Our favourite new restaurants of 2019 | Gourmand and Gourmet

Our favourite new restaurants of 2019

2019 was a good year to be hungry.

The last 12 months saw a variety of delicious new players enter the Brisbane food scene. From fresh fine-dining spots to your new local fish ‘n’ chippery, the range of flavours on offer are astounding… 

One Fish Two Fish | Kangaroo Point

Since its opening in February, seafood lovers from across Brisbane have flocked to this spot like seagulls! Serving up classic fish ‘n’ chips with love and offering some gourmet eats, One Fish Two Fish has something for everyone in your school of fish to enjoy. Oh and did we mention their dedicated potato menu? 

Corella | Woolloongabba 

March saw Corella march into the dining scene, bringing contemporary Australian flavours and a moody but inviting interior to the Drapery building in Woolloongabba. Corella offers sleek, modern Australian fare with an emphasis on local and native produce, and also boast an extensive wine list, handpicked to suit the venue and food.

Mosconi | Fortitude Valley

Mosconi opened in March, aiming to deliver just three things. Those things were good food, good wine and good hospitality, and we can safely say they hit the mark on all three. Mosconi prepares modern European dishes with love, and encourages sharing and group dining. 

joy. | Fortitude Valley 

The Valley scored yet another dining hotspot in March, with the arrival of joy. Seating a maximum of ten diners at once, joy. provides a highly intimate dining experience between diners and the two chefs, Tim and Sarah Scott. Laden with Japanese and Nordic influences, the nine-course tasting menu offers a bespoke selection of gourmet bites. The eats on offer are ever-evolving but are always a perfect match with the concise beverage list.

Signature | South Bank

Just when we thought Emporium Hotel couldn’t get any classier, Signature opened its doors in May. The sleek modern Australian menu has an emphasis on premium Aussie produce. Signature (sorry) dishes include blueberry-cured ocean trout with heirloom tomato, verjus cucumber, blueberry and crème fraiche, Flinders Island lamb with globe artichoke, glazed shallots, zucchini and black olive, and chestnut pudding with Tasmanian leatherwood honey and buttermilk.

Brisbane Phoenix | CBD

Things got unseasonably hot in winter with the arrival of Phoenix at Brisbane Quarter. After making a name for itself across Sydney for over 20 years, us Brisbanites practised our chopsticks skills and embraced Phoenix with open arms when it made the move to our city. Phoenix specialise in yum cha during the day and seafood at night, and we suggest starting with their unique beef and coriander soup before diving into salt and chilli soft-shell crab, green lip abalone, coral trout, or snow crab mains.

Za Za Ta | Fortitude Valley

Brisbane got a feast from the Middle East in August with the opening of Za Za Ta. Sitting pretty inside the Valley’s Ovolo hotel, Za Za Ta is inspired by Tel Aviv and is dripping in pazzazz. The fare on offer is a flavour bomb of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean profiles carefully crafted by chefs Roy Ner and Dario Manca. A brief raw and cured menu leads you into nibbles and snacks where you can find the likes of fried goats cheese pretzel with house lamb bacon and yolk aioli, wagyu bits with pickled sugarloaf cabbage and crispy prawn bites. 

Baja | Fortitude Valley

August also saw Baja arrive in the Valley, ready to deliver honest northern Mexican flavours with seasonal Queensland produce. Designed to be a fun and friendly restaurant with a focus on shared cuisine, Baja adds their own modern, unique spin on Mexican fare. We recommend getting your hands dirty with an array of tacos, before finishing with the raspado con leche.

