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 6.30am to 10am Monday - Friday, 7.00am to 10.30am weekends & public holidays, Lunch 12pm to 2pm, and dinner 5pm to 10pm. All day bar menu from 10am 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 Thursday from 3pm till late, Friday to Sunday from 12pm till late.
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
Opening hours are Monday to Saturday from 6pm to 10pm, and Tuesday to Friday from 12pm to 2pm.
More info at xo-restaurant.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.
Lola's Kare-Kare - 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, shrimp paste, 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 Thursday and Friday 5pm to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday lunch 11am to 2pm, dinner 2pm to 8pm.
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.
Salt & Vinegar Potato Scallop - You can never go wrong with this classic potato dish with the savoury yet sharp flavour of salt & vinegar that will surely delight your tastebuds.
Habanero Steak Tartare - Step out of your comfort zone and try the steak tartare that has a hint of Mexican and Asian fusion with the habanero sauce and prawn crackers as a side.
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, (11pm on Friday and Saturday), 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.
House Wood Baked Rosemary Focaccia - Focaccia is a must try when you visit Italian & Son's, especially when it's paired with delicious whipped ricotta and chestnut honey to make your cicchetti even better.
Tagliolini - Go big or go home, taste the luxurious flavour of saffron with Ballina Spanner Crab, with a dash of lemon, caper and chilli cooked with tagliolini and panegrattato.
Tira Mi Su - A staple Italian dessert that combines coffee, cocoa, and mascarpone cheese, you can never say no to the classic Tira Mi Su.
Located at 7 Lonsdale St, Braddon
Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5.30pm, and lunch Wednesday through Friday from 12pm.
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 beer battered, fish and chips with tartare sauce.
Wagyu Beef Cheek Croquettes - As the title goes, this French deep-fried rolls are stuffed with wagyu beef cheek with roasted garlic aioli as a dip.
Rib Eye Bone In 400g - The grain fed Grasslands rib eye is served with roast truss cherry tomatoes, miso glazed mushroom, watercress and red wine jus. Who can say no to that!
Smoked Banoffee Pie - This crowd-pleaser is topped with sweet but savoury salted caramel gelato. The perfect end to the perfect meal!
Located at 25 Mort Street, Braddon
Open Monday to Sunday 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.
Le trio d'amuse-bouche - Taste Les Bistronomes' famous pork rillettes served with goat's cheese boursin served along with the well-known French duck liver parfait.
La Boeuf Bourgignon - Perhaps the dish most synonymous with Les Bistronomes, the rich and earthy braised beef cheeks cooked in burgundy wine, with Paris mash and dutch carrot on the side will leave your mouth watering.
La Crème Brûlée Flambée au Cointreau - An exquisite vanilla bean custard encased in a deep caramel shield. For something truly decadent, we recommend pairing it with their French Martini - a mix of Vodka, Chambord, and pineapple juice.
Located at 18 Blamey place, Campbell Shops
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 Element Building 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 chicken breast, sautéed with aromatics and finished in a spicy chilli soy-vinegar, accompanied with roasted macamia nut & garlic stems.
Passionfruit & Oolong Tea Cheesecake - A unique take on the classic cheesecake, this dessert combines flavours from passionfruit and oolong tea and is topped off with mango, lychee, elderflower, and honey oat crumble.
Located at 77-78/71 Giles St, Kingston
Open Monday to Thursday 12pm to 9.30pm, Friday 12pm to 10.30pm, Saturday 5.30pm to 10.30pm.
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.
Korean Spicy Chicken Bao-Ger - The humble cheeseburger meets its Korean cousin. Featuring Gochujang glazed Korean fried chicken and teriyaki mayo, this burger packs a huge umami kick.
Soba Noodle 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 protein of your choice, soba noodles, lotus root chips, nori, and pcikled ginger.
Cheesesteak Spring Roll - A little twist of the popular spring roll snack, this deep-fried spring rolls stuffed with cheese sauce and served with teriyaki mayo will surely leave you wanting more.
Located at 54 Alinga St, Canberra
Open 7 days a week, Monday to Sunday lunch from 12pm to 3pm and dinner from 5pm to 9pm. Closed on public holidays.
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 2.30pm and 5:30pm till 10pm.
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.
Grilled Abrolhos Island Octopus - Have a taste of freshly grilled octopus to start off your journey, accompanied with smoked Nicola potato, black olives, pomodorini and basil.
Fusilloni - A rich, silky house-made pasta is tossed with tender Flinders Island lamb cooked in red wine ragu with tomato and pecorino cheese.
Caramelised Lemon Curd Tart - Lemon curd offset by a rich caramel infusion, served with a creamy vanilla bean mascarpone sorbet and an earthy tea-infused citrus compote.
Located at 55 London Circuit, Canberra
Open for lunch Tuesday through Friday, 12pm - 2.30pm, dinner Tuesday through Saturday, 6pm to 10pm. Monday & Sunday closed.
More info at mezzalira.com.au