The Top Restaurants in Canberra

Canberra is quickly becoming a culinary hub
Canberra is quickly becoming a culinary hub | © Lean Timms / Courtesy of Pilot.
Photo of Bethany Pleydell
10 September 2020

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.

Pilot.

Restaurant, Australian
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Pilot., Canberra
© Lean Timms / Courtesy of Pilot.
Pilot. is one of those rare gems that just seems to do everything right. From locally sourced ingredients, glassware and ceramics to their award-winning dishes, effortlessly cool decor and friendly and attentive staff, Pilot.’s attention to detail is unrivalled. Perfect for treating yourself or taking that special someone.

Temporada

Restaurant, Bar, Australian, $$$
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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.

Courgette Restaurant

Restaurant, Australian, European, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, $$$
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One of Canberra’s most popular restaurants, Courgette exudes simplicity and luxury from its dishes to its dining room. With a mouthwatering French-Australian menu that combines classic flavours with creative, extravagant twists and incredible wines, Courgette is consistently excellent, especially if you’re looking for a more traditional fine-dining experience in Canberra.

XO

Restaurant, Asian, $$$
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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.

Raku

Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
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Raku, Canberra
Courtesy of Raku
If you’re after contemporary, inspired Japanese food in Canberra, look no further than Raku. Located in the heart of the city, Raku takes everything you think you know about Japanese cuisine and turns it up a notch. From the perfectly balanced flavours and artistic presentation to the sleek and stylish decor, Raku is edgy and modern, with a fine-dining twist.

The Italian Place

Restaurant, Italian
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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.

Sage Dining Rooms and Mint Garden Bar

Restaurant, Bar, Australian, $$$
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Known as much for their food as their sustainable ethos, Sage takes sourcing local produce a step further – growing their own on a nearby organic farm and shaping their menu around seasonal offerings paired with unique and delicious flavours. From the amazing food to their stunning outdoor courtyard and stellar service, Sage is a place that goes above and beyond every step of the way.

Rubicon

Restaurant, Australian, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
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Opened in 2000, Rubicon has long topped the lists of best restaurants in Canberra, and for good reason. Featuring the kind of sophistication you would expect from one of Canberra’s most famous dining institutions, Rubicon is guaranteed to impress, from the European-influenced food and wine to the informed staff and intimate dining room.

Muse

Restaurant, Bar, Wine, $$$
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Muse, Canberra
© Ashley St George / Courtesy of Muse
While most restaurants on our list have gone for a more minimalist approach to decor, Muse turns all that on its head, combining contemporary design and gourmet cuisine with books – lots and lots of books. Providing a memorable escape for book, food and wine lovers alike, Muse is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, providing a unique – and welcome – addition to both the East Hotel and Canberra’s culinary scene.

Terra

Restaurant, Australian
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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.

Bar Rochford

Cocktail Bar, Wine Bar, Cocktails, $$$
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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.

The Old Canberra Inn

Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
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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.

These recommendations were updated on September 10, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.