Wine lists with wow factor, menus that champion local produce and bars that rival Melbourne’s make Tasmania's Launceston a seriously tantalising proposition.
For breakfast: Sweetbrew
While this colourful city cafe certainly delivers the excellent coffee suggested by its name, the breakfast menu offers plenty of reasons to sit and stay awhile. Go for the classics – think smashed avo on toast or a flaky croissant – or try something a little left-of-centre, which might be shakshuka one week, miso wild mushrooms the next. And just try stopping at one cup of joe.
For baked goods: Bread + Butter
A cavernous former motorcycle store houses Tasmanian Butter Co.’s factory in the back and a café out front that produces delicious baked goods, from chunky loaves of sourdough to flaky walnut croissants and crusty pies with fillings like chickpea and beef brisket. Ask for butter on the side.
For views: Stillwater
Set in an 1830s flour mill overlooking the Tamar River, the interior of this award-winning restaurant may be rustic but there’s nothing ordinary about the food. Breakfast and lunch are served here but dinner is the true focus with a menu that changes regularly – think lamb rump with roast garlic, fennel sauce and smoked almonds, or wallaby topside with warrigal greens and eggplant.
For fresh produce: Harvest Market
Every Saturday morning, this volunteer-run market transforms a city carpark into an oasis of live music and low-food-mile goodies. Home cooks can stock up on fresh produce including veggies, meat and dairy but if you want a quicker fix, check out the fluffy sourdough doughnuts, roasted hazelnuts and hearty soups.
For families: The Metz
The old St George Hotel still looks like a pub from the street but inside, the long bar is joined by comfortable booths. It offers casual, contemporary dining using local seafood and the Mini Metzies menu has kids covered with options such as ham and pineapple pizza.
For pre-dinner drinks: Geronimo
Stylish Geronimo’s (pictured top) wine list isn’t just extensive; with categories including “light-bodied, textural and fruit-forward” and “rich, creamy, nutty and buttery”, it’s also easy to navigate. The well-stocked bar draws a crowd for aperitifs and the friendly staff make staying for the European-inspired share plates a no-brainer.
For beer: Saint John Craft Beer Bar
This bar wouldn’t be out of place in a Melbourne laneway. The taps here change almost daily but first you’ll have to walk past a range of 100-plus bottles and cans of fruity sours, roasted stouts and everything in between.
For Japanese: Kosaten
Hidden in a former power-tool workshop, the second Kosaten (the first is in Hobart) is divided into discrete dining spaces themed after regions of Japan. Order Japanese fried chicken or sushi, nigiri or tataki made with wagyu beef on your personal iPad and a train will deliver it within minutes.
For carnivores: Cataract on Paterson
Eye fillet is on the menu, along with local salmon, lamb and scallops. But it’s the stone grills that take pride of place. Heated to 400°C, these chunks of volcanic rock sizzle steak at the table so diners can cook each cut just the way they want it.
For dinner: Grain of the Silos
Across the river from downtown Launceston, the four converted silos housing Peppers Silo Hotel and its airy, industrial restaurant are impossible to miss. Peer into the open kitchen and you might recognise the chefs from nearby markets, where they stock up on ingredients for dishes such as pork chops with glazed onions, pickled beans and a fennel puree.