There’s a lot to discover in Darwin. As the smallest, and most northern capital city in Australia, it’s got more happening than many might realise. Known as having some of the most beautiful and picturesque sunsets, expansive coastlines and natural resources on its front door, Darwin is one of the most enticing cities in the country. The gateway to the Top End, Darwin overlooks harbour which stretches out to the Timor Sea, beginning at Lee Point in the north and going as far east as Berrimah. This vibrant city is within earshot of Arnhem Land and Kakadu National Parks where you can explore the rich Aboriginal history and natural wonders. When you’re back in the city, enjoy an evening open-air film, go crocodile spotting (if you’re brave), relax in Nightcliff and take in the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Market, before exploring the wonderful array of restaurants Darwin is home to. Sounds pretty top-notch doesn’t it? And to get a complete taste of Darwin’s restaurants, read on… we have some Top End tips you won’t want to miss.
Darwin’s restaurant scene once consisted of only laska, steaks and, of course, beer and barra’ (barramundi). And don’t get us wrong, all these delicious things are still very much on the menu in Darwin’s restaurants but things have these days gotten a little bit more interesting. The new generation of restaurant owners in Darwin pay homage to local produce by sourcing a range of their products and ingredients from the natural landscape surrounding the city. So, you can expect to find Darwin restaurants offering rock cod, natural oysters, green ants and mud clams among much more tasty, natural fare. There are also restaurants in Darwin playing host to a range of cuisines from all over the world that we highly advise you sample. Darwin is actually garnering quite the reputation for Asian cuisine in particular, and with its close proximity to Southeast Asia, Darwin’s Asian restaurants are arguably some of the best in the country.
Its balmy climate – outside of wet season – means that you’d be hard-pressed to find a restaurant in Darwin without alfresco dining filled with people enjoying wine and delicious food almost every night of the week. The main restaurants will be peppered throughout Mitchell and Knuckey Streets, and anywhere on the Esplanade or waterfront is a safe bet for dining as well. What could be better than indulging in a dozen oysters and chilled glass of Muscadet while taking in the beautiful ocean views? For us, really not much!
Being so close to Southeast Asia, Darwin’s Asian restaurant scene is thriving. For exceptional Thai cuisine in the CBD, pay Mellow Thai Restaurant and Cafe a visit for an interesting dish of green curry pasta infused with galling and kaffir, or opt for the chicken pad thai packed with eggplant, egg, capsicum and Thai herbs. Or, if you’re more in the mood for the flavours of India, Tandoori Vibes is your best bet. This stylish Darwin restaurant on Smith Street is close to theatres and galleries, making it the perfect stop for a rich and fragrant butter chicken or masala lamb cutlets before an evening of culture. All of that said, to sample some more authentic Darwin fare, a visit to Rorkes Beer Wine Food is essential. On the corner of Smith and Bennett Streets in the CBD, this Darwin restaurant is a bit of an institution. You’ll find a carefully-curated drinks lists and a food menu to rival that of anywhere, and being only a stone’s throw from the waterfront, you can take in the picturesque views and while the day away.
While it’s true, we did suggest that perhaps trying something other than a barra’ and beer combo would be a little more exciting, we’d be remiss not to mention this humble duo because, if we’re honest, it’s a staple part of life in the Top End. We’re pretty certain there aren’t too many restaurants in Darwin omitting barramundi from their menus, but what is it that has made this classic fish so popular? Well, it’s all about location, and Darwin’s location along the coast has played a critical role in its love affair with seafood and this delicious fish in particular. Also, barramundi is extremely populous in this part of the country and with locals fiercely passionate about local produce, barramundi is sure to stay cemented on the menus of Darwin’s restaurants for a long, long time.
So, now we’ve given you a bit of an overview in terms of what you should expect from your dining experience in one of Darwin’s restaurants, we hope you’re sufficiently hungry for a plate of barra, Thai delight or some steamed mud crabs. Although finding the ideal Darwin restaurant can be tricky, thankfully, Quandoo can help. Just filter by preferred price and location, and we’ll show you all the restaurants in your proximity so you don’t have to worry about not finding a suitable restaurant in Darwin. After that, focus on surviving a day of croc spotting and working up an appetite!