Toowoomba really does have a LOT going on. There are the many gardens and parks, tonnes of street art, stunning nature and a whole lot of food. Even though I visited for the very first time recently, there’s a huge buzz around the food scene here that is just growing and growing.
Toowoomba has a great feel about it and it’s a city that is truly embracing change. There are loads of new restaurants popping up offering delicious meals in their own unique way. From handmade chocolate to Brazilian BBQ, from rooftops to hidden doors, this city is fast becoming a haven for foodies. There’s a lot to choose from so to help you plan, I’ve put together 11 of the best places to eat in Toowoomba and some fantastic bars offering the most divine drinks.
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Best places to eat in Toowoomba
1. The Finch
Located right in the heart of Toowoomba, The Finch offers delicious breakfasts and lunches 7 days a week. It’s in a great location with a cool atmosphere and with huge fully opening windows, it’s a people watching haven where the outside has been brought in. They offer a huge selection on their menus for both meal times, as well as a cabinet brimming with gorgeous salads to choose from. I started my day here and scoffed down the Lite Breakfast along with a tasty cappuccino. If you’re looking for something lighter then go for one of their muesli bowls topped with yoghurt and fresh berries. On top of all of this deliciousness, The Finch is also famous for its Bahn Mi’s in Toowoomba, so if you’ve got a craving for some Asian food, be sure to stop by here for lunch too.
2. Junk, Walton Stores
If you’re a lover of the street food scene and alfresco dining then Walton Stores is where you need to go. This brand new laneway style area is the perfect indoors-meets-outdoors space and is home to a brilliant Asian restaurant. Junk offers an exciting but casual dining experience based on the famous street food found all over Asia. From Thai to Japanese to Cantonese, you’re spoilt for choice here. The inside area of Junk has a raw industrial feel but with a huge Chinese Dragon hanging from the ceiling and a front of house kitchen area allowing you to see the food being made, just as you would with street vendors. I would highly recommend the crispy calamari and the Thai beef salad- both were packed full of flavour and incredibly satisfying.
3. Ground Up Espresso
Tucked away down one of the city’s many laneways, Ground Up Espresso is what the modern Toowoomba is all about. With street art from the First Coat Festival surrounding it and rustic benches and tables outside, it’s the perfect spot for a chilled break. Each time I walked past Ground Up, it was always heaving with both tourists and locals and with the delicious fresh food on offer, paired with the tasty coffees and juices, it’s easy to see why. Ground Up Espresso is cosy, cool, and the perfect place for a pit stop in Toowoomba.
Ortem is a family fun cafe and it really shows in everything it has to offer. The decor here is awesome with quirky artwork painted on the walls, plants to make it fresh and cosy and a huge shared table making it a super sociable place. They use fresh and local produce in their dishes and it’s super vegetarian-friendly for both breakfast and lunch. Its location on railway street is an up and coming area and being right opposite the old railway station shows how well Toowoomba is at mixing the old with the new.
5. Chocolate Cottage
This place is sure to satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth. Just outside the city, in Highfields, you’ll find the cute little Chocolate Cottage. Located on the Village Green complex, not only are the treats amazing but the views over the valley and mountains too. The Chocolate Cottage produces over 60 of the most mouthwatering handmade chocolates and treats to choose from, all proudly on display in their cabinet. Be prepared to spend a while here making some tough decisions over what to get!
6. Muller Bros
If there’s one place in Toowoomba that offers a bit of everything, it’s Muller Bros. This gorgeous old building has been around since the early 1900s and over time has been a gun shop, hardware store and a bookshop to name a few. Today, however, it’s an all-in-one cafe, restaurant and Toowoomba’s first rooftop bar! This variety makes Muller Bros the perfect place to go to for any occasion. The cafe serves up fresh sandwiches and wraps if you’re looking for something quick but certainly not lacking in flavour. The restaurant is an authentic Brazillian BBQ with a variety of meats cooked fresh over a fire to lock in the flavours, and to make things even better, it’s all you can eat! Over on the rooftop, you get great views of the city making it the perfect spot for sunset and to top it off, they have their own menu- perfect for slurping down a few cocktails or beers with.
This Turkish restaurant may look small and unassuming from the outside, but trust me, it will blow your mind. From the moment you step through the door, your senses will be brought to life. The walls are adorned with bright colours and the back of the restaurant is a super cosy space set up with traditional cushions and low tables to sit at. Then, prepare yourself to be blown away by the food. The combination of spice, fresh ingredients, meats and refreshing yoghurt is insane. It’s honestly one of the best meals I’ve had in Australia and has been voted by locals as one of the best places to eat in Toowoomba. Fill your table with falafel, halloumi, biber dolma and a smokey char-grilled shish kebab.
8. Have a picnic
With over 150 green spaces in Toowoomba, it’s easy to see where it gets its nickname of the ‘Garden City’ from. On a beautiful warm and sunny day, for me, nothing beats gathering up some of my favourite snacks and treats along with a blanket and sprawling out under a tree for a picnic. Head to one of the cafes for some special local produce, then pick a park and simply enjoy.
Best places to drink in Toowoomba
9. The Office
Simply put, the office is my kind of place. This trendy bar has an industrial and hipster feel to it but is in no way pretentious. Head here on the weekend for fun live music and tonnes of cocktails to try. They also have a cosy outdoor space making it great for a warm summer night too.
10. Chelsea Bar
There’s cosy and then there’s the Chelsea Bar. This tiny place is full of theatrics and mystery right from the get-go. Hidden behind an unmarked and unassuming wooden door just behind The Office, it’s incredibly easy to walk past. When you do find it though, the second you step inside you will feel transported back in time to a cool speak-easy bar somewhere in New York. With just a handful of tables inside, it feels intimate and exclusive. Choose from some amazing cocktails and watch them being made with flair right in front of you.
11. Bavarian Biergarten
For a hearty beer in a lively location, you can’t go wrong with the Bavarian Biergarten. Located in Walton Stores, the Bavarian is loads of fun and a great place to catch up with friends and to start a night out. If you really like your beer then get your hands on a full-sized stein and choose from the German and Aussie beers they have on tap. Take a seat on one of the long benches in Walton Stores and guzzle away.