The best restaurants and bars in Kingston

The best bars and restaurants in Kingston. Photo: file.

Kingston may be Canberra’s oldest suburbs, but that doesn’t mean its bar and restaurants scene is tired or outdated. In fact, Kingston is brimming with amazing restaurants and cafes that are absolutely worth the journey beyond the city center. Some are more formal, some casual and some cheap and cheerful. One thing is for sure … they all promise to fuel you with food and drink.

Whether you’re after a family-friendly venue or the perfect bar for a night out with your mates, Kingston has plenty to offer. But maybe you haven’t been to Kingston in a while and you’re not sure what’s around – that’s where we come in!

In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a restaurant or bar, and give you a helpful guide to some of the best venues in Kingston to help you plan your next night out.

What makes a great restaurant or bar?

The quality of your chosen venue can truly make or break your night. You’ll want great food, great drinks and solid service.

It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a restaurant or bar in Kingston.

  • Personality. Assess what you want from your time out, and pick a restaurant or bar that matches what you’re in the mood for. Some venues offer fine dining with a quiet ambience. Others are more casual and laid back. Some have a great vibe and can accommodate larger parties.
  • Cost. You might not want to break the bank when you head to a restaurant or bar. This means you should consider cost when choosing where to go. It goes unsaid that upmarket restaurants cost more than pub-style establishments. Know what you’re in for, so you don’t resent the bill when it arrives.
  • Dining area. Some restaurants and cafes have indoor and outdoor dining. If a bit of sun or a meal or cold brew under some shade is important, select a restaurant or bar with a great outdoor area.
  • Menu. Checking the menu in advance helps avoid disappointment, especially if one of your party has food allergies or requirements. Check online for the type of cuisine. Also check if vegetarian and gluten free options are available (if needed). You can also look at prices.
  • Atmosphere. From the decor to the crowd, the atmosphere of a restaurant or bar is a huge part of making you feel welcome and comfortable. Look for places with unique interior design, that are busy enough without being overcrowded, and maybe keep an eye out for venues that put on live music from time to time.

The best restaurants and bars in Kingston

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.

The Durham Castle Arms

The Durham Castle Arms has been proudly serving Green Square, Kingston, for over a quarter of a century. One of the last English-style pubs in Canberra, the warm and old-school interior contrasted with innovative craft beers on tap and a creative menu that features classic pub grub and modern food, the Durham reminds us that we can appreciate the traditional while still enjoying the new. With trivia nights, live music, board games and a kids menu, plus plenty of outdoor seating, The Durham delivers a definitive pub experience.

Kym Bergmann wrote on Google, “The Durham has outlasted many of its competitors by sticking with a formula of reasonably priced drinks and good food served in a casual and very friendly atmosphere.”

Portia's Place

Award-winning Portia’s Place specialises in Chinese cuisine. The extensive menu features around 50 main dishes alone, with an emphasis on seasonal and local produce. Light starters are available, as are soups and Portia’s famous duck pancakes. With exciting weekly specials and both indoor and outdoor dining, Portia’s Place is here to satisfy your craving for Chinese food any day of the week.

Annette Llewellyn wrote on Google, “Szechuan king prawns, Mongolian beef and Kung Po chicken for lunch … all so delicious and fresh … Service was gracious, non-intrusive and helpful.”

Kingston Hotel

The Kingston Hotel, more than 80 years old and affectionately known as “The Kingo”, is a well-known favourite among Kingston locals. The Kingo offers the quintessential pub experience – boutique beers are on tap, the menu is well-priced and the atmosphere is friendly. If you’re after cheap and tasty pub grub, then dine in at Maddies Restaurant where most mains are under $25. Or, cook your own steak exactly how you like it at The Steakhouse, perfect for families and large groups.

Jenny Dare wrote on Google, “Food was fabulous, fresh and the servings were extremely well presented. Well done.”

Saffron Mezze House

Owned and operated by brother Max and Marven Azize Saffron Mezze House specialises in East Mediterranean Cuisine, celebrating the freshness and simplicity of the Mediterranean diet. Dine in or takeaway on the flavours of Lebanon, Morocco, Greece and Turkey.

On Google, Samantha Kirchner wrote, “I’ve been here several times, and have loved every single bite. The banquet is always beautiful, and the staff are always friendly and helpful.”

Queenies

Good times are guaranteed at Queenies. Grab a seat indoors among the eclectic décor or outdoors on sunnier days and enjoy local wines, selected spirits, craft beers and incredible cocktails. On the food front, Queenies serves small and large plates, sandwiches and sweets, prioritising seasonal produce and a native twist.

On Google, Jacqueline Kelly wrote, “It was such a captivating experience, with the stunning 1920’s decor, the on-theme cocktails and great music.”

Caribou Kingston

A popular and lively watering hole, Caribou has a Canadian theme covering its décor, drinks and food. Caribou is in Green Square and invites guests to sit back, relax and enjoy old school Canadian hospitality. Watch ice hockey on big screen tvs, shoot some pool or hang out on picnic tables on the square. Poutine anyone?

Carol Albor wrote on Google, “The bartenders are very friendly. This place has such an amazing atmosphere … definitely worth the visit.”

Pomegranate Restaurant

Pomegranate Restaurant is a smart, casual venue with a terrace, offering modern Australian food with a Mediterranean twist. Located in the heart of old Kingston, Pomegranate offers a classic, sophisticated dining experience, with an emphasis on quality regional produce, fresh ingredients and superb technique. The beautifully plated dishes and exceptional wine list are matched with expert, considerate service.

Rob Francis wrote on Google, “Absolutely fantastic food and amazing table service. A really enjoyable night.”

If you’re looking for more information on eating and drinking in Canberra, you might like our articles on the best Kingston foreshore bars and restaurants, best fine dining restaurants, best Italian restaurants, best French restaurants, best Chinese restaurants and the best cocktail bars Canberra has to offer.

Your experience with restaurants and bars in Kingston

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

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of restaurants and bars are in Kingston?
Kingston restaurants and bars have everyone’s tastes covered. There’s Asian, Italian, Lebanese, Turkish, Chinese, modern Australian, pub grub and so much more.
Is it expensive to dine in Kingston?
Kingston has restaurants and bars at all price points. This ranges from cheap and cheerful venues to fine-dining venues, and everything in-between.
Can I dine outdoors in Kingston?
You bet you can. Many Kingston establishments have indoor and outdoor dining. Some outdoor dining is available on Green Square, for example. And the Kingston Foreshore has heaps of establishments with great views of Lake Burley Griffin.
Is it wise to book in advance for Kingston restaurants and bars?
This depends on many factors. When you’re going out is one thing to consider, with weekends tending to be super busy. Also consider the size of your party and what the occasion is. Certainly it’s better to be safe than sorry by booking in advance.
Are all Kingston restaurants open seven days?
Some are open seven days, but not all are. Some might be closed Sundays or Mondays, for example. It’s best to call or check the establishment’s website or social media for opening days and times.

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