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Best restaurant in Canberra

By ozmackem 18 March 2010 66

Taking the wife out for some birthday nosh and was after some reccommendations for the top eateries in Canberra.
I know this type of post has been done before, but was after some current info.
Not fussy about the style of food, but just want somewhere that can guarantee quality.

Places we’ve been to recently and enjoyed are Italian and Sons, Inori and Sage.

What’s Your opinion?

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Best restaurant in Canberra
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Cazazo 6:22 pm 10 May 12

I know this thread is dormant for quite some time, but I did go with my wife to the Pistachio in Torrens and boy that was nice!!! The service was impeccable and what a great food!

Clown Killer 7:04 pm 05 Jan 11

Holden, I’ve heard of others who have had similar experiences at the Italian & Sons. I’ve eaten there about half a dozen times and have always been lucky enough to experience exceptional food and service. The food has always been wonderfully executed … the beef rib cooked in the wood-fired oven is not to be missed and I particularly enjoy exploring their selection of Italian wines. That said, it is just a bistro so comparing it objectively with the likes of Aubergine, Waters Edge and the like is problematic.

You’re right about the early sitting thing though. Whilst I’ve never experienced that at Italian & Sons (my bookings have always been for after 8.00pm), it’s a business modle common in Europe that’s increasingly popular here. I have no problem at all if I’m told when I book, as you know what the deal is from the get-go. To be honest I actually prefer the US approach – that you own the space so long as you keep spending at a sufficient rate.

Holden Caulfield 5:05 pm 05 Jan 11

Have been to Aubergine, Lanterne Rooms, Waters Edge, Italian & Sons since this thread started.

A big tick to Aubergine.

A big tick to The Lanterne Rooms.

A big tick to Waters Edge.

A moderate tick to Italian & Sons – the food is generally very good, but the service is very hit and miss. Especially if you’re unaware you are in the early session and forced out for the next sitting. Fair enough if you know that going in, but finding out by being told you only have 10 mins for dessert is piss poor. Even more piss poor when it takes 10 mins before someone is ready to take your money. We should’ve walked out, FFS!

Mess 2:02 pm 05 Jan 11

Francisco’s in Manuka does great Mexican food, massive servings as well.

el 1:46 pm 05 Jan 11

*Am I allowed to say that “all the waitresses had bums like two tennis balls in a sock”?

If you’re actually 108 years old, I reckon you can probably get away with it.

LSWCHP 12:44 pm 05 Jan 11

“*Am I allowed to say that “all the waitresses had bums like two tennis balls in a sock”?”

Hmmmm…I suspect not. But it’s nice to know.

Pommy bastard 11:13 am 05 Jan 11

Went to Courgette last night to celebrate my 108 th birthday.

Near faultless.

Superb food, most excellent grub lots of choice, and innovative menu items, perfectly cooked and beautifully presented. A great wine list, superb service* ( a tiny bit slow) , lovely decor, you’d easily forget you were in for an inner-city office block. (Though I shouldn’t have had that second Laphrohaig with my cheese board, that was greedy.)

Highly recommended, well worth their “hat”, will definitely patronise them again.

*Am I allowed to say that “all the waitresses had bums like two tennis balls in a sock”?

Dacquiri 11:51 pm 16 Jul 10

Interesting that Green Herring didn’t get a mention. It used to be pretty nice — in terms of atmosphere & menu — for a special occasion dinner. Maybe not the case any more??

Anna 9:59 am 06 Jun 10

dr. faustus said :

Rubicon in Griffith is great – one of my personal favourites. Book well ahead.

OnRed is actually really good. Mrs faustus, who is far more of a foodie than myself, declares OnRed to be her favourite restaurant in Canberra. Not expensive, great food, and the service has been fine every time we have been there.

Benchmark Wine Bar is an oft-overlooked, but excellent, Canberra restaurant. They have the best list of wine by the glass of any restaurant I’ve been to in Canberra (not surprising, really), but the food is really good too. And the deserts are a real treat.

We’ve only been to Aubergine once since it changed hands, and it was fine, but not as fancy as it used to be. I’d probably pick Rubicon over Aubergine for Griffith, however.

Waters Edge was really disappointing. The food was okay (except for one desert which was seriously undercooked), but the service was appalling. I wouldn’t go there again in a hurry.

We’ve always had good experiences at Courgette and Mezza Lira in Civic, but have heard no shortage of horror stories about service from others.

We ate at Pulp Kitchen last weekend. The food was nice, but I don’t really think it’s intimate enough for a special occasion dinner (depending on what you like, I guess). Food was good, as was the service, and it was surprisingly inexpensive.

If you’re interested in lunch, rather than dinner, Silo in Griffith do really good dining in. Again, some people have experienced bad service there, but we’ve always had great service there. But maybe we’re just good customers 🙂


Anna 9:56 am 06 Jun 10

justin heywood said :

hellspice said :

+1 for Maestral in Weston, liked it so much we went there twice in 2 weeks !

