Flying Solo: Best Restaurants for One in Brisbane
Solo dining has long shaken off its stigma,and half-serves, communal tables and wines by the glass mean there’s no reason to resign yourself to room service. Trade up from takeaway and treat yourself with our guide to Brisbane’s best restaurants for dining alone.
Bird’s Nest Yakitori
Bar seating, bite-sized dishes and bottomless mugs of Asahi – Bird’s Nest Yakitori well and truly ticks the boxes for a successful evening alone. And with almost everything on the menu arriving in two-skewer serves, solo diners needn’t confine themselves to a single dish. Chicken is the specialty here, and thanks to this Japanese eatery’s top-to-tail ethos, you can sample everything from flame-grilled hearts and livers to tenderloins, thighs and wings. After something more indulgent? Opt for the wagyu beef short rib and pork belly, or get a bit of everything for the ultimate table-for-one feast.
A Brisbane institution since 2008, 1889 Enoteca is the established go-to for the city’s solo diners. But even if you’re not a local, there’s something comfortingly familiar about this traditional Italian eatery. Velvet booths back on to exposed brick walls, a black marble bar stretches from back to front and apron-clad waiters shuffle from table to table with welcoming grins. And while there are plenty of imaginative menu items to choose from, take a cue from the restaurant’s decor and stick to the classics. From cacio e pepe to authentic carbonara, you can always rely on their comfort food and friendly service when you’re far from home.
A far cry from the former antique store that used to call this heritage-listed building home, Detour pays homage to times gone by, with old timber beams and copper touches throughout. And while the decor alone is a visual feast, it’s the open kitchen in the centre of the space that will really keep you busy between courses. Order a glass from the biodynamic wine list then turn your attention to the menu, where you’ll find a wide selection of dishes designed to cater to omnivores and herbivores alike. The share plate setup may put a limit on your order, but it won’t take more than a dish or two to blow you away.
Ever since its opening in 2014, it’s been notoriously tough to get a table at Longtime – but one of the secret pleasures of solo dining is getting to skip the queue. Leave the couples to their leather booths and pull up a stool at the bar, where the barman will keep you company as he shakes up Thai-inspired cocktails. Not only is it the best seat in the house to take in the action, it also boasts the benefit of a separate menu, which trades generously-sized share plates for handheld snacks. Grab a cocktail or craft beer to keep yourself company, then work your way through the bar menu’s one-biters, from the Thai chicken betel leaf and soft shell crab bao to the single Hervey Bay scallop served on the half shell.
The sister establishment to neighbouring fine diner, Esquire, Esq. is perfect for solo diners who want upscale cuisine without committing to the degustation next door. And with views over the Brisbane River, you can take a time out and swap your smartphone screen for scenery. Almost everything on the a-la-carte menu is perfectly portioned for one, and the seasonal offering means you can sample a whole new set of dishes the next time you’re in town.
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