If you are seeking a centrally-located base for a weekend break in Canberra, you can’t fault Braddon. With an abundance of dining options, as well as countless sources of entertainment within walking distance or a short drive away, your only challenge will be fitting it all in! Here are our “insider” recommendations:
Dining and drinks
There are so many restaurants and dining options around Braddon you will be pushed to fit them all in if you’re in Canberra for a limited time. All within walking distance, you could start your evening with a drink at BentSpoke or Decable before embarking to another for dinner. Here are just a few of our favourites:
Located on the corner of Lonsdale and Elouera Street, Eighty-Six offers modern Australian share plates in a vibrant atmosphere with an open kitchen. The menu offers dishes comprised of delightful flavour combinations, such as smoked trout, roast beetroot, chevre and orange, banana prawn and saffron risotto with cherry tomatoes and lemon ricotta gnocchi with asparagus and goat 's cheese, to name a few. There is also an all-you-can-eat option (good luck with that!). For dessert, you can’t go past Eighty-six’s famous popcorn sundae.
Awarded Canberra’s Best Restaurant for 2018 by the Canberra Times Good Food Guide, Italian & Sons has a place in the hearts of many Canberrans. Italian & Sons is the place to go for a special birthday dinner, or to impress out-of-towners. This culinary institution offers honest Italian food made using the finest seasonal ingredients and a lot of love. The menu offers comforting favourites, such as Pizza Bianca or Pizza Rossa, as well as decadent pasta. There is also a Platti Del Giorno (Plate of the Day) option for each day of the week, which keeps the menu fresh and exciting, guaranteeing there is always something different on the menu. If it’s too hard to choose, you can simply “eat like an Italian” and enjoy the tasting menu.
Marble & Grain describe themselves as a “European steakhouse inspired Gastro-Pub”, using local seasonal produce with a paddock-to-plate philosophy. Renowned for phenomenal steaks, Marble & Grain’s signature dish is the Butcher’s Board, which includes grilled sirloin steak, combined with baby lamb ribs, venison sausages, bone marrow, black pudding, chorizo-stuffed onion, and stuffed pepper, completed with a red wine jus - a meat lover’s heaven!
The luxurious interior features a polished marble bar, contrasted with dark wood panelling, concrete walls and leather seating, giving the space an intimate feel you can easily settle into for a long lunch or dinner, especially with a craft beer or a glass of wine in-hand.
Described as “an oasis in the middle of Braddon”, Assembly offers a relaxed beer garden with hand-built picnic tables, decking and even an oak tree. The vibe inside is industrial-luxe with polished concrete floors and exposed brick, softened with comfy leather booths. The menu offers classic pub fare, such as burgers, schnitties and parmigiana, but the highlight is the “big share” plates such as rotisserie chicken with roast potatoes and gravy, or the 1.2kg lamb shoulder with smoked yoghurt, cauliflower salad and flatbread. This is the perfect place to enjoy a long, lazy weekend lunch.
Debacle offers a casual pub-style menu that is family-friendly with favourites such as burgers, rump steak, chicken schnitzel and parmigiana, as well as nachos, pizzas and of course American BBQ ribs. This is a great place for weekend lunch, or to meet friends for a drink combined with a comforting meal in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.
Dick Tracy, Barley Griffin, and Braddon Bitter are just a few of the 18 beers and cider varieties available on tap at BentSpoke Brewing Co - a must-visit venue for beer and cider enthusiasts. Some of the more unique brews on offer include hand-crushed apple cider and ginger beer. If you want a souvenir you can also purchase a 2 litre insulated takeaway “Traveller”. The menu features classic pub favourites that have been inspired by beer and brewing ingredients as well as local produce, such as the Pie of the Day with mushy peas, hops salt potatoes and Descent 19 gravy. BentSpoke offers a unique experience for locals and out-of-towners alike.
If you like Chinese cuisine, and more specifically dumplings, add Yat Bun Tong Dumpling House to your dining wish-list. The house specialities include Pork and Chive Dumplings, Shanghai Steamed Pork Bun, Black Bean Lamb, and Mapo Tofu. The menu is comprehensive, including chicken, beef, prawn dishes, as well as noodle and rice dishes. You can dine in, or if you fancy a lazy night in after a long day, grab a takeaway or get it delivered to you.
Braddon is bursting with unique gift shops and quirky boutiques. Hive is the destination for unique gifts for women, men and children, as well as stylish homewares and irresistible greeting cards. The store has a bright, friendly vibe, and you’re guaranteed to find a unique gift for even the trickiest person. Be warned though – you won’t be able to resist buying something for yourself!
For a designer fashion fix, Pink Ink Boutique is the destination. Pink Ink has been proudly combining art and design in Canberra since 2003 via a collection of international and local designers. Max Mara, Missoni, Vivienne Westwood are combined with Australian designers such as Romance Was Born and Megan Park. The resulting seasonal collections as “fashion-forward and stylish”, supported with attentive customer care to create a bespoke look that complements your lifestyle and personality.
For a little botanical wonder, slip into florist Moxom and Whitney on Lonsdale Street and marvel at their unique terrariums and luscious bouquets. Moxom and Whitney is the collaboration of Lou Moxom and Belinda Whitney who are passionate about “creating an incredible explosion of flowers and greenery and seeing the delight it brings to anyone who sees it”. Moxom and Whitney creations embrace the beauty of nature, working with seasonal flowers to create bouquets that have a free, natural look (no gerberas or cello wrap here!)
If your tresses need a little professional TLC, book yourself into Axis for a bit of pampering. Axis place emphasis on ensuring their staff are highly-skilled, whilst offering a warm and friendly service. Their approach is clearly working, as Axis has received a number of industry awards. From trendy to corporate-chic, the Axis team can help you find the right style for you.
Other adventures await in any direction from Braddon. If you want to dine further afield, a short light rail trip will take you to the culinary delights of Dickson, or you could head into Civic for more dining, shopping and entertainment options, such as Dendy Cinemas at the Canberra Centre.
On a sunny day, a stroll around the Australian Botanical Gardens taking in the extensive collection of Australian plants (and native wildlife) is soul-soothing, particularly when combined with a meal or coffee at the aptly named café, Pollen. The Gardens offer a number of events throughout the year, such as exhibitions, talks, guided walks, and an open-air cinema/stage during summer. There is also a day spa and a botanical gift shop, specialising in unique souvenirs and gifts inspired by nature.
Close to the Botanical Gardens, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin is the Black Mountain Peninsula. This is the perfect place for a picnic with gourmet snacks and a chilled drink.
On the other side of Civic, the War Memorial is also a must-see attraction in Canberra. Be sure to allow enough time to wander the surrounds of the War Memorial, including Anzac Park and appreciate the sculptures, or if you’re feeling fit, a walk to the top of Mount Ainslie for spectacular panoramic views of Canberra and the surrounding region. The start of the track is close to the War Memorial.
If you manage to fit all of this in during your Canberra weekend-break, then you’ll need to go home to rest…or you will simply need to start planning your next visit.