Darwin cuisine fuses Pacific Rim flavors with tastes from the neighboring Indo-Malay region. Into this enticing mix is the Australian love of great steak, lamb and seafood, especially prawns and crayfish. The huge Australian fish, the barramundi, is presented in a number of inventive ways. All of them delicious.
Darwin's balmy climate means that outside of the wet season most restaurants offer al fresco dining. Clinking wine glasses and conversations peppered with laughter fill the evening air with locals and tourists dining out almost every night of the week. The main dining scene is around Mitchell and Knuckey streets but anywhere near the Esplanade and the waterfront is a good bet for dining too.
No matter how great the food is, service and attitude in Darwin restaurants is strictly a casual affair. Cheap and cheerful things like fish and chips can be bought from any corner store, but even in one of the city's finest restaurants there is a nice and welcoming family feel.
Central Darwin is packed with a great range of dining options. There are sushi places with sushi trains, Chinese takeaways and plenty of Thai restaurants. The Irish pubs like Shennanigans and steak houses like Char Restaurant are evergreen favorites and most places combine restaurants with cocktail bars for the after-work crowd.
This is the largest retail center in Darwin. There are several large food courts inside Casuarina Square shopping precinct as well as quite a few fine dining restaurants that overlook the water. The views at sunset are particularly fine and of an evening, the cocktail bars here really come into their own.
Darwin's Casino is called SKYCITY. It contains a good range of fine dining restaurants as well as some more laidback fast food affairs. All the dining options in SKYCITY are fully licensed and most are very opulently fitted out. The Australian wine lists here are absolutely superb.
Redsalt Bar and Grill
Crowne Plaza Darwin, 32 Mitchell Street
Phone: +61 8 8982 4992
The Redsalt exemplifies the Darwin scene. An open and airy layout welcomes diners to a comfortable but classy menu that specializes in modern Australian cuisine including steak and barramundi. The cocktail bar here is also a very nice touch for pre-dinner drinks or at any time.
1 Henry Wrigley Drive
Phone: +61 8 8920 3333
Essence is known as the best restaurant in Darwin. It is located in the Airport Resort, which is only a short drive from the center of town. The rib eye steak is marinated for three hours and the banana tarts are the stuff of legend.
SKYCITY Darwin, Gilruth Avenue
Phone: +61 8 8943 8888
Evoo is located inside the Darwin casino and it boasts spectacular ocean views. Specials include the honey dusted pink ocean trout and the lobster spiked Wagyu beef. This is the place to come bearing credit cards for a truly special dining experience.