South Brisbane eatery, Gauge, has taken out the top gong at the Brisbane Times 2017 Good Food Guide Awards, being labelled the “most exciting place to eat” in the city.

"Chefs Cormac Bradfield and Phil Marchant are serving high-voltage dishes that flip a very large bird to the concept of 'cafe food' while keeping deliciousness top priority," editor of the Brisbane Good Food Guide, Callan Boys said.

For the first time, two Brisbane restaurants have earned a three hat status: Esquire and Urbane.  Urbane's manager and group partner, Andy Buchanan, who’s been with the restaurant for 15 years, also won the Citi Service Excellence award. E’cco Bistro in the CBD and Fortitude Valley’s Gerard’s Bistro rose from one hat to two, taking the number of two hat restaurants in Brisbane from four to six. Restaurant II regained its lost hat and Nickel Kitchen and Bar in Fortitude Valley earned one hat, along with the recently opened Otto Ristorante (which also won the Best New Restaurant title), and Eat Brisbane’s The Wolfe.

Held on 18 July, the awards saw regional dining take a hit, mostly because of underwhelming service, said Boys. While Burleigh Heads' The Fish House, Montville's The Long Apron, Maryvale's The Peak and Wasabi in Noosa Heads, all retained their two hat status, The Tamarind, in Maleny, dropped down to one hat and Coast in Hervey Bay, A Touch of Salt (Townsville), Sails (Noosa Heads), Seaduction (Surfers Paradise) and Veraison (Toowoomba) all lost hats.

"I'd love to see more investment into better service, not just regionally but in Brisbane too," Boys said. "There is amazing food in Queensland and it would be brilliant if the service was on a national level as well."

The Chef of the Year award was presented to Ben Williamson, founder and executive chef at Gerard’s Bistro, which has a Middle Eastern inspired offering. He’s also recently taken the reins in the kitchen at The Apo.

The Gresham took home the Bar of the Year award. Boys said “It’s a great bar in the city to sit and drink a tin of XXXX or an expertly-made Manhattan – the team punches out the best classic cocktails in Brisbane.”

Fortitude Valley’s Anise recently decided to downscale from a degustation menu to a more casual offering, and it’s a decision that’s paid off, with the venue claiming the Best Bar Food award.

For the second year in a row, the People’s Choice Award went to Indulge Caf in Bundaberg.

Other awards included:

  • Sommelier of the Year –  Ian Trinkle, Aria Brisbane
  • Young Chef of the Year –  Angus Baker, Esquire
  • Vittoria Coffee Legend Award –  Tony Percuoco, executive chef, Tartufo
  • Cafe of the Year –  Pearl Cafe 
  • Best Wine List –  Black Bird Bar and Grill
  • Cheap Eat of the Year –  Taro's Ramen
  • Regional Restaurant of the Year –  Nu Nu, Palm Cove


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