Aubergine restaurant, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory © VisitCanberra
The best restaurants in Canberra
When it comes to chic restaurants and flavoursome fare, Australia’s capital doesn’t disappoint.
By Amy Fraser
Canberra is loved for its history and culture, but it’s quickly becoming a foodie lovers paradise. Stroll along the city streets and you’ll stumble upon an array of superb restaurants, from fine dining to international-inspired chic diners and intimate boutiques. Discover our top picks below.
Where: 23 Marcus Clarke St, Acton
Canberra’s Rebel Rebel is well known for its delicious food, beautifully designed David Bowie-inspired interiors and fair prices. Sean McConnell’s menu offers a scrumptious fare for everyone, from oysters with Champagne to a granola bowl accompanied by a flat white. At Rebel Rebel, it’s all about giving the people what they want. In fact, it’s not just a restaurant; this multi-purpose venue boasts a takeaway service and even a bottle shop.
Where: 1 Burbury Cl, Barton
Considered one of the best Japanese restaurants in Canberra, Lilotang serves up lip-smacking dishes, from succulent braised Wagyu beef brisket on a bao bun to miso-glazed toothfish. Make your way through plates abundant with vibrant flavours while soaking up the restaurant’s fun interiors with a quirky cocktail in-hand.
Where: 148 Bunda Street, Canberra
Tucked away in the leafy suburb of Barton, the laid-back Vincent brings something unique to Canberra's collection of eateries. Here, you can enjoy decadent plates of fare – think red snapper with Jerusalem artichoke and Baileys dark chocolate mousse – paired with wines hand-picked from around the world. Boasting a warm, relaxed atmosphere, Vincent is the perfect place to unwind with friends.
Where: 5/39 Kennedy Street, Kingston
Run by owner and hatted-chef Louis Couttoupes, you can find Onzieme quietly shining in the heart of old-world Kingston. Best known for its small plates stacked with foraged ingredients and natural wines, you can always guarantee great quality at Onzieme. Plus, with an altering menu based on seasonal supply and spontaneity, every visit is just as exciting as the last.
Monster Kitchen and Bar
Where: 25 Edinburgh Ave, Canberra
When it comes to trendy hotels in Canberra, Ovolo Nishi takes the cake, and its in-house restaurant, Monster Kitchen and Bar, follows in its footsteps. Known for its epic contemporary Australian fare that changes with the seasons, it’s a great spot to dine with family or friends. Pick from one of the restaurant’s magnificent four rooms, from the artistic Mosaic room to the historical Salon and Dining rooms – you’ll soon realise it’s not just the food that makes a meal here quite special.
The Italian Place
Where: 38 Mort St, Braddon
Owned and run by two Italian restaurant masterminds, there’s little surprise The Italian Place has received nothing but rave reviews since it opened. Combining fresh Australian produce with authentic Italian flavours, it’s difficult not to like the heart-warming dishes on this menu. Think handmade ravioli with a pork jus, squid ink pasta, and brilliantly refreshing homemade gelato to finish. Bring the whole family and a big appetite.
Where: 16 Iluka St, Narrabundah
For a taste of South East Asia, look no further than XO. Step into the restaurant’s lively dining room, complete with white-bricked walls and a buzzing 80’s playlist and you’ll feel like you’ve travelled further than down the city streets to get there. XO prides itself in its innovative cuisine, infused with South East Asian flavours. The pho dumplings are a must, and they taste even better with a creative cocktail to wash them down. Asian-inspired Aperol spritz anyone?
Where: 1 Wakefield Gardens, Ainslie
Pilot is a real gem in Canberra’s restaurant scene. The attention to detail is nothing short of outstanding, from the delicate interiors to the locally sourced fresh ingredients and fantastic service. This is a place to impress, and it’ll certainly succeed. Take a special someone and share the eight-course degustation menu amid their intimate dining area. You’ll want to savour every bite.
Where: 15 Moore St, Canberra
For fine Spanish fare, good vibes and a dessert menu that foodies would go nuts for, head to Canberra’s Temporada. Expect to be delighted by their creative cuisine, featuring seasonal produce that’s wood-fired and infused with Spanish flavours. You really can’t go wrong at Temporada.
Where: 83 Theodore St, Curtin
Award-winning Daana brings the heartwarming flavours of urban India to Canberra. Inspired by their elders’ recipes, this family-run restaurant lives by sustainability and a spirit of sharing. It’s even woven into the fabric of their name; ‘Dana’ means ‘generosity’ in Sanskrit. Order one of their signature banquets and you'll no doubt be enveloped by the sounds, smells and tastes of India.
Where: 148 Bunda Street, Canberra
For a true culinary escape, pull up a chair at the enchanting Art Deco-inspired INKA restaurant to lock lips with tropical cocktails served with Japanese Nikkei-style cuisine. The menu here is just as alluring as the decor; crafted by executive chef Michael Muir, there's little wonder INKA was named a finalist in the Master Builders Australia ACT Awards in 2021.