When in South Bank at night I always feel overcome by the mighty task of choosing the right restaurant. Normally I follow my nose and last weekend it led me to Cucina by Toscanis at 164 Grey Street, South Brisbane (corner of Little Stanley St, Ernest St and Grey St). One of the several restaurants in the Toscanis chain. The restaurant specialises in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. The staff were vivacious and fun and sent my friend a free daiquiri for her birthday. Nevertheless, though my nose led the way my mouth was a little disappointed.
I ordered pork and beef mince spaghetti with parmesan, tomatoes, wine and soft herbs ($18.50 for regular and $26.50 for large) which was good for a few bites but became bland. I found myself bored of it before it was over but the serving size was good. Out of a dinner party of about fourteen, nine of us were left feeling like we had not got we wanted from the experience. However, the others ate their dishes and finished off the rest of our remains greedy for more. I sampled some other dishes and the sea food was good as were the salads.
The food came out quickly and the wait staff often checked in on us but some of the drinks did not show until the plates were cleared. Of course, one of these drinks was a lime smoothie ($7.90) for my friend with sea food spaghetti ($20 regular and $29 for large) so maybe that was for the best.
The kitchen is completely open which is most likely intended to add an element of entertainment to the experience. Dishes include: pasta, steak, salads and pizza. They cater to vegetarians and have gluten free and Heart Smart options as well as a wide range of alcohol and other beverages. To find your closest Toscanis restaurant use their website.
I think I would give this restaurant another chance but I would try something more adventurous on the menu or come in for breakfast (which is served until 5pm). The prices were moderate, enough for a university girl like me not to go home and cry into her bank statement. However, I think I will explore more of what south bank has to offer before I return.
I also have tried Toscanis but in the Carrindale shopping centre. My family were very disappointed as my wife had two pieces of chicken in her Chicken Cesar Salad, my steak was small, not cooked how I asked and was a very bland meal all up. My daughters' hamburger was disgusting also and very small. We also had to wait for about 3/4 of an hr to get it. Very disapointed and will never go back.
I have often been to both the carindale (when it was still there) and south bank Toscanis and have usually found them to be pretty good for lunches. The one occasion I did dinner at south bank, my dinner was awful! Too many good restaurants around at Southbank to put up with bad, or even mediocre food. Although, upon saying that, whenever I pass by toscanis in the evening, they always seem very busy!
The newly refurbished Carindale restaurant has become my regular haunt. The staff are so wonderful and friendly and the meals have so far been of excellent quality. My only problem is deciding which meal to have. For brekky it is hard to go past the Mediterranean, my absolute favourite.
Went to southbank Toscani's recently/ asked for table water upon arrival. A disgusting old bottle of warm tap water was served. The table was so sticky I kept trying to clean it with baby wipes but it was beyond that. Would never go there again. Having said that the garden city staff have always been great to me. Even made me a toasted ham and tomato sandwich cheaply when I was pregnant and couldn't stomach anything on the menu.