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. It’s a one-stop-shop for your food and drinks desires.
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 boa 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.
The Boat House
Where: Grevillea Park, Menindee Dr, Barton
If you’re looking for striking waterfront views with an elegant dinner to match, book yourself in for an evening at The Boat House. Their four-course menu consists of exquisite locally sourced produce, plated in a sophisticated fashion. Enjoy course after course over a glistening sunset, sipping on your favourite picks from the award-winning drinks list.
Where: 54 Marcus Clarke St, Canberra
While the French-inspired Courgette lies in the heart of the city, you wouldn’t know it from the restaurant's relaxed ambience and charming courtyard garden. Australian head chef, James Mussillon, combines his Aussie background with European training, creating a four-course menu specialising in fine seafood. And if you like your food plated with a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ (something extra special), you’ll be pleased to see decorated plates of flower petals sprinkled around your artistic-looking dinner.
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, from morning to night, 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 so special.
Where: 18 Barker St, Griffith
If a special occasion is on the menu, the formal and beautifully designed Aubergine is your go-to. Thought to be one of the best two-hatted restaurants in the country, bite into their creative, contemporary fare and your tastebuds won’t know what’s hit them. The restaurant’s menu is updated daily, using the very best ingredients the local farmers have to offer. Fresh, thoughtful and utterly delicious. Pair it with the award-winning wine list of over 500 labels to choose from.
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.