The best desserts in Canberra


Frugii Dessert Laboratory, one of Canberra’s most recommended desserts stores. Photo: @inexplicablewanderlust.

Ah, dessert. An indulgence for some, an inevitability for many, but always the perfect way to wrap up a meal. Whether it’s ice cream, a gourmet delicacy, or a cake of some description, there really is a dessert out there for everyone. And what about going out for dessert?

Maybe you want to go out to eat but a full dinner might be too much or too expensive, or perhaps you’re already out and you don’t like the dessert options at the restaurant, or maybe you’re just after a sweet treat regardless of the time. Whatever the case, you’re on the hunt for the perfect place to get some dessert, and we’re here to help.

In this article, we’ll give you a few things to look for in a great dessert restaurant, as well as a breakdown of some of the best options in Canberra.

What makes a great dessert restaurant?

Not sure what to look for in a dessert joint? Here’s a few traits you should keep in mind:

  • Convenient opening hours. A dessert restaurant isn’t much of a dessert restaurant if it isn’t open late. Keep an eye out for dessert joints that will be open at the right time for you, especially those that are open late.
  • Variety. If you’ve gone out for dessert, you’re probably looking for something different from the usual fare of ice cream or cake. A great dessert restaurant will have many exciting and interesting options that you probably wouldn’t have been able to make at home.
  • Affordability. If you’ve already had dinner in a restaurant, you probably don’t want to spend as much again on dessert. Look for dessert restaurants that have affordable prices without compromising on quality!
  • Good service. You should be able to expect friendly and helpful service from a dessert restaurant in the same way you would at any other establishment. Any good restaurant will make your satisfaction and enjoyment your priority!

The best dessert restaurants in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Frugii Dessert Laboratory

Truly a late-night dessert venue as it remains open until 11pm, Frugii is a family business that makes all of their ice cream, gelato, cakes and chocolates from scratch. Boasting an array of original and delicious flavours of ice cream, yummy cakes and sweets and a coffee machine, Frugii is an excellent choice for diners in the city or anyone with a late-night craving for dessert.

Google reviewer Nicky Sydney writes about their experience at Frugii, Gorgeous, interesting ice cream, amazing service and a real treat. Would definately recommend.”

Koko Black

If you love chocolate, you’ve come to the right place. With a dark interior offset during the day by large windows, which later transforms into a cosy haven after dark, Koko Black is the perfect destination for chocolate aficionados everywhere. From the enormous glass case of chocolate bites of all shapes and flavours, plus an enticing menu of hot chocolate varieties and sweet treats, Koko Black has plenty of options for your next dessert outing.

As Umar Ansari writes in this Google review, “Amazing desserts! We tried the chocolate mousse, Belgian waffle, hot chocolate and coffee. Everything was rich and absolutely delicious.”

Gelato Messina Braddon

Another on the list of late-night dessert venues, Gelato Messina has become one of Canberra’s most popular destinations for delicious ice cream whether it’s during the day or late at night. With dozens of original flavours and a selection of gelato cakes, nothing is ever made with pre-made bases or mass-produced flavour paste, and Messina even sources their dairy products from their very own farm – so you can rest assured that the gelato at Messina is of the highest quality possible.

As Facebook user Ricardo Vargas Flores writes, “Delicious ice cream; the perfect place for sharing relaxing good moments!”

Planning a night out? Check out our articles on the best French restaurants, the best Italian restaurants and the best Chinese restaurants in town for some great foodie recommendations, and our guides to the best cocktail bars and best wine bars around if you want to grab a drink or two.

Or, if you’re keen for more sweet food, our articles on the best dessert delivery, best cake shops, best birthday cakes, and best cupcakes in Canberra

Your experience with dessert restaurants in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback, if you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the dessert restaurants listed above? Have we missed your favourite? If so, please share your feedback in the comments below!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a dessert restaurant?
A dessert restaurant is an establishment that specialises in sweet dishes. Usually they are open late, and their menu will consist of various cakes, sweet treats, and ice creams.
Can I go into a restaurant just for dessert?
This depends on the restaurant. Most restaurants have allocated seating times, and the kitchen often closes before the doors do. It’s good etiquette to call the restaurant ahead of time to find out if they’ll be able to accommodate you – otherwise, look for a restaurant that is open late and specialises in dessert.
What cuisine has the best dessert?
This is entirely a matter of opinion, and each cuisine has a variety of different desserts. That being said, if you prefer chocolate-based treats, you’ll probably find that Swiss and Italian desserts are for you, while French dessert will appeal more to those who like pastries. But there’s a whole world of dessert out there, and no one cuisine is better than any other!
What are some easy desserts I can make at home?
Cakes and brownies are probably the easiest desserts for you to make, and you can elevate them very easily by adding cream, custard or fruit when you serve them. Luckily, there are dozens upon dozens of different kinds of cakes and brownies, so you’ll never be bored!
Are there any good vegan dessert recipes?
Absolutely. In fact, it’s often very easy to “veganise” recipes by swapping animal products for vegan substitutes. As vegan diets become more and more popular, more people are sharing recipes online, so you’ll have plenty of options.

What's Your Opinion?

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29 Responses to The best desserts in Canberra
Darth Weston Darth Weston 1:57 pm 09 Jul 11

The original post is three years old and I’m looking for help in regard to desserts! You know the situation- the restaurant is great but their desserts are boring. Main course is over and you cannot face the “cheesecake or black forest cake” option AGAIN! Where do you go in Canberra for your sugary hit of goodness that isn’t the Chocolate sundae at Maccas? Are the posts on this page still current recommendations or is there somewhere better now?

astrojax astrojax 8:45 pm 22 Sep 08

mezzalira was always a good bet for dessert – haven’t been for a while so nice to see it gets a gig from grundy above… mamma tossolini used to – or still does? – make the cakes for her son’s eponymous joint and i had the third best tiramisu i ever ate there – several times! and bernadette’s used to make a great beetroot chocoloate flourless cake that was to die for… sad.

