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Toscani's Cafe Bar and Restaurant - South Bank

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by Michelle MacFarlane (subscribe)
Brisbane writer and busy mum of two boys. See my parenting articles at www.brisbaneschild.com.au and www.kidsonthecoast.com.au.
Published January 2nd 2012
A hungry eight-year-old can lead a family unexpected places.

Take my family, for example. There we were at South Bank on New Year's Day, planning to grab some sushi after a movie. But the usually reliable sushi place was closed (for the first time ever), and the eight-year-old hadn't eaten for three hours. We needed food in a hurry, so we ended up at Toscani's Cafe Bar & Restaurant .

Occupying a large corner site on Grey Street, Toscani's is one of those South Bank establishments that we normally avoid. It's big and noisy and looks like it would cost a lot more than we usually pay. But it had pizza and fish and chips for the kids and what looked like more interesting options for my husband and me. So we threw caution to the winds and decided to give it a go.

We sat down at a table inside with a comfortable cushioned seat and were approached by a pleasant waiter and given menus quickly. So far, so good. We asked for a serve of chips ($6.90) and a couple of juices ($4.40 each) to be brought straight away to soothe the eight-year-old and his brother, and they turned up within 10 minutes. Another tick.

On a less positive note, we were being blasted by a blaring radio overhead, so we left our comfortable bench and moved to an outside table. On a sunny South Bank day, it was a lovely place to gaze at the parklands opposite and watch the world go by.

As for the chips and juices, they were fine, if not memorable. The chips were the standard mass-produced frozen variety, and the juices were out of a bottle, but they did the job for my sons.

We then ordered a gourmet wagyu burger ($16.90) for me, a spicy prawn and chorizo risotto ($18.90 regular size) for my husband, a hearty meat pizza ($19.90) for the ambitious ten-year-old, and a kids' cheese pizza ($7) for the now much-happier eight-year-old.

We could also have chosen from a wide range of pastas, salads, meat dishes (veal, pork ribs, lamb rump, grilled steaks), and seafood dishes. Prices ranged from $6.70 for garlic bread up to $38.50 for a full rack of pork ribs. Most lunch dishes were at or under the $20 mark.

We didn't take advantage of the extensive wine and drinks list (moderately expensive), or the coffees or teas (which started around $3.90). Aware that our sushi budget was about to be blown, we stuck with water, which our friendly waiter brought quickly.

Our food also arrived within 15 minutes. Both boys enjoyed their pizzas. My burger was satisfying and tasty, with a nice capsicum relish and fresh rocket, but would have been better still on a crusty bread roll instead of the soft white version provided. My husband enjoyed his risotto, which was indeed spicy as promised. Nothing was sensational, but it was all competent and the servings were large and reasonably good value for the price.

We were tempted by the desserts (biscuits, gateaus, cheesecakes etc from $2.90 to $7.90) but, again, resisted in light of our finances.

We finished eating within an hour of arriving, and ended up with a total bill of $78. This was less than I'd expected, and only about $15 more than we usually spend on sushi for four (no drinks).

I grabbed a brochure on the way out of Toscani's and was interested to see that it's a franchise, with 11 outlets across Brisbane. Like the other stores, the South Bank operation does takeaways, breakfasts, and lots of special deals.

With more than 60 tables and a big turnover, Toscani's at South Bank doesn't offer intimate service or fine dining. It was also very noisy inside on the day we were there. But, based on our experience, it does offer lots of choices, competent food, reasonable-sized servings, and prices that aren't as high as you might think.

It's also in a great location, and could prove a life-saver if you have a hungry child in tow.
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Why? For a satisfying feed in a great location
When: 7.30am till late, seven days
Where: 164 Grey Street (cnr Ernest St), South Bank
Cost: Moderate (no BYO)
Your Comment
I have not been to the toscani's at southbank but have been bitterly disappointed at carindale and also Garden city. . Carindale being one of the worst meals and service I have ever experienced. Garden city has average food but terrible service. There are many much better places to eat than toscanis.
by lorra (score: 0|2) 2813 days ago
My my my. Toscani's has to be the worst excuse for a cafe in Brisbane. And not just the Southbank Toscani's, but all of them. The food is overpriced, bland, quite often not what you have ordered and the service is poor. Definitely should not be on any list except the list of places to avoid in Brisbane.
by maria (score: 0|2) 2811 days ago
I have to agree with the other commentors. You must have visited on a very rare good day for Toscani's. I've never had anything but terrible service and equally bad food from the Southbank Toscani's and I've given them several chances. Wouldn't reccomend it.
by Ranyhyn Akui (score: 1|47) 2730 days ago
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