Don’t write about Maestral HERE hellspice! The place is only small and it’s busy enough as it is!



Anna 9:53 am 06 Jun 10

My favourite restaurant is Maestral at Weston Creek. Beautiful food, excellent service, right price. Not many restaurants in city are like this one. You are allways warmly wellcome and looked after. Well done Maestral!!!

Holden Caulfield 12:10 pm 13 Apr 10

Eby said :

Holden Caulfield, it would be great if you could let us know what you think of Onred.

A bit late with the reply, but never mind.

On red was quite good. I personally wouldn’t place alongside my previous faves of Anise and Aubergine. But the menu provided lots of appealing options, if a little OTT on the adjectives.

My meals were all nice and I enjoyed them, especially the blue eye cod main—highly recommended. My entrée seemed a little bland which was some feat given it contained asparagus, deep fried egg, radish and lamb prosciutto, but I still enjoyed it. Chocolate mousse for dessert was yummo, so too the drunken ice cream.

Mrs Caulfield didn’t enjoy her meals as much, though. Her prawn and goat cheese tortellini for entrée was her pick. She had a confit of chicken with smoky bacon and parsnip mash (among other things) which looked great and started off well, but became a bit too over powering after a while. There was a lot of it, too, which is not always the case with fine dining. She had a passion fruit curd and meringue dessert which, again, looked really delicious. But the curd was very, very rich which tended to spoil the other ingredients.

Overall, though, it was a nice night out and the service was perfectly adequate. The view is very nice, too, of course. I’d definitely go again if circumstances arose, but I wouldn’t book it ahead of Aubergine.

Lazy I 1:48 pm 01 Apr 10

I thought Onred was excellent on both occasions I ate there.

Delissio in Curtin, also good for gourmet Pizza

2602 in Ainslie for seafood

If I am chasing some quick good quality Indian, Indian Affair in Phillip is excellent too.

westyonline 5:01 pm 25 Mar 10

Timmy’s/Sammys Kitchens (Manuka/Civic)- Great Tai/Malaisian cusine…You cant be serious. Yes,sammys is cheap,quick and tasty,but the service is crap,the food is bog ordinary chinese and they use a s%#tload of MSG(My body does’nt lie!).This does not portray the hallmarks of a “Fine Dining Experiance”

justin heywood 4:59 pm 25 Mar 10

hellspice said :

+1 for Maestral in Weston, liked it so much we went there twice in 2 weeks !

Don’t write about Maestral here hellspice! The place is small and busy enough as it is!

justin heywood 4:58 pm 25 Mar 10

hellspice said :

+1 for Maestral in Weston, liked it so much we went there twice in 2 weeks !

Don’t write about Maestral HERE hellspice! The place is only small and it’s busy enough as it is!


hellspice 3:45 pm 25 Mar 10

+1 for Maestral in Weston, liked it so much we went there twice in 2 weeks !

Deadmandrinking 2:11 pm 23 Mar 10

DavoDavo said :

Lillypilly said :

I always love going to Maestral in Weston. Lovely food and great fish

My wife and I used to go there quite frequently, unfortunately it is small and can get VERY noisy. Last time we were there there was a table of four men of eastern european extraction (I’d guess friends of the manager/owner) and they completely spoiled an otherwise excellent meal with their extremely loud and raucous behaviour and talking at the tops of their voices in a foreign language.
I complained to the waitperson but nothing was done and it was obvious the noisy quartet were being regarded more favourably than any of the other patrons there.

We don’t go there any more and can’t recommend it because of the probable noise level, that incident wasn’t the first, we had suffered other noisy people before but that was the last straw.

How dare people of the same heritage speak to each other in their native language!

Anyway, are there any other really good restuarants in the weston creek area?

BimboGeek 10:37 am 23 Mar 10

If you’re a vegetarian Rubicon sucks. I had a plate of lettuce. Nothing but lettuce. Mmm fine dining when the chef can’t even make a vegetarian a salad.

Ottoman on the other hand is my favourite restaurant in Canberra. The main dining room can get a bit noisy but the private rooms are super nice. When you arrive they start by asking if anyone has any special requirements and then they just bring you something appropriate. Awesome service!

trix 7:33 pm 22 Mar 10

The Republic in Allara St is a standard slightly up-market lunchtime cafe. Decent enough meals, but they’re really there for civil service lunches. Coffee, being Cosmorex, is certainly nothing to write home about (although at least they can do a decent latte most of the time).

As for Chairman & Yip, I have yet to have a decent meal there. I’ve given up on their over-priced, not particularly innovative stuff. But I do second the Rubicon recommendations and Grazings out at Gundaroo. Mezzaluna is pleasant enough, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat there. Sage is great although I’ve had some slightly peculiar service there (understandably!)

I haven’t yet tried the Ottoman and I’d like to. Any good, any one?

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