Restaurant Reviews

Ok, here’s where we’ll review the places we ate at whilst on this Tasmania tour.

Night 1:  Ball & Chain, Salamanca Place, Hobart

Dinner was at the legendary Ball & Chain restaurant, a Tasmanian institution for many years.

Renowned for their great steaks and comprehensive wine list, the Ball & Chain is situated at the southern end of Salamanca Place.

After a few cleansing ales we strolled from Shippies Hotel to the restaurant and took our chances without a booking.  After a 15 minute wait we had a table.

The service was good, without being exceptional, and the food was delivery quickly with a minimum of fuss.

They really know what they’re doing with a steak and it was cooked to perfection.

With entrees at about $15 and mains around $35 it was good value.

The lads gave it a 7.5/10.

Night 2: Magic Curries, Battery Point

We decided we should try some Indian this night and found a curry place a hop, step and jump away at:

Magic Curries
41 Hampden Road
Battery Point

Ph: not giving it to you because they don’t deserve the business!

We had something called the Royal Banquet.

They must not have like their King because the food was scarce, the tables jammed together and the service about as friendly as my mother-in-law!

Avoid this joint.

Terrible value. Not much food.  Should be called the “Not So Magic Curries”.

We rated this joint a 3 out of 10.

Night 3: Seasons Restaurant – Bicheno by the Bay

We selected the accommodation in Bicheno mostly because the newsagent told us the restaurant was excellent and he wasn’t telling lies.

We settled in for the usual meal of bread, entree, mains, desserts and coffee and it was tremendous.

Being a fishing village, most of us had the seafood and it was cooked beautifully and presented to perfection.

We tried just about everything and the standouts were:

  • the oysters,
  • the seafood chowder,
  • the flathead,
  • the salmon,
  • the scallops……you get the picture.

The lone waitress working the joint did an excellent job at keeping us full of wine, beer and food and was very unobtrusive.

The lads voted this place a 8.5 out of 10.

Seasons Restaurant
Bicheno by the Bay
The Esplanade
Ph: 03 6375 1171

Night 4: The Lords Hotel, Scottsdale

This is an old fashioned country hotel in the farming district of Scottsdale.

But what you get in the dining room isn’t old fashioned food.

There’s a massive selection of very reasonably priced food (by “reasonably priced” I mean we couldn’t believe how good it was for the low, low price).

The lads tucked in as usual and tried just about everything with my steak being the best one I’d had so far.

The service was just what you’d hope for from a country pub – very friendly, no mucking about and efficient.

The lads rated this place 8 out of 10, with it being the best value we’d received for food so far.

Lords Hotel
2 King Street

Ph: 03 6352 2319

Night 5: Riviera Beachfront Hotel

With the luck of the Irish, even though none of us are Irish, we stayed here on a Monday night.

Monday night is ‘Steak Night’ at the Riviera – this is where you pay your $14,95, grab a ticket and take it out to the nice fellow out at the BBQ.

You tell him how you want your steak cooked and it shall be done.

My directions were “I reckon you’ll know better than me – cook it how you think nis best.”

Medium rare was best and the steak was delicious.

You get all the salad you can eat and it’s a great deal.

Dessert was an extra $6 or so and was a solid bit of pudding (we had a choice of 4 or 5 to choose from).

The service was, as you’d expect from the very keen and accommodating staff, friendly and helpful.

A terrific crew of people run this hotel and make it a nice spot for dinner or to stay.

Riviera Beachfront Hotel
Beauty Point Tasmania

Ph: 03 6383 4153

Another 8 out of 10 from the lads.

Night 6: Stanley Hotel Bistro

My mouth waters just thinking about this joint!

This place sets very high standards and when you see it’s won Australia’s Best Family Bistro for the last 2 years, you can see they meet them.

It’s a simple system they have.

You order up next to the bar, sit down and glorious food is delivered fresh, hot and tasty!

Here’s our entree – you’ll see that Kevin (Flyboy) had 2 entrees: Oysters & the Seafood Chowder!

I had the crumbed Camembert Cheese – sure, I’ll die a year earlier of heart disease, but it will have been well worth it!

Adele was our main waitress and she was very friendly and efficient.  She really knew her stuff and got the job done with the minimum of fuss and a laugh or 2.

The food was just wonderful and all aided by the very extensive wine list on offer.  It was an absolute feast here and the prices were more than reasonable for the very fresh produce.

Take a look at the menu here.

Don runs the Bistro and the staff are all very friendly, well trained and eager to ensure you have a great night.  Don even came up at the end of the night and helped us plan our next day’s riding.

