As Australians, we are no strangers to the humble flame. Our multicultural lineage pays homage to the use of heat in all its glory. From Argentina to Italy and everywhere in between, we have adopted techniques and mastered their application to suit our home-grown produce.
When it comes to meat, Australia produces some of the best beef around. Our cattle farms are renowned the globe over for their high-quality produce and ethical practices. And while meat consumption has been given a rough trot in recent years, a loyal following remains.
Whether your preference is blue, medium rare or well done, you have come to the right place for advice on finding a great steakhouse.
As the name suggests, a steakhouse is a restaurant that specialises in serving steaks. Once the domain of suited executives, steakhouses have evolved considerably. Modern ones offer lively environments, delectable accompaniments, and even vegetarian options!
So, get those knives ready, we are taking a tour of the best steakhouses that Canberra has to offer.
What makes a great steakhouse?
- Quality produce. The quality of produce is one of the key indicators setting mediocre steakhouses apart from the best. With restaurant-grade produce at our doorstep, there are no excuses for anything but quality. Look for steakhouses that offer a variety of premium cuts with a paddock-to-plate philosophy. Your server should be well versed on what the animal was fed and where it was sourced. Moreover, any details around the cut, and ageing time and method, should be easily offered. The best steakhouses will feature a selection of cuts to cater to personal preferences.
- Cooked to perfection. There is no hiding when it comes to cooking steak. The best steakhouses embrace this challenge, presenting perfectly cooked morsels every time. Indeed, each restaurant will have its own way of preparing and presenting steak. However, many will offer the opportunity for their patrons to customise this. The kitchen should turn out consistent high-quality results, from rare to medium and well done, and every iteration in between.
- Perfect pairings. While steak will be the hero dish for many, the finest steakhouses also offer a selection of side dishes and condiments to enhance the meat’s flavour. Look for a balanced offering including carbohydrates and greens, along with any condiments to your liking. Great steakhouses also understand the importance of the complete dining experience. As such, they pair each course accordingly, creating a culinary journey with the steak front and centre. The same ethos often applies to the beverage selection, which makes light work for diners.
- Sizzling service. Industry-leading service is often a hallmark of a great steakhouse. From the telephone manner upon booking to the farewell at exit, the best steakhouses have service that sizzles. These establishments should be staffed by the best in the business, with years of experience and a flair for communication. Not only should your hosts be friendly, they should know steak – and the menu – inside out.
- Warm and welcoming. While a great steak can be found in any location, the best steakhouses offer a warm and welcoming environment. Whether it is the notable decor, the buzz of other diners or the music in your ears, look for something memorable. A lively atmosphere works wonders on the overall dining experience, so find a venue that matches your mood.
The best steakhouses 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 maintained a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
A Canberran dining destination, award-winning Capitol Bar & Grill, at stylish QT Canberra, serves award-winning prime-cut steaks and dry-age cabinet offerings with wood-fired theatrics.
Executive Chef Michael Box is at the helm of the kitchen at Capitol Bar & Grill, one of the best grills in the capital with a robust meat and wine program. It is no wonder Capitol Bar & Grill is the winner of the ACT 2023 Restaurant and Catering Association Hostplus Awards for Excellence.
The dry-age cabinet features high-quality New York Striploin (bone in), T-bone and Portoro Rib Eye. From the grill is tender, juicy minute steak, short rib, sirloin and rib eye. All beef is sourced from quality farms, including in the Riverina, Canowindra, Cornea and Southern NSW, as well as Gippsland, Victoria. Steaks are perfectly cooked to order and in-house-made sauces ramp matters up.
Bold flavours meet modern-Australian dining at stylish Capital Bar & Grill, showcasing the finest local produce, including fresh oysters and protein. Honey is sourced from QT Canberra’s very own rooftop.
Guests enjoy wine swirling as they explore the icons on the wine list carefully curated by QT Hotels Group Wine Director, Chris Morrison. This list features emerging producers and new grape varieties from Australia and the Canberra District.
Emma Donoghue wrote on Google, “This is a special place for us and each time we come the food is amazing. The best steak and always perfectly cooked. Absolutely delicious, including the creative sides and sweet treats to end the evening. Recommend over and over.”
