The name "Lonsdale Street" in Braddon is well-known amongst Canberra locals for its hip cafes, modern restaurants and laid-back, industrial vibe. It is also a name that many tourists come to know, as they start flicking through tourist brochures and swiping through their iPhones, looking for the best places in Canberra to eat. A handy feature about Lonsdale Street is that it is located just a short walk from the main Bunda Street that runs through the city centre, so you don't need to go too far to find it.
The street itself has an interesting past - it used to be the "auto hub" of Canberra, with car yards, mechanics, car washes and spare parts businesses lining its street. Today as you walk along, there is still the auto element in the street, with a large carwash and a last remaining Repco, however it also has modern apartment buildings, colourful street art, popular cafes and a city edge that makes it so interesting to explore. The following are just some of the casual cafes and eateries that make Lonsdale Street so interesting. My tip? Just start at one end and walk along until you see something you like - you can't go wrong with any of them!
Frugii - arguably the best ice-cream in Canberra! Source: Frugii Facebook
Frugii Dessert Laboratory is an ice creamery and dessert cafe located in the Ori Building, at the northern end of Lonsdale Street. Co-owner John Marshall, who is the creator of the flavours at Frugii, is constantly experimenting with new ideas such as blue cheese, laksa, port, black truffles and Guinness-flavoured ice cream! A "must-do" when in Lonsdale Street. See here for details. (Please note, Frugii is closed on Mondays). Best For: Dessert!
Debacle is a small gastro pub with an outside seating area, so diners can enjoy a cold bevvie and watch the comings and goings of this busy street. Debacle is popular on Monday and Tuesday for their "2 for 1" pizzas (for both lunch and dinner). See here for details. Best For: Sunday afternoon drinks.
Lonsdale Street Roasters Cafe (23) can be found opposite Debacle and it is the epitome of the raw, edgy and laid-back style of the whole street. As their name suggests, Lonsdale Street Roasters roast their own coffee and when you try a cup you will instantly want another - yes, it's that good! They also have another cafe at the other end of the street at No.7. See here for details. Best For: Coffee and brunch.
* Centre of Lonsdale Street - near the main roundabout *
Eighty Twenty is a healthy café that can be found on the corner of Lonsdale Street and Eloura Street, at the main roundabout on Lonsdale Street. This popular café has the philosophy of eating healthily 80% of the time and leaving 20% for treats - hence the name (and its popularity!). See here for details. Best For: Weekend breakfast.
Sweet Bones is located right next door to Eighty Twenty above, and they also have a wholesome approach to their food. Everything they make, bake, sell and create uses organic and cruelty-free vegan ingredients. As well as having a delicious and creative vegan menu, they also make vegan wedding cakes and baked treats for special events. See here for details. Best For: Everything - but their cakes and coffee are a great combination.
Catch and Grease Monkey are two eateries located next to each other (and owned by the same people), on the other side of the roundabout to the cafes above. Catch is a fish and chip café that is currently being built (at the time of writing) and Grease Monkey is a burger joint next door, fitted out in an old mechanics shed. If you are looking for big burgers, fried chicken and American classics, then check out Grease Monkey for both lunch and dinner, 7 days a week. See here for details. Best For: Saturday night burgers and drinks.
* Southern end of Lonsdale Street (closest to the city) *
The Hamlet is a collection of several food trucks and outlets in an open shop space, often described as an "urban village". It was created as a temporary space to support local food trucks, with a closing date yet to be announced. In the meantime, it is a popular, family friendly venue with Spit Shack, Mr Papa, Soul Cartel,10 Inch Custom Pizzeria and What The Pho feeding the crowds. See here for details. Best For: Lunch or dinner, anytime.
Lazu Su is a reasonably-new restaurant on the Lonsdale Street scene and has already created a name for itself for its unique Japanese, Korean and American-infusion menu. Gather some friends together and grab a booth, order some share plates and enjoy a cocktail or two. Look for the dozen waving lucky cats at the entrance. See here for details. Best For: Dinner and cocktails with friends.
Lonsdale Street Roasters 7 is owned by Lonsdale Street Roasters Cafe (23) at the other end of this busy street. This small café, which also sells their delicious coffee and beans you can take home, has a few tables downstairs, however the upstairs level has cosy areas to sit and scenic view looking down over the street. See here for details. Best For: Coffee and weekend breakfast.