Those of you who regularly spend Christmas in Canberra will know the despair of trying to find a restaurant open (or a good coffee shop; you need a home coffee machine for this time, if none other). It’s doubly frustrating since if you have rellies in town for the time, you want to show them your favourite spots and convince them that Canberra is, indeed, a dining destination. We’ve done the call around of our top 20 restaurants and a few others, and discovered that while most places close down for a week or three, there are still a couple of places to eat (I’d book in advance).
Ox Eatery, the new and excellent rotisserie grill place on Canberra Avenue, with a gin and whisky bar as well as restaurant (in the East Hotel corner Giles Street, 6178 0041), is closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but otherwise open right through, Monday to Saturday, including Christmas Eve.
Le Tres Bon, the gorgeous, atmospheric country-style French eatery in the main street of Bungendore, is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but otherwise open normal hours (lunch Wednesday to Sunday, dinner Wednesday to Saturday, 6238 0662), including a la carte Boxing Day lunch.
Flint in the Vines out at Shaw Vineyard in Murrumbateman in closed Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, but otherwise open normal hours (lunch Thursday to Sunday, dinner Wednesday to Saturday, 6227 5144). Flint also has Christmas Day lunch (see separate story).
Jewel of India in the Melbourne Building and in Manuka (6162 1845) is closed on Christmas day and Boxing Day and on January 1, but otherwise open right through, including the period from December 27 to 31 (in the city, it will be dinner only).
Most restaurants seem to be closing after this Saturday's service, December 22, till the week starting January 14, but some are opening earlier. Thirst (6257 0700), the great Thai eatery and wine bar in the Melbourne Building, closes after Saturday, but opens again as usual on New Year’s Eve. So if you’re looking for a place in the first week of January, this would be one of the few. Another is Aubergine, our Restaurant of the Year, which opens on Thursday, January 3, with normal hours (dinner Monday to Saturday, 6260 8666). Sage (6249 6050), high-end dining in Gorman House, also opens again on January 3.
Iori Japanese (6257 2334) in the city finishes up on December 22, but trades as normal from Monday January 7. Same for Italian and Sons in Lonsdale Street (6162 4888) and Mezzalira in the Melbourne Building (6230 0025), our Italian dining leaders, which both reopen on January 7.
Pulp Kitchen (6257 4334), Euro brasserie at the Ainslie shops, closes after brunch service on Sunday, December 23, and reopens for dinner on Tuesday January 8.
The following are closed from Sunday December 23 until the week starting January 14 (some open on the 14th, others later that week): Artisan, Chairman and Yip, Ellacure, Lanterne Rooms, Malamay, Ottoman Cuisine, Rubicon and Soju Girl.
Brodburger is open on Sunday, December 23, then closed until it reopens on January 15. Grazing at Gundaroo is open on December 23, but then closed till Thursday January 17, when it opens again for dinner.
For weekend lunches, the Lark Hill vineyard restaurant (6238 1393) is open Saturdays and Sundays throughout. Cafe Lerida (6295 6640) at Lerida Estate Winery near Lake George is open December 26 to January 6, 10am-5pm.
The Hyatt Hotel's Promenade Cafe is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the Tea Lounge will continue to serve morning and afternoon tea each day. Brunch in the garden is also from 11am offered on Saturdays.
The Locanda Italian Steakhouse in the Rydges Lakeside hotel is open throughout.
The Australian War Memorial's external cafe, the Terrace, run by Hudsons Catering, is open 8.30am to 4.30pm every day other than Christmas Day (as is it's inside cafe).
Down the coast, the River Moruya is open seven days, other the following days when it is closed: dinner on December 23, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day (02 4474 5505). It offers a seven-course degustation on New Year's Eve ($130).
If you’re not on this list, let us know your hours and we’ll post them online: goodfood.com.au