Given the Top End’s proximity to Asia, it is no surprise that Indian, Malaysian, Thai and other Asian foods dominate the market food scene, and are well represented in restaurant choices.
From modern Australian meals to sensational Asian dishes and pop-up cafes and market food, Darwin has something delicious to tantalise every tastebud. Some dining spots like the Darwin Sailing Club and Mindil Beach Markets also throw in a sensational sunset with your meal.
In the CBD, don’t overlook the shopping arcades and out-of-the-way streets such as West Lane for affordable but top-notch fare. At Sari Rasa in Cavenagh Street (6/24 Cavenagh St), you can get a delicious Indonesian feed for next to nothing. However, if you’re after fine dining, Darwin doesn’t disappoint: try Yots Greek Taverna on the waterfront (54 Marina Blvd) or Cove at Skycity.
Our top picks
Doubletree Esplanade, 93 Mitchell Street
This popular restaurant, next door to the Darwin Entertainment Centre, is run by chef Jimmy Shu, and serves up a modern take on Asian cuisine, specialising in Thai and Indian dishes. Making the most of fresh, seasonal produce, Hanuman is known for its oysters prepared with lemongrass, sweet basil, ginger, chilli and coriander. There is also an array of vegetarian dishes on offer.
37 Knuckey Street
Inspired by the tastes of Spain, the Mediterranean and North Africa, Moorish opened its doors in 2002 and quickly gathered a loyal following of tapas lovers thanks to its mouth-watering dishes such as marinated Bulgarian feta and Berber spiced kangaroo with tomato jam. It also offers a la carte dining, group menus and an extensive menu of hot, cold and fancy drinks.
Eat like a local
Darwin Sailing Club
Atkins Drive, Fannie Bay
The spectacular red sunset over the water here attracts both locals and visitors at twilight who also come for the prize-wining fare that’s a cut above standard club grub. The Waterfront Bistro has been given the nod with some prestigious NT hospitality awards. Try the battered barramundi burger or the local squid stir-fried with garlic, chilli and basil.
Eva's Botanical Gardens Cafe
Botanical Gardens, Gardens Road
In the heart of Darwin’s Botanical Gardens, Eva’s Cafe is housed in an 1897 Wesleyan Church that was built in Adelaide, shipped to Darwin, and then rebuilt, piece by piece, in 2001. The 70-seat indoor/outdoor cafe is a cool, shady oasis serving some of the best coffee in town. If you travel with your hound, you can bring it along, too.
19 Kitchener Drive
A new addition to Darwin’s Waterfront Precinct, the Vietnamese restaurant Chow serves steaming bowls of fragrant pho (gluten-free) or laksa, traditional Vietnamese banh mi rolls with pork, chicken, beef or vegetable fillings, rice paper rolls, salads, curries and sake, Asian beers, cocktails and more to wash it down.