Perth has an enormous range of bistros, cafés and restaurants across the city and State. There are endless possibilities to the type of food you can eat. With such a multicultural population, influences, flavours and styles of cooking from all parts of the world can be found present in the dining experiences in Perth.
You can choose from Asian, Eastern European, Western Europe, African and even South American flavours in various plates offered.
Noodle bars are popular as a fast food option, alongside Japanese sushi bars. Chinese and Thai takeaways are also highly popular. Korean BBQs and Malaysian food is also a regular choice for many. Greek, Turkish and Lebanese food can be found in many of the food halls and restaurant/café strips in and around Perth.
Traditional fish and chips make a great choice for families with pizza and pasta restaurants too. Mexican food is also a great choice and African food is being introduced, with many of the dishes being meat such as crocodile, buffalo, camel or ostrich!
Not forgetting the Australian menu of steak or seafood with salads or vegetables, found in popular eating areas of Perth such as Northbridge, Leederville, Subiaco and Fremantle.
You will find most restaurants will open for lunch from around 11.30am until 2.00pm and then for dinner from 6.00pm until late, which means until they decide to close. Most kitchens will stop cooking around 9.00pm.
Food courts often found within shopping centres can open for breakfast from 8.00am and close around 3.00pm unless the shopping centre is open late night trading.
Cafes open quite early in the city for early risers to enjoy breakfast or to catch up with friends or business colleagues for meetings over coffee or breakfast. Check the specials available as they can be a real bargain.
You will find most restaurants and cafes will have a set menu that they can offer you which changes seasonally or even weekly. There can be daily specials or ‘meal deals’ which they might offer to take advantage of seasonally available produce.
If you are a vegetarian or have food intolerances you will be well catered for within the eating out environment in Perth. You will find wait staff very educated and informed as to the source of ingredients within dishes and will be only to happy to ask the chef to alter the dish according to your needs. Most restaurants will do their best to accommodate your requests.
As with most major cities across the world the usual fast food franchises can be found.
McDonalds, Hungry Jacks (part of the Burger King franchise), Subway, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, and local chains such as Red Rooster and Chicken Treat (similar to Kentucky Fried Chicken) are all available.
Alongside the traditional fish and chips, sushi, Chinese, Indian and Thai food are popular choices for fast food dining.
All restaurants will serve tap water free of charge or if you prefer you can buy bottled water. Non-alcoholic soft drinks will also be available. A "licensed" restaurant will sell you alcoholic drinks although some restaurants hold only a restricted license, so they can only serve you alcohol if you order a substantial meal, that is, have a main meal within the restaurant. Other restaurants will allow you to ‘BYO’ (bring your own) alcoholic drinks, but will often charge a ‘corkage’ fee.
Coffee is a popular drink in Western Australia and you can find a coffee shop, café or restaurant serving coffee at almost anytime of the day. There are even portable coffee vans that will come to your workplace or be at a sporting event on the weekend. Ordering a coffee can be quite a task if you are unfamiliar with the types of coffee available. Some of the more popular coffee types are described below.
Espresso or sometimes also know as short black
A single small shot of strong black coffee.
A long black is a double shot of espresso topped up with hot water.
Cappuccino or cap (popular choice)
Made with espresso coffee, topped up with hot milk and thick milk foam with a sprinkle of chocolate powder on top.
A latte is a shot of espresso that has been poured into a long glass and filled with steamed milk. It is then topped off with foamed milk. A very milky coffee.
Flat white (popular choice)
A flat white is made in the same way as a latte, but served with slightly less foam.
Long macchiato or long mac
A short black served in a small glass or cup, with a dash of cold milk added. Strong white coffee. If you like your coffee strong but white ask for a long mac ‘topped up’ with either hot water or milk.
A mocha is for the chocolate lover who adores coffee too. Traditionally a latte coffee with hot chocolate mixed through.
Affogato is for the sweet tooth. It’s a shot of espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Great for after dinner dessert!
Those watching their waistline can choose from low fat or skim milk, also known as ‘skinny’ milk. Just ask for a ‘skinny flat white’ when ordering. Soy milk is also available at most coffee outlets. If not requested when you order, coffee is generally made with full cream milk.
Varieties of alcohol on offer can be extensive. Most State and National beers are available at local restaurants and bars, as is an extensive selection of International beers. Specialist micro breweries offer unusual beers brewed onsite and wineries around the state offer their own wines. Most restaurants offer the usual range of beers on tap, bottled beers and spirits, local wines being most popular showcasing award winning Western Australian wineries with interstate options also available. Mediterranean and European wines can be found within higher end restaurants and most liquor stores.
Bring your own (BYO)
If you want to reduce the cost of eating out and enjoying your favourite bottle of wine or beer, choose a place which features BYO policy. This means the restaurant is happy for you to bring your own alcohol to enjoy with their meal. They may sometimes charge a small fee for ‘corkage’ per person and will provide you with a glass etc. Be sure to check that the restaurant is BYO before you crack your bottle open!
Western Australia operates a comprehensive smoke free policy. Totally enclosed public areas, all work vehicles, all unlicensed food service areas and 50% of licensed food service areas and some sports/outdoor areas are all protected as smoke free areas.
Western Australia banned smoking in all indoor areas of pubs, bars and clubs from July 2006 and during 2010 smoking was banned in alfresco areas of bars and restaurants.
The price of an entrée will cost anywhere between $5 in a cafe to $20 in a restaurant. Also depending on what you order and the source of the produce, whether it is in season, a main course can cost from $20 in a café right up to $75 or more in a restaurant. An example of an average price meal would be a grilled steak with salad and chips costing approximately $20-$30 in a café and up to $50 in a restaurant. Look out for meal deals and special theme nights, as you can save money.
Tax is included in the price of your bill and is listed as GST (Goods Services Tax). Giving a tip at the end of your meal is not usually expected in Australia. Sometimes you may find a tip jar at the counter when you pay your bill where you can tip all of the staff. Dining on a public holiday may incur a surcharge which will be stated on the menu. This is normally 5-10% extra on top of the final bill. This is to cover the additional charges for staff working on a public holiday. Best to check if this will apply prior to ordering.
Generally the busiest times to eat out are Friday and Saturday evenings. It is probably best to book a table with the restaurant if you want to eat at a specific time or there is a large group of you. Most restaurants take bookings although some cafes offer a first come first serve basis, therefore arrive early if you want a particular table.