Best Restaurants In Canberra

By 14 April 2008 110

After reading the thread about the worst places to get a bite to eat in this town, I’d like to know where some of the better ones are.

On Friday night I celebrated my birthday @ La Bella Vista on the lake in Belconnen. In all honesty, it was one of the best meals out I’ve had in a long time. Staff were awesome, food was delicious, price was great ($400 for 7 people) and it wasn’t terribly wanky like a lot of the so called reputable establishments I’ve been to.

I’d also like to cast a vote for The Regal chinese joint in Belco. Fast, cheap, meat in their spring rolls. Definitly worth checking out for some takeaway.

I don’t want this thread to get bogged down with upper class places, because frankly, I’m just not that interested. I wanna hear about a good burger at a takeaway or somewhere where the staff are awesome, that kinda stuff.

[Ed. Long time readers may recall the last time we had a story on Canberra's best restaurants. It should come as no surprise that the vast majority, if not all of those mentioned in the previous article are all still in business, many of which i would expect are still firm favorites. Just goes to show that if you get the little things right you'll be rewarded with strong patronage.]

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110 Responses to
Best Restaurants In Canberra
lemaChet 6:00 pm
14 Apr 08

I know you said not upper class stuff, but we went to The Boathouse a few months back and were rather impressed.

Service was excellent, food was great, and we weren’t rushed.

I’ve also liked La Scala the few times i’ve been there.

papadoc 6:06 pm
14 Apr 08

La Scala to me was overpriced but it was 4 years ago. Quite small portions from what I remember.

ant 6:13 pm
14 Apr 08

Still love the Pide House at Jammo. It’s a great place to go in winter, with old carpet, dusty plants, busy-as, friendly fast service, and lashings of food. Tasty food!

Value for money, not upper class (at all), and great for a family feed.

Meconium 6:15 pm
14 Apr 08

Lee’s Inn for the winn. Ridiculously cheap yet good quality Chinese takeaway type food, conveniently located in Manuka, open till midnight and I think even 1am on weekends. When you’re working till after all the other restaurants and cafes are closed, Lee’s is the ONLY option if you’re not after McDonalds, Oporto or Ali Baba.

Tuong (everyone calls him Lee), the owner for 25 years, is a really good bloke – hardworking, dedicated and always friendly, even when customers are being difficult.

Lee’s isn’t the place you’d go to impress on a first date, but the place you’d go once you’re comfortable with each other and want to have a cheap night out without the ceremony of going somewhere overpriced with small portions on large plates.

For the cheap and cheerful takeaway it is, I’d give it five stars.

pptvb 6:23 pm
14 Apr 08

We went the Lanyon Homestead for dinner last week. Excellent service.
The menu had enough unique dishes(roo, possum, rabbit, yabbie, emu) to set it apart from the usual steak/pasta fare.Yummy desserts and good coffee.
3 courses for 6 people = $300 !
Well worth the trip.

Duke 6:29 pm
14 Apr 08

Bellucis, Mekong Delta, Artespresso, Austrian Club

Duke 6:31 pm
14 Apr 08

Oh and for a late supper check out a quaint little cafe in the Woden car park – RJs – standing room only!

buyhercandy 7:04 pm
14 Apr 08

Timmy’s Kitchen and Thai Cornar in Manuka, especially for Timmy’s Shantung Chicken and Thai Cornar’s laksa. Pho Phu Quoc in Dickson is also pretty excellent. The Blue Elephant in Braddon does a brilliant Indian ‘buffet’ selection for about $10, too, if I recall.

And it’s not a restaurant, but the Jewel of India (no link to the actual restaurant of the same name) in the new upstairs foodcourt in the new part of Canberra Centre (near Borders) is fantastic.

imarty 7:12 pm
14 Apr 08

Artespresso has gone downhill since the Sammuts left. Not bad service but it seems like they might be scrimping a bit on cost of ingredients. The bloke I dined with (president of the Food Media Club) agreed. Haven’t tried the Austrian since the new people took over, apparently the same people who went broke at Red Hill amongst others, so I’m told.
As stated here before by others, Delizioso (sp?) in Curtin is quite good as is the cafe in the art gallery near the Mint.

LlamaFrog 7:15 pm
14 Apr 08

Chinese would be Dumpling Inn belconnen. Very good

But everyday eating that will kill me soon is Dobinsons Bakery Canberra Centre. not a restaurant so shoot me.

Duke 7:21 pm
14 Apr 08

I was unaware Artespresso was taken over but certainly we had a fantastic meal there about 8 months ago.
Delissio in Curtin is excellent – I live nearby, packed out every night, book ahead!

We recently ate at Mezzalira (sic?)in Civic – the food is fantastic but the portions are tiny and expensive. I actually went to ali baba around the corner afterwards.

el 7:21 pm
14 Apr 08

Delissio is the spelling imarty. They have a similar restaurant in Braddon, very nice.

