Five Brisbane CBD Lunches you need to try

When I first started working in the CBD about 10 years ago lunch meant one of the “Three F’s”

Food courts – cheap and cheerful junk food. You’d occasionally order a salad sandwich to make up for eating chips and gravy every day for the past fortnight

Franchises – the “upmarket” cafe chains. The food was “noice” but everything tasted slightly of plastic. Think club sandwiches on really thick (and cheap) white bread and 13 different versions of Caesar Salad.

Fancy  – the kind of places where business men had lunch. Usually somewhere on the river with stiff white napkins and matching staff.

Being on the lower end of the pay scale at that time I spent a lot of time in various food courts especially the Myer Centre and the Wintergarden. 

Don’t get me wrong – it was all edible. It was just very, VERY mass-produced!

These days I’m still working in the city but my lunch problems have changed. 

Far from being limited to the same daggy options we now have so much choice that my list of “must go to” places gets longer by the day.

Lunch paralysis can set in. No one wants that. 

To save you from this deadly affliction I’ve put together a list of my top five lunchtime feasts in the CBD.

These are all places I’ve been to within the last six months (some of them several times) and can personally vouch for the fact that they are: 

  1. fast
  2. excellent value for money
  3. insanely tasty and satisyfing

red hook brisRed Hook

Shop 3, 88 Creek Street (down the alley-way)

New York street food to die for. I had the Brooklyn Cheese Burger and it was smothered in cheese and drenched in the most delicious piquant special sauce. I’ve also heard very good things about the Wagyu Brisket Burrito and I’m dead keen to try the Resolution Breaker – a double beef and bacon monster!

Check out the full menu here.

PS. Stop off at bathroom on your way back to the office – this is the kind of food you end up getting all over you!!


Marchetti Brisbane


Tattersalls Arcade, entry via Edward Street

Think it’s impossible to have an authentic Italian experience on your lunch break? Order the Polpette at Marchetti and prepare to have your mind changed forever. These guys put so much love and attention to detail into each dish it shines through the food. And if you have time to squeeze in something sweet at the end of your meal you can choose from the gorgeous selection of Italian cakes and sweets in the display on the counter.

Check out the menu here.

PS. Not one to try if you’re on a diet. They’re also open for brekky too. 


New Shanghai Brisbane New Shanghai

Queens Plaza Food Court

OK so New Shanghai is part of a chain of restaurants AND it’s located in a food court. But it’s more like a stand-alone restaurant, and anyway when the dumplings are this good who the hell cares? Once you’ve had a taste of the fresh, flavorsome Shanghai cuisine you’ll be lining up with the rest of us on a regular basis to get your fix. Watch your dumplings being made fresh in the restaurant’s “dumpling theatre” – the glass walled section of the restaurant where you can see chefs preparing the dumplings with almost mathematical precision. 

Check out the full menu here

PS. Come early or come later to avoid the line-up


Brew Brisbane Brew 

Lower Burnett Lane

Hang a sharp turn into the far end of Burnett Lane and descend into the warm, welcoming embrace of Brew. This place gets big points for atmosphere but it’s not all about appearances. The lunch menu is eclectic with lots of quirky touches – think African chicken sandwiches sitting side by side on a menu with scallop suchi nigiri and truffle oil fries. They’re daily specials are also worth checking out – I’ve had sliders there twice and loved them sick. 

Menu is available here

PS. Lower Burnett Lane is across the Queen Street mall from the main part of Burnett Lane .

 Bagel Boys Brisbane

Bagel Boys

126 Adelaide Street

When you go somewhere and you see a queue out the door you can generally be confident you’ve stumbled on to something special. This is exactly what happened when I discovered the Bagel Boys about 6 months ago.

Up until then I’d never really bought into all the hype about bagels – weren’t they just a bread roll with a hole in the middle? The answer obviously is no, and the Bagel Boys prove this beyond doubt with deliciously chewy bagels which are filled and schmeared with with your choice of ingredients. Get some into ya! 

Check out the menu here


So these are my top picks for lunch in the city – but I’d love to hear about yours!

Where do you go for lunch in the CBD? Let me know in the comments so I can add them to my lunch list.

Rachel - Ed

About Rachel

Thirty-something Brisbane lover, trying to find the balance between FOMO and YOLO. Semi-retired party girl who loves planning itineraries for big nights out. Often found dragging 3 boys around your local farmers markets or attempting to sneak out for dinner with my husband, The Chef.

Sign up for the Our Town Brisbane newsletter and never miss another event!

7 Responses to “Five Brisbane CBD Lunches you need to try”

    • Rachel - Ed
      Rachel - Ed Reply

      The Survey Co is also nice if you’re looking for something a bit fancy-er. And speaking of lunch dates we should have one again soon!

  1. Just before I left working in the city for the suburbs I discovered Strauss in Elizabeth Street. Great food and great laneway atmosphere.

    • Rachel - Ed
      Rachel - Ed Reply

      Aaaah yes I’ve heard of Strauss! It’s a bit of a walk from where I’m based but that’s probably not a bad thing. Thanks for putting it back on my radar ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. These places look AMAZING Rachel. Thanks for sharing them. Really keen to try Brew when I’m next in town (stopping by with #IBOT)

  3. Now let me tell you something for nothing ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am obsessed with Bagel Boys. Every Wednesday morning I am lined up at the front of their stall at the markets. I’ve never been to the shop yet. Must check that out if I get a craving on a day other than Wednesday. I went to Brew for dinner a while back. Great atmos there.

  4. Note to self: Don’t check out a blog post like this when the best thing I can whip up at home is mac cheese lol! All of the food looks absolutely delicious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *