Brisbane's foodiest suburbs 2015

At Longtime restaurant in Fortitude Valley, there is an almost permanent queue snaking out into the alleyway.  Photo: ...
At Longtime restaurant in Fortitude Valley, there is an almost permanent queue snaking out into the alleyway. Photo: Glenn Hunt Photo: Glenn Hunt

As fast as new storeys are added to residential towers, so are restaurants, bars and cafes opening up to service them. Flourishing eat streets around these inner-city suburbs mean you don't have to move far from pre-dinner drinks to a restaurant meal at any budget. These three suburbs, in particular, are guaranteed to slake the thirst and sate the hunger of the most hard core foodie. 

Fortitude Valley

Once Queensland's vice capital, today Fortitude Valley attracts more lovers of libations and food than flesh.

The Valley is not the place to go to for linen tablecloths and candlelight, with just a single hatted restaurant, Gerard's Bistro, residing in the 4006 postcode. The reason for heading to the Valley is for hipster bars and hot restaurants with the most laidback of vibes.

Jerome Batten is behind Gauge in South Brisbane.
Jerome Batten is behind Gauge in South Brisbane. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Longtime opened just off Ann Street last year, and from day one has been explosively popular, with an almost permanent queue snaking out into the alleyway. They turn over the tables 2½ times on weekdays, feeding about 180 diners, while, from Friday to Saturday, more than 350 often come through the doors. 

"At the time we were planning Longtime, the Valley was the only place to offer what we wanted – a laneway experience that was something different – that allowed people to disconnect with outside," co-owner Tyron Simon said.

Not only has the physicality of the Valley physically changed since Longtime opened, with the addition of Bakery Lane to the laneway streetscape, but so has the diner, Simon said.

Contemporary breakfast: Black garlic bread, brown butter and burnt vanilla at Gauge.
Contemporary breakfast: Black garlic bread, brown butter and burnt vanilla at Gauge. Photo: Glenn Hunt

"When we first opened, we had a young demographic, but there's been a shift in the last three or four months, and we are now seeing a wider spread, including an older demographic from suburbs like Ascot and Clayfield."

South Brisbane

South Brisbane has long been touted as the birthplace of contemporary dining in Brisbane, the epicentre South Bank, where the 1988 World Expo opened our minds and sharpened our appetites. An explosion of new developments in South Brisbane is spreading the love as restaurants move into the area to feed the growing population.

The owners of Teneriffe neighbours Beccofino and Sourced Grocer have both recently crossed the river to open new venues beneath the Austin apartments in Grey Street: Julius Pizzeria, owned by Cordell Khoury and Paolo Biscaro of Beccofino; and Gauge and Maker bar, from Jerome Batten of Sourced Grocer.

Batten said it was the idea of being part of the cultural precinct that convinced him that South Brisbane was the place for his second venue.

"I love the cultural precinct of GOMA, the museum and the gorgeous, brutalist old art gallery building. But I always felt there was something missing, that there was an opportunity for something to complement the precinct. There's so many people coming through here, coming to experience music and art and attend exhibitions and I wanted to offer another option."

South Brisbane also has its own two-hatted restaurant at the Gallery of Modern Art. Headed by the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide 2016 Citi Chef of the Year, Josh Lopez, the GOMA Restaurant produces plates that are works of art in their own right.

Fusion food: Asian tacos at Longtime.
Fusion food: Asian tacos at Longtime. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Other openings over the past year include The Spaghetti House, which moved from West End to Little Stanley Street; Bourbon Street; a third Harajuku Gyoza; and bars Tomahawk, The Manhattan Line and Hop & Pickle.

West End

Nudging South Brisbane, the West End is one of Brisbane's most culturally diverse suburbs. Mixing it up with the kebab shops and Vietnamese bakeries is a pick 'n' mix collection of eating and drinking spaces, many with a typical eccentric West End flavour. 

Like its South Brisbane neighbour, West End has been considered ripe for the picking by developers, with Montague Road slated for massive redevelopment in the vein of South Bank's Little Stanley Street.

Haddock, spicy potatoes and poached egg at Gun Shop cafe, West End.
Haddock, spicy potatoes and poached egg at Gun Shop cafe, West End. Photo: Chris Hyde

Another 11,000 residents are predicted to move into the area in the coming years.

Currently, though, West End is still a little rough around the edges, which is what many people love about it. There are loads of cheap eats, including the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide 2016 Best Cheap Eat winner, Bird's Nest Yakitori, where all parts of the chicken, from the skin to the arteries, come on skewers grilled over binchotan coal.

West End is also a magnet for lovers of breakfast, with venues such as the stalwart Gun Shop Cafe and the newer but just as popular Plenty dishing up feta fritters and poached eggs to post-Davies Park market-goers.

An artfully plated dish at GOMA Restaurant.
An artfully plated dish at GOMA Restaurant. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Barflies can slake their thirst at watering holes such as Cobbler and The End, while those who prefer their drinks made from hops patronise new neighbour Brisbane Brewing Co, which recently moved into the precinct.

Pick up your copy of the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide 2016 for $7.99 from participating newsagents or online at brisbanetimes.com.au/goodfoodguide for $9.99 with delivery.