Look, we’re not saying Hobart’s food scene is entirely responsible for the becoming the destination de jour. The eccentric art-mecca MoNA, the rolling-hills-and-scenic-river landscape and the historic architecture have all made the mainland seem like a fool’s errand. It’s heaving in Hobart. Have at it – just remember to book ahead with each restaurant and check in regularly for updates.
Each dish on the Dier Makr menu is largely mononymous – like Madonna. The waitstaff may place “Beetroot” on the table and you’ll receive a tuile of crisp fried beetroot filled with crimson labne and topped with pickled beetroot; “Celeriac” yields a shortbread made with celeriac “flour” and topped with caramelised whey. The soundtrack is pleasingly retro; the room darkly dramatic, though the vibe is upbeat and youthful, thanks to the enthusiasm of waitstaff and their fearless leader, chef Kobi Ruzicka Fitzsimmons. Dier Makr is top-level dining at a very accessible price: the $120 degustation menu is available from November; wine’s available by the glass, and matching is available. This kind of value is possible because it’s in Hobart: a perfect storm of produce, creativity and affordability means restaurants like Dier Makr and make their mark.
123 Collins Street, Hobart. Open for a set dinner each Saturday.
The plans of owner-chefs, local Oskar Rossi and Naples-born Federica Andrisani, to open in Italy went awry, and Hobart ended up scoring. This warm, convivial restaurant (pictured top) feels relaxed and generous. Long tables, and a scattering of smaller ones, dot two large rooms. Inspired by Italy but by no means constrained by it, the six- or eight-course seasonal menu might flit from zucchini flowers stuffed with house-made ricotta cream to fresh tomato sauce to soy-cured kingfish and wasabi crème fraiche and back again to squid-ink tortelli with calamari, nettle and yuzu.
151A Macquarie Street, Hobart. Open for dinner Friday and Saturday; Thursday from 1 December.
Chef Matt Breen keeps things lean at Templo. Which is not to say austere: this small but mighty restaurant has an Italian-leaning menu that’s full of generous pasta dishes. House-made gnochetti makes a regular appearance on the season chef's menu, with wine pairings available for each dish. Expect a lively, genial atmosphere.
98 Patrick Street, Hobart. Ope for dinner Thursday to Monday.
MoNA does things a little differently and the spirit of artistic deviance extends through to the museum’s dining options. Faro, its bar and restaurant in the Pharos wing of MoNA, has much that you’d expect from a European-inspired tapas bar with a few surprises: the current iteration of dinner is a five-course mystery menu featuring the experimental dishes most favoured by chef Vince Trim's culinary test subjects. As well as your meal, you'll get to peek at incredible artworks without the crowds and be treated to live music. This is no ordinary meal and the demand for a seat shows – the first iteration sold out fast, with the experience extended on 6 November until 20 December. Book quickly.
MoNA, 655 Main Road, Berriedale; Open for dinner Friday and Saturday, for lunch Saturday and Sunday. Bookings essential.
The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery & Store
About half-an-hour drive from Hobart, The Agarian Kitchen has been luring diners to a former women’s mental asylum with the promise of rustic, locally sourced food and excellent wine. Ominous though the appearance of the ruined asylum is, any feelings of dread disappear upon entry to the light, airy dining room with its pressed tin ceilings and sleek, simple décor. Everything on the plate is grown nearby and made in-house, from the three-day fermented sourdough to the lime pickle to the shareable daily hunk of local meat, roasted over the kitchen’s open fire and served with a troupe of sides. The Eatery is in New Norfolk; for those you want to learn their ways, Agrarian Kitchen founders Rodney Dunn and Séverine Demanet also run the Cooking School & Farm in Lachlan.
11a The Avenue, New Norfolk; Open Saturday and Sunday for bookings between 11.30am and 2.30pm.
Since opening on the top floor of Brooke Street Pier, Aløft has become one of Hobart’s most loved restaurants. It’s approach? Pedantically local, hyper-seasonal, always original. There’s a discernible Asian influence in dishes such as Wallaby, Miso and Macadamia; many have the added intrigue of native herbs and spices such as kunzea, mountain pepper and salt bush. If you can tear your eyes away from the beauty of the plates look out the window through which spectacular sunsets, incredible storms and the occasional dolphin may be viewed.
Brooke Street Pier, 12 Franklin Wharf, Hobart; Open for dinner Thursday to Saturday.
Room for a Pony
By day, it does a quick trade in heightened brunch fare: Scrambled Silken Tofu comes with a mushroom medley and housemade kimchi and the Chinese Fried Chilli Omelette is served on a bed of steamed jasmine rice with oyster sauce and fried shallots. Come 3pm, though, the hiss of the coffee steamer pipes down, to be replaced by the pleasing sound of ice on steel and a bar food menu that starts with shoestring fries and opens out to wood-fired pizza (the Bob Brown is a fitting homage to the former Greens Senator, topped with broccolini, kale and green olives).
338 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart. Open Sunday to Thursday 7am to 8.30pm; Friday and Saturday 8am to 9pm.
Peacock and Jones
The waterfront location and gastro-pub-but-better menu of Peacock and Jones is a winning combination. Situated inside an historic sandstone warehouse, part of the IXL waterfront precinct, the restaurant and bar has a slick open kitchen at its heart, where young chefs can be seen plating intently at the pass or furiously frying at the stove. Pleasing dishes such as Berkshirepork chops with Jerusalem artichokes and apple and classics such as beef tartare populate the menu; it changes seasonally. Peacock and Jones’ other focus is wine, with a list exceeding 60 bottles of mostly Tasmanian drops.
33 Hunter Street, Hobart; Open Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings.
Indulge into Meditteranean flavours in an elegant, contemporary setting in the north of the city. Malik's menu is imbued with a smokey, spicy sensibility, taking inspiration from a range of cuisines: lamb shoulder dressed is with fresh cucumber yoghurt and mojo sauce, fried cauliflower is charred to the nth degree and served with greens and silky tahini.
277 Elizabeth Street, Hobart; Open for dinner Thursday to Saturday.
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania and Jason Charles Hill
This piece was originally published in 2019 and has been updated.