Canberra, the capital city of Australia, is not just a hub of politics and bureaucracy, but also a vibrant and eclectic food scene. With its growing population and influx of tourists, the city is home to an impressive array of restaurants and cafes that are worth a visit.
The food scene in Canberra ranges from cozy cafes serving delicious brunch to contemporary fine-dining restaurants. Indeed, many of the city’s top dining establishments have been awarded accolades and have received recognition from food critics and diners alike. Whether you’re in the mood for something traditional or something more exotic, you’ll be able to find it in Canberra.
One of the highlights of dining in Canberra is the farm-to-table movement. With its close proximity to the surrounding rural areas, many restaurants source their ingredients locally, providing diners with a true taste of the region. This emphasis on regional produce not only supports local farmers, but also ensures that food is wonderfully fresh and of the highest quality.
Fine-dining restaurants in Canberra are a must-visit for those who appreciate a more upscale dining experience. These establishments offer expertly crafted menus, attentive service, and elegant decor, creating a truly memorable dining experience. What’s more, many of the city’s top venues feature seasonal menus that change regularly, ensuring that patrons always have something new and exciting to try.
Of course, a look at the best restaurants in Canberra doesn’t just mean high-end dining. The capital boasts a number of eateries where the beauty of the food and warmth of the service far out strip their more modest price tag.
So let us be your guides and lead you on a tour of the some of the top restaurants in Canberra. You might be surprised where we take you.
Location: Canberra Centre, Shop DG36C/148 Bunda St, Canberra ACT 2601 Ph: (02) 6248 6869
We’re opening our recommendations to Canberra’s finest restaurants at the expensive end of the scale. But believe us, dinner at Raku is worth every cent.
We Aussie’s love our Japanese cuisine and sushi is a favourite dish for many of us. However, at Raku, Sushi and Sashimi are elevated to an art form. How serious is the kitchen about their raw fish? Well, the focal point of this refined venue is a stunning raw bar. Here, you can perch counter-side and marvel at knife skills on display.
Sashimi starts at $15 for 3 pieces of Tai/Snapper NZ and peaks at $36 for the prized Japanese Otoro/ Bluefin Tuna Belly. There’s also an extensive array of Nigiri and some of the most luxurious Sushi Maki Rolls you’ll ever find. Our pick is the Truffle Salmon ($23). This is a heady combination of Seared Tasmanian Salmon, Truffle Oil, Cucumber, Avocado, Tenkatsu & Gochijang Mayonnaise.
Aside from a raw selections, Raku also serves Honetsuki Ramu Niku ($38). These are the most divine Slow Cooked Lamb Short Ribs, with Sweet Chilli Garlic, Sweet Soy. Similarly memorable is the Sukotchi Firetto ($43) – a majestic 150-day Grain Fed Scotch Fillet accompanied by Wafu Sauce, Wasabi Sour Cream & an unusual Rhubarb salt.
Of course, no stellar restaurant is complete without a carefully considered Drinks List, and Raku is no exception. Particular attention shows in the Cocktails, which make use of a number of inherently Japanese ingredients to highlight the unique flavours of the food.
All this in a sleek modern dining room and with exemplary service.
Raku is a must-try restaurant if you find yourself in town.
Location: 23 Marcus Clarke St, Acton, ACT 2601 Ph: (02) 6248 8548
If you think that the Canberra’s top restaurants lack hipster edge, then you clearly haven’t frequented Rebel Rebel.
As the name suggests, this eatery is breaking the rules – in all the best ways.
First up, the restaurant itself has a pretty unique design. Vaulted wooden beams evoke a barn and remind diners that farm to table is very much in vogue in Australia. The result is a light and airy dining room of considerable charm.
And the food. Can we just say “Really very good” and leave it at that? Probably not. So here goes.
Love a Beef Tartare ($26)? This one is a killer. Finely diced Beef melts into Anchovy, Pickles and Hot English Mustard for a sublime mouth-feel and oodles of flavour. Scared of a the very thought of offal? Overcome your prejudice with Rebel Rebel Canberra’s to-die-for Wagyu Tongue, Peppers & PX ($32). You’ll thank us later. And please make sure you order the Sugarloaf Cabbage, Tahini & Harissa Oil ($24). It sounds so simple and tastes so complex.
But then, this is the food-focused baby of Sean McConnell (brother of Melbourne culinary God Andrew) and his wife Jenny Harders. So honestly, dine here and you’re in the hands of people who know what they are doing.
And that knowledge extends to the truly outstanding service.
Lastly, the Drinks List is also above par. In fact, it’s one of the few places where we’ve got genuinely excited about a Mocktail. The tipple is question is the Bang Bang ($15). A beguiling blend of Burnt Lime, Sumac & Honey.
And if you particularly like something on the Wine List – and why wouldn’t you? It’s rather fine – you can take a bottle home with you for retail price. Seriously, don’t you wish all restaurants did this?!
Newcastle isn’t a million miles from Canberra and has a thriving food scene (and great surf!). For our recommendations on the Best Restaurants in Newcastle, click here.
Location: Ovolo Nishi, Ground/25 Edinburgh Ave, Canberra, ACT 2601 Ph: (02) 6287 6192
There’s plenty to get excited about at the Ovolo Nishi Hotel in Canberra. 5 Star boutique accommodation is just the start at this stunning hotel, where the interior design is just as striking as the exterior architecture.
And then there’s Monster Kitchen and Bar. Honestly, this incredible eatery offers ‘destination dining’ with bells on.
From the sheer scale of the place to its eye-poppingly eclectic aesthetics – industrial circular fireplace and miss-matched 70s Terrazzo flooring, anyone? To the hip vibe and the beautifully executed food – Monster Kitchen stands out in all the right ways.
So what about the menu? Well, French/Japanese fusion is the focus, with dishes reflecting the changes of the seasons and what’s available locally. Oh. And it’s currently also fully vegetarian.
Kick off with the Corn Ribs ($16), their sweetness enhanced by Shio Kombu & Smoked Paprika. From there, the Sweet Potato Chaat with Mint & Tamarind Chutney, Sweetened Yoghurt & Pomegranate ($18) is a marriage made in heaven. Similarly, the Spinach Gnudi ($28) – Burrata, Brown Butter, Sage & Pine Nuts is a brilliantly balanced main.
Whatever you do, save a space for the Lavender Creme Brulee ($19). Served with Banoffee Foam, Apple Crisp, Shortbread, Cinnamon Ice Cream & Apple Puree, every review that we’ve read of Monster Kitchen and Bar raves about it.
Of course, when the word ‘Bar’ appears in your name, you can expect a decent drinks list. At Monster Kitchen, there is an abundance of choice. Our favourite though, is the ‘Experimental’ Cocktail ($25), which changes by the week.
If you’re heading down to the Victorian capital and love a great bar, see our take on the Best Cocktail Bars in Melbourne. And if you’re particularly keen on ‘experimental’ tipples, check out our review of Bouvardia.
Editor’s Note: We are currently in the process of updating this page. Please come back regularly to see our recommendations.