The dining scene in Brisbane is only getting better, but that doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune to enjoy it.
By Jac Taylor
The capital city of Queensland – known as Australia's Sunshine State – delivers alfresco dining, warm evenings and a sophisticated range of eateries. Even better news is that cheaper options, from hawker-style street food to clever takes on fast-food favourites, can keep your dining budget down while still offering some of Brisbane's best flavours.
More of Brisbane's tastiest sights
This is fast food done by celebrity chef Neil Perry, and it's one of the cheapest ways to sample his famous food. Burger Project is all about provenance, with ingredients including Cape Grim beef from Tasmania (thought to be among the best grass-fed beef in the world). Your Aussie burger (with beetroot and special sauce, AUD$10.90) may come on a plastic tray, and your wine in a plastic cup, but this is a world away from the plastic food of many fast food chains. Shop 1, Cnr Grey & Tribune St, Southbank, Brisbane
Can you eat celebrity chef food on a reasonable budget? In Brisbane you can. At the beautifully appointed Treasury Casino you'll find a selection of excellent eateries, including Fat Noodle, where Vietnamese-Australian chef Luke Nguyen offers his renowned 20-hour Fat Pho Noodles for just AUD$24. Order your meal and enjoy it in the Treasury's grand dining room, where you dine under an extravagant hanging garden of more than 3000 chopsticks. Treasury Casino Building (Level 1, George Street corner), Queen Street Brisbane City
The newest trend in Brisbane is its growing laneway culture, and the ongoing star of the trend is Red Hook. In line with the city's love affair with American-style bar food and beers, homesick visitors from the USA will love finding affordable Brooklyn cheeseburgers, Budweisers and Philly cheesesteaks, but Australian multiculturalism shines through with char sui pork tacos and karaage chicken. This slick venue’s best bargain is its famous one kilogram (13 ounces) of buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce for AUD$13. It's only available on Wednesdays. Shop 3, 88 Creek Street, Brisbane City
It really is possible to have fresh, authentic Japanese cuisine at reasonable prices, as the many local fans of this cosy, bustling little eatery, Izakaya Kotobuki, will attest. Bop along to the Japanese pop music and order anything you like from the electronic tablets at the table. Even the full set menus are only priced from AUD$9.50 to AUD$17.50, for sizzling wagyu beef with all the trimmings, including miso soup, edamame, rice and salad. The fusion sushi rolls are also popular, with a full "spider roll" of soft-shell crab, crab meat and cucumber costing only AUD$14.93 Albert Street, Brisbane City
Eat Street Markets
A wonderful mix of market stalls, street food eateries, fairy lights and a festive atmosphere, set in an atmospheric waterside disused shipping container terminal, the Eat Street Markets (pictured) really are Brisbane at its fun, eclectic and affordable best. An entry fee of AUD$2.50 will buy you live entertainment and food from around the world, including Mexican quesadillas, Spanish paella, German sausages, Asian dumplings and fresh local seafood. The markets run every Friday and Saturday night, and Sunday lunchtimes in winter. Take a short ferry ride to the Northshore Hamilton terminal to view the city lights from the water and really make an evening of it. 99 MacArthur Avenue, Hamilton
In Australia, "good tucker" is slang for good food, and Tuckeria is a taqueria (taco eatery) offering just that. Tuck into hearty, generously served favourites such as tacos, burritos and sauce-smothered enchiladas, and still have change from a AUD$20 note. The most expensive item is the Dirty Nachos, a dish piled high with black beans, rice, cheese, salsa and a big dollop of guacamole for AUD$18. Nearby in the trendy Fortitude Valley pedestrian mall, you'll also find Tuckeria’s funky little Burrito Shack, a modern little food stall serving AUD$5 tacos. 421 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley
Some of Brisbane's most fashionable eateries don't even have a fixed address. The city's food trucks are where you'll find up-to-the-minute culinary trends delivered to happy crowds of locals. Choose from roast pumpkin and chorizo pasta from The Pasta Cruiser, Brazilian street food from Vira Lata or the schnitzel with aioli from Pirate's Plate. You can find out each truck's daily location by following them on Facebook, or join locals in the know and jump on Brisbane's Food Trucks website.
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