A guide to Canberra's new restaurants 2014

Newbie: The Capitol Bar and Grill.
Newbie: The Capitol Bar and Grill. Photo: Graham Tidy

Capitol Bar and Grill

Perhaps one of the glitziest new restaurants this year, Capitol Bar and Grill opened as part of the new revamped QT Hotel. The menu is extensive with retro hints (prawn cocktail and vol au vents) and the dining room has a glamorous, dark feel with a big chef's table full of charcuterie as a set piece.

London Circuit, NewActon, 6247 1488, qtcanberra.com.au

The pizza at Olive at Mawson.
The pizza at Olive at Mawson. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Eighty/twenty

Paleo breakfasts came to Lonsdale Street in the form of Eighty/twenty cafe, which focuses on nutrition with salads, smoothies, raw dishes and plenty of sugar- and gluten-free options.

1/18 Lonsdale Street, Braddon, 6247 2866, eightytwentyfood.com.au

Peach Melba at Capitol Bar and Grill.
Peach Melba at Capitol Bar and Grill. Photo: Graham Tidy

Plaka

Canberrans who remember the old Plaka in Mawson had rejoiced to see it reopen in Dickson on the site of the former Copa and Zeffirelli's. The Miras family, who ran Plaka for 40 years before closing it in 2012, are still in charge and the menu of classic Greek dishes and hearty serves to share are back. 

Olive at Mawson

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But while Plaka was bringing back Greek classics on Canberra's northside, back in Mawson another Mediterranean inspired eatery was opening its doors in the Southland shops. Italian and Greek favourites dominate the menu here. 

Southlands Shopping Centre, 6286 3753, oliveatmawson.com.au

The Chong Co Empire

Lonsdale Street Roasters.
Lonsdale Street Roasters. 

They've opened all over Canberra - Thai restaurants with a modern dark interior and a little red flower. They're in Civic, Kingston, two in Woden, Gungahlin. While the chain stays firmly in cheerful neighbourhood Thai territory with lychee scented curries and pad Thais, they've certainly made a bit of a mark.

chongcothai.com.au

Wood and Coal

Orecchiette pasta at Da Rosario.
Orecchiette pasta at Da Rosario. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

The opening of Wood and Coal with its Mediterranean menu and wood fired meats has brought a new bustle to the corner of the Canberra Centre next to Jamie's Italian.

125 Bunda Street, Civic, 6162 0055, woodandcoal.com.au

LSR Expansions

The Lonsdale Street Roasters have taken over their eponymous street in 2014, expanding from the original coffee nook to a full blown cafe with a big outdoor area and an upstairs dining room with urban art at number 7. At night, the courtyard serves up barbecue ribs and pulled pork and its BYO drinks all around.

7 and 23 Lonsdale Street, Braddon, 6156 0975, lonsdalestreetroasters.com.au

Chez Frederic

Gourmet takeaway came to Braddon in the form of Chez Frederic, a casual dining spot that specialises in pastas, ragus, risottos and paellas. Long benches and big tables give a communal dining feel.

4/14 Lonsdale Street, Braddon, 6248 0044, chezfrederic.com.au

Corvina

The old Santa Lucia in Swinger Hill has changed hands and is now Corvina but it's still an Italian local restaurant with pasta and pizzas and a bustling vibe on Friday nights.

1/084 Ainsworth Street, Swinger Hill, 6286 2271, corvinarestaurant.com.au

Da Rosario

The Trimboli family opened up Da Rosario in a little corner next to Mezzalira just in time for easy alfresco dinners and quick Italian lunches to go. The pizzicheria serves up high quality dishes in a casual setting on the street, perfect for some people watching.

59 London Circuit, Civic, 6230 0025. 

Silver Fox Bar and Grill

Michelle Cochrane and her husband BMX pro rider Cam White opened Silver Fox in Curtin this year - a suburban eatery with pub food, pizzas and takeaway.

83 Theodore Street, Curtin, 6162 1193. 

CBD Dumpling House

This big, bustling no-nonsense diner in the Canberra Centre turns out platters full of fried or steamed dumplings, shallot cakes, san choy bau and other Chinese dishes.

Scotts Crossing, Civic, 6262 8855. 

Local Press

An instant favourite with some, this cafe serves up cold pressed juice, green pea pancakes and hearty salads in a lovely setting. 129 Trevillian Quay, Kingston Foreshore.

localpresscafe.com.au

Coming soon

But 2015 will bring more new eateries on the Canberra scene and these new dining spots are set to open very soon.

Pialligo Estate

Irishmen Charlie Costelloe and Peter Curry have been taking out plenty of awards for their Pialligo Estate smokehouse bacon and they're following up with a restaurant on the lush Pialligo farm property.

Mr Frugii

Canberra's ice cream guru John Marshall is set to open his very own dessert bar in the Ori building on Lonsdale Street in Braddon in December.

Elemental 

Another paleo cafe opening in Braddon, this time from Daniel Barrett, who's got a sizable social media following for his paleo recipes and photographs. It's set to open in December or January.

Chifley's 

Another hotel revamp, this time at the Hotel Kurrajong in Barton, means that a new steakhouse restaurant headed by chef Mick Chatto and former Rockpool sommelier Catherine Sharland, is coming our way in December.

Akiba

Michael and Peter Harrington already have a top 20 restaurant in the form of Sage and they're opening a very modern little Asian eatery on Bunda Street in the ActewAGL building. Akiba will have a contemporary twist on dim sum culture with small bites to eat.

Lilotang

Josiah Li and his partners in the Chairman Group are doing a pop-art Asian bar and restaurant in the Burbury Hotel in Barton. It opens in January and features Japanese-inspired small plates from a specially imported robata grill.