Canberra’s vibrant dining scene is dotted with chef’s hatted restaurants which offer some of the best dishes in the country. From modern Australian fare, pan-Asian cuisines to European classics, the city is continually gaining critical acclaim as one of Australia’s must-visit foodie destinations.
We’ve surveyed local foodie experts and put together a mouth-watering list of 45 must try dishes from 15 restaurants.
Take a culinary journey through the capital and start putting together your Canberra restaurant bucket list with our picks below!
If you’re looking for a fine place to wine and dine in Canberra, this restaurant is the place to be! Atrium Restaurant is Pavilion on Northbourne’s onsite restaurant and bar, serving both Australian favourites and international cuisines. The venue boasts a relaxed dining experience within a unique and live tropical atrium so you can escape the city life and unwind in the natural leafy surrounds.
Located at Pavilion on Northbourne, 242 Northbourne Avenue, Dickson
Open 7 days a week for breakfast from 6.30 am to 10am, Lunch 12pm to 2pm, and dinner 6pm to 10pm. All day bar menu from 11am to 10pm.
More info at pavilioncanberra.com.au/dine
With a vast collection of gin varieties, Tipsy Bull is known as THE gin bar in Canberra. The relaxed vibe and their eclectic menu of share plates and cocktails make Tipsy Bull a top spot to meet friends for a drink or two (or many). Expect a menu of modern, easy to share tapas-style food that are heavily inspired by Spanish and Mediterranean cuisines.
And as the city’s premier gin bar, you simply can’t leave without sampling one of their famous deconstructed gins. Choose from their extensive collection of gin and the knowledgeable staff will assist with botanicals and tonic tailored to your selection.
Located at 2/5 Lonsdale St, Braddon
Open Tuesday to Wednesday from 12pm to 10:30 pm, Friday and Saturday from 12pm to midnight and Sundays from 12pm to 10pm.
More info at tipsybull.com.au
No Canberran culinary adventure is complete without sampling one of XO restaurant’s South-East Asian specialities. The restaurant’s fit out is simple, modern and inviting. The menu is expertly curated and the bar heroes an impressive collection of sake, whiskey and some of the region’s best drops. With a commitment to a high standard of customer service and an honest menu, XO is well-loved by locals and travellers alike.
Located at 16 Iluka St, Narrabundah
Open for dinner Monday to Saturday from 6pm to 11pm, and lunch Monday to Wednesday from 12pm to 3pm.
More info at xo-restaurant.com.au
Decked out with leafy green palm prints, white upholstery and cane furniture, you’ll find a bit of the tropics at Kokomo’s. As the name suggests, Hawaiian cuisine is the main inspiration behind their menu. A golden pineapple disco ball even drops and spins to The Beach Boys’ classic – ‘Kokomo’.
Their quirky cocktails and a vast selection of mini plates make Kokomo’s the ideal setting for large get-togethers with friends or colleagues.
Located at 1 Genge St, Canberra
Open for lunch and dinner, 7 days a week from 11:30am till Midnight.
More info at kokomos.com.au
Featuring an innovative seasonal menu, award-winning wine list and Scandi-style decor, Aubergine offers a truly exceptional dining experience that’s a feast for the senses. This hatted restaurant has been recognised as the #1 ranked restaurant in ACT by the Australian Gourmet Traveller. They have also made the ranks in the Financial Review’s Top Restaurants, SMH Good Food Guide and The Canberra Times.
For a truly exclusive culinary experience, their 4 course menu constantly changes to feature seasonal produce and only the finest ingredients.
Cured Silver Trevally - The curing process turns the trevally into something truly spectacular. The fish is complimented well with beautifully sweet spanner crab, and earthy flavours from the white beetroot and daikon radish.
Beef Oyster Blade - Tender and incredibly flavourful, the beef oyster blade is cooked low and slow. It is paired with smoked potatoes and an au poivre (peppercorn sauce) which provides richness and a bit of spice.
Located at 18 Barker St, Griffith
Open for dinner Monday through Saturday from 6pm till 10pm. Closed Sundays.
More info at aubergine.com.au
Lolo and Lola deliver a taste of Filipino cuisine and hospitality in the heart of the capital. Their name, translating to grandmother and grandfather, speaks true of their culinary offerings - inviting, homemade, and comforting. Dining at Lolo and Lola is like getting a big warm hug.
Kare Kareng Baka - The definition of Filipino comfort food, Kare Kare is an incredibly creamy stew made with bone marrow from slow-cooked oxtail bones, flavoured with peanuts, and topped with tender beef brisket and vegetables.
Pork Bagnet - Crispy-fried Pork Belly served with soy-vinegar dip. Need we say more? Best shared with friends and a side of cold San Miquel - the unofficial national beer of the Philippines.
Halo Halo Espesyal - This Filipino street dessert staple is representative of the culture - vibrant, sweet, with an eclectic mix of flavours and ingredients. Directly translating to ‘mix mix’, Halo Halo features sweetened creamy shaved ice, leche flan, ube or purple yam, tapioca pearls, sweet red beans and more!
