Best rooftop: Aura1/18
Hobart’s first rooftop restaurant and bar has opened with a splash at the Crowne Plaza Hobart. The glamourous venue boasts Derwent River and kunanyi/Mount Wellington views but a cocktail list showcasing Tasmanian spirits demands its share of attention; so does a menu delivering excellent snacks (a special callout for the gnocco fritto with red onion jam and mortadella) and dishes such as Murray cod served with daikon, black garlic and local goat’s curd.
Level 12, 110 Liverpool Street, Hobart; (03) 6236 9001
Image credit: Cultural Attractions of Australia Web
Best experience: Faro Bar + Restaurant2/18
The boundary-pushing Faro at MONA is now a moveable feast, with a series of pop-up themes – on both the food and entertainment front – taking over the space and continuing for the foreseeable future. It kicked off in October with a wild Tokyo Punk vibe; expect new, set-menu surprises to be served up every couple of months. December’s takeover explores the Cult of España.
Best Bakery: Jackman & McRoss3/18
The dark arts of puff pastry are shown to devastating effect at this iconic Battery Point bakery and café. From sausage rolls of duck, cranberry and walnut or pies filled with rabbit and ham hock in a creamy mushroom sauce, these baked goods are the stuff of reveries. Take away to enjoy alfresco or grab a seat for in-house brunch fare such as a mushroom sourdough bruschetta with hummus and sundried tomato.
57-59 Hampden Road, Hobart; (03) 6223 3186
Best fine-dining: Aløft4/18
Stunning water views from the Brooke Street Pier and Christian Ryan’s searching menu combine to make this the city’s leading fine-dining restaurant. Hyper-local ingredients – many of them native – harnessed to modern Asian inspiration equals creations such as Tassie mountain pepper with sticky caramel-sauced tempura eggplant, or charry medallions of wallaby with macadamia miso purée and crisp saltbush. Put yourself in the hands of the sommeliers for an equally convincing tour de force of Tasmanian wines.
Brooke Street Pier, Hobart; (03) 6223 1619
Best Italian: Templo5/18
There’s an excellent chance you’ll get to know your neighbours at this tiny 20-seater, where space is at a premium but the Italian flavours are boundless. The blackboard menu constantly changes thanks to the pious micro-seasonal focus but the gnocco fritto – puffs of fried dough draped with whisper-thin shavings of prosciutto – is a regular, along with haute-rustic pasta and a wine list flying the minimal intervention flag.
98 Patrick Street, Hobart; (03) 6234 7659
Best fusion: Fico6/18
Expect the unexpected at this adventurous Italian-ish restaurant, where the menu fizzes with outré yet sympathetic combinations that take their cues from elsewhere, whether that’s tagliolini with “Italian XO” sauce, dainty quail canelés or a dessert of gooey-centred coulant with rich chocolate and wasabi caramel. Sunday nights, when owner-chefs Federica Andrisani and Oskar Rossi cook whatever they bought from the market that morning, are worth planning for.
151 Macquarie Street, Hobart; (03) 6245 3391
Best adventure: Dier Makr7/18
Kobi Ruzicka has been making big waves at his little Hobart restaurant since 2016 thanks to an eclectic parade of small dishes backed by a serious natural wine program. Trust the ever-changing set menu, which might start with a bouquet of brassica shoots and flowers to swipe through an oyster emulsion, move onto celeriac and smoked fish ravioli in a mushroom broth and finish with the supreme comfort of apple tart Tatin with chamomile ice-cream. This is exciting fine dining in casual clothes.
123 Collins Street, Hobart; (03) 6288 8910
Best café: Pigeon Hole8/18
The menu at this cultish café is a portal to the owners’ farm in southern Tasmania. Their sustainably grown produce is a fixture of the menu that sings in a key of comfort, from poached fruit with ginger panna cotta drizzled in orange syrup to the potato hash ballasting a hearty mix of chorizo, eggs and herby mojo sauce. And if you want to manifest those Pigeon Hole memories, the take-home range of farm produce includes honey, paprika and smoked garlic.
93 Goulburn Street, West Hobart; (03) 6236 9306
Best Pan-Asian: Dāna Eating House9/18
Banish the southern chill at this fiery Pan-Asian newcomer housed in an historic central Hobart building. Though it flits around Thailand, Malaysia, China and Vietnam like a backpacker on summer break, the menu shows no dissonance when conjuring bold flavours in new ways. From a chilli XO and tofu emulsion grounding kingfish sashimi to pork belly skewers dabbed in roasted red chilli oil or smoked duck breast with chilli mustard emulsion, it’s an enjoyable trip off the beaten path.
