Which restaurants in Ipswich and cafes in Ipswich have food that makes me want to return to dine again and again? These are my top six places to eat in Ipswich where I was delighted by the flavours, excited by the atmosphere and can’t wait to eat there again.
Six top restaurants and cafes in Ipswich
With the focus firmly on exploring our own backyards, everything old is new again, particularly when it comes to the Ipswich region.
Forget what you thought you knew about Ipswich! This city is in the centre of a sparkling region of local treats that deserve to be discovered with new eyes.
Pop yourself in the car and head up the Ipswich motorway. Start hungry because there are plenty of great Ipswich restaurants to enjoy along the way, including these top six stops to eat in Ipswich.
Image above: Lemon Pie at Homage, Spicers Hidden Vale. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Pumpyard is a favourite for local Ipswich brews in a heritage setting. Photo Kerry Heaney
#Keshell enjoying a local Pumpyard beer.
It’s called the Pumpyard because Ipswich’s original water source is located under the former Technical College which was built in 1901. Now it’s more about pumping beer through the huge shiny vats that fill the industrial style brewery space.
As an infrequent beer drinker, I was fond of Pumpyard’s 3.5% Super Model Pale Ale, which has tropical fruit hints.
You might go for something with a little more body like the 7% Kickback Red IPA or the Coal Miners Stout which gives you a 5.5% hit plus hints of chocolate and coffee.
I promised you food and Pumpyard delivers with a tasty burger menu and more from head chef Shawn Breen. Shawn escaped from New York and has worked across the USA and Australia before calling Ipswich home. It’s simple, tasty food herewith a tang of Southern American BBQ and the hug of classic comfort foods like chicken parmi, pizza and loaded dogs.
My pick is the blast from the past deep-fried camembert wedges with cracked pepper cranberry sauce.
You’ll find Pumpyard in the heart of Ipswich at 88 Limestone Street.
Dovetails Restaurant has a wonderful outdoor deck. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Prime cuts on a Dovetails Meat platter. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Drawing its name from the former Technical College’s woodworking links, Dovetails is an Ipswich restaurant serving an Australian bush food-themed menu. Highlights include crocodile tail and lemon myrtle squid.
Expect bunya pesto with your gnocchi, rosella jam with the confit duck and green ant gin in the mango pannacotta. The menu is designed to surprise and delight with a raft of delicious meat cuts to browse too.
Find Dovetails next door to Pumpyard. When the weather is warm, dine under the trees on the deck for an atmospheric evening.
Looking through the window into Ungermann Brothers Ice Cream shop. Photo: Kerry Heaney
My combo was Blue Cheese and Fig topped with Salted Caramel, Bacon and Pecan.
Ungermann Brothers Gourmet Ice Cream
There’s no way I could come at roasted garlic ice cream. That’s just wrong, wrong, wrong! But Blue Cheese and Fig or Salted Caramel, Bacon and Pecan – be still my beating heart!
If there is one thing that is certain about the flavours at Ungermann Brothers Gourmet Ice Cream, it is that they are polarising.
For those who prefer traditional tastes, there are classics such as triple chocolate and vanilla bean. But if you want to live on the wild side, let yourself be tempted by Lavender & Honeycomb or Liquorice & Fennel.
The speciality ice creams are all made in house, and there are rows of Kitchen Maids to prove it. Buy them by the scoop or try one of their decadent desserts which include an ice cream sandwich.
This is definitely an Ipswich cafe where you need to visit multiple times and work your way through your top choices.
It’s located in the same precinct as Dovetails and Pumpyard so do yourself a favour and have a triple experience.
Lunch with a view from Homage at Spicers Hidden Vale. Photo: Kerry Heaney
The lodge atmosphere at Homage is warm and inviting. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Homage Restaurant at Spicers Hidden Vale
When only the best will do, Homage Restaurant at Spicers Hidden Vale is the perfect destination dining location. You’ll spend about 40 minutes driving on relaxed country roads from Ipswich via Rosewood to get to Homage which has plenty of foodie cred.
If the two Chef hats don’t convince you that this Ipswich restaurant should be on your list, just take a wander through the vegetable garden, orchard and around the beehives to the smokehouse and preserving room. Chef Ash Martin is passionate about his paddock to plate stance, and this restaurant does not compromise on quality.
Reborn from the ashes of a devastating fire two years ago, the recreated homestead building that houses Homage offers outstanding views over the countryside. It’s almost enough to drag your eyes away from what’s on your plate but not quite. Especially when the aroma of the coal-roasted pork reaches out and grabs your tastebuds or the luscious lemon tart with its crisp pastry top dances before your vision.
Settle in for a long lunch in the welcoming lodge atmosphere and think about staying the night. What could be better than waking up for breakfast with those views?
Homage Chef Ash Martin is passionate about his food ethos. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Homage’s cheese cake is made using local brie. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Queens Park Café
Set in the heart of Queens Park, this café seats around 200 people, so there is plenty of room for those looking for breakfast or a light lunch.
It’s the perfect spot to start, finish or break your exploration of Queens Park. There is plenty to see here, including a wildlife centre with gold coin admission and a peaceful Japanese garden.
The Queens Park Cafe menu focusses on local suppliers offers modern Australian cuisine with all your cafe favourites.
Find it on Merle Finimore Avenue in Queens Park.
A decadent slice of cheesecake from Ispwich cafe Rafter & Rose. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Rafter & Rose
I do love a good piece of cake, and it’s hard to walk past Rafter & Rose when cake is on my mind.
This quirky little Ipswich cafe is hidden off Ellenborough Street in the city centre. It’s a long and narrow space with so much cute décor to occupy your eyes, but they will be front and centre when you spy the cake cabinet. The coffee is excellent too.
Street seating at Rafter & Rose, a delightful spot to eat in Ipswich. Photo: Kerry Heaney
That’s a wrap
There is much more to explore in and around Ipswich, but I’ll finish my list of Ipswich restaurants and cafes while your stretchy pants still fit.
Do go and explore and share your experiences as you eat in Ipswich. I would love to hear which dishes you enjoyed the most.
Extend your Ipswich experience with a balloon flight over the region.
Disclaimer: Eat drink and be Kerry was a guest of Ipswich Tourism. For more information on the Ipswich region visit Discover Ipswich.