Okay, the lads put their heads together and we came up with a 9 out of 10 for the Stanley Hotel.  This may have had something to do with the beautiful Bethany wine we drank to influence our decision.

Stanley Hotel
19-21 Church St

Ph: 03 6458 1161

Night 7: Regatta Hotel, Strahan

We’d had a hell of a run.

Apart from that crap Indian curry place in Battery Point, all had been good.  We’d been in Pig heaven to be precise.

The food was fantastic, the wine wonderful, the dessert delicious!

And then we had a meal at the Regatta Hotel in Strahan.

You know, the menu sounded so good.  The prices suggested it was going to be more great quality food.

But it wasn’t.

Trying To Think Of Something Nice To Say

I’m trying to think of something nice to say, thinking maybe our standards were a little high after all the great places we’d been, but nope: that wasn’t the problem.

The problem was, indeed, the meals.


Everything was poor from the meats to the salad to the bread.

At the end of the meal I paid the bill and the girl behind the bar said “Everything okay?”

I said “Well, no, as a matter of fact it wasn’t.  Everything was very ordinary and we’re not happy.”

All that none-too-subtle hint got was a “Thanks, we like to know what you thought.”

So, great place to stay is the Regatta Hotel.  Just don’t stay for dinner.

Rating was a 3 out of 10.

Night 8: Calling “Bullshit” On Risby Cove Restaurant

I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again:

Riley and I found Risby Cove Restaurant.

“One of the finest restaurants in Strahan” they claim.waitress

“Bullshit” I say.

If they think that they’re kidding themselves!

Risby’s is one of the finest restaurants in Australia, if not the world.

Don’t worry about just little old Strahan!

Amazing Food

Absolutely amazing is the only way to describe the food. Without doubt the best food I’ve ever had (I had the Striped Trumpeter).

Everything was fresh and delicious.

Here’s the full menu.

We were constantly astounded with each course – we had breads and then 3 courses, coffees and cheese, wines and beers.

The service was very friendly and cheeky, which is what you need when you’ve got 6 boisterous blokes at the table.
Sure, we got the feeling she was being nice for tips, but you do what you need to do!

An Absolute Bargain

The bill was, from memory, $621 for 6 of us. $103 each for the feast we had was an absolute bargain.

We give this place a 9.5 out of 10.  Amazing!

Night 9 (a) – Golden Knob Goes It Alone to Flathead Fish Cafe

This was a Friday night in Hobart and Captain Golden Knob (that’s me) ensured the lads were well looked after before zipping off for dinner with a few old friends.

I headed up to meet with them at the Cascade Hotel, the South Hobart Hotel run by Graeme Sice – he of the amazing counter meal fame.

fish-cakesThe Cascade is an old favourite of mine because I did my nursing training next door at St Johns Private Hospital and all the nurses used to use the Cascade as our local.

Flathead Fish Cafe

After a few drinks with my friends we headed next door to Flathead Fish Cafe.

(I worked at St Johns for 12 years and can’t remember what this place used to be before it was the cafe.)

My friends are locals and suggested I have the Thai Fish Cakes.  Being the idiot I am I ignored them completely and ordered the baby Abalone.

Sarah, one of my mates, gave me some of her Thai Fish Cake and wow!  I ordered another dish of those for entree – just light and fluffy and tasty.

Like eating a cloud……if a cloud tasted like a Thai Fish cake and you could get it easily on your plate at a fish cafe.

BTW, the Fish Cakes above aren’t the Fish Cakes from the cafe…..but they are Fish cakes so it made sense to add them in for illustration purposes!

Then I had the Blue Eye for main and that was just lovely.

You can check out the full menu here.

All washed down with some nice wines bought at the bottleshop next door.

It’s a lovely cafe, not a great atmosphere and pretty bloody bright – they need a dimmer on the lights – but the service was fast and friendly and the food very nice.

This one gets a 7 out of 10 because nothing really stood out aside from the Thai Fish Cakes……and the charming company of my friends!

But it is worth going here just for those fish cakes.

Night 9 (b) – Telegraph Hotel For The Rest of The Lads

With Golden Knob off having more seafood, the lads settled in at the Telegraph Hotel for a few beers.

It took a while before one of them realised the place also does a cheap meal – $5 steaks to be exact.  Extra for your sauce, extra for salad – but the basics are very cheap.

These guys all have more money than a horse has hair and their ability to sniff out a bargain is probably one of the reasons they do have all that cash.

The report back was that it was great steaks all round for not much money and an excellent cheap and easy pub meal that has a bit of style.

Lads gave it an 8 out of 10 for great value.