We love our food and dining out and it always plays a very big part of any journey we are on. We are just as happy in a Michelin star restaurant as we are eating from a street vendor in Bangkok and in fact it is quite often the case that the lower the expectation the higher the satisfaction.
Choosing where to dine when you are on holiday can be a minefield. Many a time we have wandered the streets for what seemed like hours looking at restaurants with them not looking quite right, only to settle on one which ended up a disappointment. We have honed our skills now when it comes to finding where we want to eat and rarely do we leave the hotel without a shortlist of 2 or 3 options to check out. Coming up with that shortlist can be challenging but fun and one of my best tips is to speak to the locals. Whilst the hotel concierge or the guidebooks or other travellers can give you often worthy advice, nothing beats local knowledge. On more than one occasion my wife Rachel has rolled her eyes at me as I’m engaged in conversation with a taxi driver, shopkeeper or a random person in a coffee shop or bar about their favourite place to eat, usually with the caveat that it is somewhere they take their friends and family.
After savouring the flavours of the local cuisine when travelling, we always look to recreate our food experiences in the local restaurants of our home city. There is nothing better than being able to relive your holiday food memories whilst dining in your favourite local haunt.
So, what better place to share our Top 5 restaurant recommendations based on our travel experiences and where we like to eat than in our home town of Brisbane.
From Japan to the Middle East and India to Italy My World Travel Concierge’s choices for Brisbane’s Top 5 places to eat are:
Gerards Bistro is without doubt our current go-to restaurant when we want a beautiful meal and to show Brisbane dining off to our visitors. Located in James Street in Fortitude Valley, the menu offers an eclectic fusion of influences from some of the most flavourful cuisines in Southern Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. The menu offers a variety of share plates and is constantly changing, ensuring an evolving variety of the freshest ingredients. As such there is no guarantee it will be on the menu but our current favourites are Coal-grilled octopus with green strawberry, butter, almond, chilli and smoke or Suckling pig with roasted plum, morcilla puree, smoked almond and perilla. Why not start at their little sister wine bar, Gerard’s Bar, immediately behind the restaurant for a glass of wine and some Spanish inspired charcuterie.
We first discovered this little gem in Morningside but just recently they have relocated to Oxford Street, Bulimba. It is one of our all-time favourite casual restaurants that we often frequent for either lunch or dinner. Serving up true flavours of Vietnam it is hard to go past their fresh spring rolls for a starter dipped in Hoisin sauce. Their specialty however is their Pho noodle soup and my choice is always the Spicy Beef Pho. My wife however often opts for the lemongrass chicken salad, a refreshing mix of vermicelli noodles, bean sprouts lettuce and herbs. You’ll never leave here hungry but you will leave here hankering to visit Vietnam.
What a find this little place was, tucked away above an Indian supermarket in Wooloongabba. You enter via the supermarket and follow the neon lights up the stairs. They serve up vegetarian Indian street food and is possibly the tastiest you’re likely to eat outside of India. On our first visit we were the only diners there that weren’t Indian and straight away we knew the food must be good. Food is ordered at the counter and they only accept cash but for our family of 3 it is normally under $50, unless I get carried away with ordering which I often do. We always order the Thali to share, a mixture of curries, dahl with bread and then some of our favourites are Chutney Pani Puri or Samosa Chole Chat.
Eat Street Markets
What started out as a short term festival near Portside, Hamilton made out of shipping containers, has developed into one of the busiest places to be in Brisbane on a Friday or Saturday night. Open Friday and Saturday from 4pm – 10pm and Sundays 11am – 3pm, it is best to get there early if you have children as it gets very busy and seats can be hard to find. It is a mix of a small craft market, bars, entertainment and of course food. There’s a vast array of everything you could imagine all served up out of refurbished shipping containers. Whether it’s Mexican, Hungarian, Malaysian, Italian, South American, Seafood or Desserts, you can get it here. Wander around and salivate at the choices before grabbing a beer and a plate or three of your favourites and sit down and take in the music and the atmosphere. A Brisbane must do!
Tucked away on the backstreets of Morningside, Mama Ferrari’s is a pizza restaurant for the locals. With only outside dining, it lends itself beautifully to Brisbane’s balmy evenings and has space for the kids to run around and play as well. Serving up some of the best pizza we’ve had outside of Italy, which is a very big statement I know, we love an early dinner here. Our favourites are the Koh Panang – Thai Red Curry sauce, Snapper, local prawns, snow peas, capsicum, and Spanish onion, topped with fresh coriander and bean sprouts and Diavolo – Napoli sauce, Mama’s ground beef, Pepperoni, olives, capsicum, Spanish onion, chilli, and jalapenos.
There are many others that could have made this list including Stokehouse Q, Curryville, The Bun Mobile, Il Centro and Newstead Brewery but we settled on those we eat at most often.
We would love to hear where you like to eat out from a special occasion to your favourite place to take the kids and everything in between!
Leave us your comments and we’ll be sure to add them to our must try list.