Nola James shares her top picks for eating around lutruwita/Tasmania’s newly minted world heritage-listed culinary capital that came in at no.27 on your list of Top 50 Aussie Towns.
Find the complete list of the Top 50 Aussie Towns here.
In 2021, Launceston was named a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, an official acknowledgment that Tasmania’s second-largest city is truly a delicious destination. You could call it a knock-on effect from Hobart-based tourist vortex Mona, which draws thousands of visitors to the state for festivals such as Mona Foma, which was established in 2009 in Hobart and first held in Launceston in 2019.
Or, you could put it down to the city’s natural beauty and pure produce drawing some serious culinary talent to the island. Kim Seagram, chair of FermenTasmania, the state’s champion for fermented foods, worked on the UNESCO campaign.
She says the region was built on food, from early bread mills that supplied grain to Sydney’s colonial population to the cider that gave the state its Apple Isle moniker. “Now, we have this upswelling of craft creating a future through food, too.”
Enjoy an upscale epicurean experience at Grain of the Silos. (Image: Olivia Claire Media)
The Harvest Market, which runs every Saturday from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm, is the place to stock up on fresh supplies while scoping out new talent. Turkish Tukka on Charles Street (quite possibly the only Turkish restaurant in the state) started out as a market stall, as did breakfast okonomiyaki spot Small Grain, which opened a cafe off Princes Square in early 2022.
There are a few other notable new openings adjacent to the heritage-listed square. Cult bakery Bread + Butter (best morning buns ever) moved its retail/cafe arm to Elizabeth Street in 2022. It was joined in September by Du Cane, which opened a 430-seat brewpub – Launceston’s first – in an old hardware store.
Enjoy casual fare at Du Cane. (Image: Ryan Farrington)
On the opposite corner, chic natural wine bar Havilah turns out drinking-friendly snacks, think potato bread and garlic butter, or hand-rolled gnocchi with porcini mushroom ragù.
Conveniently, two of Launceston’s top hotels also boast excellent restaurants, which cuts a traveller’s commute nicely. At Grain of the Silos, Mika Chae’s tight relationship with northern Tasmanian producers shows through his mod-Australian menu, whether that’s poached white asparagus from Weston Farm or succulent Flinders Island lamb rump doused in chimichurri.
Across the Tamar River, find boutique luxury accommodation Stillwater Seven above the award-winning Stillwater restaurant. The seven rooms are appointed with bespoke fixtures from local makers, with the wardrobe-sized, Tasmanian oak ‘minibar’ stuffed with Coal River Farm triple cream brie, wallaby salami and Lark Whisky a centrepiece.
Wine and dine at Stillwater. (Image: Lily Moeller)
Being a small city, it’s easy to hop between Launceston’s top spots on foot. Speaking of, a walk around Cataract Gorge is a great way to fill time between eating and drinking. It has a chairlift, an open-air swimming pool, a family of rogue peacocks and tracks for walkers of all abilities.