Hobart’s most interesting venues
Hobart is a cool place to visit, especially for eating and drinking! Not only are there many excellent venues to visit, but, unlike larger cities like Melbourne and Sydney, it is possible to access most of the compulsory places to visit by walking!
In this story we have assembled our list of the places to visit when in Hobart to get a good cross-section of food styles as well as experiences that reflect all levels of dining.
We have written about a number of the places we think you should visit, but we don’t want you to think of these as reviews. We used to review restaurants for many years both in national publications such as Gourmet Traveller and the Qantas Magazine.
We also spent 25 years promoting Tasmanian food experiences on an ABC radio program every Sunday with Chris Wisbey interviewing us. We did the radio program free of charge as we were anxious for Tasmanians to learn about the quality of the produce that our farms were capable of growing and raising – but we were very selective about the products we talked about as we have serious concerns about some aspects of modern agriculture such as the widespread use of damaging systemic sprays. We only promote organic produce as you will see from the produce featured on this Web site.
We were also selective about the restaurants, cafes and coffee outlets that we talked about. We also had a self-imposed rule that we only talked about places where we paid for the food and wine that we consumed. We didn’t accept “freebies”!
It is possible to get a range of dining experiences in Hobart within a short range – you can almost walk to them all from the central CBD with the exception of one.
The compulsory restaurant venues are:
- Dier Makr
- Agrarian Kitchen (don’t try to walk)
- Trophy Room
- Tom McHugo’s
- Me Wah
Of course, no visit to Hobart would be complete without a meal at Dier Makr, but you have to book to make sure of your table as it is very popular and both the food and wine selections are of top quality. A meal we had here recently was exemplary. As mentioned in the list above Hobart is very lucky to have four restaurants that are at the top of their game (Dier Makr, Fico, Omotenashi and The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery) serving food that is always delicious but never pretentious!
Just up the street is the fabulous and popular Fico which also caters for walk-ins at their bar where you can order a cocktail or a top end Burgundy if you feel like pushing the boat out. But make sure that you book for an evening meal here as the food is some of the best in Tasmania! Their risotto is exemplary.
In addition to Dier Makr and Fico you should also take advantage of two other exemplary restaurants – one in the city centre and the other a short drive to the west of the city. The hidden gem called Omotenashi is a place we love to visit. The number of diners is restricted to 10 or 12 and the food and drink combination is one of the most innovative in Australia. We have a full description of our meal we have recently. Link to the story about our meal at Omotenashi.
The other must-visit restaurant is one we mentioned above as one of our favourites, namely The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery in New Norfolk which is a short drive west from Hobart along the picturesque Derwent River. This is a perfect place for a weekend lunch in a beautiful dining room where you will be served some of the best food in Australia. You can also book a tour of their amazing garden prior to your meal – it is well-worth it!
They also have a kiosk where you will find us every Saturday or Sunday we are in Hobart buying our supply of bread and butter for the week. While there we also enjoy a coffee and one of their amazing cakes on the front lawn.
A recent addition to the Hobart dining scene is the Trophy Room in Argyle Street, North Hobart. The food here is excellent, the cooking very precise and the service efficient, professional and friendly. What more could you want?
In the same area is Ogee which, after our various illnesses over the last year, we had missed out on visiting. However, we can report that we have just had a couple of lovely meals there recently and it is a great place for a quick meal or for settling in for a major session!
And while we are talking Italian restaurants, another place to check out is the lively Peppina Restaurant in the Tasman Hotel. Here they use the best local produce to produce dishes with an Italian accent both for hotel guests and for anyone else who is looking for an upmarket experience.
We are also very lucky in Hobart to have a number of bars within easy walking distance of the very centre of the CBD, each of which has a different focus. These include:
- Tom McHugo’s
- Two Metres Tall (some way out of Hobart)
- Rosie in my Midnight Dreams
- Willing Bros
A great place to start your tour of Hobart is the small bar in front of one of Hobart’s leading restaurants, Dier Makr. It is called Lucinda (think Tom Waits) and it is the perfect place to visit for either a quick snack (although there is always a few options that make for a very satisfying meal on their own) and a glass of wine or to settle in for the evening. The menu for Lucinda is becoming more and more ambitious – you can even order a cooked-to-order souffle on occasions!
