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45 Must Try Dishes in Canberra (By Locals)

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!  

          

Atrium Restaurant & Bar

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. 

Must try Atrium dishes:

  • Caponata - To start, try the Caponata, a beautifully piquant Sicilian inspired dish served with tasty polenta chips and cumin chilli roasted tomato sauce. 

  • Slow-cooked Pork Belly - This succulent dish is packed with flavour, featuring egg noodles, mushroom, five-spice onion in a savoury master stock. 

  • New York Porterhouse Steak 300g - From the grill, you simply can’t miss the New York Porterhouse Steak, perfectly cooked to your liking, served with rustic chips, boston beans and your choice of sauce.  

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

      

Tipsy Bull


Images via Tipsy Bull 

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. 

Must try Tipsy Bull dishes: 

  • Peking Duck Taco - Tuck into their crispy skin Peking Duck taco served with a rich hoisin sauce, coriander and pickled cabbage to add some vibrancy.

  • Snapper - Snapper fillets topped with a zesty coconut lime crumb, peppery bok choy, and a sweet and spicy coconut chilli sauce will have you wondering if you could ever appreciate a normal fish and chips again. 

  • Beef Cheeks - Rich cuts of braised beef in red wine ensure that even the cheapest cuts of meat can outshine some of the more expensive ones. Served with roasted sweet potato and a bright and nutty celeriac gremolata.

  • Feeling thirsty? Try the Simon & Earl, expertly crafted with Old Simon Genever Gin, Montenegro, Tio Pepe Sherry, thyme-infused agave, lemon juice, egg whites and finished with hazelnut dust. 

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

            

XO 


Images via XO

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. 

Must try XO dishes: 

  • Ga Roti - Traditionally made with chicken, this Ga Roti is made with a chargrilled spatchcock, offering a deep  distinct flavour with the spicy and zesty relish serving as a beautiful compliment to the rich poultry

  • Nasi Goreng - Sweet and buttery spanner crab meat paired with delicately crafted egg floss, served on a bed of squid ink rice - it is a truly unique dish with an exclusive flavour profile. 

  • Ume Misu - For dessert, try XO’s take on the classic tiramisu. You’ll find savoiardi and creamy mascarpone spiked with umeshu, a Japanese liquor made from plums. 

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

            

Kokomo’s 


Images via Kokomo’s

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. 

Must try Kokomo's dishes: 

  • Red Curry Braised Beef Cheek - With the beef cheeks left to tenderise over several hours in a sweet and spicy traditional Thai red curry, this  dish is beautifully balanced with coconut, in-house smoked pineapple and fresh Thai basil. 

  • Crispy Tamarind Pork Belly - Rich, crispy roast pork belly is seasoned with the uniquely sweet and unequivocally sour tamarind paste. The sweetness of coconut and lemonbalm inclusions make for a mouthwatering dish.

  • Kokomo Mojito - Their house speciality - is a classic cuban cocktail with Kokomo’s tropical flare made with Havana especial, Havana 3 anos, mint, lime, pineapple, mango, passionfruit and guava puree.

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

            

Aubergine 


Images via Aubergine

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. 

Must try Aubergine dishes: 

  • 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.

  • White Chocolate Mousse - Rich and fluffy chocolate mousse, contrasted beautifully by the tart lemon myrtle sorbet and rhubarb yoghurt. 

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


Images via Lolo and Lola 

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. 

Must try Lolo and Lola dishes: 

  • 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 


Images via Eightysix

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. 

Must try Eightysix dishes: 

  • 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

            

Italian & Sons


Images via Italian & Sons

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. 

Must try Italian & Son's dishes: 

  • 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

            

Marble & Grain

 

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.

Must try Marble & Grain dishes: 

  • 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


Images via Les Bistronomes

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. 

Must try Les Bistronomes dishes: 

  • 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


Images via Molto Italian

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. 

Must try Molto Italian dishes: 

  • ‘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

            

Wild Duck


Images via Wild Duck

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. 

Must try Wild Duck dishes: 

  • 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

            

Baby Su


Images via Baby Su

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. 

Must try Baby Su dishes: 

  • 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


Images via Raku

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.

Must try Raku dishes: 

  • 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


Images via Mezzalira

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. 

Must try Mezzalira dishes: 

  • 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