The best spots to eat and drink in Canberra | Gourmand and Gourmet

Weekend Eatinerary: Canberra

  • Food & Booze
  • Foodie Escapes
  • ACT
  • Breakfast/Brunch
  • Desserts
  • Dinner
  • Everything in Between
  • Lunch
  • Providers / Markets
  • Bar
  • Cocktails
  • Coffee
  • Day drinking
  • Weekend Getaways

Criminally overlooked, Canberra is a gem hiding in plain sight that is so much more than a city where politicians and public servants reside, as discerning foodies, too, will feel very much at home.

While the nation’s capital may not have always screamed ‘foodie paradise’, Canberra is now home to a thriving food scene littered with top-rate fine-dining establishments, funky cafes pouring coffee rivalling Melbourne’s best and the craziest, ‘grammable creations imaginable.

Saturday

Kick off your weekend of foodie adventures by tucking into an all-day breakfast at the award-wining Space Kitchen, where all dishes are totally fun, playful and experimental in nature, no more so than the unicorn waffles, which are almost too pretty to eat. As no foodie’s visit to a city is complete without seeing a market bustling with fresh regional produce, after breakfast visit Capital Region Farmers Markets, held every Saturday morning and considered the largest regional market in the Southern Tablelands. Once finished pigging out on bomboloni doughnuts stuffed with Madagascan vanilla custard – it’s a rite of passage – you’ll likely be looking to get your hands on-a coffee, so head to ONA Coffee House, where the owner, Sasa Sestic, was crowned the World Barista Champion in 2015.

Delivering an innovative, modern approach to traditional South East Asian cuisine, XO is a perfect spot for lunch, especially with the menu consisting of dishes such as Sexy Squid (fried baby squid with sweet chilli salt), pho dumplings (diced beef tenderloin with beansprouts), and XO FC wings (marinated in buttermilk with Kewpie mayo).

Perched directly on the shores of beautiful Lake Burley Griffin, Walt and Burley is an ideal place to enjoy a pre-dinner drink. Everyone loves Italian food, so when those inevitable cravings for carbs begin to kick in on your final night, make sure to head straight to Italian & Sons, considered one of the city’s most loved culinary institutions. To finish the night, indulge in a cheeky nightcap at the ultra-moody underground bar, Black Market.

Sunday

Nestled in the New Acton precinct, start your morning at Mocan and Green Grout, a cosy venue with an open kitchen. After breakfast, prepare to get your freak on by ordering one of the headline-making freakshakes – aka a milkshake on steroids – at Patissez. Considered the home of the creation, they’re an absolute must-try for all sweet-tooths eating their way around the capital.

It may be small in size, seating only thirty diners at any one time, however Pilot certainly packs a punch when it comes to the food offered, and is ideal for a long Sunday lunch. With a strong focus on Australian produce and local wines, it’s all about refining fundamentals and then pushing them at Pilot. With an a la carte all shared menu, prepare to indulge in array of delicious dishes that is guaranteed to make you change your mind about Canberra as a foodie destination.

Afterwards, try a scoop of gelato at the Frugii Dessert Laboratory, which offers rotating flavours such as lemon myrtle, cardamom, aniseed, raspberry pavlova and salted butter caramel.

For your final night in Canberra, make sure to toast to your short but sweet stay at Hippo Co., one of Australia’s most highly awarded and longest operating cocktail and jazz venues.  

Forget everything you think you know about Canberra, and prepare to see what you’ve been missing out on by spending a weekend eating and drinking in the nation’s capital. 

Words by Jarred Reinke
- the gourmand who votes for a foodie weekend in the capital.