NY'ers first time to Canberra & Melbourne--Seafood?
I'll have almost two weeks, mostly in Canberra, about 2 days at LilliPilli Beach (?) and a few days in Melbourne. I've never been to Australia... I generally tilt towards seafood but I'm certainly a meat eater as well. Any things I mustn't miss? Specialties of any of the preceding spots? I'm open to anything...
canberra isn't renown for seafood however there are a number of decent restaurants worth the visit. it's worth keeping in mind that canberra prices are considerably inflated (this applies to everything - property, basic groceries and coffee) when compared to other Australian cities.
if you're in canberra during a parliamentary sitting week (when the city is overrun with politicians+lobbyists+journalists) it can be difficult to get a table for dinner at short notice.
Courgette - modern French - Civic
Sabayon - modern Australian - Civic
Artespresso - modern Australian - Kingston
Parlour - tapas & wine bar - New Acton
Attica is possibly some of the best value and most innovative food you will try right now. It's about 10 minutes by taxi and you'll get fish - a speciality is smoked trout broth with real smoke. Also Movida, although with a Spanish slant, is innovative food in a superb grafiti alley way location. Both are on my blog www.tomatom.com
I'm not so familiar with Canberra, but Melbourne's a really fantastic city for restaurants. You'll be spoilt for choice. The best restaurant in Melbourne is generally agreed to be Vue de Monde, which is a swish fine diner in the city. But my personal faves are:
* Three One Two - Carlton
* Becco - City
* Bar Lourinha - City
* Gill's Diner - City
* Ladro - Fitzroy
* Cafe di Stasio - St Kilda
* Punch Lane - City
* Cicciolina's - St Kilda
* Interlude - Fitzroy
None of these is a seafood specialist restaurant, but all of them (except perhaps Ladro, which is a pizza place) would certainly have seafood dishes on the menu.
At the more upmarket end of the scale, you might also want to check out The Press Room, Pearl, Ezard, Circa and Taxi (along with Vue de Monde if you can score a table). But if you had to narrow down, I'd suggest Becco, Cafe di Stasio and Three One Two.
We always go back to Cafe di Stasio when in Melbourne. Reasonable prices, good food (though occasionally a little heavy on the salt). Love the wine from their own estate, too.
Jaques Reymond was good if you want a quite formal fine dining experience but interesting food. Vue de Monde is a must.
Outside Melbourne, Pettavel Winery's restaurant was a fantastic place for long lunch.
I am not a fan of Vue de monde, I felt the cooking was less assurred than the French style restaurants in Sydney (Becasse, Moncur etc). On our visit we had the degustation menu and asked for the sommelier to pair wines with the food. Good wines but all French, and thus very expensive for the quality (especially as we lived in France at the time). I thought this was amaterish and/or taking the theme to an unwarrented extreme - in the back of my mind is the thought we also saw French produce on the menu rather than better local alternatives.