Top places to eat in Canberra

When it comes to Australian foodie destinations, Canberra may not be somewhere that immediately springs to mind. It should, as 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 of this experience:

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 top places to eat in Canberra.

Canberra travel guide

Top places to eat in Canberra

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

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.

Top places to eat in Canberra

Top places to eat in Canberra: Bacaro. Image: Adam Ford

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.

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.

Top places to eat in Canberra

Top places to eat in Canberra: Chifley’s Bar & Grill. Image courtesy of TFE Hotels

The Hamlet and Brodburger

What do you call a collective of food vans? A clutch? There’s no doubt a craze for food van fodder is sweeping the nation, and here in Canberra the local food van operators have a permanent location to call home, known as The Hamlet.

Within this ‘urban village’, a disused warehouse space in Braddon, the vans have safe haven from harassing local councils, where they are free (the vans, not the councils) to serve up fast and tasty treats to an adoring public.

With names like BrodDogs, the Spit Shak, Chasing Mr Morris, April’s Caravan and Mr Papa Peruvian, what’s not to love? Check it out every Wednesday to Sunday.

Watch our video of this experience:

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.

One of the vans you’ll see at The Hamlet, BrodDog, is an offshoot of another food van success story, Brodburger, which now has its permanent home at the Canberra Glassworks on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Kingston.

Pay a visit to the eclectic Glassworks arts facility housed in Canberra’s oldest public building (the Kingston Powerhouse) and then head next door to Brod for lunch. A word of warning – these guys are very popular and can serve up to 800 burgers a day, so get in early. There can be one heck of a queue!

Top places to eat in Canberra

Top places to eat in Canberra: Brodburger. Image: Adam Ford

Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Restaurant

The Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Restaurant opened in February this year and is taking Canberra’s dining scene by storm, already picking up its first chef’s hat. It offers a sophisticated and highly polished dining experience, that offers real paddock to plate cuisine, with almost all produce sourced on the 86 acre estate, or certainly within the local area.

Pialligo Estate also incorporates an olive grove, vineyard, orchard, market garden and award-winning smallgoods smokehouse.

Top places to eat in Canberra

Top 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. Mind-blowing.

Adam travelled as a guest of VisitCanberra and TFE Hotels.

Do you have any tips for top 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 Melbourne-based travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. Adam has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. He 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. Adam also appears regularly as a travel commentator on Sky News Business Class. 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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