Saigon Restaurant, Pearce


The Saigon Restaurant at the Pearce shops has long been a favourite with southside Canberra families. Along with Rama’s and Ethiopia Down Under, it’s one of the restaurants that spill out tables and diners onto an open paved area that’s lovely for casual dining in the warm evening weather.


Saigon is excellent value with corkage only 50 cents per person, four spring rolls for $4 that are delicious for entrée, rice for $2 per serve, desserts for $5 and a large range of dishes for $14.50 (vegetarian dishes start at $13).

The lemongrass and chilli options are very good as are the caramelised dishes. Chicken, pork and beef are all good options.

The ginger dishes and the curries with coconut cream and potatoes are worth considering too.

Up to six people can share one dish and about 2 dishes per three people with one rice per person is a good amount to order (along with a spring roll each).

If including one dessert per couple, the total bill including corkage is around $15 per person. (The mung bean cake with icecream /coconut cream looks inviting.)

Décor is basic but the atmosphere is pleasant (especially when filled with fellow happy diners) and service is friendly and efficient.


Vietnamese spring rolls (4 for $4) full of taste.


Chicken with lemongrass and chilli $14.50


Caramelised pork and prawns $18


Beef stirfry with fresh Vietnamese Mint and Peanuts $14.50 (not as good as the other two choices).


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Vietnam House, Westfield, Woden


Vietnam House on the restaurant strip of the Westfield Mall in Woden is very popular for lunch on weekdays.


Most diners are ordering noodle soups which are a great choice for a cold day.

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Pho Tai – rare beef noodle soup $12.50 small ($13.50) comes with accompaniments

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Pho Ga – Chicken noodle soup $13.50 small ($14.30 large) is an alternative


Serves are large but sharing is not really an option as there is a minimum charge of $10 per person.

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Metro, Central Plaza, Woden


The Metro in the Central Plaza in Woden, has a key location for lunch for workers in nearby buildings.

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The menu offers a wide range of dishes including Malaysian, gourmet burgers, fish and chips, salads, soups, and specials.

Prices are reasonable for large serves which could easily be shared.

Possibly the gourmet burgers are the best choices.

Vegetable Laksa $11.80


Chicken Laksa $11.80


Nasi Lemak with Chicken Sambal $12.80


Thai fish cakes with salad $11.20



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Urban Bean, Woden – good lunch options


Urban Bean , Scarborough House has a very convenient location for many Woden office workers and can be a great choice for lunch weekdays.

Menu options are interesting, well priced and generously sized for sharing.

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The Warm Chicken Salad $14.90 is a good light option..


or with extra bread on the side could easily be shared.

…and the Char-grilled Lamb Wrap $13.90 also excellent…and shareable.

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Take with you containers are cheerfully provided.


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Belluci’s Woden, still a great $19.90 lunch special


Belluci’s in Woden is still offering their great lunch special for $19.90 including a wine, beer or soft drink.imageimage

The Chicken Caesar Salad is as good as ever…


…and serve sizes are good for sharing in a group and presentation is excellent.

Risotto with Caramelized pumpkin, baby spinach & gorgonzola dolce w/ roasted walnuts.



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Flavours of India, Woden


Flavours of India at the corner of the Westfield Mall, is one of Woden’s best central lunch spots for groups sharing dishes.

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Three dishes, three serves rice and three breads is a good amount to order for six modest appetites.


Good choices are the Butter Chicken $17.90


Aloo Palak (or Paneer Palak would be very good too) $15.50


Lamb Biriyani $20 (excellent)


Kukcha Paneer (Naan stuffed with cheese and onion) $4.50


2 serves rice ($3 per serve)


Carpeted and quiet, it’s a good spot for easy conversation.

Flavours also offer Canberra Entertainment Book holders a 25% discount.

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Best of the Best – Favourite eating spots in Canberra


Favourites for Curries

*Taste of Bangladesh (for Onion Bhaji, Cheese and Spinach Naan, Fish Bengali, Dum Murgh, Chicken Biriyani, Palak Paneer, Gulab Jaman, Mango Kulfi and BYO no corkage, complimentary poppadoms)

*Copper Chimney (BYO Corkage $6 per bottle of wine)

*Malaysian Chapter – for Nonya Prawn and Pineapple Curry, Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai for an entree – BYO $3 per person

Chomolungma (for momos, Dal Bhat – BYO $2 per person)

*Taj Agra Dickson (BYO $4 per bottle)


Favourite for Nepalese

Chomolungma (for momos, Dal Bhat – BYO $2 per person)


Favourite for Vietnamese

*Pho Quoc – (BYO $1.10 per person)


Favourites for Thai

Kinn Thai – for Kinn’s Dishes, BYO $3 per person

Thirst – (BYO about $10 per bottle but not on Mondays and Tuesdays)

*Baan Latsamy – for crispy eggplant with chicken and seafood for entree , BYO $5.50 per bottle

