Aperitivo hour’s over, here’s where to go next!
From linguine allo scoglio to fried zucchini flowers, we are of the camp that truly believes that there is nothing more comforting or warming than a dish filled to the brim with our favourite Italian meal. While a BBQ is good for the weekend, and tapas gets the party started, when your soul needs to be fed just as much as your body, nothing compares to the fuzzy feeling of a homecooked meal from your nonna.
If, like me, you don’t actually have an Italian grandmother (on account of not having any Mediterranean heritage…), we’ve found the next best thing: Brisbane’s best Italian restaurants. These kitchens are home to some of the most talented chefs in Brisbane, serving everything from contemporary dishes to traditional meals, straight from the homeland. In the name of research, we travelled across Brisbane looking for the very best Italian restaurants (it’s a hard job we have, we know). Perfect for everything from date night to solo dining, these are for when you’re in need of a hearty and filling meal (or maybe just an excuse to move from aperitivo-hour cocktails to a whole bottle of wine).
Bella Cosi Modern Italian Restaurant | Chermside
Dining at Bella Cosi is a delicious experience. Fusing traditional cooking methods with modern Italian dining, the result is passionately prepared cuisine that showcases the flavours and textures we have come to know and love in Italian food. The interiors are modern and fresh, favouring the feel of a chic Italian boutique rather than traditional rustic décor, allowing diners to enjoy their experience in comfort. Their exclusive kids’ menu, Belle Bambini, means that the entire family can enjoy fine Italian dining. And, whether you’re vegan, gluten-free or lactose intolerant, their Vegano Italiano menu has been thoughtfully made to cater to specific dietary requirements. While the drinks list features an impressive mix of Italian, Australian and New Zealand wines, you can’t help but be tempted by their mouth-watering selection of cocktails.
Must try: Veal Scaloppine
Bucci | Fortitude Valley
It really shouldn’t come as any surprise that Bucci, arguably one of Brisbane’s most popular Italian restaurants, pops up on this list. Since opening on the energetic and buzzing James St strip in 2012, Bucci has cemented itself as one of the most innovative and exciting restaurants in Brisbane. Drawing inspiration from all of Italy’s food regions (and with clever and unexpected twists), the team create Italian food like you’ve never experienced before. Sourcing only the freshest and best quality local and Italian produce, each dish is a celebration of everything we love about Italian dining. Bucci Bar also boasts an award-winning beverage list of classic Australian and Italian wines, sitting alongside experimental and rare pours.
Must try: Linguine al Granchio
1889 Enoteca | Woolloongabba
Tucked away in the heritage-listed Taylor-Heaslop building in Woolloongabba (circa 1889), 1889 Enoteca is a central part of Woolloongabba’s antique quarter. Serving traditional Italian fare (such as the incredible Romana menu) and hand-made pasta that tastes like the homeland, it’s where those in the know go to for a truly authentic experience. More than just one of Brisbane’s most awarded Italian restaurants, 1889 Enoteca is also a stunning wine bar and vinaio (wine merchant), with an incredible underground cellar ideal for functions and private dining—this is definitely the destination you go to when you want to impress someone special.
Must try: Fiori di Zucca
Beccofino | Newstead
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better pizza this side of Sicily. With sister-venue Julius serving up casual Italian dining in South Brisbane, Beccofino is the slightly classier, more refined older brother where those who know the difference between Cavatelli con Salsiccia and Mezze Maniche alla Genovese go for a feed. Simply settle into one of their booths, sip your way through a bottle of red, and let the waiters take you on a journey through some of Italy’s most loved food-regions.
Must try: Bistecca di Manzo
OTTO Ristorante | CBD
Where do we start with OTTO? One of Brisbane’s most chic and contemporary restaurants, this rooftop destination boasts more than just a killer view: they are also one of Brisbane’s ultimate locations for delicious modern Italian fare. Whether you are hitting them up for aperitivo hour post-work on Friday, or taking full advantage of their BYO Saturday lunches, you’ll be transported to a whimsical world of chic décor and delish dining. An insiders tip: their cocktail list is on our favourites, so make sure you wet your whistle with one of their stunning spritzes.
Must try: Polpo alla Puttanesca
Va Bene | Windsor
Tucked away in Windsor, this unassuming restaurant is one of the north side’s best-kept secrets. Their head chef Francesco comes from the iconic Napoli region, famous for its fresh seafood and homely meals. After travelling Europe on his own culinary adventure, he eventually settled in Brisbane to deliver us some of the most authentic Italian cuisine possible. If you’re game, we recommend you let the staff dictate what you eat—we guarantee you’ll be treated to a truly special dining experience.
Must try: Fettuccine al Nero di Seppia
Knock Knock Gnocchi | Across Brisbane
A new venture from the team at Corbett & Claude, Knock Knock Gnocchi is Italian dining with a difference. The virtual arm of C&C, Knock Knock Gnocchi is an UberEats “restaurant” that is bringing that personal touch back into home-delivery services. With services like UberEats getting more and more popular as we get more and more addicted to staying-in (what can we say? Our pets are at home.), Knock Knock Gnocchi serves all your fave C&C dishes but with a little extra pizazz in the form of a knock knock joke and pun-ny name. Now you can enjoy a chuckle while you sit through your 11th straight episode of The Office…
Must try: Gnocc Your Socks Off
Ristorante La Famiglia | Woolloongabba
Another Woolloongabba fave (clearly there is something in the water down on the south side), Ristorante La Famiglia is like the Italian home you’ve never had. Hailing from Puglia in southern Italy, owner Cosimo de Nichilo draws inspiration from his mother’s traditional recipes and fuses them with his own distinct twist. Favouring simple, hearty meals that warm you from the inside out, over over-complicated and fiddly dishes, the menu at La Famiglia is designed to be enjoyed over and over again.
Must try: Lasagna della Mamma
Tartufo | Fortitude Valley
There’re few things more comforting than the plush, deep booths and expansive interiors of Tartufo. Deeply rooted in family recipes and traditions, owner Tony Percuoco drew from his childhood growing up in Naples in order to develop Tartufo into the iconic dining institution we now know and love. Whether you choose to chow on the classic Neapolitan Pizza in La Pizzeria or tuck into seasonal pasta dishes in Il Ristorante, you won’t be disappointed with their delish offerings.
Must try: Rigatoni alla Siciliana
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