There’s no doubt about it. We’re seeing Woden differently these days. The area is booming. It’s not only a main commercial hub, it’s a place to wine, dine, get a bit of retail therapy, get fit, explore artwork and wander through parkland.
With the extensive transformation of Woden well underway, more and more cafes, bars and restaurants are popping up. They’re attracting locals living in the area and Canberrans further afield. Everyone’s spoiled for choice. This includes with trendy areas like the Bradley Street dining precinct. An added bonus is that transport to the area is easy and there’s plenty of parking.
In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a Woden restaurant, café or bar, and share where to find the best in the area.
What makes a great Woden restaurant, café or bar?
Choosing the right dining place can make your outing fun and enjoyable. The challenge, given the large number of places on offer, is picking the best spot for your taste, budget and type of atmosphere you’re looking for.
It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a restaurant, café or bar in Woden.
- Style of food and drink. You’ll want to decide what type of cuisine you want to dine out on and explore what’s on offer. This will narrow down your options and make it easier to make the best selection.
- Cost. You won’t want to break the bank when dining our, or be taken aback when the bill arrives. That’s why it’s smart to check prices online before choosing a dining venue, especially if cost is a major factor.
- Atmosphere. While the Woden area is vibrant, not all restaurants, cafes and bar have the same atmosphere. Do you want one that is family oriented? A sports bar? Perhaps a venue that’s suited to a quiet dinner.
- Service. You’ll want service with a smile by friendly, efficient staff. Some venues focus on fast service. Others offer long, leisurely dining.
- Dietary requirements. If you have special dietary requirements, do a bit of research to make sure you’ll be catered for.
The best restaurants, cafes and bars in Woden
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.
As one of the regions recent gastropub additions Woden newcomer, The Alby, offers sophisticated all day dining which celebrates the good things in life. The blended dining, drinks, and entertainment venue is the perfect setting to enjoy family, friends, food, and fun.
Conveniently located within the hustle and bustle of DOMA’s Albermarle building on Furzer Street, The Alby boasts an expansive 1,000sqm of space spanning two floors. It’s contemporary interiors are a predisposition for fun, whilst giving a nod to its locality and refined casual vibe.
With layer upon layer of beautiful textures and finishes, each space has been meticulously created with the needs of the patron in mind. From the concrete walls and timber table tops through to the bass bar and fireplace, The Alby just beckons guests to stay.
Aficionados of the local dining scene are sure to rejoice with an equally impressive menu. The upper level offers a delightful a la carte experience with everything from sumptuous steaks, salads, and pizzas. For a more relaxed affair consider the basement with tacos, nachos, and pizzas designed to be shared and enjoyed.
Boasting a variety of entertainment experiences, The Alby is more than just a restaurant. With several stunning bars, an outdoor beer garden, sports bar, and games basement with duckpin bowling, pinball, and pool tables - it will surprise and delight at every turn.
As for events, The Alby offers varied spatial and catering options from sit down set to cocktail affairs with an accompanying beverage packages and optional games. For a catch up with friends, long family lunch or date night, The Alby makes for an excellent choice.
Jake Bayirdar shared this great review on Google, “Amazing place, great service. Best joint in Canberra.”
Since first opening its doors in 1972, the Canberra Southern Cross Club has grown to become a mainstay in the local recreational scene. Now, boasting five unique venues throughout the Canberra region, Southern Cross Club is home to some of the best dining in Woden.
Boasting a range of both casual and refined dining options, patrons are most certainly spoilt for choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. With five inhouse establishments the Canberra Southern Cross Club Woden caters to all patron needs, from the fussiest of children through to the astute diner.
For casual everyday café fare the Woden Central Café is the perfect spot, while Henry’s Family Dining rounds it out with delicious nutritionally balanced meal options for ease of eating with the entire family.
Woden Central steps it up a notch with a focus on contemporary flavours serving a range of classics with a twist. The Clubhouse and Bar is the perfect spot to catch a game whilst enjoying a craft beer and woodfire pizza. And, for an intimate affair with a more formal dining experience The Patio is an excellent choice.
For a culinary experience that is sure to delight both young and young at heart look to the Southern Cross Club Woden.
Gabrielle Driver had this to say on Google, "Elegant renovation with lots of different spaces to cater to all tastes. Textbook perfect food. Very reasonable prices."
AuLac Woden Vegan Cuisine dishes up exciting vegan food. Signature dishes include Pho soup, spicy Laksa and Red duck curry with lychees. The extensive menu includes dumplings, small share plates, soups, stir fries, traditional dishes, claypot creations and hot plates. Plenty of gluten free dishes are available. Located at Westfield Woden.
On Google, Lawrence Menz wrote, “Whether you want delicious veggies or soy-based fake meats, this is the place for you.”
Space Kitchen is a great spot for breakfast, lunch or sweet treats. The selection of desserts is extensive and each tastes and looks amazing. Great coffees, juices and shakes are available. Space Kitchen is on Furzer Street, minutes from Westfield Woden.
On Google, Orsolya Clarke wrote, “The fitout is gorgeous, and the staff are friendly and helpful. One of our favourite places to visit for breakfast or lunch followed by a sweet treat to take away.”
Dumpling Social has a prime position on Woden’s Bradley Street precinct. With a funky fitout and special vibe, this is a go-to destination for sensational dumplings. Also try the “Social signature dishes”, small plates and the rice and noodle dishes. Dumpling Social is fully licensed.
Arleen Wilcox wrote on Google, “This is one of my favourite places in Canberra ... The staff is really friendly and there’s always new thing to try. Prices are great.”
If you’re looking for more information on what’s happening in Woden, you might like our article on seeing Woden differently, and our article on five cafes to try in Woden. If you want to read reviews of Woden dining establishments, head to our Food and Wine section.
Your experience with restaurants in Woden
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 restaurants listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of restaurants are in Woden?
There’s something for everyone in Woden. The area has family friendly restaurants, cafes, coffee spots, pubs, bars and more formal dining venues. Some places are small and intimate. Others larger with a vibrant buzz. Many cuisine types are covered.
What type of cuisine can I get in Woden?
The world is your oyster in Woden. You’ll fine most cuisine types, including modern Australian, Italian, Asian, Indian and Turkish. You’ll also find bakeries and coffee shops.
Is it expensive to eat and drink in Woden?
Prices vary from place to place. Some are cheap and cheerful. Others offer a more expensive dining experience.
Is there parking near restaurants in Woden?
There’s plenty of parking in the Woden area, some free and some paid.
Do I need to book in advance for Woden restaurants?
Not all restaurants, cafes and bars requiring bookings but to secure a place it’s smart to book. You can often do this online.