Although not as established as Sydney or Melbourne, Perth is fast becoming one of Australia's top foodie destinations. Its proximity to the Indian Ocean means restaurants have access to tons of fresh seafood, as well as traditional Australian staples like beef and lamb. Western Australia is the nation's top wheat producer, too. Perth's top dishes range from the familiar, like sourdough bread, to Aussie classics to the more unique, like kangaroo.
The Western rock lobster (also known as crayfish) is Western Australia's most famous seafood. In Cervantes, a two-hour drive north of Perth, you can eat rock lobster straight off the boat, but you'll also be able to find it in the city.
Try Joe's Fish Shack at the Fremantle fishing boat harbor or The Cray in Belmont for a fresh local lobster. Like most places around the world, Western Australian rock lobster doesn't come cheap. Be prepared to pay at least US$40 for a whole lobster at a restaurant.
There's nothing more Aussie than a meat pie, and Perth has some stand out versions of the traditional dish. Once you've tasted the basic beef and pastry version, you can experiment with flavors like mushrooms, chicken, mashed potato, or even cheese and bacon. For a gourmet pie, we recommend Tuck Shop cafe in Northbridge or Mary Street Bakery in Highgate.
As Australia's westernmost port, Fremantle was historically the first stop for European migrants arriving to Australia. After World War II, thousands of Italians made a new home from themselves in Perth, bringing with them the know-how needed to create a local pasta obsession.
Lulu La Delizia in Subiaco will satisfy fresh pasta purists. At Lalla Rookh, you can't go wrong with the six-course seasonal tasting menu, while Garum is known for combining premium local meats with incredible Roman-style pastas.
Barramundi, also known as Asian seabass, is native to Australia and the Indo-Pacific. The white meat has a mild flavor and is low in fat, making it popular even with the most seafood-averse diners. In Perth, you'll often find it served grilled with a delicious crispy skin.
Perth has an impressive collection of artisan bakeries that make the most of local wheat. The sourdough revolution has well and truly hit the city, and you'll find freshly baked bread with innovative toppings in almost every cafe.
Bread in Common puts together simple and delicious sandwiches, cheeses and share plates in Fremantle, while Chu Bakery in Highgate is all about toast and sweet treats. Sorganic in Subiaco is the place for breakfast and baguettes.
There are more kangaroos than people in Australia and you're likely to see a couple hopping around the bush during your trip to Western Australia. If you'd like to taste one as well, kangaroo meat can be found in many supermarkets and restaurants. The meat is often described as tasting like a super-lean cut of beef.
Plus, kangaroo meat is affordable and healthy, with plenty of protein. Try some 'roo at Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle (barramundi fishcakes are also on the menu) or Balthazar restaurant in Elizabeth Quay. The menu at Wildflower is seasonal but often features kangaroo and other native ingredients.
Roe Street in Northbridge is the heart of Perth's Chinese community. Here you'll find some of the best Chinese food outside Asia, including dim sum brunch (also known as yum cha.)
Authentic Bites Dumpling House in Northbridge is the reigning champion of Perth's dumpling scene, with customers queueing around the block on weekends, while Shy John's takes things to another level with a combined brewery-dim sum concept.
Wool was Australia's most important export for much of the 19th century, and the country's success is often described as "riding on the sheep's back." The state's long relationship with sheep farming means that lamb is a key ingredient of Western Australian cuisine.
In Perth, there are dozens of ways to enjoy lamb. Hey Griller is a carnivore's dream, serving up lamb skewers, chargrilled lamb shanks, and a lamb burger in Victoria Park. At the Fremantle Markets, the Fluffy Lamb puts an Indonesian spin on charcoal-grilled lamb.
Blue Swimmer Crab
Blue swimmer crabs (also known as manna crab) are found along much of the Western Australian coast and are prized for their sweet flavor and unique texture. The crab meat is often served barbecued or with pasta, salad, or noodles.
Mayfair Lane pub in West Perth does a delicious blue swimmer crab and Shark Bay prawn pasta, and you can find crab and clams on the breakfast menu at Il Lido, an Italian canteen by the beach in Cottesloe.
Perth is geographically closer to Kuala Lumpur than Sydney, so it's no wonder you'll find incredible Malaysian food in the Western Australian capital. Nasi lemak (coconut rice served with anchovies and spicy sambal sauce) is considered the national dish of Malaysia and is extremely popular in Perth.