Enjoy Tasmania's famously fresh flavours in Hobart's best restaurants. Creative dishes are often served with views of Hobart's waterfront or city life.
By Andrew Bain
Tasmania's capital city is also the main dish in the state's thriving restaurant scene. Hobart's top restaurants tend to draw on international influences, but are fiercely loyal to local producers, creating seasonal menus with ingredients pulled fresh from Tasmania's rich soil or seas. At each of the following restaurants, you find high quality food, an atmosphere that's individual and welcoming, and often a literal window on Hobart.
Take the finest of Tasmanian produce and add water. That's the recipe at the Glass House, sitting atop the waters of Sullivans Cove on Hobart's Brooke Street Pier. The menu's share plates are inspired by Japanese cuisine, but features fully Tasmanian flavours – think abalone, salmon and farm-fresh vegetables and meat. The restaurant's view over the Derwent River and docks is as tasty as the dishes, and the Glass House is also a fine spot for a panoramic cocktail.
The Day of the Dead decor at the moody and marvellous Pancho Villa in North Hobart sets a fun tempo for a classic, high quality Mexican menu. Start with a flight of three salsas with tortilla chips, then choose from a selection of white and blue corn tacos or enchiladas. Things really get going after the main meal, with a dessert of dulce de leche churro followed by tequila time. There are more than 50 tequilas on the Pancho Villa cocktail list.
The opening of the superb Mona art gallery in 2011 was arguably Hobart's coming of age, sparking a revival in the city's arts and food scenes. It's fitting, then, that one of the city's finest restaurants, The Source, is at the gallery. In keeping with a gallery that prides itself on mystery, you usually order here by simply selecting your number of degustation courses – up to nine – and then await the result. The glass walls provide views over the Derwent River, and the wine list is one of the most exhaustive in Hobart.
Anchored in one corner of bustling Salamanca Square, Suzie Luck's seamlessly blends Southeast Asian flavours with the ingredients that have made Tasmania's food scene top notch. Open seven days a week, you can stop by Suzie Luck's for either lunch or dinner to enjoy a menu categorised by plate size. Try the kimchee pickled cucumber from the 'Little Bit' menu before feasting on crispy pork and prawn rolls from the 'Bit More' menu and mandarin braised duck from the 'Bigger' category.
Head west from Tasmania and the next landfall is distant Argentina, which is where Frank draws its inspiration from for its mouth-watering grills, chicken, seafood and great spread of vegetable dishes. Casual meets civilised behind the high windows, with hip wait staff doling out delicious share plates. It's popular, so book ahead for a table, or simply walk in and wait for a space along the window bench, which has views of Hobart's waterfront.
In a former newspaper building in Hobart's city centre, Franklin is austere and industrial in this cavernous space with bare concrete floors and cowhides tossed here and there. The food is superb, with a daily changing menu that's flavoured to perfection in Franklin's wood-fired oven. You may even find yourself eating from the indoor native garden, depending on the whim of the chef that day.
Tiny Templo, in the back streets of the city centre, is well worth seeking out. It seats about 20 people in a jigsaw-like configuration, with a few window tables for two, a large communal table and three stools at the wooden bar. You won't be handed a menu. Each day's offerings and wines are simply chalked on a board above the open kitchen. Local produce figures heavily, driving the ever-changing menu. Eat here and you'll feel like a local in the know for the night.