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Eating to order

Ed

Overwhelmed by the dining choices in Freo? We hear you. From the strip to the back streets to the waterfront, the options are many. Making accidental discoveries is a favourite Freo pastime, but not always ideal when you’ve got a special occasion or a group to wrangle. So we’ve curated a shortlist of suggestions to cover a multitude of occasions. Save your decision making for the menu.

A group of blokes

Is anybody in this group likely to say the words ‘Just a salad, thanks’? No, so try Lapa, the Brazilian barbecue joint with the big tables and the endless meat options. Literally; all–you–can–eat is a thing and on Saturdays it’s compulsory. Think ribs, steak, sausage, pork belly and beer. OK, salad if you want. Little Creatures is another go–to for man–bonding meals. The waterfront brewery delivers the right mix of casual and high energy, with tasty morsels fit for beer accompaniment delivered to long tables by happy staff.

A group of gals

Cocktails, right? And a meatball hankering? The Meatball Bar has got you. They’ll even match your drink to your dish of choice–traditional, sweet, even mac and cheese. The feel here is more bottle-lined cocktail bar than the name suggests. Settle in to a cosy banquette. By the beach, the share plates and grazing boards at Bathers Beach House make ideal pickings with whatever cocktail you can dream up. There’s a raft of main course options to soak it up. Things may get rowdy.

Family

Everyone is going to be happy with Sandrino’s home style Italian fare, from pizza to pasta to seafood that pleases both young and sophisticated palates. There’s loads of room, plus crowd pleasing desserts. It’s good value with an atmosphere. Consider also the buffet at the Esplanade Hotel’s Atrium Garden Restaurant. Kids eat at half price (check out their school holiday special), and get to choose their favourites from the international offerings, at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus there’s deal sealers: unlimited soft drinks for kids, and activity packs to keep them busy while the adults finish their meals.

Date night

For an intimate but unstuffy foodie experience, go Manuka Woodfired. There’s more than pizza coming out of that oven, and the concise, bang-on offerings are delivered with love. The bread alone is dreamy, before you even start on the charred lamb. Prefer to dine in a more spacious room? At Char Char, perched on Fishing Boat Harbour, attentive service meets a most likeable menu. Spanning the most elegant terrain from seafood to steak, the menu gets why you’re here. The twinkly, watery setting isn’t all that’s memorable, but it doesn’t hurt. Take a window if you can.

Mixed group

There’s a lot of palates to please, and the options rise to meet you at The Mantle, where several establishments reside. Decide between burgers, pizza or the more sophisticated share plates at Don Tapa; perhaps make that decision over a cocktail first at Alter Ego. Stampede Gelato is on hand for afters. Benny’s really has everyone covered. It’s a restaurant and bar (with cocktail specialties) and caters to all the proclivities, from classy share plates to seafood, burgers and steak. In for a late night? Try here.

Solo

The indoor–cum–alfresco flow at Gino’s helps to make solo diners feel at ease, surrounded by other tables and the diverting energy of the Cappuccino strip. Hoe into a bowl of pasta and take it all in. At the Capri, it feels a bit like being in a family dining room, so if you’re flying solo you can feel right at home with the unpretentious old school décor and affordable, comforting Italian fare. Take a seat in the bay window and let Nonna prepare the food.

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