The ultimate guide to eating out in Darwin
From fresh seafood to Asian barbecue, there’s plenty to savour in the Northern Territory’s capital city.
- December 2019
Darwin may be best known for its rich Aboriginal culture and pristine natural attractions, but it also lays claim to a thriving culinary scene. Dining options here run the gamut from high-end to wallet-friendly: from sleek restaurants along the Darwin waterfront to food trucks on Mindil Beach. Here’s where to tempt your tastebuds in the Top End.
Cool vibesPM Eat & Drink
Exposed ceilings, plywood tables and eye-catching murals set the stage for an array of inventive, seafood-focused small plates: think fish ceviche topped with a squid ink crisp, sardines served with a celeriac remoulade, octopus head tempura and more. All produce is sourced from within the Northern Territory where possible.
Address: Corner of Knuckey St and Austin Ln, Darwin City, NT 0800
With its colourful walls and quirky artworks, this Mexican restaurant certainly scores top marks in the creativity department. It’s constantly buzzing too, drawing a stream of hungry diners with its pulled pork tacos, cheese and chorizo quesadillas, cinnamon-dusted churros and more. Wash it all down with a frozen margarita or three.
Address: F2/19 Kitchener Dr, Darwin City, NT 0800
Pee Wee’s at the Point
Ensconced in the East Point Nature Reserve, this harbourside restaurant spotlights some of the finest produce the Northern Territory has to offer — from fresh tiger prawns to locally grown veggies. If the weather’s cooperative, ask for a table on the outdoor deck, where you can drink in the mesmerising sunset views.
Address: Alec Fong Lim Dr, East Point, NT 0820
The Oyster Bar
As its name suggests, this restaurant on the Darwin waterfront specialises in the prized shellfish, which are sourced from Coffin Bay on the Eyre Peninsula — otherwise known as Australia’s oyster region. The molluscs are served both chilled and grilled — from caviar-topped to panko-crumbed — and are best enjoyed alfresco, complete with great views across the water.
Address: 19 Kitchener Dr, Darwin City, NT 0800
Yots Greek Taverna
Enjoy top-notch waterfront dining at this Greek taverna opens in new window in Cullen Bay. Here, diners can graze on mezze like shallow-fried calamari and marinated olives, before feasting on hearty mains like lamb or chicken souvlaki — all while admiring the sailboats bobbing in the marina. There’s an excellent wine list too, with vino sourced from around Australia as well as further afield.
Zzan on Cullen Bay
At this waterfront restaurant, you can take your pick from all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue to à la carte dishes like bokkeum bap (fried rice), bulgogi (stir-fried beef) and chicken katsu, to name a few.
Classic Southeast Asian dishes are served up amid a contemporary setting at this buzzing restaurant opens in new window on the Darwin waterfront. Patrons rave about its rice paper rolls, nasi goreng (fried rice) and vermicelli bowls; the latter is served with either char-grilled pork balls, wok-tossed beef or grilled chicken.
Lazy Susan’s Eating House
This chic Asian fusion spot opens in new window draws inspiration from all across the continent, dishing up everything from Szechuan scallops to Vietnamese spring rolls and Malaysian-style laksa. Go for the weekend yum cha brunch, where you can have your fill of dim sum staples like har gow (prawn dumplings), spring rolls and more.
You’ll almost feel as though you’re in Bali at this open-plan restaurant opens in new window, which is adorned with ornate wood carvings and statues of Hindu deities — antiques that restaurateur Jimmy Shu acquires on his travels. The food is similarly Asian-inspired, with dishes such as masala lamb cutlets and beef rendang curry featuring on the menu.
The Potato Man
Food trucks are aplenty at Mindil Beach Sunset Market, but it would be remiss not to try The Potato Man opens in new window, which has been serving up its beloved spuds since 1987. These hot baked potatoes are loaded with toppings such as chilli con carne and baked beans, making for a hugely satisfying meal. You’ll also find The Potato Man on the Nightcliff foreshore on Sunday evenings.
Cucina Sotto Le Stelle
This Italian joint opens in new window on the Nightcliff foreshore is admittedly less a food truck and more a pop-up restaurant. Here, patrons sit at long communal tables (complete with gingham tablecloths) and tuck into authentic wood-fired pizzas, which come with toppings such as mushrooms and salami. There are other dishes available too, from hearty risottos to toothsome desserts like panna cotta.
Also situated on the Nightcliff foreshore, this food truck trades in (you guessed it) tacos, with flavours inspired by the Northern Territory: from minced beef with cheese and sour cream to the vegan-friendly pulled spiced jackfruit with pickled onion and tomato salsa.
Address: Nightcliff Jetty, Nightcliff, NT 0810
Laneway Specialty Coffee
This hipster haunt in trendy Parap pretty much ticks all the boxes: exposed brick walls, Instagram-worthy dishes and, of course, excellent artisanal java. Pair the organic buckwheat hotcake (above) — which comes adorned with berries, edible flowers and a wobbly vanilla bean panna cotta — with a refreshing cold drip coffee.
Address: 4/1 Vickers St, Parap, NT 0820
Set in the historic Wesleyan Church in the Darwin Botanic Gardens, this inviting, plant-strewn space serves up dependable espressos and pour-over coffees. Fuel up with some maple and honey-toasted granola, smashed avo toast or a steak and goat cheese tartine before exploring the verdant surrounds. Bonus: it’s pet-friendly, too.
Address: Gardens Rd, The Gardens, NT 0820
The Cyclone Café
This cosy spot gets its name from the fact that it was constructed from the debris of Cyclone Tracy, which devastated the city back in 1974. But there’s more to the café than its unusual corrugated iron façade; its coffee, which is roasted on-site, will blow you away. Try the classic flat white, or the triple-shot Hypercino.
Address: 8 Parap Pl, Parap, NT 0820