Fortitude Valley:
Restaurants and bars

18 JANUARY 2023

Fortitude Valley is a vibrant and bustling neighbourhood that is home to some of the city's best restaurants. Whether you're in the mood for fine dining, casual eats, or something in between, you'll find abundant options to suit every appetite and occasion.

Restaurant Dan Arnold  

One visit to the exquisite Restaurant Dan Arnold and you’ll understand why it took out the top spot in the delicious.100 list of Queensland’s best restaurants in 2022. Owner and executive chef Dan Arnold’s extensive experience in international Michelin-starred restaurants is on full display in his indulgent French-influenced modern Australian menu, savoured by just 45 guests each night. Choose between three set menus including the “up to the chef!” 8-course feast. For serious foodies, Restaurant Dan Arnold is a must-visit.  

Happy Boy 

For relaxed social dining in Brisbane, you don’t get more bang-for-buck than at the fuss-free Happy Boy. Positioned underneath fairy light lit trees on the outskirts of Fortitude Valley, Happy Boy is a bustling banqueting and drinking hall that celebrates traditional Southern Chinese wok cooking and Guangdong-style barbecue. Indulge in one of Brisbane’s best-value banquets or build your own feast with a selection of small plates, wok dishes and rice and noodle sides. 


Mosconi takes hole-in-the-wall social dining and kicks things up a gear. Located in a quiet side street a stone’s throw from bustling James St, Mosconi’s a la carte menu captures the best of Mediterranean influences and techniques with hyper-local produce. Expect playful takes on classic dishes plus one of Brisbane’s best wine lists that spans Europe’s biggest regions to small batch Australian producers.  


The irony of one of Brisbane’s best restaurants being located in a gritty Fortitude Valley backstreet only adds to its cool-factor. Proudly located “next to the Lounge Lovers loading dock”, hôntô is a must-visit destination for Japanese food lovers. The restaurant offers a sophisticated and modern take on traditional Japanese cuisine, ranging from delicate raw dishes to protein-packed options from the grill. Dimly lit with a sleek, minimalist design, hôntô is perfect for first dates, corporate dinners and milestone celebrations.  

Sushi Room 

Sushi Room at The Calile is a sleek and contemporary restaurant that serves a changing line-up of sushi, sashimi, nigiri and more. A more intimate sibling venue to the neighbouring SK Steak & Oyster and Hellenika, this 60-seater showcases the freshest and highest-quality ingredients with an emphasis on sustainable and local produce. Its minimalist interior design accommodates a mix of intimate and group dining settings that mirrors the kitchen team’s philosophy: nuanced, considered, harmonious.  


The hype surrounding ESSA has remained since its much-anticipated opening in 2021 – and it’s more than justified. A welcome contrast to James St’s big, light-filled establishments, ESSA is a brooding, intimate 60-seat restaurant just off the bustling high street. Simple but considered, the conscious kitchen embraces collaboration with local farmers and providores, giving guests the option to dine a la carte or surrender control to the talented team of chefs with a set menu. 

sAme sAme 

A favourite dining destination within the popular Calile precinct, sAme sAme delivers a lip-smacking share-style menu combining the fun and flavour of Thailand with the best local ingredients. Sample the restaurant’s most popular dishes via a chef-determined banquet (“for when the thought of ordering for the table gives you the sweats”) or cherry-pick your favourites from the street-inspired menu.  


Befitting its namesake, chef Sarah Baldwin’s pint-sized Joy Restaurant delivers immense pleasure and happiness. This omakase-inspired dining hall in Bakery Lane accommodates just 10 guests per sitting, delivering an intimate ‘chef’s table’ experience unlike any other in Brisbane. Seated communally at a central counter overlooking the exposed kitchen, the menu changes daily based on available premium produce and Baldwin’s imagination. It’s no wonder the restaurant is booked up four months in advance.  

Gerard's Bistro 

Gerard’s Bistro is a Fortitude Valley mainstay and one of Brisbane’s hidden treasures. Masterfully melding local produce with Middle Eastern flavours and techniques, premium Australian ingredients such as Shark Bay scallops and Mooloolaba king prawns share space with shirazi salad and muhammara in a colourful menu that’s designed for sharing. Amongst a sea of ‘new’ along James St, it’s easy to see why Gerard’s remains a favourite amongst the city’s most discerning foodies.  


The runner-up in the delicious.100 list of Queensland’s best restaurants 2022, wood-fired restaurant Agnes is a joint venture between four of Queensland’s most acclaimed restauranteurs: Tyron Simon, Bianca Marchi, Frank Li, and ex-Gerard's Bistro head chef Ben Williamson. Located on the outskirts of Fortitude Valley, this dark and moody double-story warehouse conversion – completed with 1500-bottle cellar – surprises and delights at every turn.

Bird's Nest Yakitori Bar 

Irasshaimase! Bird’s Nest is an authentic yakitori restaurant and little slice of Japan in the heart of Fortitude Valley’s entertainment precinct. A Brisbane staple and the first traditional binchoutan (white charcoal) restaurant in Australia, select a set menu to sample the chefs’ favourites or order contemporary yakitori skewers as you go. Pair with rare sakes, boutique wines and Japanese spirits and you'll feel as though you’ve been transported to the laneways of Japan.