Eat treats: A local’s guide to best places to eat at BTS23

A local’s inside view of the best restaurants and eateries to visit in the River City while at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show, from pub-grub to fine-dining

Not only is South Bank the home of the Brisbane Truck Show, but it is also home to some of the best restaurants and eateries the River City has to offer. Leave the roadhouse hotbox behind and instead tick off a few of our favourite restaurants this Brisbane Truck Show.

Otto, South Bank


Simply put, Otto is one of Brisbane’s most divine fine-dining restaurants. A masterclass in modern Italian cuisine, this riverfront dining spot is all about simplicity and amazing ingredients and is only up the street from the show.

Otto is at the forefront of the Brisbane culinary scene and has the awards to prove it, with recent gongs including Best Queensland Wine List by Gourmet Traveller Wine, as well as Wine List of the Year, Two Hats at the Australian Good Food Awards 2019 and Best Italian Restaurant QLD in the Delicious 100 2019.

If you’re a classy trucker, and looking for the best Brisbane has to offer, Head Chef Will Cowper’s seasonal and produce-driven menu will certainly have you licking your lips.

Location: Sidon Street, South Bank, South Brisbane; (07) 3835 2888

El Camino Cantina, South Bank

El Camino

It doesn’t get better than chomping down Tex-Mex staples like tacos, burritos and fajitas and then washing them down with a refreshing margarita at El Camino Cantina.

El Camino is Tex-Mex done fun, a huge 510-seater restaurant just off the South Bank foreshore, offering some of the best Tex-Mex food in Brisbane.

The food is well-priced, but it’s the electric atmosphere that completes El Camino, that’s right … it has a top DJ club upstairs called Hotel Diablo.

Location: 153 Stanley Street, South Brisbane

Aquitaine Brasserie, South Bank

Aquitaine Brasserie

If you’re looking for indulgence, then say hello to one of Brisbane’s most decorated French restaurants, Aquitaine.

Located at River Quay, Aquitaine is well worth the short stroll through the South Bank Parklands from the Brisbane Truck Show.

Aquitaine boasts wonderful riverfront views and authentic French dishes inspired by the L’Aquitaine region of south-west France.

The restaurant prides itself on creating a menu made from quality produce and pairs this food with a fantastic wine list.

A must-do, one of South Bank’s best eateries.

Location: Sidon Street, South Bank, South Brisbane; (07) 3844 1888

Chu The Phat, Fish Lane

Chu The Phat Restaurant
Located in Fish Lane precinct, Chu The Phat takes Asian street food and wraps it up in a contemporary bow

Chu The Phat is one of the hottest spots to eat in Brisbane right now.

Again, another restaurant attached to the trendy Fish Lane precinct, Chu The Phat takes Asian street food and wraps it up in a contemporary bow.

This spacious 300-seater venue has atmosphere coming out of its ears and is best experienced with a group of friends or colleagues while feasting on the incredible banquets or the much-loved dumplings.

With an amazing vibe, fantastic food and cocktails, Chu The Phat will have you longing for a trip to Hong Kong or Singapore for more.

Chu The Phat is the younger sibling to the iconic Madame Wu restaurant, which we also highly recommend!

Location: 111 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane; (07) 3255 2075

Julius Pizzeria, Fish Lane

Julius Restaurant

You aren’t a pizza lover if you haven’t been to Julius Pizzeria. This is arguably the best pizza joint in Brisbane, perhaps Queensland, and the proof is simply in the … pizza.

You can find Julius tucked away down Fish Lane, South Brisbane’s bustling ‘foodie’ precinct, just a few hundred metres up the street from the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, home of the Brisbane Truck Show.

You won’t find a ‘top pizza ’ list without Julius on it, and its popularity among foodies makes it a tough place to get a table at.

If you’re lucky or even organised, book a table in advance, if not, a takeaway will do just fine.

A local gem.

Location: 77 Grey Street, South Brisbane; (07) 3844 2655

Billykart, West End

Billykart Restaurant
Billykart is the brainchild of world-renowned chef, Ben O’Donoghue, and is one of the best breakfast cafes and dining restaurants in town

Take a short walk or Uber ride from the Brisbane Truck Show to the neighbouring suburb of West End, and you’ll find the laid-back, but impressive Billykart.

West End is Brisbane’s cultural hub and is renowned for its amazing eateries, and Billykart stacks up as one of the best in this part of the world.

Billykart is the brainchild of world-renowned chef, Ben O’Donoghue, so that laid-back environment isn’t taking any shortcuts.

It’s sort of an institution in West End and is one of the best breakfast cafes and dining restaurants in town.

Location: 2 Edmondstone Street, South Brisbane; (07) 3177 9477

Pig ’N’ Whistle, West End

Garden Bar
Laneway Terrace

The South Bank area has some of Brisbane’s best restaurants, and while we love fine dining, sometimes you just want a chicken parmy and a beer while watching some footy.

If this is you, then the Pig & Whistle is your destination. Situated on the corner of Melbourne and Merivale streets and just to the rear of the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, the Pig ’N’ Whistle is as close to a cosy-styled British pub as you can get here in Brisbane.

Here you’ll be served pub classics like burgers, steaks, and beef and Guinness pie. It isn’t fancy, but it’s delicious and best with a cold pint.

Location: Merivale Street, South Brisbane; (07) 3062 2510

Bacchus, South Bank

People in a Bacchus Restaurant
Situated right next door to the Brisbane Truck Show, Bacchus is one of Brisbane’s swankiest fine-dining restaurants

After a nearly two-year hiatus during the COVID pandemic, Bacchus — one of Brisbane’s swankiest fine-dining restaurants — hit the ground running when it reopened in 2022.

A new executive chef, a new menu and a thirst to pick up where it left off should mean Bacchus is a ‘must-go’ restaurant when here for the Brisbane Truck Show.

The award-winning restaurant is rightly named after the god of wine, Bacchus, which seems fair considering its whopping 600-bottle wine list. If you aren’t into wine, that’s fine, just take in the decadent meals this celebrated restaurant is serving up.

You can’t miss it. Its home is in the Rydges Hotel, right next door to the Brisbane Truck Show – with caviar available for you lavish truck drivers!

A reminder to all you truckies, Bacchus has a smart casual dress code, so ditch the flip flops and ruggers for enclosed shoes and some nice trousers.

Location: 9 Glenelg Street, South Brisbane; (07) 3364 0837

Ahmet’s Turkish Restaurant

Food platters
People with cocktails

Ahmet’s Turkish Restaurant, South Bank Situated across the road from the South Bank Parklands on Grey Street is Ahmet’s Turkish Restaurant, a veteran of the South Bank food scene.

Ahmet’s is one of the great feeds in Brisbane, let alone Turkish cuisine. Breathe in the spices and Middle Eastern culture, marvel at the vibrant rubs, and bop along to the Turkish music.

It’s all part of the experience, preferably with a group of friends or colleagues. A restaurant you will go back to again and again.

Location: 10/168 Grey Street, South Brisbane; (07) 3846 6699

Honourable mentions

Brooklyn Depot (South Bank): Ripper burger joint

Plough Inn (South Bank): Quality pub feed at a historical pub

Charming Squire (South Bank): Gastro pub feed, a great night out

Gnocchi Brothers (South Bank): Delicious gnocchi at great prices

Olé (South Bank): A Spanish marvel, best tapas in South Bank