The Tap Bar No, it's not a shop for home renovators, nor is it a bar where there is plenty of beer on tap. Instead, The Tap Bar is a small and very respectable tapas bar just south of the Old Bridge, and with a house speciality of paella, you will find your main problem being one of choice.
The décor may be stuck in the 1980s but you don't go here for the wall art. If a chef can take cauliflower and turn it into a tempura that makes even my anti-cauliflower husband start singing, then you know you are onto a good thing ($9).
Dishes range from house made pate with toast and cranberry jelly ($13.50), to Albondigas Spanish meatballs ($10.50), to arancini rice balls in a range of flavours ($9.50) to grilled lamb cutlets with tomato salsa ($17.50).
With flavours coming from as far away as France and Asia, it may not be the most authentic tapas you will ever have, but it is fun and flavoursome. Save some room for the desserts.
Old Coast Road Shopping Centre, Mandurah Open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. 08) 9535 1055
Sharkeys The first time I ate at Sharkeys I kicked myself for not ordering the beguiling seafood tasting plate ($40), but admittedly was more than content with an enormous serve of fish and chips ($17.90).
The second time I ate at Sharkeys, we had the share platter which came with salt and pepper squid, prawn and crab arancini balls, chilli and lime prawn skewers, fish goujons and home made tartare sauce. Admittedly it's weird that you have to order chips separately, but make sure you do, because Sharkeys do a mean chip.
I am going out on a limb and saying that the batter from Sharkeys is the best I have ever eaten in the state. It is an incredibly light panko crumb, and you will not find the heavy, greasy batter here.
Prices are quite expensive, but servings are enormous, including the kids serves ($10) which are as big as the average kid's head.
Service is minimal: you must order at the counter and take a number. At busy times the wait can be long, but that only serves to build your appetite. Décor is minimal too, but ultimately it's a fish and chip shop: just a really really good one.
1 Dolphin Dve, Mandurah
Open every day (except Christmas from 11am. Kitchen closes 8pm)
(08) 9534 8825
The Bridge Garden Bar and Restaurant
I'm sure with a name like that, locals probably just refer to it as 'The Bridge' but the garden and the bar are a big part of the appeal at this iconic restaurant. The inside, with its elegant décor feels almost formal, but out back there is a huge covered courtyard and raised garden area which would be brilliant on a summer's evening to enjoy a cocktail or two from the expansive menu.
The menu is pub-like with a mixed bag of old favourites such as fish and chips ($24), steak sandwich ($20), various pasta dishes ($26-$29) and scotch fillet ($34). You will also find teriyaki chicken ($28) and goat curry ($29) just in case you were in the mood for something more exotic.
I had the Moroccan lamb ($29) which came with mash and various vegetables. It was tender and flavoursome: perfect comfort food for a winter's day. You won't find any barriers being broken here, but everything is solid and tasty.
Service was a bit slow but it was an enjoyable lunch in a nice space, with a great view over the old bridge (while it's still there).
Cnr Mandurah Terrace and Pinjarra Road
(08) 9535 1004
Open daily for lunch and dinner www.thebridgebar.com.au/