Whether you fancy midnight ramen, early morning burgers or sunrise nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice), Canberra’s nocturnal restaurant scene is a must-try.
Canberra is a city known for its foodie culture and wealth of dining options, but fewer people are aware of the capital’s late-night food scene. When the sun goes down, Canberra offers some excellent places to indulge in a midnight and early-morning feast. Whether you’ve been partying out on the town or working the night shift, these restaurants, food trucks and hole-in-the-wall eateries will keep hunger at bay well into the small hours.
Quirky late-night spot Kita opened in 2018 and is owned by a family of night workers who, sick of having nowhere to eat after their late shifts, decided to create a cosy all-night café with a welcoming vibe. The food is cooked by mum of the family Evi, who draws on her South Sumatran roots to make Indonesian comfort food including gado gado (Indonesian salad), nasi goreng (fried rice) and curries. Her son Zac is on hand all night long, brewing coffee and sweet-talking customers into ordering a dessert. Free Wi-Fi is offered, along with a student discount.
This local favourite has been dishing up burgers, fries and deep-fried Mars Bars since 2001. From the corner of the Gungahlin Lakes Club, head chef Laura’s team serves up cheeky menu items such as the Cranky Franky Hot Dog, Fat Bastard Burger and the Mr Miyagi Pork Roll. Vegetarians will enjoy a seriously loaded baked potato, or the Fun Guy mushroom burger. Anyone interested in paying this establishment a visit should keep an eye out for their next barbecue ribs night; it’s so popular they always sell out.
Asian fusion flavours and great service have won late-night spot Akiba a slew of people’s choice awards over the last few years. With fast weekday lunches and a Saturday night happy hour, Akiba is busy all week long. Arrive after midnight at the weekend and you can still tuck in to ramen, dumplings and bao buns (served until 1am) with a choice of tofu, duck, beef or crispy pork. Even if you’re stuffed full, make sure you try the standout dish of vegan laksa dumplings.
The Mandalay Bus is not just a food van, it’s a Canberra institution. Originally opened in the 1980s, the recently relaunched and revamped bus dishes out food to politicians, students and partygoers alike. The opening hours can be a little erratic and closing time is occasionally determined by the number of likes on a Facebook post, but the food is tasty and always served with a smile. Haig Park often hosts live music which means more opportunities to visit the bus for their triple chilli wings, satay chicken roti, Burmese noodles and waffle-cut fries.
“Saviour of the foodie” is the catchphrase of this superhero-themed burger joint, tucked in an alleyway in Canberra’s CBD. The spot prides itself on fast food that’s also good for you, so you can fill your belly with big flavours in a hurry at this eatery. There’s no messing about with perfection here: the team has bypassed the current trend for over-complicated burgers, instead sticking to simple, tasty food that you can hold in one hand. For vegans, the Earth Flash Stack is made with a Beyond Burger patty, while meat eaters will enjoy the popcorn chicken. Fries round out the ideal late-night snack.