A resurgent food scene drawing on local produce coupled with a thriving arts culture has made Canberra an intriguing destination in recent times. We’ve put together a guide to everything you should eat, drink and do on a whirlwind weekend in Australia’s capital.
Breakfast at the Barrio Collective
Start the day on a bright note at Barrio Collective, a friendly neighborhood cafe in the bustling suburb of Braddon, north Canberra. A minimalist space lined with benches, Barrio is known for superb roasted coffee at its Fyshwick roastery and a simple menu. Depending on the time of year, you may come across a dish of heirloom tomatoes and Aleppo pepper on sourdough toast, or a plate of seasonal vegetables with the latest harvest.
Relax in Adytum
A short stroll down Lonsdale Street from Barrio is Adytum, a shrine located in Braddon’s new Branx building. Launched in 2021 by local entrepreneur Renée Douros, Adytum is a tranquil space where well-being is the order of the day. Adytum’s day spa offers a range of restorative massages, body brushing and facial treatments, which can be grouped into lush spa ‘journeys’ designed to promote harmony, vitality and reconnection. A private bath for two includes a traditional hot stone sauna, Japanese oak bath and cold shower. Once pampered and restored, stop by the Elixir Bar, where you’ll find botanical tea, organic coffee, cold-pressed organic juices and elixirs – cocoa, matcha and chai.
101/16 Lonsdale Street, Braddon
Lunch at Miss Van
Miss Van’s is the latest CBD spot for Andrew Duong, a local chef who has made a name for himself managing acclaimed local restaurants including Baby Su and Lazy Su. At Miss Van’s, banh mi is on the menu – choose from lemongrass and garlic tofu or pork, with banana leaf steamed bologna, roast pork and chicken parfait – alongside a range of snacks, starters and main courses. The lunch menu ($39 per person) is a feast that includes two snacks, two mains, and steamed jasmine rice. Think scallop sashimi and homemade Lao sausage to start, followed by umami buttered egg noodles and gai yang grilled chicken. For dessert, try Miss Van’s house specialty: Vietnamese coffee and salted caramel ganache with condensed milk ice cream, puffed wild rice and roasted rice powder.
at Miss Van
Shop 4/113-119 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra
In 2008, Canberra-born chef Ben Willis returned home after a decade of traveling and working around the world and, with his wife Andrea Collin, took over Aubergine. Part of an unassuming chain of stores in Griffith, Aubergine represents the pinnacle of Canberra’s resurgent paddock-to-table movement. The award-winning gourmet restaurant showcases both Willis’ culinary skills and the region’s finest produce in a five-course menu. Depending on when you visit, dishes may include beef sirloin with chestnuts, smoked potato dumpling and truffle sauce or blue-eyed trevalla with green goddess dressing, celery, apples and quinoa. The wine list is another highlight, with an extensive range of international, Australian and local Canberra district wines.
18 Barker Street, Griffith
Drinking at Sideway
In the Sydney Building of the CBD is Sideway, a night spot where you’ll find pizza, craft beer, wines from innovative producers and always interesting cocktails. Choices may include the yuzu and white chocolate Negroni, the Myrtle Sour (with pisco, cucumber and lemon myrtle) or the Puzo (with fig leaf whiskey, peach leaf and macadamia nuts grilled). Sideway is also the place to listen to live music, from experimental electronics to acoustic sets.
Level 1/21 East Row, Canberra
Stay in Ovolo Nishi
A boutique hotel in the CBD near Commonwealth Park, Ovolo Nishi is the perfect base for exploring central Canberra and its surrounding suburbs. The characterful rooms feature restored vintage furniture and original artwork as well as all the modern high-tech comforts you need while travelling. Other features include a 24-hour gym, free loot bag, and free sunset drinks at the end of each day.
New Acton District, 25 Edinburgh Avenue, Canberra
Breakfast at Intra
In the morning, head west from the CBD to Campbell for a caffeine fix. Featuring a minimalist interior and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Hassett Park, Intra is one of the city’s best-loved cafes, serving a house blend from local roaster Barrio and single origins courtesy of Edition Coffee Roasters in Sydney. Breakfast jaffles are filled with kimchi, French onion gruyere or mapo tofu and Sichuan pork, or order the famous chashu bacon and egg roll before spending another day exploring the capital.
30/12 Provan Street, Campbell
Lunch at Verity Lane Market
Verity Lane Market, a food hall located in the Sydney building, is another new venue that opened recently in Canberra’s CBD. The vision of entrepreneur Phillip Keir, Verity Lane Market is named after Verity Hewitt, a bookseller whose eponymous store was a Canberra institution in the 1940s and 1950s. Today, two vendors run kitchens in the space : pizza shop Pizza Artigiana and Ramen Daddy, a popular pop-up that has found a permanent home in Verity Lane.
Verity Lane Market
Sydney Building, 50 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra
Browse tributary projects
An artist-run gallery located at the Gorman Arts Center on Ngunnawal grounds in Braddon, Tributary Projects serves as an incubator for early-career artists in Canberra. Since 2017, Tributary has operated as a collective and community hub for the local art scene. Nestingsa recent exhibition, explored the universal human desire for comfort – with the pandemic as a backdrop – and featured the work of Alexander Sarsfield, Megan Kamei, Jessica Tanto and Ashley Lavoynne.
Block B Gallery, Gorman Arts Centre, 55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon
Dinner at Raku
Raku serves the best Japanese food in town. Named after a type of handmade ceramic art revered in Japan for the artistry required to produce it, Raku offers a dining experience where every detail is considered. Two tasting menu options highlight Chef Hao San’s menu, featuring high-quality sashimi, Wagyu strip loin and Taiwanese eel. A seat at the counter offers an unobstructed view of the chefs mastery, or retreat to one of Raku’s screened booths for a more intimate meal.
148 Bunda Street, Civic
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Visit Canberra.