My Top 3 Brisbane restaurant ‘discoveries’ of 2011

You have been one heck of a year, 2011!

Over the last 365 days, you have taken me and my tastebuds from the sunny state of Queensland to the meteorologically unpredictable city of Melbourne, the Singapore motherland, bleaky London, windswept Edinburgh, romantic Paris, unreasonably warm Rome and super efficient Munich.

But at the end of the day, Brisbane is home. It might not be the flashiest, sauviest or metropolitan of cities, but it is amazing how many new exciting eateries have opened (and are opening) in this growing city. There is nothing boring about Brisbane’s restaurant scene and it is only going to get better!

So before we get swept away by the thrills of 2012, here are my top 3 Brisbane restaurant discoveries this year:

3. Wagaya

Since we were first introduced to Wagaya, we have been back far too many times, much to the horror of our pocketbooks. It is far too easy to lose track of how much you are eating, drinking and spending at Wagaya, but with the wide selection of dishes and saké, it just cannot be helped. It is close enough to the city, easy to locate, prices are reasonable, service is good (even when they’re busy) and as izakayas go, Wagaya is pretty spot on.

Gather a group of good friends, book your table and try the renkon chips, yakitori and sashimi, washed down with plenty of saké for an awesome time!

2. Granada Tapas Bar

The Spanish have been invading Brisbane! Tapas has had a bit of a recurring cameo this year. But of all the tapas bars we have had the pleasure of visiting, my vote goes to the Granada Tapas Bar in Brisbane’s West End.

Its unassuming decor and spaciousness sets the stage for their delicious tapas, especially the Mejillones Rellenos (crumbed mussels stuffed with tomato and white sauce). Those mussels are to die for.

Granada still gives the impression it’s a hidden gem from the main hustle and bustle of West End, but don’t be fooled: it’s totally worth the visit.

1. Ortiga

There is no denying our biggest, best restaurant discovery of the year should be Ortiga. Anytime anyone asks for a restaurant recommendation and money is no object, Ortiga is the first name that spills out of my mouth.

I still have wet dreams about their gorgeous whole lamb shoulder. They are that good, people.