Chong Co – for Beef Massaman, Green Chicken Curry, Chicken and Cashews with Chilli Jam Stir-fry, Pork Prik Khing – BYO $3 per person


Favourite for Ethiopian

Global Café, BYO no corkage


Favourites for Sri Lankan

Ceylon café, Farrer

*Camellia (currently moving) (BYO $10 per bottle)


Favourites for a very special occasion

Courgette (BYO $15 per bottle)

*Sage (BYO $15 per bottle)

Yet to try but have heard good things:

Italian and Sons


Favourites for a rather special occasion

*Pistachios – for the tasting entrée trio $20 and tasting dessert plate $20 (good to share) – $7 per bottle corkage

*Chairman and Yip – (BYO $10 per bottle)

Akiba (for soft shelled crab/ pork belly buns, dumplings and mango and coconut sticky rice with macadamia and palm sugar ice-cream) No BYO

Eight Six (expensive drinks though)

Yet to try but have heard good things:

Elk & Pea

*Ox Eatery

CIT Restaurant (No BYO but wine $5 by the glass)


Favourites for a bit more upmarket

*Urban Pantry (BYO $5.50 per person)

*Copper Chimney (BYO $6 per bottle)

Kinn Thai (BYO $3 per person)


Favourites for lunch in Woden CBD

*Belluci’s (for the $19.90 lunch special including a wine/beer)

*Flavours of India

Chong Co

Urban Bean


Favourites for lunch close to Woden CBD

Fox and Bow

A Bite to Eat

Stand By Me

*Wheat & Oats


Favourites for lunch under $10 close to Woden CBD

*Wheat & Oats (for the daily specials on display and the goat curry)

Whisk Bakery & Patisserie (for the pies, toasted focaccia and gourmet sandwiches and soup and roll)


Favourites with young children

The Mandalay Bus (summer only) (BYO no corkage)

Snapper – best in Summer (BYO no corkage)

Brodburger – best in Summer  (BYO $2.50 per person)

Taste of Bangladesh (for Onion Bhaji, Cheese and Spinach Naan, Fish Bengali, Dum Murgh, Chicken Biriyani, Palak Paneer, Gulab Jaman, Mango Kulfi and BYO no corkage, complimentary poppadoms)

Broddogs at the Hamlet (BYO no corkage)

Global Cafe (BYO no corkage)

Dickson Dumpling House (BYO) 


Favourite deals

Thirst ( for the Street Stall Banquet $14.90 on Monday and  Tuesdays when all entrees and mains are two for the price of one ($10 BYO but not on Mondays and Tuesdays)

Treehouse Bar (for the Wednesday $10 gourmet hot dog and house wine/beer/cider, Thursday two for one gourmet burger and  house  wine/beer/cider, Friday two for one starters and tapas and happy hour $5 drinks)

Debacle two for one pizzas on Mondays and Tuesdays (no BYO)

The Parlour Wine Room – $16 Lunch special including wine Tuesdays to Sundays (no BYO)

Yet to try but have heard good things:

Edgars Ainslie, $15 Monday to Wednesday meal and drink


Favourite dinners $15 and under

Taste of Bangladesh (for 2 people order- 1 Samosas (2 pieces $7 , 1 Cheese and Spinach Naan ($3.50), 1x Fish Bengali ($16.50) /Dum Murgh ($15.50)/ Palak Paneer ($14) and 1 x rice ($3) – BYO no corkage, complimentary poppadoms)

The Mandalay Bus (summer only) (BYO no corkage)- under $10, get a range and share

Snapper – best in Summer (BYO no corkage) for fish and chips under $10

Brodburger – best in Summer (BYO $2.50 per person) (for Baby Brodburgers around $9 – (try Baby Brodsalmon with blue cheese)

Global Cafe – for the meat combo on injera read with rice to share between two $18.90 (BYO no corkage)

Broddogs at The Hamlet (BYO no corkage)

Chomolungma (for momos, $15 Chicken Dal Bhat – BYO $2 per person)

Pizza Gusto – Pizza $20 to share between two BYO no corkage

*Café Arirang – for Pork/Chicken Kathu Set and Seafood pancake (BYO $4 per bottle)

Ceylon Café, Farrer


Favourite for Yum Cha



Favourites for ice-cream

Frugii Dessert Laboratory – two flavours house-made ice-cream in cone or cup $5

Thirst – house-made ice- cream and sorbet $2.90 per scoop


Favourites for dessert

Akiba for mango and coconut sticky rice with macadamia and palm sugar ice-cream

Frugii Dessert Laboratory – two flavours house-made ice-cream in cone or cup $5


Yet to try but sounds good:

*Hungry Buddha for Gulab Jaman ice-cream, pistachio ice-cream (made by Frugii)  and nepali rice pudding ice-cream $7.50 each


Favourites for breakfast/brunch

Local Press

The Cupping Room

Penny University

Silo Bakery

The Merchant

*Me & Mrs Jones


Favourites for coffee

Koko Black – for cappuccino with chocolate flakes on the side

The Merchant – for the house-made almond crossiant $8.50

Tilley’s Lyneham

Yet to try but have heard good things:

