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Five great places to eat in Canberra

Canberra may not immediately spring to mind as a foodie destination, but these days the nation’s capital is home to an array of award-winning eateries. Adam Ford checks in with suggestions for top spots to eat and drink...

Watch our video guide to great places to eat in Canberra (Part 1):

Where to eat in Canberra (Part 1) – The Big Bus tour and travel guide

Welcome to The Big Bus tour and travel guide. When it comes to Australian foodie destinations, Canberra may not be somewhere that immediately springs to mind. Yet our nation’s capital is punching well above its weight when it comes to award-winning restaurants and eateries.

There’s a whole lot of deliciousness going on in Canberra.

We were recently invited by VisitCanberra to check out some of the latest additions to the city’s dining scene, which is seriously impressive. From food vans to fine dining, there’s something new and innovative to discover around every corner.

Here are some tips for great places to eat in Canberra.

Canberra travel guide

Five great places to eat in Canberra
Five great places to eat in Canberra. Image courtesy of Italian and Sons

1. Bacaro

Italian and Sons opened its door in Braddon in 2009 and has been the place to be for great Italian ever since — offering authentic antipasti, hand-made pastas and a strong emphasis on quality produce. What was a rear garage and storeroom for many years is now Bacaro — possibly the coolest wine bar in town — which opened in April this year. Here, you can hide away from prying eyes and still enjoy the delights coming out of the Italian and Sons kitchen. Enter Bacaro through an unmarked door in the car park.

It’s smooth and sophisticated, with an open fireplace and a marble-topped bar lined with bottles of vivid Italian red. Try the wood-fired pizza rucola with prosciutto di San Daniele, rucola and reggiano, or the vitello tonnato which literally melts in your mouth.

Five great places to eat in Canberra
Five great places to eat in Canberra: Bacaro. Image: Adam Ford

2. Temporada

Just a block or two across Northbourne Avenue in the inner city, surrounded by ubiquitous office blocks and sandwich bars, there’s something pretty special going on. Temporada is a Spanish-inspired eatery (Temporada translates as ‘seasonal’ in Spanish) with a wonderful industrial-chic interior. It’s absolutely one of the top places to eat in Canberra at the moment.

Temporada is loosely themed around tapas and shared plates, but it’s the ingenuity and interesting pairings of ingredients that will really impress here. We start with spanner crab, crispy pigs’ ears and green almonds, then a lamb neck salad, with fresh asparagus and broad beans. The impeccably presented dessert of chocolate ganache, salted honeycomb, fresh blueberries and sorrel steals the show.

3. Pialligo Estate

Pialligo Estate offers a sophisticated and highly polished paddock-to-plate dining experience, with most ingredients produced on the 86-acre estate or certainly within the local area. The estate incorporates an olive grove, vineyard, orchard, market garden and award-winning smallgoods smokehouse.

Five great places to eat in Canberra
Five great places to eat in Canberra. Image courtesy of Pialligo Estate

The ethos here is ‘a feast for the senses’ — and that it is. We try a starter of Kosciuszko King Trout, cucumber, heirloom cauliflower and a natural roe, followed by succulent Muscovy duck with swede, rye and boudin noir (dark blood sausage). Dessert is Honey Murcott Mandarin, white chocolate, tarragon and white peppercorn. It’s mind-blowing.

4. Chifley’s Bar & Grill

Over in the heart of the parliamentary precinct of Barton, the historic Hotel Kurrajong has itself been at the heart of the nation’s political scene for almost a century. The hotel has hosted the who’s-who of Aussie politics over the years. It was even the preferred home of our 16th PM Ben Chifley.

While it was extensively renovated in 2014, many of the hotel’s period features have been retained and the whole place is utterly charming — including Chifley’s Bar & Grill, headed up by executive chef Michael Chatto. Chifley’s Bar & Grill is one of the top places to eat in Canberra when it comes to a great steak. The restaurant offers a full steak-bar menu, with detailed information on the origins of the beef on offer. There are eighteen different cuts available.

We try a melt in the mouth Cape Grim Black Angus scotch fillet, along with a blue swimmer crab omelette, a baby beetroot and goat labneh salad, and a delicate vanilla panna cotta with strawberries.

Watch our video guide to great places to eat in Canberra (Part 2):

Where to eat in Canberra (Part 2) – The Big Bus tour and travel guide

Welcome to The Big Bus tour and travel guide. When it comes to Australian foodie destinations, Canberra may not be somewhere that immediately springs to mind. Yet our nation’s capital is punching well above its weight when it comes to award-winning restaurants and eateries.

5. Brodburger

Canberra’s Brodburger is a food van success story. These guys started off as a mobile burger bar, but now have a permanent home at the Canberra Glassworks on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Kingston. Pay a visit to the Glassworks arts facility (housed in the Kingston Powerhouse — Canberra’s oldest public building), and then head next door to Brod for lunch. A word of warning — these guys are seriously popular and can serve up to 800 burgers a day. Get in early. There can be one heck of a queue!

Adam travelled as a guest of VisitCanberra and TFE Hotels.

Do you have any tips for great places to eat in Canberra? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Additional images: Bigstock

Adam Ford

About the writer

Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. Adam worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.

 

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