Food and Drink

The Best Restaurants in Hobart Right Now

From an old psychiatric hospital turned paddock to table restaurant to sourdough doughnuts, there's plenty to eat in Hobart.

best restaurants hobart
Photo: Natasha Bazika

For a state that often gets left off maps, it sure does have a world-class dining scene to rival Sydney and Melbourne—and it knows it. Tasmania’s capital city, Hobart is a great place to start your adventure. The small, but mighty city is resplendent with top restaurants, cafes and bars.

It’s not all Australian cuisine either, as most think. Instead, the restaurants in Hobart focus on local produce, with international touches from Asian to Italian. Travellers will also find a restaurant for all budgets, from high-end dining to a hole-in-the-wall wine bar.

Here’s our edit of the best restaurants to book in Hobart.

best restaurants hobart

Peppina

Dine trattoria-style in this rustic Italian restaurant, situated inside the newly opened, The Tasman. Helmed by renowned chef Massimo Mele, Peppina is the hot new restaurant in town, serving good, simple Italian food, in an elevated, but relaxed space. Think pizza fritta served with fermented chilli and lemon, gnocchi using locally foraged mushrooms, and fresh abalone. Opt for the feasting menu to share dishes from all sections, and don’t forget to try the tiramisu. It comes by the giant spoonful and it’s the best in town. Stop by Mary Mary next door for a nightcap.

best restaurants hobart

Fico

Fico is another Italian restaurant in Hobart worth the trip down alone. Owners Federica Andrisani and Oskar Rossi are both Naples natives and have built this restaurant on the good word of locals and travellers. It’s a fairly under the radar restaurant unless you’ve read about it. They use local, fresh ingredients, with classic Italian techniques and flavours to bring together, inventive Italian dishes. It costs around $150 per person for nine courses and the menu is always changing. Although, you can expect fresh pasta, vegetables and seafood.

best restaurants hobart
Photo: Natasha Bazika

Frogmore Creek

Besides being one of the most awarded cellar doors in Tasmania, Frogmore Creek is an exceptional place to dine. The dining room looks out onto the vineyard and beyond, and the wine is world-class. As for the food, it’s all fresh and local. The tamarind glazed pork belly with pulled pork croquettes are sticky, sweet, and comfort food with class. You can’t go to Tasmania without trying the octopus. For dessert, get the honey parfait, which comes with a slab of crunchy honeycomb. The original restaurant is located in Cambridge, but you can get a taste of Frogmore Creek dining at The Lounge by Frogmore Creek which is on Hunter Street in the heart of the city.

best restaurants hobart

Peacock and Jones

Tucked away in an old sandstone warehouse on Hobart’s iconic waterfront, Peacock and Jones is a hidden gem. From your seat, you can see into the open kitchen, and watch your food as it’s sliced. Throughout the colder months, the above head heaters and fireplace provide a cosy warm interior. The menu nods to fine dining but in a casual setting. Local Ben Millbourne is at the head of the menu, selecting local produce to serve everything from gnocchi to lamb and sea urchin on toast. The over 60 bottles of fine wines are also a hit.

best restaurants hobart

The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery

Although this restaurant isn’t in Hobart, it is only a short drive to New Norfolk and worth every minute. This eatery inside a former psychiatric hospital is anything but scary. The light-filled dining room plays host to locals and visitors dining on seriously good, farm to table food. The farm is on the premises and gets thrown in the salads, mains, and desserts. The lunch menu is designed to share and changes often. You can expect a lamb shoulder, burrata salad, chargrilled vegetables, and other simple, but delicious plates flying out of the kitchen. Almost everything is handmade, including cheese, ferments, charcuterie, and bread.

best restaurants hobart
Photo: @chris.crerar.words.photos

Templo

This small, 25-seat, back street restaurant in Hobart is a local favourite. The menu celebrates seasonal local produce and pours minimal intervention wines from small wineries. Just because this place is small, doesn’t mean it’s cheap. You’re going to want to splash some cash on this dining experience, at around $85 per person without a wine pairing. Expect an 8-10 course menu to entertain you through the night. Bookings are required, as seats fill quickly.

Photo: @teedar_ann

Da Angelo

Da Angelo opened in 1994 and to this day, it’s still a favourite for all things Italian. The interior is a classic, 90s Italian restaurant-style, with off white walls donned with picture frames. Although you don’t to Da Angelo’s for a pretty dining room, you come for the food. Everything here is traditionally Italian. They make pasta and pizza dough every day, so it’s always fresh. You can’t go wrong with anything here. Get a pizza, get some ravioli, it’s all good. After you’ve been once, you will want to go back. The serving sizes are generous and the prices are affordable too.

best restaurants hobart

The Source

Can you really go to Hobart and not visit MONA? We don’t think so. While you’re there, stop into The Source for world-class dining. You can grab something easy such as a truffle cheese toastie, or opt for an adventurous wallaby tartare or fried buttermilk cauliflower. There is also Faro Bar and Restaurant on the other side of MONA, which is a light-drenched venue, serving lashings of fancy food, music, and an occasional performance.

best restaurants hobart

Aloft

Get a window seat to Hobart’s best harbour views, from Aloft. This restaurant on the Brooke Street Pier is known for its seafood. Like most restaurants in Hobart, the produce is local, including dairy and meat. Aloft offers a $90 tasting many, with the option to add a drinks pairing. The menu is always changing, so you never know what you’re going to get, but know that it’s going to be good.

best restaurants hobart

Pancho Villa

Yes, Hobart even has a Mexican joint and it’s beyond good. They serve up the classics such as charred street corn, guacamole and house tortilla chips, five different tacos, and a range of small and large plates to share. The prices are affordable so add this to the budget-friendly list. There is a cocktail list that’s legendary and boasts a large collection of tequila to make Paloma’s, old fashioned’s and a few inventive cocktails focused on tequila.

