First Dates in the CBD | Gourmand & Gourmet

First-date spots in the CBD: our picks

When you finish work at 6 but your hot date is at 7, you’re going to want to keep it central – stick to the CBD.

Known more for its business, shopping and Jojo’s (VALE) than dating, the city is actually home to some of Brisbane’s best first date spots. We don’t claim to be dating experts, but we do know what would impress us, so bring your makeup bag or a change of shirt to work because, baby, we are taking you out!

Alba Bar & Delicatessen

Moody, relaxed and intimate, Alba Bar & Delicatessen is tucked away in Burnett Lane ready to satisfy you and your new bae. Influenced by the pintxos bars of San Sebastian, expect to enjoy fresh produce and bite-sized Spanish morsels paired with unique sherry, wine and cocktails. The menu at Alba changes frequently, but the stars of the show are always shining like the classic Jamon, chorizito and olives.

Lennons Bar and Restaurant

Queen Street. It’s better known for Myer and Sportsgirl than it is for fine dining, but Lennons is the jewel in the Mall crown. Start at the rooftop bar with a glass of wine and some oysters to accompany your awkward small talk, then wander into the restaurant and choose from main plates like wild mushroom risotto, or the wagyu meatball linguini to go full Lady and the Tramp.  


Named the “Best Date Night” in Queensland in the Delicious 100 list for 2018, this Italian hotspot is rivalled by few. Taking a modern-Australian approach to traditional Italian cuisine, the menu at Persone boasts a fresher, lighter take on the classics we all love. Encouraging guests to enjoy “the good life,” the team at this inner-city spot work hard to ensure you leave with the happiest of food babies. Most dishes are served share-style, making it the perfect place to get your feast on with your new special persone.

Red Hook

Want to suss out quickly if they’re a keeper? Don’t mind getting messy? If you believe a person’s character is defined by how many fried pickles they can down, then Red Hook is for you. With classic items like Philly cheese steaks, NYC hot dogs, and kaarage chicken burgers, Red Hook might not be fine dining, but it’s undeniably delicious. Impress your date by unhinging your jaw and swallowing a cheeseburger whole – if they’re not impressed, they’re not for you. Also – The Gresham is next door, so whether it’s a success or a bust – celebrate or commiserate with an Old Fashioned or five.

Donna Chang

If you’re really wanting to impress, Donna Chang will take your date night to an insanely lavish level. Relax in their dining space, decked out with pastel plush booths, glimmering chandeliers, marble tables, and lush greenery. Unlike Jerry Seinfeld’s brief girlfriend, this Donna Chang will spoil you for choice with their $128 banquet option, featuring grilled Moreton Bay bugs with salted duck egg and fermented chilli, scallop and prawn wontons with aged black bean, salted olive and spring onion roll. Don’t get us started on their decadent desserts…

Malt Dining

Three is no crowd when it comes to the three distinct dining spaces inside Malt Dining. Whichever level you pick, the cellar for private dining, the bar, or the dining floor, you’ll find a rustic menu with an emphasis on share-style plates. A fusion of global flavours, stand out items include fried bao with stracciatella, heirloom tomato and black sesame goma, or charred octopus with pork hock, gochujang, corn, pear and white rabbit.

Comuna Cantina

Sharing is caring, and what better way to prove you’re a giver – not a taker – than by dining at Comuna Cantina? Prove your culinary skills by assembling a Masterchef-worthy feast from their DIY taco board, or get your hands dirty with some loaded pulled pork nachos. Wash it down with a jug of sangria, or go full out by pimping up your espresso martini with Tim Tams or Nutella.


So now you know where to go all you need is a new outfit, some fun ice breakers and, well, a date. Just don’t ask us where to find one – we’re in a committed relationship with food.

Words by Emma Callaghan and Elizabeth Markwell
- the gourmands with love on the brain and food on the fork.