Perth has more restaurants per capita than any other city in Australia. Nobody is sure why Perth has so many restaurants. Perhaps it's our fantastic weather that makes "al fresco" dining tempting for most of the year. Or perhaps it's the several "spots" like Fremantle and Subiaco where you can chose from dozens of different restaurants within a five minute walk. One thing for certain is that you can sample all of the wonderfully different cultures of our society in the hundreds of restaurants available in Perth.
Perth has a large range of eating establishments varying from silver service to authentic cafes, from steak houses to food halls to suit everyone's budget. You can find Italian, Greek, Turkish, French, Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Lebanese, Seafood, Japanese, Australian and more in the popular eating areas such as Northbridge, Leederville, Subiaco and Fremantle.
Most restaurants are open evenings from about 6:00pm onwards. Many restaurants, especially those in the Perth city centre, open at lunch time. The times vary, but are usually between noon and 2:00pm. Some have special lunch menus, which can be a real bargain.
Some restaurants, especially cafes, are open for breakfast. The breakfast menus vary, from a simple coffee and toast, to a full cooked breakfast. As you might expect, the busiest times are Friday and Saturday night. Friday lunches are also a popular way to start winding down for the weekend.
Naturally, you can order "a la carte" off the menu, but many restaurants have a set menu of dishes available at a lower price. Most restaurants offer entree, main courses, and desserts. A hint for American visitors: In Australia, an "entree" is the starter, not the main course!
If you are vegetarian or have other special dietary needs, check with the restaurant when making a booking. Most restaurants will do their best to accommodate you. Many cafes now have a vegetarian section on their menu. A word of warning for allergy sufferers - most Asian restaurants use MSG (monosodiumglutamate) in their cooking, to enhance the taste and colours of the food. So if you are prone to an allergic reaction, don't forget to ask for no MSG. You can find restaurants that claim to be halal, vegetarian, or kosher. You will need to check their advertisements. Many restaurants also offer a home delivery or take-away service.
Most of the popular fast food franchises of the world can be found in Perth, plus many more local specialties that represent most flavours of the world. 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, can be found Perth wide, and even in some other parts of the state. Other food such as "fish & chips" (seafood takeaway), Chinese, Indian, Mexican, and many more can be purchased by people "on the go". Delivery of your food is also an option at many of these places, and typically either no charge or a small fee is levied for this delivery.
All restaurants will serve water and non-alcoholic drinks. A "licensed" restaurant will sell you alcoholic drinks. Some restaurants hold only a restricted license, so they can only serve you alcohol if you order a substantial meal.
The alcohol on offer varies with the restaurant; the silver service restaurants have impressive wine lists and many of them have their own wine consultant on staff. Most of the cafes in Perth take pride in their wine menu being dominated by wines from the many West Australian vineyards.
Many restaurants in Australia have a BYO ('bring your own") policy. This means that patrons are welcome to bring their own alcoholic beverages. Some restaurants and cafes are both licensed and BYO; often your meal will be a lot cheaper if you bring the alcohol. The restaurant or cafe will provide you with glasses. Some restaurants charge "corkage" of about $1 or $2 per person if you bring your own alcohol. In most instances, even with corkage, it is cheaper to bring your own.
Restaurants in Perth are non-smoking and the 2009 Tobacco Products Control Ammendment Act now prohibits smoking in outdoor eating areas as well.
All government taxes are included in the price on your bill. Tipping is not expected in Australia, but sometimes you will fine a tip jar at the counter when paying your bill and it is appreciated by the hard working waitering staff! Some restaurants add a service charge, commonly on public holidays, but this will be clearly indicated to you prior to commencing the meal.
The price of your meal will obviously vary with the standard of the restaurant. Cafe prices are fairly standard - entrees start at about $5.00 to $8.00. Main courses will vary from about $8.00 to $20.00 for the more expensive seafood dishes.
Most restaurants will take bookings. Some cafes do not. If you are able to make a booking, we suggest that you do; especially for Friday and Saturday nights. If you have a large group (i.e. more than about 6), make sure you book for any night.