Located at 3 Watson Place, Watson
Open for dinner Wednesday to Saturday from 5pm to 9pm, lunch Thursday to Sunday from 11.30am to 2.30pm.
More info at loloandlola.com.au
Eightysix is an intimate and modern restaurant located in the popular shopping and dining precinct of Braddon. A stalwart to Canberra’s hippest dining scene, Eightysix is set up with cosy booths, chic black walls - making it ideal for an intimate dining experience with friends and family.
Prosciutto & Espresso Butter Crouton - The salty, dry-aged prosciutto paired with the rich and bitter espresso butter is an awakening of the taste buds.
Jerk Pork Chop, Chicken Fat Potatoes & Buttermilk - The Caribbean style jerk seasoned pork chop is inherently spicy but also features a distinct brightness. The rendered chicken fat potatoes and buttermilk work to perfection in dulling the spice of the fiery dish.
Caramel Popcorn Sundae - If you’ve heard of Eightysix, then you’ve more than likely heard of their signature dessert, the caramel popcorn sundae. Broken waffle cone, fresh caramel ice cream, peanut brittle and of course fresh caramel popcorn unite to embrace every sweet-tooth.
Located at Lonsdale Street & Eloura Street, Braddon
Open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, 6pm till 9pm, (10pm on Friday and Saturday), and for breakfast and lunch on the weekends, 9am till 2pm. Closed Mondays.
More info at eightysix.com.au
A true Italian staple on the Canberra dining scene since 2009, Italian & Sons is regularly frequented by locals for their traditional yet inspired Italian offerings. The kitchen turns out Neapolitan wood-fired pizzas and handmade pasta, and shakes things up with modern share plates and daily specials.
With a warm, welcoming atmosphere and fantastic generous servings, it is no wonder why Italian & Sons won Canberra Time’s Best Restaurant in 2018.
Berkshire Porchetta - Juicy roasted pork roll with the crispiest crackling, paired with a sweet apple mostarda, a type of sweet Italian fruit dressing.
‘Rucola’ - Their signature 48-hour risen dough baked in a Neapolitan style wood-fired oven provides the perfect bed for prosciutto san daniele, rucola and Parmigiano reggiano.
Spaghetti Alla Chitarra Con Granchio - Flavourful squid ink spaghetti is the vessel for succulent and buttery spanner crab topped with fresh samphire and toasted pangrattato.
Located at 7 Lonsdale St, Braddon
Open for dinner Monday through Saturday from 6pm till 10pm, and lunch Tuesday through Friday, 12pm till 2pm. Closed Sunday.
More info at italianandsons.com.au
Located on the ground floor of the Avenue Hotel, Marble & Grain is a European steakhouse inspired restaurant with a true paddock to plate philosophy. You’ll find shared options such as slow-cooked local lamb shoulder, as well as many delicious dishes for the main course including local lamb with pea puree, broad beans, caramelised goat’s cheese or .
Pop past at lunch and grab a bite to eat from the $15 lunch specials menu, which is on offer everyday between 12pm and 2pm. The menu changes regularly, but always includes the favourites of chicken schnitzel with M&G potato salad, and the beautifully battered , fish and chips with fennel slaw.
Marble & Grain Butchers Board - ‘Travale Farm’ venison sausage, v, baby lamb ribs, grilled sirloin, bone marrow, chorizo-stuffed onion, black pudding stuffed pepper, onion rings and a red wine jus. You simply can’t go wrong.
Angus Beef Flat Iron - with grilled asparagus, romesco sauce and black pepper crumb is the perfect Spring dish .
Lemon & Finger Lime Tart - This crowd-pleaser is topped with torched meringue and served with mascarpone cream. The perfect end to the perfect meal!
Located at 25 Mort Street, Braddon
Open Monday to Friday from 6:30am till late; Sat, Sun & Holidays from 7:00am till late.
More info at marbleandgrain.com.au
Les Bistronomes offers French classics in a bistro-style venue. The seasonal menu has been developed by Chef Clement Chouvin, who refined his culinary skills at Michelin-starred restaurants owned by Gordon Ramsey.
You can expect immaculately plated dishes expertly made with impeccable technique and a genuine understanding of food.
Duck Liver Parfait - The traditional French ‘mouth amuser’ is contrasted with sweet and sour pickled cherries spread across fresh in-house baked brioche rolls.
La Bouillabaisse - Perhaps the dish most synonymous with Les Bistronomes, the rich and earthy La Bouillabaisse soup features fresh Australian shellfish swimming in a complex saffron and tomato broth.
Vanilla Crème Brûlée - An exquisite vanilla bean custard encased in a deep caramel shield. For something truly decadent, we recommend pairing it with their Le Parigot cocktail - Liqueur de Paris, Brandy and lime.
Located at 36 Elouera St, Braddon
Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 12pm till 2pm and 6pm till 9pm.
Closed Monday and Sunday.
More info at lesbistronomes.net
Molto Italian La Famiglia - A rich celebration of history teamed with the joy of Italian food and culture. This waterside Italian restaurant focuses on simple flavour combinations that champions seasonal produce.