best restaurants hobart

Suzie Luck’s

Salamanca Square is home to plenty of great restaurants, but should you find yourself looking for a bite, turn into Suzie Luck’s anchored on the corner of Salamanca Square. It’s open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. It’s one of the best restaurants in town to get a taste of Southeast Asian flavours, with local produce driving the menu. The menu is organised by plate size, so if you want something small, there is a crispy prawn toast that’s a crowd-pleaser. For something bigger, try the fragrant lamb laab or massaman curry.

best restaurants hobart

The Standard

Every city has its main burger shop, and for Hobart it’s The Standard. Situated in the heart of the city, The Standard dishes out American-style burgers, tasty fries, thick shakes, and vegetarian options. The fries are 100% Tassie potatoes and come animal-style, which is cheese, bacon and onion jam, and animal sauce drizzled over top. The burgers cost around $14 to $18.20, making it a great place for lunch or dinner on a budget.

best restaurants hobart

Lady Hester

Lady Hester recently closed its Battery Point shop, but you can still fin their iconic sourdough doughnuts at markets and festivals around Tasmania. Each pillowy doughnut is jam packed with, jams and custards, lemon curd, pistachio cream, and many other delicious fillings. Follow their Instagram to see where they’re selling that day.

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Food and Drink

Why Makrut Lime Makes a Star Ingredient in Cocktails

The Southeast Asian citrus is intensely aromatic and pairs with rum, gin, tequila, and more.

Photo courtesy of Fish Cheeks
Photo courtesy of Fish Cheeks
Photo courtesy of Fish Cheeks

I grew up with a makrut lime tree in my backyard, admiring the double leaves and dimpled citrus fruit that frequently made their way into our family dinners. Makrut limes, which are sometimes referred to kaffir limes (although the term is controversial and has been widely retired), are native to Southeast Asia, but somehow my mom willed a tree to grow in our Southern California home with great success.

To me, makrut meant savoury Thai food: steamed fish curry wrapped in banana leaves and sprinkled with chiffonade makrut, simmering tom kha gai with floating bits of the hand-torn citrus leaves, and glistening green curry accentuated by the plant’s aroma.

But to others, makrut is an ideal ingredient in cocktails and other drinks. Such is the case for Fish Cheeks, a Thai restaurant in Manhattan known for its seafood dishes and eclectic, complementary cocktail menu. Beverage director Beau Fontano knew he had to include makrut in his creations, especially because the ingredient is so prominent on the food menu. Makrut lime finds its way in several drinks, most notably as a garnish atop the Thank You Kha, a riff on the acidic coconut stew tom kha gai, and the Manao Mao, a rum-based drink that uses makrut lime bitters.

“I don’t love using the word tiki, but if you think of those tiki rum cocktails, makrut definitely works well in those,” Fontano says. “But I also love it in martinis-there’s something really clean about it. And with makrut lime, if you’re just using the leaves, you can do a lot of rapid infusions.”

Fontano only uses the leaves, because the rinds and juice of makrut limes are famously bitter. “Regular lime has a little bit more sugar content, so that’s why it’s much more approachable in cocktails. Makrut limes tend to be more dry,” he explains. “But when you use the leaves in cocktails, you just smack it to wake it up a little bit and it gets that nice citrusy, refreshing aroma which is really fun.”

The leaves are cut fresh, so each drink has the scent of makrut lime leaves wafting off of them. “I’m sure at one point I will get around to it and try to figure out how to use the juice,” he laughs.

Further north at Paper Tiger in Portland, Maine, makrut lime leaves are also prevalent in a cocktail called Something Scandalous, a tequila-based drink intended to be, in the words of bartender Nick Reevy, “crushed easily.”

Paper Tiger
Paper Tiger
Paper Tiger

“I went with tequila, specifically, because in Maine it’s 80 degrees and humid pretty much all summer,” Reevy explains. “So I made something you kick back easily. Agave has a really nice softness that elevates the makrut lime, and the main flavour in that drink is the Thai basil.”

The drink is an alluring shade of green and is rounded out by cinnamon syrup and falernum. “Makrut lime is really herbal and bright in a way no other citrus is,” Reevy adds. “It’s interchangeable with other limes, but it just adds this whole other depth of flavour.”Makrut lime has even made its way into hard seltzer, albeit a limited edition drop from Lunar. Founder Kevin Wong knew he wanted to add another citrus drink to his rotation as he witnessed the successes of hard lemonades, but already had a yuzu iteration. Makrut lime seemed like a natural follow-up.

Photo courtesy of Lunar
Photo courtesy of Lunar
Photo courtesy of Lunar

“It has a very intense citrus fragrance, almost perfumey or soapy,” Wong ponders. “Like I could see Le Labo putting out a makrut lime fragrance. It has such a commanding presence and body.”

To tamper down some of the boldness of the makrut lime, the hard seltzer uses makrut lime leaf extract, lime juice, and cane sugar. The aromatics of the lime are present without too much bitterness; instead, the seltzer is grassy, acidic, and dry. Wong recommends pairing the can with spicy foods, especially Szechuan dry pot.

The makrut lime seltzer is currently sold out, and Wong is unsure whether or not another batch is in the works. “I feel like makrut lime is the greatest secret unknown to the Western world,” he says. “It’s in medicine, candy, herbal drinks, cosmetics and aromatherapy. I think we did the seltzer too early, and I don’t know if the world is ready for us to bring it back yet. Maybe in a couple of years.”

But judging by the growing popularity of makrut lime in beverage menus, the comeback might be sooner than he expects.

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Kat Thompson is a senior staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn.

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