Xanthomyza Xanthomyza 2:33 pm 22 Sep 08

How about a black sticky rice pudding with coconut milk at Lemon Grass Thai in Civic? The sticky rice desserts at Kopi Tiam in Manuka or Ayutthaya in Belconnen are also excellent.

caf caf 10:33 am 22 Sep 08

The Banana Katsu at Wagamama is probably the best thing on their menu. The Ginger Room at OPH do some really nice and interesting desserts.

MissB MissB 10:29 am 22 Sep 08

A friend and I always go to Zbrasserie in tuggers. they have a great selection of deserts and usually one as a special as well. the tequila orange and lemon sorbet was AMAZING!

LH LH 9:54 am 22 Sep 08

The best dessert by far, and my partners and mine’s favourtie, is the caremelised banana and almond calzone at Lunico in Kingston. Great atmosphere, and great wait staff too!

grundy grundy 9:18 am 22 Sep 08

All the deserts at Mezzalira.

tylersmayhem tylersmayhem 9:09 am 22 Sep 08

I don’t get out much any more, but I have fond memories of a Frozen After Dinner Mint at Belluci’s

No no no! The “signature” After Dinner Mint used to be mind-bogglingly delicious. The last time I went to Bellucci’s it was a shocker. Read my comments on post for a recap:

I think Belluci’s in Dickson is closed for refurb. but I’d steer clear of them when they re-open.

As for desserts which are great – despite other people’s comments, the desserts in Koko Black are some of the nicest I;ve ever had (albeit quite expensive). The hot chocolate affogato and the chocolate mousse is amazing.

diprotodon diprotodon 7:38 am 22 Sep 08

Ethiopia Down Under in Pearce does awesome home made icecreams, and my perennial favourite, Outsider Cafe and Gallery in Captains Flat (its 50km away, but worth the drive) has the most incredible pancake stacks, iced chocolates and berry whips. Ring ahead before making the journey.

peter@home peter@home 1:59 am 22 Sep 08

goodberry’s in erindale for frozen custard – suitably rich and in a takehome pack, best cassata in town is at la scala – not a home brand, the real deal made on the premises..

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 1:20 am 22 Sep 08

crabb said :

I think you’ll find that both Rubee’s and Belluci’s have gone from Dickson.

And isn’t that a shame.


b2 b2 10:59 pm 21 Sep 08

yeh, the place where Belluci’s was is supposedly becoming some sort of bar/fancy drinking spot

crabb crabb 10:44 pm 21 Sep 08

I think you’ll find that both Rubee’s and Belluci’s have gone from Dickson.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 10:19 pm 21 Sep 08

Chocolate Mousse fans will also like the Yalla version, generally available from your smaller independent type supermarkets. It is even richer than the Koko Black variety, but I actually like it more. Ten bucks for a smallish-sized tub means it isn’t exactly cheap either, but as Molly Meldrum would say “do yourself a favour”.

canberra towie canberra towie 9:46 pm 21 Sep 08

TheBron said :

I acutally came here looking for help but instead got abused for things I dont have control of, like the facilities in the accomodation I can afford.quote]

Sorry mate i was only mucking around !

Goodberrys at the erindale shops is great but be prepared to wait there most nights it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to get to the counter
Every thing from the frozen custard tonatchos and hotdogs everything is yummy there !!

TheBron TheBron 9:35 pm 21 Sep 08

Wow!! Yeah!
There is Rubee’s In Dickson but the place has really gone downhill – its like a cold rock
ANd actually I do recall the mousse being nice- just wans’t impressed with the rest

Holden, good calls – my fiances fav desserts 🙂

Aurelius Aurelius 9:32 pm 21 Sep 08

Regardless of your reasons for the post, this post is a fabulous idea (I came in here to browse coz I’d seen Holden use the words “Chocolate Mousse”)
Holden, I-filed & JR’s suggestions sound good. I look forward to seeing what other suggestions come out.
(In Brissy, where I lived for much of this decade, there were dessert-only cafes. They were wonderful, and their ice-cream sundaes topped with what can only be described as a ‘shard’ of chocolate were divine. I was very disappointed last month when I went back there to find my former regular one was now an office building under construction. It’d be nice if Canberra could develop a similar type of venue)

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 7:27 pm 21 Sep 08

The Chocolate Mousse at Koko Black. Divine!

The Creme Brulee at Anise is close to perfection, but doesn’t really suit the budget option. If you can make it there for a full meal, though, I highly recommend it.

LlamaFrog LlamaFrog 7:19 pm 21 Sep 08

There are two obvious choices in civic, the BP and the Shell. Otherwise your in canberra, there is no place to go.

TheBron TheBron 5:33 pm 21 Sep 08

Yeah, I know a lot of places that just have the same carbon copy desserts, so was hoping for somewhere different, with a bit of atmosphere.
He loves mint 🙂 Will have to wait until they finish renovating.
I LOVE gelato, but he’s not a fan 🙁 Maybe I’ll have a date for one 😛

Thanks all! Keep them coming if you want – that way everyone can have a list of ideas!

In the end its just a cheaper way for me to eat out and be romantic – no need for drinks and its easier to share whilst remaining romantic.

I have appeared at home with a bucket of baskin and robbins when he had his wisdom teeth out 😀

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