Two Before Ten


Favourites for groups (should have carpet)

*Taste of Bangladesh (BYO no corkage)

*Copper Chimney (BYO $6 per bottle)

*Baan Latsamy (BYO $5.50 per bottle)


Favourites for Sunday lunch

The Merchant – for the baguettes, sharing chattuecuterie plate – no corkage if purchased from the Prohibition Shop

Bookplate at the National Library

The Parlour Wine Room – $16 Lunch special including wine Tuesdays to Sundays

*Cork Street Café, Gundaroo –especially for wood-fired pizza (BYO $2 per person)

Autolyse, Braddon

*38 Expresso


*Favourites in the Canberra Entertainment Book

Pistachios (BYO $7 per bottle)

Chairman and Yip (BYO $10 per bottle)

Urban Pantry (BYO $5.50 per person)

Me & Mrs Jones (BYO $5.50 per person)

Pho Quoc (BYO $1.10 per person)

Copper Chimney (BYO $6 per bottle)

38 Expresso

Sage (BYO $15 per bottle)

Baan Latsamy (BYO $5.50 per bottle)

Café Arirang (BYO $4 per bottle)


Malaysian Chapter (BYO $3 per person)

Cork Street Café (BYO $2 per person)


*In the Canberra Entertainment Book ($60 per book) offering 25% discounts or two for one offers


Dumpling House, Woden – Updating the dumpling menu


Dumpling House in Woden has updated it’s dumpling menu but not much has changed.

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There’s a range of dumplings and buns on offer, usually around $14 for up to 15 pieces.
(good for sharing with a group).


These include:

Combination Dumplings $15.80 (15 pieces) (chicken, beef, vegetable)


Steamed Prawn Dumplings $12.80 (8 pieces)


Shanghai Fried Pork Buns $14.80 (10 pieces) (Nicely freid on the bottom, but fairly oily overall).


Fried Beef, Onion and Coriander Dumplings (15 pieces) $13.80 (again nicely fried on the bottom, but a bit of an odd flavour).


Shallots Pancake $7.80 (quite good for a little more variety)


Chinese tea is $1.50 per person


It’s by no means a cheap lunch, and lacks the variety that can be achieved by sharing other cuisines, but good fun for a change.

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Chong Co, Southern Cross Club, Woden – lunch special


Chong Co at the Southern Cross Club, is a firm top choice for lunch in Woden.

Not only for members (although members get a 10% discount) Chong Co diners can go straight up the stairs to the restaurant. There is also free parking under the club if you validate your ticket at reception as you leave.

At lunch time it is possible to order from the lunch special menu that ranges from $13 for a vegetarian stirfry with rice, to $16 and includes noodle dishes, soups, curries and stir fries.

These come with rice and can be good options if dining alone or there is an odd number sharing in a group, but otherwise, the best option is to order dishes from the main dinner menu ($19-21) (larger and tastier than the lunch specials) and to plan for one dish and one serve of rice per two people.

(For example up to six people can share a dish, but six people with need three different dishes and three rice serves).

It’s good to order a mix of curries (the beef massaman $21 is excellent as is the chicken green curry) and stir fries (chicken and cashew nut with chilli jam is hard to beat, but the lamb prik khing dishes is also good).

Four Musketeers entrée $12 includes a prawn roll, money bag, fish cake and satay chicken


Vegetarian stir fry with tofu $13 (lunch special)


Chicken Basil stirfry and fried egg $15 (lunch special)


Prawn tom yum noodle soup $16 (lunch special)


Prawn Singapore Noodle $16 (lunch special) stir fried  vermicelli noodles with prawns, egg, mild yellow curry powder and vegetables


Chicken cashew nut stir fry $14 (lunch special) stir fried chicken with mild chilli jam, onion, shallot, vegetables and cashew nuts


Beef massaman curry with roti (main menu) $21 (excellent)


Stir fried Chicken with basil and chilli (main menu) $19


Chong Co Thai Restaurant & Cocktail Bar on Urbanspoon

Smoque, Woden – specials


Smoque at Woden has an ideal veranda’d location in the Abode building, that’s very close for workers in the adjacent offices.


It’s standard menu offers a range of gourmet burgers ( the veggie burgers and pulled pork burgers are excellent) on brioche buns and interesting salads ( especially the thanksgiving salad).

Pulled pork burger $12 – tasty pulled pork with BBQ sauce and coleslaw


Swiss burger (a special) $16 with two meat patties and plenty of cheese




However, for a couple more dollars, Smoque also offers a lunchtime special of any burger with a small garden salad or a small side ($15).

Serves are generous, so two or three smaller appetites may want to share. Smoque is also happy to provide a container to take with you what you would enjoy more later.

Lunch special with a Swiss burger with buffalo hot wings with blue cheese aioli $15



Smoque on Urbanspoon

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily

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