The Best Italian Restaurants In Canberra, Australia

Photo of Grace Berry
9 February 2017

For a taste of Italy on the other side of the world, Canberra will not disappoint as it offers up an array of fantastic Italian restaurants loved by many. Be sure to check them out if you’re visiting the Australian capital.

Spaghetti Carbonara | © jeffreyw/Flickr


Provini is a blast from the past with a contemporary yet traditional menu. The interior has a hint of ‘yesteryear’ about it, with swirly carpets, prints of classic paintings lining the walls and lace curtains in the windows in homage to ‘Nona’s House’. Their menu includes all the classic courses accompanied by a great selection of wines from Italy as well as some local Australian ones. Their wood fired pizzas are a favorite of Provini diners, as is the traditionally made tiramisu.

Lamb Shoulder | © Charles Haynes/Flickr

Mezzalira Ristorante

It has been an institution in Canberra for over 20 years, and shows no signs of stopping. The attentive yet unobtrusive native Italian staff help to bring this authentic little restaurant to life, and add to its calm and easy atmosphere. Mezzalira serves up a host of delicious, traditional Italian dishes with a contemporary twist. They offer a fantastic early bird menu, making it the perfect spot for a pre theater dinner, thanks to its central location. There is also a 5 course tasting menu, which brings together all the tastes and flavors of Italy.

Meatballs | © jeffreyw/Flickr

Joe’s Bar at East Hotel

Joe’s Bar is a brand new addition to the luxurious East Hotel. It’s interior, which was designed in tribute to the owners father Joe, who founded the group, mixes a quirky, vintage vibe with classic Italian elegance, which makes for a striking place to eat. This small, contemporary restaurant is the perfect spot for a casual dinner or an aperitif at the 10 meter long marble bar. Why not try their popular cocktail, the Bitter Pig, which uses pancetta infused bourbon to create its memorable taste. You even get a bowl of complimentary popcorn with your drink. They also serve many Italian wines, which will go perfectly with your meal here. As well as being a fantastic bar, the food here is also taken very seriously. Italian-born Head Chef Francesco Balestrieri is renowned for creating dishes bursting with flavor, like his polpettine de carne (meatballs in a tomato sauce), or lasagne al sugo di maiale brasato (lasagne with slow braised pork).

Ravioli | © Michael Stern/Flickr

Briscola Pizzeria

Named after the popular Italian card game, Briscola Pizzeria is a firm favourite among the locals. Everything served here is locally sourced, except the special Italian flour imported for their home made pizzas and pasta. Their traditionally made, wood fired pizzas are a very popular choice and it’s easy to see why. But they also serve all the Italian favourites like arancini di porcini or the delicious tiramisu. Why not try Briscola’s signature dish, not pizza, but Mum’s ravioli, which is made with roast pumpkin and ricotta. Pair your meal with a glass of authentic Italian wine, craft beer or change it up a bit and order a pitcher of Sangria or Osteria Fizz. Its relaxed, friendly atmosphere also make it a great place to bring kids, as they also offer a broad children’s menu too.

Burley Griffin rising | © Percita/Flickr

La Rustica By The Lake

La Rustica is located in a prime spot in the Kingston Foreshore precinct. With both indoor and outdoor seating, you can enjoy the beautiful panoramic views over Lake Burley Griffin on a warm summer evening. It has been owned and run by an Italian family for over 20 years now. La Rustica’s interesting and varied menu offers a huge selection of pizza and pasta, as well as many meat and fish dishes to choose from. And their desserts are no disappointment either. Try the pera affogato (cooked pears with cream and warm chocolate sauce), and they also have the best selection of sorbets and gelati.

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