New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published July 26th 2016
Empty stomach required
Canberra is a foodie lovers dream. With local markets selling fresh produce straight from the farm, wineries in the surrounding hills, local breweries opening their doors and award-winning restaurants in the city - there is something in the Capital for everyone. There are also coffee producers who have locals lining up for their tasty blend, as well as food trucks cooking up delicious fare into the night. If that's not enough, there are also night food markets to stock up on fresh supplies and then keep warm with spicy food by the fire drums. One thing is for sure - you will need an empty stomach when exploring Canberra's foodie scene. Although I am still exploring this fascinating city myself, I have stumbled on a few local secrets to share with this A-Z guide - just remember to keep them to yourself!
Apple Orchards are located in Pialligo, literally just over the highway from Canberra Airport. These small orchards, which have been growing apples for 40 years or more, now sell their apples from huts on their properties between February and June each year. Drive along Beltana Road and look for the "Open" signs. Two popular ones are Kerrison's and Beltana Grange Orchards. You can taste the difference - super juicy. See here for website.
Brodogs is located at The Hamlet - a collection of food trucks on the industrially trendy Lonsdale Street in Braddon. This hot dog food truck is a delicious attraction in the area, with lines seen here most days for lunch and dinner. Brodogs is the run by the same owners of the popular Brodburger on the Kingston Foreshore. See here for website.
Capital Region Farmers Market is on at the Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) each Saturday morning between 7:30am - 11:30am. Get in early to get the best produce, joining hundreds of locals buying their weekly fresh fish, meat, bakery supplies, fruit, vegetables and popular pies. This north side location is the largest farmers market in Canberra, however there is also a Southside Farmers Market on Sundays in Woden. See here for website.
Dobinson's is a bakery located in Bunda Street, the main street that runs through the CBD. You often see police cars, tradies, workers and locals heading into this store for their flaky pies, sausage rolls and desserts. This would have to be the most popular bakery in Canberra, a true locals secret. See here for website.
Eighty/Twenty is a popular café and restaurant on the industrially trendy Lonsdale Street in Braddon. It is one of the most popular breakfast eateries in Canberra. With a philosophy of "Eat well 80%, Indulge 20%, 100% Happy", this café is packed each weekend with the health conscious folk of Canberra. See here for website.
Tuck into a healthy breakfast at Eighty/Twenty. Source: Facebook
Fruggi Dessert Laboratory has been a favourite in Canberra for a number of years. The creator, or alchemist, John Marshall and his wife Ed started the ice cream business small, selling at the local markets. When the queues got so large they could not keep up - even in winter - they knew they had to find a shop front to meet their customers' needs and expand their range to desserts. When the shop opened in January 2015, lines were snaked down the street. Open Wednesday to Sunday only. See here for website.
Grapes from the Canberra Wine District produce a wide range of wines to taste whilst on a winery tour around the region. Each winery has a unique micro-climate, creating quality wines from award winning producers. There are wineries in the Murrumbateman wine district to explore as well as a number at Lake George. See here for website.
Italian and Sons restaurant is renowned around Canberra for their authentic Italian dishes and wood fired pizzas - with a modern twist. See here for website.
Jerky (Beef) is made by Stockman Sticks in the shadows of the Brindabella and Snowy Mountains using 100% local Australian grass-fed beef. They can be found at local foodie markets around the region. See here for website.
Kingston Foreshore is a stretch of gastro pubs, restaurants and cafes along the edge of Lake Burley Griffin. Along the foreshore you will be spoilt for choice for some of Canberra's favourite eateries with a range of international options to choose from. Just walk along and pick your favourite. On Friday evenings there is also the Farmers and Foodies Markets to pick up your locally grown produce ready for the weekend. See here for website.
You can't get much fresher than the Friday night Farmers and Foodies Market, Kingston Foreshore
Lonsdale Street Traders is a Canberra coffee company who has four coffee houses around the city - yes, it is that popular and that good. On Lonsdale Street in Braddon they have the larger Lonsdale Street Eatery (23), as well as a more intimate café down the road - Lonsdale Street Roasters 7. They also have outlets at Belconnen and the Kingston Foreshore called Remedy. See here for website.
