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From fine dining and fusion cuisine to modern classics, and settings that include historic buildings with crackling fireplaces to refined elegance and contemporary chic, here are some of Culture Trip’s favourite restaurants in Canberra.
Australia’s capital city may not be known for its extensive dining experiences, but the chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs here in Canberra are working flat out to change that. With plenty of options for dining out and a range of different cuisines to suit everyone’s tastes, the city is quickly becoming a culinary hub, with diners coming from far and wide to sample some of the capital’s best dishes and dining rooms.
The younger sibling of Canberra’s famous Aubergine, Temporada is casual yet classy, with sleek, industrial-chic decor, relaxed seating and a creative Spanish-inspired menu. Featuring great sharing plates, plenty of amazing vegetarian options, perfectly paired drinks and desserts that sound so delectable you can’t help but say yes, Temporado ticks all the right boxes.
Bold, fun, and effortlessly cool, XO brings a playful touch to haute cuisine. Their fusion pan-Asian dishes may sound a little outlandish, but believe us, it works. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be whisked away into another world, where contemporary dining meets white-washed brickwork, an ’80s-themed playlist and imaginative cocktails. If this is the future of dining in Canberra, we’re so here for it.
Add early morning cappuccinos and take-away paninis to the relaxed lunches and dinners with wine and cocktails, all made from top-quality imported products, and you get the Italian Place, the top spot for Italian food in Canberra. With a rustic trattoria vibe, genuinely warm hospitality and incredible house-made dishes featuring ingredients direct from the owner’s garden, the Italian Place is a heavenly taste of Italy on the streets of Canberra.
Somewhere in the middle between casual café dining and haute cuisine, everything about Terra is inviting, from the open, airy decor to the family-style seating and their fresh, simple and delicious approach to food. From canteen-style lunches to more refined dinner service, Terra is where you come if you want to try some of Canberra’s best food, but you don’t fancy the fizz and flair of fine dining.
From the location in one of Canberra’s oldest buildings, Melbourne House, which was built in 1927, to the heritage furniture, the old-school vinyl soundtrack and modern twists on classic cocktails and great food, Bar Rochford is one of the capital’s best-kept secrets. Prestigious but unpretentious, this has to be one of our favourite places when it comes to dining out in Canberra.
If pub grub and old-world charm is more your scene, then head to the Old Canberra Inn. Built in 1857, this historic tavern is what old pubs should be – all comfy leather furniture, crackling fires, low wooden ceilings, exposed brick walls and wide open beer gardens. A local favourite, their menu features a modern-twist on Australian comfort food, with plenty of veggo/vegan options and kids’ choices, along with rotating craft beers from local breweries.
Additional reporting by Cassie Wilkins.