I’ve had numerous good feeds at Debacle (Lonsdale St Braddon) too.

skaboy12 7:22 pm
14 Apr 08

Slow Noodle Fast and Central Cafe in Queanbeyan. Martys food van for a quick feed at Phillip. Turkish Pide House at Woden for a night out at a bargain price.

swamiOFswank 8:08 pm
14 Apr 08

Debacle are fine for most things, but $5 for sparkling mineral water? Really?

needlenose 8:30 pm
14 Apr 08

I’m a big fan of Sabayon on West Row. Everything’s high-end except the prices, and service is excellent. One of the few places where they bring you an amuse-bouche before you order, and a sorbet if you decide on dessert. Best cheese plate I’ve ever had, anywhere, ever (including Gary Danko’s). The food is consistently excellent. It’s part of the Aubergine & Courgette group, but better and cheaper that either.

Kramer 8:54 pm
14 Apr 08

Ant – I think the Pide House at Jammo has just moved to the newly renovated Jamison Plaza. So I don’t think there will be dusty carpets and aged decor. Hopefully the prices are still good.

Kramer 9:03 pm
14 Apr 08

My favourites are:
- Vietnam Village Inn at Page shops (there’s a reason it survived there as long as it has) it’s the first restaurant I can remember going to as a little kid.
- Thai House in Weston, awesome food, especially the green curry.
- Kitchen of India in Ngunnawal, the Rum Meat is great (although I haven’t been there in a while).
- Italian Kitchen in Kaleen, great surf n’ turf, and really good fish & chips.
- Flathead Cafe in Turner, for the best fish and (OK) chips.

sepi 9:08 pm
14 Apr 08

I loved the old Austrian Club restaurant :(

Basil at Byrne’s mill in QBN is lovely – but on the pricey side. But at least the food is stuff you would never cook at home – blue cheese souffle etc.

red 9:23 pm
14 Apr 08

The boathouse is excellent, a couple of weeks ago had their degustation menu, one of the best meals i have ever had – pricey but worth it. and their service was impeccable – attentive without being overly so.

I am completely loyal to dickson noodle house for laksa, the best on the planet

Chinese – king fook in florey, reasonable prices and delicious food.

Flatheads in oconnor for fish and chips and the best steak burger around.

la pasa’s singaporean food will change your life.

Still looking for a really nice italian restaurant.

(yes we dont cook often;))

red 9:24 pm
14 Apr 08

And i forgot..VIP Pies in civic has the best pies in canberra:)

b2 9:37 pm
14 Apr 08

Kramer, I don’t think the pide house has moved. It was still there last week.

Felix the Cat 10:06 pm
14 Apr 08

Chinese – Rebeccas Chinese Inn @ Kippax gets my vote

Giulia Jones 10:37 pm
14 Apr 08

I really enjoy getting down to the Gungahlin Golf club. Close to home, Meals come fast when you’re hungry and tired, are really good – great steaks, big enough serves but not ridiculous… and you don’t have to dress up – it’s a place to actually relax and just be. Great raffles some nights. Not snobbish at all… and not expensive. Kids welcome too.

ant 11:06 pm
14 Apr 08

I haven’t found a really good Italian restaurant in Canberra in 2 decades. However, a relative reckoned he had one of the most impressive pasta dishes ever at… Grandes, Manuka lawns.

Ernie 11:13 pm
14 Apr 08

I love Chats on ANU campus for lunch. The menu is great and not too pricey. I am also loving Peppered Prawn underneath Sky Plaza (don’t let that stop you from eating there). Maybe a little pricey but worth it.

shiny flu 11:18 pm
14 Apr 08

A lot of Chinese places mentioned really cater to the ‘gui lo’ crowd, although Regal is good. Jimmy’s and Ruby restaurants in Dickson for real Chinese food, for Yum Cha it used to be the Italian club, but the chef has now moved to the place near Woden Plaza.

Vietnamese would have to be Tudo in O’connor.

jessieduck 11:59 pm
14 Apr 08

I think the Chairman and Yip early bird special (out by 7.45pm) is a great, after work, top notch, faboo meal. Always fantastic.

I also really rate The Asian Cafe as the portions are so generous you really don’t need to spend a fortune for a fantastic meal.

RuffnReady 12:07 am
15 Apr 08

Some cheap eats:

Theo’s takeaway at Ainslie, or the Bungendore servo, for a hamburger,
the jungle duck at Mekong Delta in the city,
dodgy surroundings but great combination won ton noodle soup and the best spring rolls in Canberra at Tak Kee Roast Inn, Dickson,
fish’n’chips at the Watson takeaway,
chili chicken and mixed veges at Lee’s Inn.

My favourite Chinese these days is Rasa Sayang which does all the classic dishes well (especially chili beef!), Taj Mahal still does great Indian food, as does Rama’s, and you can get a great rump steak at El Dorado.

Fine dining is best done with the right partner, which I have been lacking for a while, so no comment there.

What’s the best Thai in town, people?

RuffnReady 12:10 am
15 Apr 08

Also, I’ve been to La Scala 3 times in the last year and had great food (large portions) and excellent service each time.

Milk and Honey does fine fusion cuisine.

Anyone been to Pulp Kitchen at the Ainslie shops?

b2 1:11 am
15 Apr 08

Pulp kitchen is soo good, bit a little expensive sometimes.
Tudo’s in O’Connor is great,
as is Fekete’s Ethiopian in Dickson, the serving size is always just right and that weird vinegar bread stuff… brilliant

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