Chef-hatted and awarded restaurants
Updated 31 Jul 2023
A foodie’s guide to a selection of hatted and awarded restaurants in the Capital.
Restaurant-goers are more than spoilt for choice when it comes to fine dining in the capital. Canberra is a culinary paradise of chef-hatted and award-winning restaurants. To be awarded a chef hat is a high honour in a chef’s career and a notable achievement in a restaurant’s history. The prestigious ‘hats’ are presented by the Australian Good Food Guide, who use precise award criteria on ingredients, taste, presentation, technique, value and consistency, on food alone.
In this list, we’ve curated a selection of culinary heroes leading the gastronomic pack. But don’t take our word for it, be the judge yourself to tip your hat to these highly coveted restaurants in Canberra.
Header image by Botantist Creative.
Experience precision and artfulness at Raku
Step into an awakening experience of Japanese culinary history at Raku. Executive Chef Hao Chen is a master with the sushi blade. His culinary creations span the taste spectrum, from subtle and delicate, to robust and exciting flavour profiles.
Revel in the sashimi and nigiri that is the epitome of sophisticated simplicity and precision plating. The robata grill specialists at Raku create meat, seafood, and vegetable dishes that sing with flavours of the flames.
Visit highly regarded Sage
The philosophy at Sage resembles a deep connection to the land, gathering and developing deep relationships with farmers, vintners and growers of Canberra. This ethos carries through its seasonal approach to food and wine, celebrating the incredible local produce our diverse region has to offer. It’s no wonder the restaurant was handed the prestigious accolade of being named #1 Fine Dining Restaurant in Australia 2020 by Tripadvisor.
Be wowed at Pilot.
Pilot. Restaurant is situated in suburban Ainslie. The intrigue of this intimate venue is heightened by their elusive menu that is purposefully never published on their website. That said, we can hint you towards envisaging a masterful seven-course degustation menu of nostalgic flavours, complex dishes and exciting produce. Since opening, Pilot. has picked up numerous foodie awards and we suspect that won’t end anytime soon.
Images by Lean Timms.
Dine at consecutively awarded Courgette
Awarded more hats that it could conceivably store in its cloakroom, Courgette is one of a clutch of Canberra restaurants that justly practices the art of fine dining. A la carte or degustation menus cover every option, and the wine list is comprehensive.
Leave it to the chef at Mu Omakase
Did you know Omakase translates to 'I’ll leave it up to you’?
The emerging establishment, Mu Omakase, in the city is helmed by master sushi chef, Shinya Nakano. In this style of Japanese dining customers entrust their meal entirely to the chef, who will select and serve a customised menu based on the best-in-market that day. With the chef serving the dishes to you directly, you know you’re in for a treat. The menu options of either 12-14 or 16-18 courses are worth your time and tastebuds.
Enjoy the best of French at Les Bistronomes
It doesn’t take a Francophile to appreciate the mouth-watering dishes at Les Bistronomes like ash crusted duck à l’orange and vanilla bean crème brulee that arrives enflame. Executive Chef Chauvin developed his skills in amazing restaurants worldwide, including three Michelin star restaurant Pic (Valence), two Michelin star Nicolas Le Bec and Gordon Ramsay’s Claridges in London.
Experience Japanese and Peruvian cuisine at Inka
With a wealth of culinary experience, Chef Michael Muir serves a modern take on Japanese Nikkei style cuisine at Inka. Depending on the occasion, dine from their degustation or a la carte menus. Food aside, the multi-level, highly enchanting art deco inspired venue is a feast for the eyes of its own accord. It’s for good reason that Inka was named a finalist in the Master Builders Australia ACT Awards in 2021.
Images by Inka.
Try innovative dishes at Rebel Rebel
Eat in style at Rebel Rebel, where each dish that graces the table is an ingenious masterpiece. There’s a lot to like about the casual eatery/ wine bar/ bottle shop, which effortlessly plates up parmesan cannoli to coffin bay vongole, chorizo + cider, on their day and night menu. With such an array of delectable items, we recommend the chef’s selection to result in the finest possible meal.
Tucked away amongst government departments and new apartments in the leafy suburb of Barton, you will uncover new-concept restaurant, Vincent. They specialise in pairing exquisite food with unconventional, specifically sourced wines from around the world. This restaurant oozes a laid-back atmosphere with a long communal bar to comfortably seat groups or couples looking for a place to relax over a glass of wine.
SHARE PLATES AT ONZIEME
Captained by owner and hatted-chef Louis Couttoupes, you can find Onzieme quietly shining in the heart of old world Kingston. This establishment is best known for its small plates and cheerful, natural wines. With an altering menu based on supply and spontaneity, there’ll be something different to try on your return.
Images by Lean Timms
DELIGHT IN THE MOD OZ CUISINE AT LAMSHEDS
There’s something about the refined yet playful wine bar that is Lamsheds, that keeps patrons coming back for more. Slipped away at the Yarralumla shops, Lamsheds is an upmarket neighbourhood eatery where the food is adventurous, and the service is warm. Mod Oz share plates are the order of the game here.
Uncover more dining options
Each meal will be more delicious than the last with this guide to everything from the best brunch spots and hatted restaurants through to popular pub grub and vegetarian eats.