Brisbane's best riverside coffee and brunch spots

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Brisbane’s booming cafe scene is best enjoyed by the water. But where to go isn’t always obvious, with some of the very best venues hidden in charming enclaves, parks and precincts. With the help of a little local knowledge, we’ve found some of the very best Brisbane cafes and brunch spots by the river.

North of the river

Malt Pier - Newstead

The brainchild of celebrated restaurateurs Nick Pinn and Laurie Rogenkemp, Malt Pier was never going to simply rest on its location. Still, that riverside spot is pretty grand - on the water at Newstead where the river conducts its enormous sweep eastwards towards Hamilton. The cafe’s smartly detailed alfresco fit-out makes the most of the winsome views. The all-day breakfast menu fine-tunes the classics – think, an avocado smash with macadamia dukkah; baked eggs with sugo, chorizo and chimichurri, and an eggs benedict on sourdough with your choice of protein. For drinks, there are bullet juices, smoothies and Locale Coffee Roasters coffee.

Location: Malt Pier, 1 Newstead Terrace, Newstead

Ciao Papi - Brisbane City

On the weekend, Howard Smith Wharves Italian restaurant Ciao Papi rises early to serve a keenly priced breakfast menu washed down with tea, coffee and freshly squeezed juice. On the menu is slow braised pork ragu with beans and poached eggs on rye, and a mortadella, smoked mozzarella, rocket and fried egg roll with tomato relish. Coffee is Ciao Papi’s own blend, roasted off-site by a specialty roaster. Grab a table on the deck and you’ll have the Story Bridge and CBD as your backdrop.

Location: Ciao Papi, 5 Boundary Street, Brisbane City

Northshore Harbour Cafe - Hamilton

Drive down the end of semi-industrial MacArthur Avenue and you’ll discover this fabulous pavilion set within Northshore Riverside Park. Go large on a refined all-day menu that features smashed avo, pancakes, and sautéed mushroom with poached eggs on parmesan toast. For drinks, expect shakes, hot chocolate and Espresso di Manfredi coffee. Aim for a seat at the venue’s long window bar with its views of the park and river beyond.

Location: Northshore Harbour Cafe, 285 MacArthur Avenue, Hamilton

Barko & Co. - Teneriffe

Housed inside a heritage-listed brick steam-engine room in Teneriffe, Barko & Co serves a tight menu of elevated all-day breakfast dishes such as brioche French toast, a blue cheese omelette, and huevos rancheros. For drinks there’s fresh-pressed juice, smoothies and organic Colombian specialty coffee. Where to sit? Outside, people watching on the verandah, with views of the river and Bulimba beyond, of course.

Location: Barko & Co, 71 Macquarie Street, Teneriffe

Riverside Cafe - Fig Tree Pocket

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary’s much loved riverside cafe was given a spiffy upgrade in January when Morning After owner Yianni Passaris and designer Alexander Lotersztain collaborated on an overhaul of its food and fit-out. Five Senses coffee and a menu of gourmet toasties, croissants, scones and crumpets are being dished up out of a winsome, white canteen, with outdoor seating providing views of a sedate stretch of the river. No, you don’t need a ticket to the sanctuary to eat and drink here, but it certainly makes for a civilised two-hander.

Location: Riverside Cafe, 708 Jesmond Road, Fig Tree Pocket

South of the river

GOMA Bistro - South Brisbane

It may lack the hipness of other Brisbane inner-suburban cafes but GOMA Bistro’s location on the water opposite the city, nestled under a line of poinciana and fig trees, is one of the prettiest in the city. The menu is all-day lunch from 10am rather than brunch, with fancy sandwiches and salads backed by a selection of mains, but feel free to just drop by for a coffee, enjoying the breeze and watching the ferries and CityCats potter on by.

Location: GOMA Bistro, Stanley Place, South Brisbane

River La Vie - Tennyson

Blink and you’ll miss this charming, garden-lined cafe on the river opposite the Queensland Tennis Centre. The all-day menu is a collection of stripped back classics, and features savoury mince with carrot, celery and a poached egg on sourdough, and a brioche breakfast burger crammed with mesclun, tomato, maple bacon, halloumi and a fried egg. For drinks there’s freshly squeezed juice, smoothies, tea and Coffee Supreme coffee. You get only the barest glimpse of the river here, but that’s only because of winsome gardens of the adjacent Ken Fletcher Park – a great spot to wear out the kids afterwards.

Location: River La Vie, 190 King Arthur Terrace, Tennyson

Medley Kangaroo Point - Kangaroo Point

Wander down an obscure driveway on Kangaroo Point’s poky peninsula to find this beautifully presented all-day cafe. Medley runs an expansive food menu that switches up for lunch and dinner, helped down by smoothies, shakes, freshly squeezed juices and Two Seasons coffee. The cafe is tiered down towards the river over a couple of garden-lined decks, with views towards New Farm. You’ll want to stay for that second brew.

Location: Medley Kangaroo Point, 62 Wharf Street, Kangaroo Point.

Joey's Restaurant - Kangaroo Point

This clifftop spot was given a new lease of life in late 2020 by Bellissimo Coffee owners Michael Koo and Mark Bignell, and Brisbane entrepreneur Jordan Cowen. The result is a beautifully appointed all-day alfresco eatery with jaw dropping views of the river and the CBD beyond. For food, there’s a mushroom frittata, sweetcorn fritters, and a bacon and egg burger, followed by an Italian-leaning mains menu. On the drinks list is exceptional coffee (of course), tea and freshly squeezed juice before cocktails and a refined wine selection (compiled by former Aria and Arc Dining sommelier Ian Trinkle) take over later in the day.

Location: Joey's Restaurant, 29 River Terrace, Kangaroo Point

Your Brisbetter Day out doesn't end here

Head over to the Brisbetter Explore page for even more inspiration on where to go and what to do in Brisbane. With both day and night options, there’s loads of ideas for your next day out.

On the go? Download the Brisbane app today to discover and share the best things to see and do around Brisbane.

Editor's note: The featured content in Brisbane Explore is created to inspire residents and visitors to plan a day out exploring Brisbane and to buy local as part of the city's Economic Recovery Plan. Brisbane City Council disclaims any relationship with, or endorsement of, businesses featured in this video.

Come back regularly to check for new and updated content and don't forget to share your favourite places on Instagram using #Brisbetter!

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