The Good Food Guide 2017: Chefs hats for Canberra restaurants

Ben Willis in Aubergine
Ben Willis in Aubergine Photo: Graham Tidy

The reviewers have been and gone (and are probably still on their detox diets), and the results are in from the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2017.

Aubergine remains Canberra's most decorated restaurant in this year's guide, retaining its two chef's hats. Owner Ben Willis also takes a hat for his second venture, Temporada in Civic with Chris Darragh.

Other heavy hitters retaining their hats included James Mussillon's fine dining restaurants Courgette in Civic and Waters Edge on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. Josiah Li and his Chairman Group also have two restaurants among the hats - the Japanese modern Lilotang and the traditional Malaysian Lanterne Rooms.

Canberra's hip inner suburbs were heavily represented in the guide, with eightysix, Italian and Sons, Les Bistronomes, and others getting a guernsey for Braddon. Meanwhile Mocan and Green Grout, Capitol Bar and Grill and Monster flew the flag for New Acton.

Pialligo Estate's Farmhouse restaurant was the big new star in last year's guide, taking a chef's hat on debut, and chef Brendan Walsh has kept the ship steady with another gong this year.

There were also special mentions to Akiba, Peter and Michael Harrington's cool modern Ginza style bar, Hippo Co, Black Fire in Braddon the bakeries Autolyse and Silo, the Croatian family restaurant Maestral, and Italian stalwart Mezzalira. New bar Vincent in Barton also made the guide.

Canberra's Hatted Restaurants: What the Guide Says

Two Hats

Aubergine, Griffith

Ben Willis' fine diner in the parliamentary suburb of Griffith is still a quiet achiever in the food scene. Everything speaks of great ingredients used wisely and well.

One Hat

Courgette, Civic

A big-ticket wine list and plenty of uber discreet service makes for a restaurant that suits both the wooing of clients and the pursuit of romance.

eightysix, Braddon

The joint has settled into a role as the cool big brother of Lonsdale Street. But the food's still great and the vibe is still buzzy.

Lanterne Rooms, Campbell

A hidden charmer in an inner north Canberra suburb, Lanterne Rooms is the gracious matriarch in the Chairman and Yip restaurant family.

Lilotang, Barton

The star of the show is the robata, the high temperature Japanese grill wielded with precision by chef Shunsuke Ota. This is a shot of cool and youthful in the heart of the parliamentary zone.

Monster, NewActon

Sean McConnell chose to develop a totally new flavour for Canberra. From the atomic shabby decor to the smart wine list and what's on the plate, it's been a bit of a game changer for the nation's capital.

Ottoman, Barton

In a land where restaurants compete to be loud and buzzy, cranking up ironic hip hop and shredding brisket, Ottoman is an absolute oasis. The food is pure and unadorned classics.

Pialligo Estate Farmhouse, Pialligo

The Farmhouse came in strong with a Good Food Guide hat on debut last year and it follows up with food that's fresh and thoughtfully produced.

Temporada, Civic

Hands-down one of the best spots to dine solo in the area - especially perched up at the bar with a negroni and the full attention of your bartender.

Waters Edge, Parkes

Could there be a Canberra restaurant more designed for old-fashioned courtship? It's degustation only but the food is picture perfect.