In addition to Lucinda there is Tom McHugo’s pub where you can order a beer, but it could be a naturally fermented beer from the clever people at Two Metres Tall or a natural Australian, Italian or French wine from their deep selection. It is only one block from the central GPO.
It is also compulsory to have a meal at this venue. The food is the creation of Tom Westcott who is well known for his obsession with fermenting and sourcing fresh, organic vegetables from some of Tasmania’s best suppliers, such as Fat Carrot Farm. The food here represents some of the best value in Tasmania and is a place we dine at often.
Not too far further along the Derwent from the Agrarian complex is the bar operated on the property of the Two Metre Tall brewery. Here they turn out some of the best naturally fermented beers and ciders in Australia. Make sure you check which days they are open before you make the journey here – but it is well worth the visit to sample Australia’s best beer.
A venue that we enjoy visiting for breakfast (but it is open throughout the day) is Rosie in My Midnight Dreams in the Brooke Street Pier. The coffee, food and service here are exemplary.
A twenty minute walk to North Hobart sees you sitting at Willing Bros sipping one of Tasmania’s better wines or one of the interesting beers that are available, unless you happen upon tiny Sonny on your walk and drop in for a glass of well-chosen wine or three!
Another great venue on the fringe of the CBD is Templo which serves Mediterranean accented food and an interesting selection of wine in their tiny venue. Make sure you book here as it is very popular.
If you head for the waterfront from the CBD then you might stumble upon another very cool bar, namely Institut Polaire which is a perfect place to try a cocktail based on local spirits or a wine from their impressive selection.
Another treasure on the waterfront is Lark Distillery which stocks around 250 premium whiskies, including the full Lark range of Tasmanian products. This is a very congenial venue that makes it almost too easy to relax and enjoy the libations available.
Many of the restaurants we have mentioned so far are either open for lunch and dinner or just dinner. This leaves the problem of breakfast and in-between!
We have five favourite places for breakfast in Hobart. The first is Sunbear where the dishes are clever and very satisfying and the coffee good. Recently opened in North Hobart is the Trophy Room which serves excellent breakfasts and very good coffee, and you don’t need to book. A few blocks from the CBD is Hamlet which opens early and serves delicious food until early afternoon. You can also have a very good coffee and an excellent pastry at Pigeon Whole Café in Argyle St in the CBD, but be aware this place is insanely popular so you may have a short wait. And there is also Rosie in My Midnight Dreams which we have mentioned elsewhere.
Hobart also has a vibrant coffee scene, which has become even more vibrant with the arrival of Brian to set up Somewhere Coffee Bar. He goes to extraordinary lengths to source the world’s best beans and also make the coffee (we love their pour over offerings) with love and attention. Other venues such as Will Priestley’s Pilgrim Coffee and nearby, in the same street, Straight Up, both roast their own specialty coffee providing locals with some of the best coffee available. We also like Yellow Bernard in the CBD, Wide Awake Specialty Coffee in North Hobart and Rosie in My Midnight Dreams (mentioned above) on the waterfront. Further out we like Shake a Leg Jr in Moonah which is part of the Pilgrim group, Audrey in Rosny, Wondr in Moonah, Marla Singer in Bellerive, and Maxie in Kingston.
If you do end up in Sandy Bay then make the walk worthwhile by checking out one of the best restaurants in the state Me Wah restaurant which has Yum Cha at the weekends at which the dumplings are well worth the walk!
Speaking of butchers, we are very lucky in Hobart to have two butchers of exceptional quality giving us choice as they all have a slightly different focus. Vermey’s stocks a very good range of meats and also has some aged beef as well. Further down Sandy Bay Road is Bayside Meats / Meat Mistress where the meat is sourced from local suppliers nominated on displays behind the counter.
And for buying groceries in Hobart we recommend the Hill Street chain with the only problem being that they do not highlight organic produce even though some of it is – it is just not marked as such. In the CBD there is the delightful Eumarrah where almost everything is organic with the focus on Tasmanian produce. This is a great place to buy Tasmanian Avocados which have been particularly good this year. For those living further south then Unpacked in Kingston is a good place to source organic products.