Matt Moran’s Two Favourite Restaurants in Canberra (Apart From His Own)

Matt Moran best Canberra restaurants

Matt Moran knows good food — and as of late, he knows where to find it in Canberra. Moran is one of Australia’s best-known chefs and restauranteurs, with a career spanning more than 30 years. He’s the name behind celebrated dining destinations Aria, Chiswick and North Bondi Fish in Sydney, and, most recently, two soon-to-be hotspots in the nation’s capital city.

Compa is a 116-person Italian steakhouse on Bunda Street, serving the likes of Abrolhos Island scallops, Snowy River trout with caper burnt butter and, of course, steaks.

Best restaurants Canberra Compa
Image: Compa

Moran says if there were one dish in Canberra he’d travel from Sydney for, it’s one of his steaks. Choose between on-the-bone sirloin, ribeye or Bistecca Fiorentina. Off-the-bone options are eye fillet, Angus scotch fillet, Wagyu rump cap and Scotch fillet. All meat is raised on the Moran Family Farm, a 404-hectare farm in the NSW Central Tablelands.

“Canberra’s dining scene was so up-and-coming, we just really wanted to be a part of it,” Moran says. “The quality of chefs down there is absolutely fantastic. Whether they were born down there and moved to Sydney and have gone back again, or whether they’re from Sydney and they’ve gone there – they’ve got a great stable of great cooks.”

&Sando best restaurants Canberra
Image: &Sando

With Compa, Moran says the aim was to offer great value steaks in a casual environment. The menu focuses on steaks and simple Italian dishes, with salami, cheeses and fish. Next door is sister venue &Sando, sandwich and pastry bar, with offerings like burnt basque cheesecake and sandwiches pastrami on sourdough and spicy sopresa and mortadella.

Aside from Compa and Sando, Moran has a few other Canberra dining favourites. There’s casual venue Such and Such in the city, led by executive chef Nick Petersen, ex-Porteno in Sydney.

Such and Such best restaurants Canberra
Image: Such and Such

Menu highlights include ricotta and cauliflower gnudi, BBQ spatchcock and Berkshire pork cutlet with sweet and sour sauce. Moran’s favourite dish is duck on the crown with fish sauce caramel and blood plums.

Moran’s other favourite is the Parisian-inspired restaurant Onzieme in Kingston, helmed by chef Louis Couttoupes and opened in October 2021. Its menu includes gim bugak [seaweed paper coated with glutinous rice paste and then fried] with whipped tofu, kingfish skewer and mutton tartare kibbeh.

onzieme best Canberra restaurants
Image: Onzieme

“At Onzieme, I had this beautiful Murray cod with a curry sauce, absolutely fantastic,” says Moran.

As for Moran’s favourite coffee shop in Canberra, he says it’s Sonoma in Braddon, which he’s a regular at when he’s in town. “I’m yet to venture out to find any more,” he says.

Related: Matt Moran on the Sydney Restaurant Everyone Should Visit at Least Once

Related: 11 of the Best Restaurants In Bondi, According to Someone Who Eats There Once a Week

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