131 Murray Street, Hobart; 0416 161 756
Best music: Sonny10/18
Part wine bar, part bistro, all fabulous, Sonny is like going to a friend’s house – one of those friends who can mix a mean cocktail, cook Italian food that would make a nonna weep and has a peerless vinyl collection to boot. This buzzing little place serves a tight menu of pasta and snacky add-ons such as Cantabrian anchovies with cucumber on toast and has two rules for the acclaimed wine list: keep it short and keep it interesting.
120A Elizabeth Street, Hobart
Image credit: Jemima Phelps, Fiddle & Spoon
Best wine bar: Lucinda11/18
The little sibling of Dier Makr, this wine bar occupies the same address but delivers a more pared-back but no less infectiously likeable package. The focus here is on natural, organic and biodynamic wines with a Coravin system meaning rarities can be tried by the glass and staff who know how to puncture pretension. The food is simpler, too, but dishes such as scallops in seaweed butter and gooey-centred gougères still make an impression.
123 Collins Street, Hobart; (03) 6288 8910
Best cocktails: The Story Bar12/18
Dive deep into the history of Tasmania with the help of an evocative cocktail menu at the waterfront “storytelling hotel”, Macq01. Spinning a tale of the Apple Isle from then and now, it includes an East Coast Martini boasting 666 vodka from Cape Grim, Spring Bay gin and saltbush-infused wine, and a Convict’s Old Fashioned made with rum – but don’t be shy to simply order a local craft beer.
18 Hunter Street, Hobart; (03) 6210 7602
Best pub: Tom McHugo’s13/18
The corner pub from central casting has a swirling patterned carpet in the front bar where locals nurse pots of beer along the varnished counter. But this is a favourite hangout of Hobart’s hospitality fold thanks to a giddily surprising menu that delivers smoked slow-cooked lamb shoulder with endive and fig, crumbed pigs head croquettes with feijoa and pickled cherry sauce or a bubbling pot of potato and chard gratin with kefir cream and cheddar.
87 Macquarie Street, Hobart; (03) 6231 4916
Image credit: Calle Rosie Hastie
Best atmosphere: La Sardina Loca14/18
Tucked at the end of a colonial-era carriageway in the centre of town, this lively tapas bar channels Spain with Iberian classics such as salt cod croquettes with salsa verde and the vegetarian-friendly revelation of glazed sweet potato topped with thyme and hazelnuts in a delicious ooze of blue cheese. True to mod-Hobart form, the punchy drinks list champions the low-fi output of some of Australia’s most exciting avant-garde winemakers.
100 Elizabeth Street, Hobart; (03) 6234 9992
Best views: The Glass House15/18
It doesn’t get any closer to the waterfront than the Brooke Street Pier. Glass walls showcase the dazzling harbour on three sides at this choose-your-own-adventure venue where the bar puts the spotlight on Tasmanian spirits, a raw bar furiously shucks the best local shellfish and the restaurant beds its modern menu in the best of the region.
Main deck, Brooke Street Pier, Hobart; (03) 6223 1032
Best Spanish: Black-Footed Pig16/18
This Spanish favourite recently relocated to smart waterfront digs at the Macq01 Hotel. Keep things on a casual keel with the tapas bar and outdoor terrace, where smoked cod croquetas are accessorised with a dab of romesco and smoked crème fraiche soothes the fire of charry padrón peppers. Bigger appetites are ballasted at the restaurant by the likes of Pedro Ximénez pork cheek and wild-caught local octopus with a sprightly mojo verde.
18 Hunter Street, Hobart; (03) 6224 2222
Best Greek: Urban Greek17/18
Take a Greek holiday at this inner-city warehouse where an imposing mural of Zeus watches over the hubbub. The owners’ heritage is evidenced in a Cretan spin on hummus (made with the addition of basil), “village” salad made with barley rusks and a herby charcoal-grilled octopus, while the classical Hellenic ouvre is honoured in the form of moussaka, dolmades with dill yoghurt and an addictive taramasalata whipped to silky smoothness. To drink? Greek beer, of course.
103 Murray Street, Hobart; (03) 6169 1129