Miss Vans is a Vietnamese food truck located at Westside Acton Park. This funky shipping container village hosts several food outlets and food trucks as well as Aviary, a rooftop bar in the top horizontal shipping container. Miss Vans has the best bánh mì (Vietnamese rolls) in town. See here for website.
Night Noodle Markets is a popular week-long event held in March which is part of the Enlighten Festival, which lights up the city in an array of colourful lighting effects. Thousands of people attend the markets each night to enjoy a variety of local and interstate Asian restaurants cook up a storm on their hot woks and BBQ's. See here for website.
Ona coffee is another Canberra coffee company that is popular throughout the city. The owner and creator Sasa Sestic is renowned for winning the World Barista Championship competition in 2015 with his creative coffee making skills. Try a cup at the popular Cupping Room, Ona on the Lawns or you can visit the Ona Coffee House Cafe in Fyshwick. See here for website.
Patissez in Manuka gained media attention last year due to their huge Freakshakes loaded with calorie-laden goodness with brownies or ice creams stuck in the top. They now have another café open on Marcus Clarke Street in the CBD. See here for website.
QT Canberra Hotel is a stylish boutique hotel with the popular Capitol Bar and Grill located inside. This dining venue has been awarded a "hat" in the past and is a favourite for Canberrans for a night out with delicious Italian fare and juicy steaks. See here for website.
Robyn Rowe Chocolates is located in the Canberra Wine District and it makes for a pleasant sweet stop whilst exploring the wineries. Watch the tiny delicacies get made through the window and enjoy them with a real hot chocolate by their dam. See here for website.
Sweet Bones Bakery is located just off the café strip on Lonsdale Street in Braddon. It sells cakes and menu items that are made from cruelty-free, organic and vegan ingredients. Taste the difference at this unique retro café. See here for website.
The Forage is a foodie market that is held each season in Canberra. Starting in the afternoon and running into the evening the market has a large range of food trucks, stalls and producers selling their fresh goods and tasty dinner options. Thousands of people visit this market each season and the smells alone will make your mouth water. See here for website.
Enjoy the twilight sounds and smells of The Forage
Unique smelling fungi can be found in Canberra in the form of truffles, celebrated annually at the Truffle Festival. There are several venues around the region where you can join a truffle hunt, taste a truffle and experience it dished up by some of Canberra's top chefs. The season runs between June and August. See here for website.
Via Dolce is an Italian Pasticceria (Pastry Shop) on Bunda street in the CBD. If you after traditional wood fired pizzas and decadent Italian desserts to enjoy with a group of friends, then look no further. See here for website.
Wood fired pizzas are on the menu each weekend at Four Winds Vineyard in the Canberra Wine District. As well as wine tasting, this winery offers four types of wood fired pizzas ($17 each) to enjoy with a wine or beer - however, they are so good that you may want to try all four. Pizzas are available between 12pm - 3pm. The kids will enjoy running around on the grassy area as you sit by the vineyards and look over the grapes. See website here.
Yarralumla is a suburb of south Canberra and is the home to many of the world's Embassies. Every two years the Embassies open their doors and have Open Days to show off their culinary delights with market stalls and cultural shows. For a foodie, Windows to the World is a month long food extravaganza, where you can visit several embassies over one weekend. The next Windows of the World is planned for 2017. See here for website.
Zambrero is a popular Mexican takeaway franchise which began in Canberra in 2005 and now has 110 franchises across Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Ireland. This is another Canberra success story...and the only food outlet in Canberra that starts with Z! See here for website.
Cultural food stalls at the Malaysian Embassy, Windows to the World 2015
On a final note, if you are in Canberra during the National Multicultural Festival (February) and The World Curry Festival (July), these two popular events take over the city centre and are sure to wake up your tastebuds. Canberra has a growing foodie scene, with new food markets, cafes, restaurants, food trucks and precincts opening up each year. According to Canberra locals who have lived here their whole lives, the last several years has seen more foodie options and festivals than ever before. I personally can't wait to see what the next several years has in store.
With an A-Z guide of foodie delights such as this - where will you try first?
The popular World Curry Festival. Source: Event Facebook