Hobart’s restaurant scene is quietly making a mark, and with quality local produce plying the kitchens and impressive Tassie booze stocking the bar, it’s about bloody time.
While there’s not an excess of choice (unlike the First World Problem headaches you get when trying to choose a dinner venue in Sydney and Melbourne), there’s a sprinkling of eateries really lifting Hobart’s culinary game.
On our recent jaunt to Hobart, husband Jude and I ate enough to send Tasmania into famine. So, I feel we’re well qualified to provide restaurant recommendations.
These are my top Hobart restaurant picks for anyone visiting the Apple Isle. You’re in for a treat!
When I started researching restaurants in Hobart pre-trip, one name kept cropping up: Franklin. (Not to be confused with Frank Restaurant, which we didn’t get to, but I hear is also great for some South American fare).
Generally, before saying ‘I do’, I like to take a squiz at a restaurant’s menu. You know, to make sure it’s not full of things like boiled parsnips, alligator feet or fried tarantulas. Not a big fan of crispy spiders.
But, I couldn’t find a menu for Franklin to save myself! Yet, I figured when all the top foodie awards deem Franklin Tasmania’s best restaurant, I should just put my life in the chef’s hands. Really happy I did.
We opted in for the $85 ‘feed me’ degustation and loved every bite. This is despite having a Grade A hangover, so really says a lot. The crispy potato dessert with brown butter and salted caramel was so wrong but so right. I also loved the never-ending glass of mineral water – if only this was the situation at home.
Housed in a heritage-listed building, the space is chic. If you lost your inner cool somewhere back in the 20th century, you might feel out of place at Franklin. We sat at the concrete bar and had a front row seat into one of the calmest, cleanest kitchens I’ve ever seen.
Yep, this one’s a real winner!
Franklin | 30 Argyle Street, Hobart, Tasmania
Phone: (03) 6234 3375
This is another restaurant that disagrees with the virtues of a menu made available on that thing called the internet. All my sleuthing and I struggled to reel in anymore than an image of a blackboard that has the names of a few dishes scrawled across.
I realise now that the blackboard is the Templo menu, revealing the eight or so dishes on offer that day. This means it’s all seasonal and designed to be shared. You can select one or all eight plates, it’s up to you.
Located on the outskirts of Hobart’s central business district, Templo refers to itself as a ‘small neighbourhood restaurant’. And I’d be pretty happy if this was my local. Partially because you can actually get a park out front; but also because it’s cute (read: small), intimate and the food delicious.
Although, I’d challenge the number of locals that call this their local, because sitting next to us were a couple from Tamarama in Sydney, and a few seats over The Project’s Waleed Aly and wife Susan Carland.
Relishing being on holiday, we splashed out on the $65 chef’s menu (all eight dishes), paired with matching wines (another $65pp), and didn’t regret it. We enjoyed the likes of candele cacio e pepe, gnocco fritto and basil panna cotta. The wines equally good, but with a heavy bent towards natural vinos.
Open Thursday to Monday, there’s two dinner sittings: 6pm and 8:30pm. And, only seating 18 people, you want to book (well in advance) for this one. Alternatively, make it a lunch date.
Templo | 98 Patrick Street, Hobart, Tasmania
Phone: (03) 62 347 659
3. Pigeon Hole Cafe
“This is the best breakfast I’ve had since we lived in Melbourne,” says Jude, with his mouth full of baked eggs.
Well, we haven’t lived in Melbourne in over 18 months, and I’m offended he thinks so lowly of my vegemite on toast – it’s made with fucken love! But, alas, Jude was so enamoured with his farm-fresh soft baked eggs, free range thick-cut bacon and roasted thyme mushrooms that we ate breakfast at Pigeon Hole Cafe twice in four days.
On the second visit, I was ultra impressed the waitress remembered our exact coffee order. In Sydney, you have to visit the same cafe every day for a month before they remember it’s a soy-something. Then another month until they catch on it’s a soy cappuccino. But, speaking of coffee, Pigeon Hole Cafe’s black liquid is indeed very good. It definitely resulted in some #Melbournelife pangs of my own.
This cute cafe is on the even further, outer reaches of Hobart (West Hobart, in fact). It’s small and you have to take a deep breath to manoeuvre between the eclectic wooden tables, which could have been stolen from an old schoolhouse. Once in the back-half of the café, there’s no natural light, which only adds to the ultra-cosy vibe. It feels like a real local’s café – you’re definitely going to find some convict decedents here.
Pigeon Hole Cafe | 93 Goulburn Street, West Hobart, Tasmania
Phone: (03) 6236 9306
4. Mures Upper Deck
“You must try local, Tassie seafood,” was the advice of everyone upon mentioning we were doing a Bass Straight crossing.
So on our last night, I was madly trying to find Hobart’s best seafood restaurant. I found Mures, the forest green, double-decker building on Hobart’s waterfront. I have no idea whether it’s the best seafood restaurant in Hobart, as I only have a comparison of one, but it was pretty damn good.
First up, we strolled into Mures Lower Deck, which is casual, diner fare. But, we were after something fancier, so headed upstairs to Mures Upper Deck. Despite being booking-less, we were squeezed into a table – a white linened, candlelit table. Hey, we asked for fancy!
While Mures’s styling might be stuck in the 20th century, with its autumn colour palette of burnt red and the pre-mentioned forest green, its seafood is divine.
At least the entree Tasmanian scallops were, and Jude tells me the fish and chips too. But, what did I order for main? Yeah, so I insisted on coming to a seafood restaurant and then ordered the roast pumpkin gnocchi. I’m such a Nimrod! But, it was bloody good gnocchi…
Mures Upper Deck | Victoria Dock, Davey Street, Hobart, Tasmania
Phone: (03) 6231 1999
5. The Glass House
We didn’t actually have time to check out The Glass House, which is inside Brooke Street Pier (also home to the MONA ferry terminal). But, our mate Dan did a few weeks later and said it was his favourite restaurant in Hobart. Given he wears red kerchiefs and designer socks, I trust his word. This is what he had to say:
“Loved it here watching the boats come into dock. It’s swanky, without being soulless, and the perfect place to try some local Tasmanian seafood. Cocktails are a must. Although the dessert menu a little under-baked.”
Watch out John Lethlean.
The Glass House | Brooke Street Pier, Franklin Wharf, Hobart, Tasmania
Phone: (03) 6223 1032