Affectionately known as ‘The Kingo’ by locals, this iconic pub is a well-known favourite just minutes from the CBD. Full to the brim with rustic charm this casual social spot features a quintessential pub experience, boutique beer on tap, and glorious steaks.
With over ten succulent steaks, fresh frites, and more sauces than you can poke a stick at diners are most certainly spoilt for choice. If you fancy a relaxed vibe that the whole family can enjoy look no further than the Kingston Hotel.
Hal Croxon had this to say about the Kingston Hotel on Google, “Great steak. Fillet mignon was superb.”
Marble and Grain offers a paddock-to-plate menu featuring juicy, tender, high-quality steaks, cooked to perfection. Steaks include rib eye bone, beef tenderloin, grain fed grasslands, pasture-fed Riverina, scotch fillet, sirloin and more. Marble and Grain has won the title Best Steak Restaurant. Craft beers and extensive wine list are available.
On Google, Raymond Robinson wrote, “Easily a top-5 steak place in Canberra. The inside dining area is lush. The entrees are superb. As are the sides, drinks and desserts …”
The Alby, spanning close to 1,000 sqm, is Woden’s largest local. The Bar Dining space is famous for its Butcher Block premium steaks, including a Brooklyn Valley Black Angus T-bone, Jack’s Creek grass fed sirloin and Purebred Darling Down Gold AA Wagyu rump.
On Google, Rohan Fuhrman wrote, “Great to see more decent pubs opening in the Woden area and livening the place up. This has a great outdoor seating area for the warmer weather and a cool downstairs sports bar ...”
Set I the charming 1920’s Melbourne building, Charcoal is a Canberran institution. Since first opening its doors in 1962 Charcoal is known for its steak speciality. Showcasing the best in local produce Charcoal is one of a handful of local establishments to offer an extensive selection of world-class Oakley-Angus reserve, Australia’s leader in premium beef.
The classic menu serves modern cuts with a selection of sides and sauces. This old-style eatery serves up old school charm in spades along with some of the finest beef in town. If you consider yourself a steak aficionado, make sure you pay Charcoal Restaurant a visit.
Ashmita Dhungel shared this review on Google, “Best steak restaurant in town. The food, the atmosphere, and the service are absolutely amazing. Highly recommended.”
For more dining options, you might like our articles on the best gastropubs, the best fine dining, the best bistros and the best restaurants in Canberra. Should you fancy a tipple, our guides to the best cocktail bars, the best wine bars, or the best pubs may also be of interest.
Your experience with steakhouses 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 steakhouses listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can a steak be cooked to order?
Generally, there are five standard temperatures that chefs offer to diners ordering steak: rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well done. That said, some steakhouses may also offer super rare or blue as an option, which can be regarded as the minimum safe temperature to cook and serve.
What is the best way to order a steak?
Some would suggest any way you like it! Others would suggest that it depends on the cut. As a general rule, leaner cuts of steak should be cooked rarer, and fattier cuts more thoroughly. If your cut sits in the middle, a good option is medium rare as it allows for external charring and a tender interior.
What is the most tender cut of steak?
Many chefs would agree that the most tender cut of meat is filet mignon. Otherwise known as eye fillet, this cut is extracted from the tip of the tenderloin. As this muscle isn’t worked a great deal, it tends to be the most tender.
What is a steak marble score?
A marble score is a component of the overall beef-grading system in Australia. It assesses the amount of intramuscular fat and scores accordingly. A higher marble score suggests a softer, silkier texture as the marbled fat breaks down and permeates the meat as it is cooked. Scores generally range from 0 (no fat) to 9 (abundant), with Wagyu cattle sitting about 4 to 6.
What is dry ageing?
Dry ageing is the process by which large cuts of beef are aged before being trimmed. Dry ageing indicates that the beef has been hung while refrigerated, for between 30 and 50 days. It is believed that the process improves two major characteristics – taste and tenderness. Dry ageing differs from wet ageing, whereby beef is trimmed and cut, then vacuum-sealed.