An explanation for our dining guide, Eat Sheet, can be found here.
Point to Hobart on a map, and your finger may slip down to Antarctica. Touted as one of five global gateways to the “Last Continent,” its cooler climate lends itself to growing and producing some of the freshest and tastiest produce in Australia. In the 1800s, its remote, isolated location cemented itself as a significant penal colony, where convicts built stately Federation, Georgian, and Gothic Revival edifices that now house some of the city’s most important buildings. From hidden omakase to oven-fresh pastries, Hobart’s literal farm-to-fork, dock-to-dish (you get the gist) dining scene has surprises around every sandstone corner.
They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but the team at this Antarctic-inspired wine bar and kitchen beg to differ. At Institut Polaire, there’s an emphasis on cold-climate-grown food and wine served with warm hospitality. Its refined multi-course menu includes handmade pasta, locally-sourced proteins and seasonal veggies elegantly plated and paired with award-winning vintages. Its incredible cold-terroir wine selection is award-winning, along with its signature mixed and bottled cocktails. These same bottles can be found at Polaire Suite, a newly opened, impeccably-styled apartment opened by the duo behind Institut Polaire, just around the corner from the restaurant.
MAKE IT QUICK
Ask anyone in Hobart where to get the best bread, and it will be a unanimous “Pigeon Whole Bakers.” Its bread is so good it gets outsourced to dozens of restaurants scattered across the state. Perfectly proved loaves of sourdough and baguettes aren’t the only thing on offer; they sell a variety of pastries, bagels, sandwiches and, of course, coffees. Seating is very sparse here, making it the perfect place to swoop in for a buttery croissant or breakfast sandwich as you stroll the streets of the CBD.
SEE AND BE SEEN
These relative newcomers to Hobart’s dining and drinks scene have already claimed a spot among its best. Inside several heritage buildings that were once St. Mary’s Hospital and now make up The Tasman Hotel, its signature restaurant Peppina, and moody cocktail bar, Mary Mary, are always chock-a-block. At Peppina, comforting Italian dishes like wood-fired meatballs and slow-cooked ragu fly out of its bustling open kitchen. After a must-try tiramisu, attempt to snag a seat at Mary Mary’s marble-topped bar counter, where the team serves classic cocktails made with Tasmanian spirits and ingredients.
HOLD THE MEAT
Once served out of its namesake van, Kombi’s beloved smoothies, coffees, and toasties moved to a hole-in-the-wall spot in the historic Battery Park neighborhood in 2017. This healthy, sustainable cafe uses Tasmanian Maqui berries instead of Acai for its smoothies and house-made, gluten-free focaccia for its toasties. While the menu includes meat options, dishes like its BBQ jackfruit toastie with vegan cheese, veggie power bowls, and house-made granola parfait are standouts.
Hobart is still a sleepy town, so when you find a place that’s open after nine, you run towards it like it’s water in a desert. If Bar Wa Izakaya’s “no sake, no life” neon sign is any indication, you’re in for a good time. Designed around share plates, its expansive izakaya menu includes dishes like Bruny Island wallaby wings, house-made pork gyoza, crispy renkon chips and free-range karaage chicken. Paired with its inventive Asian-inspired cocktails, you can stay till last call and then roll out of bed the next day for their signature ramen, served from 12-3.
START ME UP
A bit of Melbourne’s cafe culture is thriving in Hobart. At Born in Brunswick, they serve all the best Aussie cafe eats—yes, that includes an avo smash and a flat white—to the coffee-crazed masses. The vibes are light and breezy thanks to its open, airy industrial-style cafe with cement floors accented by light wood furniture and hanging plants. Its all-day brunch menu includes classics and inventive plates like corn fritters with kaffir lime with chili jam and coriander and yogurt panna cotta with honey and roasted apricots.
THE HOT SPOT
Open just two nights per week, hidden in the back of a Lexus dealership, Omotenashi keeps things mysterious. This new 12-seat omakase dining experience uses uniquely Tasmanian ingredients, with Japanese flair touching each of its seafood-heavy 16-18 courses. But there’s no set menu here; dishes change weekly depending on what’s fresh and what inspires the couple presenting each artfully designed dish.
ON THE STREET
Farm fresh may as well be Tasmania’s slogan. While Hobart’s Salamanca Market makes for a great Saturday pitstop, Farm Gate, or “Farmy” is where the locals flock. Every Sunday from 8-11 a.m. Bathurst Street is overflowing with fresh fruits, veggies and artisan vendors. In the middle is the Grub Hub, where a rotating array of street food vendors serve dishes and flavors from around the world. Depending on the weekend, you could sample everything from bao and tacos to donuts and roti.