unmissable dessert? It’s the traditional Turkish Delight, of course, made with rose petals and fresh berries. (Don’t worry – plenty of others on the menu are tailor-made for your sweet tooth, too.)


Armed with this plethora of superb new restaurants in Brisbane city, you’ll be spoiled for choice when you next choose to hit these sunny streets.