The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is famous for being Australia's federal district, and so the state is heavily dominated by political activity. But did you know the ACT also offers some of the best restaurants in Australia?
Canberra is a food-lovers dream. Local markets sell produce straight from the farms and food trucks cook up delicious fare late into the night. For those after a good drink, wine is produced in the surrounding hills, locally-brewed beer can be found everywhere, and there are baristas who have locals lining up for their tasty coffee blend. If you're looking for a combination of food and drink, there are never-ending restaurant choices courtesy of the multicultural demographic and phenomenal chefs offering quality wining and dining all over the state.
If you're yet to experience the restaurants of the ACT, you better get cracking. There's much to explore.
With two chef hats and consistently high standards of food, wine and service, Aubergine is an absolute must-try when dining in Canberra. An intimate space, it features high ceilings, beautiful lights and simple, elegant decor. The real star, however, is the food.
Aubergine's menu is classic but with a contemporary twist. Produce is supplied by local farmers and the menu is updated daily. Diners can enjoy four courses for $95 per person, with dishes like silver dory and prawn mousseline, and lamb rump with sweetbreads and roasted red cabbage. The optional cheese course takes your meal to the next level, especially when combined with a glass of wine from their multi-award winning wine menu. Specific dietary requirements are also catered for.
In a refurbished building in a hip part of town sits a new restaurant from a smart young team. Opening in 2013, Eightysix quickly turned heads with its open-counter dining experience that centres on share plates and an all-you-can eat approach. Dishes like "bag salmon" (brined and sous-vide'd with apple cider vinegar and fennel seeds) make for very pretty plates, and you can't pass on their signature duck confit salad. No need to choose between the mouthwatering dishes as they are all yours for $86 per person.
The newly renovated Water's Edge has great food and professional staff that tend to your every need. Topping it off, Water's Edge sits right on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, and the high ceilings, clean tones, plush chairs and white linen tables allow you to sit back and take it all in. The food is experimental Modern European-Australian and promises the best quality local produce. The menu is seasonal and available as a three-course lunch, four-course dinner or degustation. The wine list complements James Mussillon's food beautifully.
Another one of James Mussilon's restaurants is Courgette, and this restaurant is one of Canberra's most picture-perfect dining establishments. Seriously sophisticated, this luxurious restaurant is renowned for its inviting chairs that let you settle in to enjoy dishes served with a Frenchman's finesse. The restaurant's philosophy is rooted in simplicity and freshness, with a side of adventurous complexity courtesy of sauces, dressings, glazes and emulsions.
Situated in private parkland on the water's edge of Lake Burley Griffin is modern restaurant, The Boat House. Views don't get much better and the food is perfectly executed every time. Enjoy crisp white table cloths, professional service, and an ever-changing menu that adjusts based on the seasons and available local produce. Sample dishes include: humpty doo barramundi, 18-hour pork belly, and wagyu brisket with plant juices, onion caramel and smoked potato.
Temporada is a casual bar and eatery that's open weekdays 7:30am until late, and on Saturdays from 5pm. Renowned for their selection of tasty oysters, you can knock back a couple before getting stuck into some duck liver pate or hiramasa kingfish ceviche. Other mains include woodfired wagyu sirloin tip, spanner crab, ricotta cannelloni with grilled zucchini, and more. If it's breakfast you're after, the omelette with confit tomatoes makes for a mouthwatering start to your day.
Tipsy Bull may have a very casual setting, but that doesn't mean the food is anything less than extraordinary. The share plates are a circus of flavours, and the cocktails are much the same. Gin is their specialty, with over 80 varieties on offer. Be it a leisurely long lunch or dinner with friends, you'll feel at home at the Tipsy Bull. If you need any more reason to dine there, just listen to the Australian Good Food Guide readers, who voted the Tipsy Bull Readers Choice 2018.
Want to try something new and different on your trip to Canberra? The Hungry Buddha offers a genuine Himalayan experience, right down to the grass green and mountain landscapes painted on the walls. Comfortable chairs provide a warm dining experience, and the relaxed ambiance is further enhanced by Nepalese instrumental music playing softly in the background. The food is comforting and tasty, and includes traditional dishes like aloo tama, jhaneko daal and jogi tarkari. The Hungry Buddha's Nepalese salmon dish is a favourite among the locals.
Nestled amongst the beautiful gardens of Pialligo plant farm, Pod Food is a must-visit ACT secret. A restored 1930s cottage, Pod Food offers unique dining where you can be seated inside the cottage, on the deck, in the garden terrace or in the Gallery. The menu at Pod Food uses locally-sourced produce and includes dishes like spatchcock, mirror dory and charred beef rump. To try it all, opt for the tasting menu with an optional cheese course.
Thought the ACT was all about politics? Think again! It's crawling with good places to eat. Each of these restaurants are partnered with Good Food Gift Card, so buy a voucher today to gift the perfect dining experience for friends or family.