‘Diavola’ - Every single dough used in the Molto Italian pizzas are naturally risen for 48-hours and sauced using fresh San Marzano tomatoes. Among our top pick is Diavola - topped with fior di latte, spicy salami, onion and chilli.
Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe - A crowd favourite for a good reason. A dish of homemade cacio e pepe is swirled through the pecorino cheese wheel and plated at the table.
Torta Di Cioccolata - A decadent chocolate cake served with a zesty citrus sorbet, cream sauce and freeze-dried raspberries. The contrast in textures between the torta, sorbet and raspberries makes for a very unique plate.
Located at 155/43 Eastlake Parade, Canberra
Open for dinner 7 days a week, 6pm till 10pm, and lunch Tuesday through Sunday 12pm till 3pm.
More info at moltoitalian.com
Canberra is home to some of the best Asian dining in Australia and Wild Duck on the Kingston foreshore has certainly staked its claim as one of the region’s finest. The food is authentic yet creative and modern - a refreshing take on China’s food scene with some offerings from other parts of South-East Asia.
Basil Chilli Squid - Tender and flavourful squid with a light crispy coating served with fresh basil and liberally dusted with the house-made five-spice salt.
Kung Pao Chicken - Wild Duck’s take on the traditionally spicy Szechuan style dish incorporates diced light and dark duck meat, sautéed with aromatics and finished in a spicy chilli soy-vinegar.
Hakubai Sticky Rice - Unlike any dessert you’ve had before, this black sticky rice pudding with coconut custard is served with a soft meringue, segments of blood orange, fairy floss and baby mint.
Located at 77-78/71 Giles St, Kingston
Open for dinner Monday through Saturday 5:30pm till 10:30pm, and lunch Monday through Friday 12pm till 2:30. Closed Sunday.
More info at wild-duck.com.au
Little sister to Lazy Su, Baby Su has recently joined the growing Canberra food scene. The interiors are bright, light and reminiscent of its sister restaurant’s Asian-pop retro-chic aesthetic. Baby Su also features an Americana-Korean-Japanese fusion menu. However, unlike Lazy Su, the restaurant offers a more casual dining experience with takeaway, grab-and-go options which include rice bowls, boas and more.
Teriyaki Cheeseburger - The humble cheeseburger meets its Japanese cousin. Featuring a toasted nori mayo, this burger sauce packs a huge umami kick.
Beef Short Rib Rice Bowl - If cheeseburgers and fried chicken aren’t your thing, Baby Su offers a healthy range of rice and salad bowls. This particular bowl features slow-braised beef, sushi rice, mizuna salad and pickled ginger.
Wagyu Cheesesteak Spring Roll - Tender and rich wagyu meat and cheese sauce fried in a crispy spring roll. It’s hard to stop at just one!
Located at 54 Alinga St, Canberra
Open from 12pm to 9:30pm Monday through Thursday, 12pm to 10pm Friday and Saturday and 12pm to 9pm on Sundays.
More info at baby-su.com.au
Raku is the epitome of modern Japanese fine dining. The menu is artfully crafted by the Executive Chef Hao, who has rightfully earned his title as master of the sushi blade. The venue is vibrant and immaculately polished with sleek tiles, bamboo accents, wooden furnishings and stunning tableware.
Uchiwabe - Succulent Moreton Bay bugs are lightly coated in tempura batter, fried and topped with bright yuzu kosho mayonnaise and fiery chilli ponzu.
California - The humble California sushi roll has been upgraded by executive Chef Hao. His version features buttery spanner crab, tobiko (flying fish caviar), crisp cucumber and fresh avocado.
Unagi Foie Gras - A melding of Japanese and French cuisines, this dish features freshwater eel, partnered with indulgent whole-duck foie gras, served on a crispy puffed potato and topped with a shichimi spice blend.
Located at 148 Bunda St, Canberra
Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week from 11:30am till 3pm and 5:30pm till 11pm.
More info at www.rakudining.com.au
Mezzalira lives by one philosophy, marrying simple flavours with the freshest ingredients to produce spectacular dishes. One of Canberra's favourite Italian eateries, Mezzalira offers the finest Southern Italian dishes. You can choose the cosy banquette seating or al fresco on the elegant colonnade. Either way the food and atmosphere are sure to transport you straight to Milan.
Capesante Saltate - Fresh and well-seasoned seared sea scallops and smoked eel are dressed with a burnt fennel puree and a saffron and caper vinaigrette.
Maccheroncini - A rich, silky house-made pasta is tossed with tender suckling lamb and a deep rosemary and red wine ragu.
Caramelised Lemon Curd Tart - Lemon curd offset by a rich caramel infusion, served with a creamy mascarpone sorbet and an earthy tea-infused citrus compote.
Located at 55 London Circuit, Canberra
Open for dinner Monday through Saturday 6pm till 10pm and lunch Monday through Friday 12pm will 2:30pm. Closed Sunday.
More info at mezzalira.com.au