One of Perth's popular urban villages, Subiaco blends bustling cafes with designer clothing boutiques, homeware stores, farmers markets and some of the city's most convivial bars and restaurants.
By Fleur Bainger
If you hear a local talking about Subi, they’re referring to Subiaco. This leafy suburb is split by two major cafe and boutique shopping strips that buzz day and night. Beyond these, you'll find beautiful character homes and lush parks.
- Visit the quirky cat cafe
- Have breakfast at the weekly farmers market
- Drink wine at a local artist's small bar
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Top things to do in Subiaco
Drink coffee with a cat
Japan isn't the only place with cat cafes. Perth's first feline-focused coffee house – The Cat Café Purrth – allows patrons to book 30 or 60 minute sessions with the resident rescue cats. There's Ziggy Stardust (who has different coloured David Bowie eyes), Mr Fox, Mowgli, and eight other furry friends. While the cats provide comfort and companionship to visitors, their welfare is a priority, so the cafe is closed from 3pm to 5pm for cat naps.
Shop up a storm on Rockeby Road
Rockeby Road is the main shopping strip in Subiaco, running from Subiaco train station to Kings Park. It's crossed by Hay Street, another store-lined route worthy of attention (visit Ricarda for women’s directional fashion). On Rockeby, stop in at Seed Heritage for gorgeous kids' clothing, Linneys for lustrous Broome pearls, Daneechi for a colossal number of swimsuits and Picnic for stylish daywear. Refuel with a delightfully original dessert from Whisk Creamery.
Drink, dine and linger at Rockeby's secret southern end
Most visitors to Subiaco will stop walking once the shops thin out at Bagot Road, but push on because local treasures can be found just a few blocks up. Past the pretty rose gardens next to the war memorial, to where Heytesbury Road crosses Rockeby, you’ll find Boucla Café, a tightly packed den of Greek and Moroccan curios. The coffee is among the best in the city and the cakes are unforgettable – try the soufra. Next door, the same owners have the equally atmospheric candlelit restaurant Lady of Ro, but before you go there, grab a wine at the convivial Juanita's bar, and admire the owner's colourful artworks on the walls. Sit out front and be a part of this fun-loving local scene.
Taste some of the city's best pasta
It's not just fresh, handmade pasta you're getting at restaurant Lulu La Delizia, it's the chef-owner's family heritage blended with his brave wielding of ingredients and flavours. His Nonna Luigia, who grew up in Italy's Friuli region and came to Perth in the 1950s, inspires much of the menu, which ranges from wet and saucy vongole to the signature veal and pork ragu. The special of the day tends to push boundaries: expect smoky eel with asparagus, or tagliolini made with pig's blood topped with a blend of prawn meat, white vermouth and fennel seed.
Fill your hessian shopping tote at the Subi Farmers Market
Each Saturday from 8am to noon, the grounds of Subiaco Primary School fill for the Subi Farmers Market. People seek out crusty, fresh baked bread (go to the Wild Bakery stall), crisp Southern Forests apples (there are three greengrocers), Tom the Greek's spanakopita, and pretty pastries by Rochelle Adonis (displayed at Cherry Bombe). There's also excellent coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice. Breakfast is particularly popular, eaten beneath a giant fig tree.
Catch a show at the historic Regal Theatre
The eye-catching Art Deco design of the theatre sprawling across the corner of Rockeby Road and Hay Street invites exploration. More than 75 years old and named after King George VI, the Regal's interiors stay true to its heritage listing, with wide staircases and svelte bars. Plenty of big shows come here, from Perth International Arts Festival events (February and March, annually), to the visiting Moscow ballet and well-known comedians. The box office is on the ground floor.
How to get there
Subiaco is on the fringes of Perth's inner city zone, about 15 minutes from Perth Central station by car or taxi, or six minutes by train on the Fremantle Line.