Ciao Papi | CBD

Starting as an exciting pop-up restaurant in August before announcing it was sticking around for good, Ciao Papi is a much-loved part of Howard Smith Wharves’ dining landscape. The simple-but-effective menu features casual Italian bites like rigatoni with slow-braised ragu and whole grilled john dory with lemon and olive oil. For a bit of tasty nostalgia, Ciao Papi’s orange and Campari granita tastes like a boozy grown-up zooper dooper, and recently made it onto our Brisbane’s coolest summer desserts list

Beaux Rumble | Fortitude Valley

October saw the opening of Beaux Rumble – a concrete jungle where foodie dreams are made of. Inspired by the New York dining scene and the Beaux-Arts architecture of Grand Central Station, James Street’s Beaux Rumble is dishing up some unbelievable eats, with imaginative and innovative ingredients and flavours aplenty. The open-aired kitchen dishes up contemporary eats using wood, smoke and fire, and we strongly recommend ordering a multitude of dishes (like, say, everything on the menu), such as the whole roasted Victorian rainbow trout with sunchokes, asparagus, pine nuts, and grapes.

Rico Bar & Dining | CBD

Rico arrived on Eagle St Pier in October, blending classic Spanish and Latin flavours, ingredients and dishes with nothing but the highest standard of Aussie produce. Taking over the prime riverfront location where Matt Moran’s Aria used to sit, Rico has an open, breezy interior accented with salmon pink banquettes, touches of greenery, and luxe bronze elements. The extensive menu is split into a selection of smaller plates like oysters, picadas, pintxos and tapas, and mains like paella, racione, steaks and fresh seafood. 

Shishou | Fortitude Valley

Brisbane’s first-ever sushi degustation restaurant rolled into the scene in October. They say the best things in life come in small packages, and Shishou is proving this true with its intimate 12-seat eatery and three multi-course menus. Guaranteed to satisfy your sumo-sized appetite, prepare to taste fresh Tokushima wagyu with foie gras and truffle, miso-glazed black cod, Japanese bluefin tuna, and a matcha macaron filled with green tea cream and adzuki beans. 

Il Gancio | Nundah

The exciting new dining precinct UPSTAIRS at Toombul opened in November, and with a name that means ‘the hook,’ it’s no wonder that Il Gancio captured our attention. We can’t go past the delightful Hervey Bay scallops topped with smoked crispy pancetta, herbed butter and flying fish roe and the irresistible seafood linguine stuffed with wild-caught prawns and New Zealand shelled mussels. 

Stanley | CBD

Cantonese-inspired Stanley arrived at Howard Smith Wharves in November, bringing class, culture and punchy flavours riverside. Head chef Louis Tikaram brought his expertise from across the globe to Stanley, resulting in an extensive, inventive and creative menu and drinks list. The salt and pepper QLD banana prawns with chili and coriander pack a seriously yummy punch, as does the kung pao hot and numbing chicken. Pro tip: finish your meal with the “Splice” dessert of fresh pineapple, vanilla gelato, lime and pineapple granita. 

Yoko | CBD

Japanese, but not as you know it. The highly-anticipated Yoko opened shop at Howard Smith Wharves in November, offering light and fresh Japanese fare – a perfect palette to match the prime riverfront position. Inspired by his past experiences in Japan, Jonathan Barthelmess (the brain behind neighbouring Greca) designed Yoko to be a bustling spot with sweet vinyl spinning all night long, cherry blossom daiquiris and a dedicated raw bar where you’ll find the likes of scallop with yuzu kosho and silken tofu to hiramasa kingfish with sesame and cucumber. 

Bender’s Bar | South Brisbane

Well, November was a bit delicious, wasn’t it? In an exciting foodie move, Billykart’s Ben O’Donoghue (known as Bender to his mates) and Ben Roberts took their infamous cheeseburger, moved across the street, and opened a completely burger-devoted joint, aptly named Bender’s Bar. The chilled-out 80-seater is designed to be your new neighbourhood pub, coasting a casual and concise menu of five juicy burgs, from that infamous cheeseburger to the tasty crumbed fish burger. Get a bit snacky with the likes of fries, hot wings and onion rings also on offer. 

 

Every new restaurant of 2019 brought something fresh and exciting to the Brisbane food scene, and we cannot wait to see what 2020 has in store! 

Words by Elizabeth Markwell
- the gourmand who ate damn well this year.