There’s nothing quite as fun as playing tourist in your own city, whether it’s simply revisiting the landmarks that have blended into our everyday drive to work or something more indulgent like hiding away in a B&B on the outskirts of town.
Getting around and visiting all parts of Canberra is a great way to rekindle our love for the city in which we live in. And what better way to your heart than through your stomach!
If you’ve shipped the kids off on camp, or maybe to Grandma’s for the weekend, pack your own bag and get ready to have a well-deserved adventure or staycation of your own. Here are our top picks for restaurants, bars and cafes all located within Canberra’s amazing hotels.
Hotel Kurrajong is one of Canberra’s most historic buildings, it opened in 1926 and was developed by the same architect who designed Old Parliament House. It originally served as a home away from home for parliamentary staff, MPs and public servants traveling to Canberra for work. Now, it’s home to great food thanks to its restaurant Chifley’s Bar and Grill.
If you’re going out for dinner, or maybe stopping by for a long lunch, be sure to give the chicken saltimbocca and go! It’s served with sautéed greens and a parsley caper sauce.
QT describes itself as “politque and pop chic”, which is possibly the most Canberran sentence ever constructed, and Lucky’s Speakeasy takes that just one step further. Going to Lucky’s is like taking a step back in time, between its beautiful vintage decor and expansive drinks menu, it’s the ‘perfect setting for getting sauced in secret’.
When you stop by, be sure to try its Liquid Gold drink, made with Umami Bitters, honey, edible flowers and Wild Turkey Rye, which is available on the Winter Libation Menu. Or, stay for a few more drinks and mop up with it’s Pig Burger, made from pulled baby back ribs and cabbage slaw in a whisky sauce.
A vibrant part of the NewActon precinct, Bicicletta at Peppers presents authentic Italian food created solely from locally sourced and seasonal produce. If you do drop in make sure that you cosy up with a blanket outside in Bicicletta’s beautiful outdoor courtyard to soak up the full experience.
Make sure you order one of the amazing pizzas on offer – perhaps the prosciutto e rucola with its wavy ribbons of prosciutto and a scattering of peppery rocket, on top of a perfect crust that’s slightly crispy on the bottom and puffed up around the edges.
Step back in time at the Courtyard Restaurant at the historic Mercure Hotel Canberra. The building was constructed in 1927 and still has the striking deco windows and classic elements of early Canberra architecture.
If you stop by for dinner, make sure you order the seared scallops with the addition of caviar to add a touch of finesse to your night out.
East Hotel: Muse and Joe’s Bar
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Feed your mind and your body at East Hotel. From the understated elegance of Muse to the modern Italian influence of Joe’s Bar, East Hotel is one to add to your list.
Both restaurants have an eclectic wine list and deliciously decadent desserts. Desserts to add to your hit list are the Sticky Date Cheesecake at Muse and the gorgeous Semifreddo at Joe’s Bar.
Walking into the restaurant, a sense of relaxation automatically waves over you. The easy listening playlist and the mix of textures around the room – including sheer curtains, dimmed lights and candle lit table sets the scene for a romantic night out.
If it’s your first time at Stock a must try is the Chicken Supreme from the grill, complete with a generous lashing of roasted garlic aioli.
Hotel Hotel aims to remind its guests of the importance of romance by collaborating with artists of all mediums to truly enhance your stay with them. This could be why everything on the menu is designed to be shared, and changes seasonally. If you’re looking to celebrate something special with your significant other, like an anniversary or simply because you made it to Friday, book a suite and order room service.
Monster Kitchen and Bar, the main restaurant in Hotel Hotel’s precinct, is open 6:30am to 1am daily, with menus that shift from ‘lucidity to debauchery’, so whenever you two are ready, come down to try the pulled lamb with pistachio, yoghurt, pomegranate and brik. Then take dessert back up to your room – if you know what we mean…
It’s a rite of passage for all Canberra women to be invited here for at least one social gathering. Birthdays, baby showers, engagements, going away parties, any excuse is an excuse to attend a high tea at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra.
The Hyatt is an established fixture across the world, when staying there it will feel like rubbing shoulders with the high-end social elite. Its logo has become synonymous with elegance and decadence, a perfect symbol for its agonisingly delicious afternoon tea buffet.
If you’re new to town, or just haven’t been in awhile, bundle your friends into the back of an Uber and have some fun.
Little National is a very classy, but quaint hotel, which is very proud of its parliamentary neighbours. After admiring the views, take a quick walk around the block to soak up as much of the winter sun and historic sights you can see on your way to Maple + Clove.
We all like to treat ourselves here and there but Maple + Clove makes being naughty so much nicer with its delicious whole foods menu. For a cheeky, but still healthy breakfast, try the wholemeal spelt and banana waffle, with vanilla gelato and maple syrup! If you’re feeling extra good, grab a take away matcha latte and take it back to Little National’s library to pour through its own publication.
Burbury Hotel is a classic, luxury hotel, with facilities and packages designed for the most lavish weekend away. Equipped with a techno-gym, spa and hair salon, Burbury has all the bases covered. They also come with Canberra’s best Japanese, at Lilotang. In a gorgeous setting, you can’t go wrong with anything from the ‘robata’ menu, especially if you follow it up with the green tea ice-cream with sticky mochi mochi tofu!
Hotel Realm screams class. From the open, light rooms in the suites, to the dark marble of the lower house penthouse, everything has been impeccably designed to make you feel important when you stay there.
When you eat there, however, sneak away through the precinct to Ostani, take off your heels and all pretence of glamour to grab a Frenchy Burger – stacked with an angus beef patty, green oak lettuce, tomato, bacon, brie, caramelised onions and dressed with seeded mustard mayonnaise; it’s the perfect blend of sophistication and just good, uncomplicated food.
So if we’re just welcoming you to Canberra, or you’ve been here long enough to have hardened your heart to the ACT’s majesty, go out and treat yourself to something special. You may finally understand all those in jokes in the office (yep, there’s an owl that looks like that.), or remember why you love it here after all. At the very least, you’ll get some good food.