Long gone are the days of trawling the streets of Brisbane for something new and delicious – instead it now seems the city is positively spoiled for choice.
Brisbane’s hospitality sector escaped the pandemic largely unscathed, allowing a slew of new venues to spring up around town. Boasting Insta-worthy interiors, extensive artisanal drink menus, and mouth-watering cuisine, these five new River City restaurants are worth a try in 2022.
Not your typical Italian joint, Sasso draws inspiration from the vintage American trattorias of the 70s. But there’s a modern twist—its sophisticated, low-lit interior features rich wood tables, sparkling marble countertops, and earthy stone tile floors.
On the menu, head chef Gabriele Di Landri (former La Lupa superstar) pumps out tasty shared plates like pizza, pasta, and antipasto. Wash your dish down with a sommelier-selected bottle of red or work your way through the extensive Negroni menu.
A farm-to-table powerhouse, Essa is a new dark and moody venue that’s turning heads on James Street. Esteemed interior designer Craig Channon uses low-key under lighting, black marble tiles, and dark timber banquette seating to evoke an atmospheric vibe—perfect for a date night or casual dinner with friends.
Head chef Phil Marchant (of Gauge fame) uses fresh produce from local farmers to prepare each delectable dish. His eclectic contemporary menu spans pickled kohlrabi with fresh curds and pistachio to spatchcock quail served in brown butter and caper leaves. Save room for the signature dessert: Jerusalem artichoke cream bun.
Rosmarino could be our new Fortitude Valley favourite. Set in the recently renovated Stewart & Hemmant Building, this stylish venue exemplifies industrial chic. Yet the 120-year-old edifice retains its old-school roots—think high ceilings, heavy frame windows, exposed brick walls, and concrete floors. Elements like sage green accents, bright vintage lights, and old-timey antiques add oomph.
As for the food, Italian-born head chef Dario Manca (2015’s Best Young Chef of the Year) creates a refined menu of Haute-Italian cuisine. Our pick? Try the 9+ marble score tri-tip wagyu steak, which is dry-aged for five days in white chocolate then served with pearl onion, black bagna cauda, and nectarine.
Set on a breezy Bulimba rooftop with lush greenery and Bali beach club-style décor, this swanky Southeast Asian venue is a brilliant spot for an open-air meal. When the weather’s nice (not that uncommon in Brissie), staff reel open the retractable roof to give diners a clear view of the sky.
Head chef Arté Assavakavinvong moved over from Melbourne’s legendary Longrain Thai to lead the team at Melrose. Innovative Pan-Asian dishes include spicy Indonesian skewers, sticky tamarind-infused chicken, and turmeric coral trout curry.
The gastronomic gurus behind Same Same, Honto, and Agnes have recently added a new venue to their all-star repertoire: Bianca. Smooth beige hues and peach-infused tiles define the décor, which complements the establishment’s bright orange branding.
Most punters agree the pasta is the star of the show—these fluffy flavoursome creations get handmade each day and come with a tantalizing array of toppings (give the paccheri al pomodoro a go). Save room for their sensational soft-serve gelato, made fresh to order from a fancy Carpigiani machine.
Book a Brisbane Tour with Kiff & Culture
Keen to sample Brisbane’s best culinary haunts on an action-packed day out?
Our Brisbane Artisanal Food & Drink Tour takes you to a curated selection of fab local venues to sample top-quality nosh and imbibe handcrafted booze.