Published: 22 February 2016 by: Nichola Davies

Loading Zone

Although famous for being the home to some of Australia's most significant historical monuments and museums, locals of and visitors to Canberra are discovering there's more to the nation's capital than Parliament House and Lake Burley Griffin. With a growing café and restaurant culture, couples will love the expanding range of alfresco dining options on a short break. Visit Canberra share with us their top picks.

1. Gus' Café

Canberra's first open-air café has been setting the benchmark since 1968. It's a great spot for European-style streetside dining from breakfast to dinner, with breakfast boasting highlights such as french toast with candied pecans, bananas and salted caramel sauce or mixed grilled breakfasts for two with sirloin, kransky, bacon, mushrooms, hash browns and garlic focaccia. For lunch and dinner, couples can choose from an extensive menu of hot rolls, salads, burgers, pasta and risotto. 

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2. Loading Zone

Feel the cool exclusivity and unexpected atmosphere of a café tucked in a lane behind a roller door. True to its title, it's very much got that loading zone vibe sharing its locale with delivery trucks and other vehicles in-situ. It's your go-to for a plate of lovingly made pasta, share platter or decadent dessert.

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The Hamlet

3. The Hamlet

Much like Eat Street or Boundary Street markets in Brisbane, The Hamlet is a dining precinct full of quaint and quirky stalls and food trucks. From Peruvian street food to authentic German sausages and churros, have a wander and enjoy the relaxed vibe.

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Hopscotch

4. Hopscotch

Home to one of Canberra's best beer gardens, this little haunt in Braddon sports an authentic wood-fired grill for that incredible flavour, spacious courtyard perfect for drinks with friends and the largest range of whiskies in Canberra. 

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5. Parlour Wine Room

In the creative NewActon precinct, Parlour Wine Room is a dining and drinking experience to get dressed up for. It's the perfect place for couples who want to discuss ideas and not people over a glass of fine boutique wine and Spanish tapas on a generous outdoor deck.

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A. Baker

6. A. Baker

There's a certain buzz at A. Baker that you won't experience elsewhere. Featuring an open kitchen in the middle of the main dining space, couples can watch the kitchen to plate process of their seasonal menu. This menu boasts gems of fresh produce including smoked cheeses, octopus, pancetta, rosotto, shaved, salted and dried duck breast and much more.

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7. Ivy & The Fox

Ivy & The Fox is the place to be for couples wanting to experience one of Canberra's absolute must-see attractions: Lake Burley Griffin. Fitted out with a courtyard and deck, enjoy a brunch of salmon, eggs, avocado on sourdough, fish, chips and salad, smoked paprika calamari or a Portuguese chicken burger and chips.

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Street scene outside Akiba

8. Akiba

If Japanese fried chicken with lemon braised onions or charcoal roasted T-bones with garlic soy butter and gochugaru sounds good to you, Akiba is your jam. With a contemporary menu packed with flavour, indulge in an exotic cocktail and sample some yum cha, soaking in the street scene.

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Related articles: Canberra Calling

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