When it comes to Australian cities, not many would think to describe Canberra as a place “foodies” or “hipsters” are found. To most, Melbourne would easily take those labels simply based on its long-standing reputation for them.
But Canberra has been changing its reputation and people are noticing.
As someone who thought Canberra to be uninteresting as a destination, I was pleasantly surprised to see just how much was on offer overall. But particularly, how interesting the food scene was here. So for that, I am happy to publicly eat my words. Canberra is hardly boring.
Whether it’s good coffee, a healthy meal or a tasty treat that you’re after – Canberra very much has it all.
So what are the best places to try out when you’re there?
Local Press is the perfect place for a coffee with a view. Or a meal. Why not do both?
Taking in a relaxed morning here as you sit along the Kingston Foreshore is all you need to start your day. The sun shining on the water, a slight breeze, Instagram worthy food and great coffee – this is one memorable place to dine.
The entire foreshore is a treat in itself, but the hipster quality of Local Press right down to its décor makes it one of Canberra’s best dining options. It may as well be a Melbourne café. With exposed brick, an eclectic mixture of tables and chairs, rustic and wholefood menu items – all right on the water. Local Press feels good.
For my visit, I ate breakfast which was delicious and healthy. If you’re gluten free, dairy free or vegan, most meals can be adjusted to meet your needs. My choice of the Blueberry and Banana Oat Pancake with seasonal fruit, coyo, cacao nibs, seed mix and maple syrup was delicious. I can be fussy when it comes to additions on pancakes, but the texture and taste of the dish as a whole really made it work.
This was my favourite dining experience in Canberra. Local Press is well worth a visit and if I was a local – I’d be here weekly to enjoy a meal or coffee with a view.
Local Press is located at 81 Eastlake Parade, Kingston. It’s open Tuesday – Friday 7:30am – 4pm and 8am – 5pm on weekends.
Maple & Clove
I stumbled upon Maple & Clove because it was right near my accommodation, Little National Hotel and it was a public holiday weekend (which limited choices for what was actually open). But man am I glad I did.
This was a pleasant surprise all round. The décor is modern and fresh, the ambiance is cool with a communal vibe and the food is delicious! But best of all, meals are full of good fats, immune boosters and antioxidant rich ingredients – which is always good when you’re traveling and want to eat healthy.
With so much to choose from I settled on the Maple Porridge and an Iced Latte. Both were delicious. The Porridge was simply the prettiest breakfast I think I’ve ever eaten. But that’s not hard given the dish consisted of milk soaked oats cooked with cinnamon, almond milk, nutmeg and maple syrup; accompanied by blueberries, banana, cranberries and super seeds. This was just delicious.
Maple and Clove is located at 7 Burbury Close, Barton and is open from 7:30am – 2:30pm weekdays. 8:30am – 2:30pm weekends.
If you’re looking for a cool eatery, this one is sure to satisfy. Grease Monkey was born out of an old mechanic’s garage, in the happening area of Braddon in the Northern area of Canberra.
With a menu consisting of burgers, fried chicken, shakes and alcohol this is a busy spot on a Saturday night, but a fun one at that!
I ate here with a local friend, Michael who knows where all the good places are. I had the classic Greasy burger, which consisted of a beef patty with lettuce, cheese, onion, pickles, relish and Greasy’s sauce. Michael had the Dirty Bird which had a piece of fried chicken, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and Greasy’s sauce. Both came with fries.
Both of our meals were really good. I was pleasantly surprised in all honesty because burger joints can be hit and miss. The combination of it all was really tasty, and the vibe of the place was fun. I would definitely go back again on a Saturday night out.
Grease Monkey is located at 19 Lonsdale St, Braddon and is open daily from 11am-10pm.
Brodburger is an institution in Canberra. In what started out in a caravan (food truck) and finally finding a permanent home within the Glassworks area of the Kingston Foreshore; the demand for Brodburger means one thing – it’s busy! If the line is out the door, do yourself a favour and order via their app. The wait times can exceed 45 minutes, so the app can help you avoid some of the rush. Especially if the wait is even longer.
I ate here with my cousins who have lived in Canberra for over a decade. They swear by this place and after eating here, I can see why. Rumour has it, Obama even ate here too when he visited Canberra during his Presidency. (And he knows his burgers!)
With a burger menu of everything from standard beef, grilled chicken, battered fish, lamb, veggie and even salmon; It’s not hard to find something you’ll like. The sizing varies from baby to single to deluxe which caters to those who eat small or big.
On our visit I ate the Single Cheese which was a flame grilled beef patty with pickles, onion, American mustard, ketchup, tomato relish and a choice of blue, brie, swiss or cheddar cheese. (I had cheddar). I wish I had taken a better photo in all honesty…but I was too excited and hungry not to dig in immediately. This very possibly was the best burger I have ever eaten in my life. No kidding. I can understand the hype on these. I would return just to come back and eat another one.
Brodburger is located at 11 Wentworth Ave, Kingston and is open 12pm-3pm Tuesday to Saturday (Sunday’s until 4pm) for lunch. 5:30pm-Late Tuesday to Saturday.
Ricardos and Space Kitchen
When it comes to desserts in Canberra, or even the entire country…the selection and uniqueness of those on offer here truly put these places on the map. They are sister restaurants so their menu’s are similar. But both are worth checking out.
Although dessert is the draw card, it’s not all they serve. Breakfast and lunch are also available too, which I was also excited to try.
Ricardos is not in the city center of Canberra, so you will need to uber or drive here if you’re not situated in Macquarie. But the trek is worth it to be able to try some of the sweets (after the meal of course!) I tried the Not So Big Breakfast (without tomato) which included free range eggs (scrambled, poached or fried), bacon and toast. I am a stickler when it comes to how my bacon is cooked, but the bacon here was cooked to perfection! I also had an iced Nutella milkshake.
I didn’t have dessert at Ricardo’s because I had other meals to eat that day, but I knew I was planning to visit Space Kitchen the following weekend, so I made sure to grab some dessert then.
Space Kitchen I really loved. The relaxed vibe of the space, the business feel given its location to the major businesses in the Woden/Phillip area of Canberra…and finally getting to taste a dessert!
I decided on a light breakfast here before I hit the road for my 8 hour drive back to Melbourne. I had a latte and sourdough bread with butter and jam which was surprisingly good value with large slices. I also went for the Snickers Gaytime, which looked like an ice cream. It was chocolate mousse on a stick, covered in chocolate and roasted peanuts. Gee, it was good! I took it on the road with me, and it was a lovely treat to have a couple of hours later.
Ricardos is located at Jamison Plaza, 1/1 Bowman St, Macquarie. It is open 7:30am – 5:30pm weekdays (until 4pm weekends.)
Space Kitchen is located at 3g/12 Furzer St, Phillip. It is open 7:30am – 5pm weekdays, 8am – 3pm Saturday. Closed Sundays.
Canberra is clearly one of Australia’s underrated foodie capitals. Even more, it is definitely far more hipster than people give it credit for. Even the locals.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for what is on offer in Canberra. I look forward to returning so I can enjoy these eateries once more, and add a few more recommendations to my list…or just return for some dessert!