When I first moved to Brisbane in 1990 there were not a lot of dining options and, despite having a number of strong migrant communities, it was pretty hard to find an authentic meal outside people’s own homes. Fast forward to 2017 and the diversity in dining options is as colourful as the world we live in and none more so than the vast array of often excellent Italian food.
This is a round up of some my favourite spots. I know there are some more great ones out there so please feel free to share in comments at the end.
1889 Enoteca – Woolloongabba
1889 Enoteca was probably one of the first places that really raised the bar when it came to Brisbane Italian food. You wont find any garlic bread or Spag Bol here but instead gorgeous authentic dishes in a sophisticated and intimate setting.
Located in the heritage-listed Taylor-Heaslop building (circa 1889) right in the heart of Woolloongabba’s antique and cafe quarter, 1889 Enoteca is an award-winning restaurant that also has a beautiful vinaio, (Enoteca means wine library). It also has a beautiful underground cellar for private dining and functions.
Best for : Ladies that lunch / Anniversary dinner/Private room
Julius Pizzeria – South Brisbane
If you’re a theatre goer or die-hard foodie chances are you’ve been to Julius Pizzeria and if you have then you’re already hooked!
One of Brisbane’s best-loved Italian eateries and located at the end of gastronomy heaven – Fish Lane, Julius is perfect for a quick pre or post Theater meal or a casual group catch up. The pizza’s great, service is brisk and friendly and there’s a great little bar if you need to wait for your table ( walk ins always welcome!)
Best for : Theatre goers/casual catch ups
New Farm Deli – New Farm
Probably Brisbane’s most iconic Deli and much-loved by many, New Farm Deli is a testament to decades of hard work and dedication by the Arnelo family.
With a huge new extension and a staff of over 50 people the Deli remains one of the best places in Brisbane to devour generous home cooked style Italian food and stock up on amazing produce, cakes and delicacies for home as well. You can find us here at least once a week .
Best for : Long lazy lunches/foodies
Pizzalunga da Carlo – Nundah
Pizzalunga da Carlo is fairly new to the Brisbane scene but it’s already created quite an impression. The signature dish is metre long wood fired pizzas which are as delicious as they are huge ! They even do a Nutella desert pizza which I have to say is bloody yummy!!
Located at the back of a new suburban shopping centre and run by a young family you can feel the love and passion in the service and the meals that are coming out of this kitchen. This reminds me a lot of some of the small family run places in the back canals of Venice. They make a mean Aperol Spritz too !
Best for : families and large groups
The Rustic Olive – Redcliffe
A favourite of residents on the Peninsula I was referred to The Rustic Olive by a friend and I can see why it’s so popular!
With a great beachfront location right on the Peninsula and boasting a MASSIVE menu – over 35 pasta dishes! The Rustic Olive will make you feel like you are in Naples dining with the loud local families. And its BYO !
Best for : Large Groups / Families
Vine – New Farm
Vine is a beautiful small suburban bistro run by professional and respected Italian brothers and their loyal team. They produce generous, quality dishes using fresh locally sourced ingredients. We’ve taken quite a few people there over the years and it’s always been a winner. Reliable, consistent and well priced too.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner or even just a quiet drink at the bar. Eating at Vine reminds me of our favourite little trattoria in Florence.
Best for : Date night/small groups
Tartufo – Fortitude Valley
Tartufo is a big beautiful restaurant with a fit out and feel that would not be out of place in Rome. There is a casual pizzeria style space near the bar or you can dine in the a-la-carte dining hall with its beautiful red banquets and white table cloths.
Outstanding service and beautiful elegant food. Regularly booked solid even on week nights – plan ahead !
Best for : Special occasion celebrations
Pennisi Cuisine – Wooloongabba
Not all choices when it comes to Brisbane Italian Food have to involve dining out. Pennisi Cuisine is an old style wholesale food outlet that’s open to the public with fresh and imported produce that’s half the price of the average deli or supermarket.
This is where you can pick up your Balsamic glaze, fresh Porcini mushrooms, Truffle oil and pasta. There is even a huge South American section ! If you need help Mama will happily show you around – just ask her ‘darlin’!
Best for : cooking at home