Name: Gus’ Cafe
Type: Café. Modern Australian
Location: Civic
Meal: Dinner
Food et: Grilled chicken breast sandwich
Cost: $10.50

Established in 1967, by Augustin ‘Gus’ Petersilka, Gus’ Café has become a Canberran landmark and a legend.

Gus came from Vienna, Austria, which is evident in the basic wood lined, continental-style interior of the café. It’s a simple décor, harping back to a simpler time.

Now famous for it’s out-door dining, Gus actually had to fight an epic battle with local bureaucrats and council officials (including a petition to the Queen) to be Canberra’s first open-air, late night café. Thankfully for us all he won his battle and from 1968 the café extended out on to the street – and other Canberra restaurants followed suit. Canberra now has a bustling out-door dining scene, and we have Gus to thank for that!

With this in mind, a friend and I decided that Gus’ was the perfect place to grab a quick bite to eat before an early movie. The weather was decent so we grabbed a table in their outdoor area. Being that it is still winter in Canberra, the heaters were on and the plastic shielding was up. It was actually nice and cosy, like being inside the restaurant – but with the added bonus of people watching from the street.

Gus’ menu consists of basic café food, quick bites, pastas, risottos and my very most favourite thing ever – all day breakfast. They have a really great coffee menu too, if you are so inclined (but I’m a tea drinker, bitches).

As we didn’t have much time, we both grabbed a small meal that we knew wouldn’t take too long to prepare. I chose the Grilled chicken breast sandwich (without chips, as I’d had an afternoon tea at work) and J chose the nachos with chicken.

The meals come out about 10 minutes later, smelling and looking delicious. The grilled chicken sandwich was served on toasted bread which had been coated in a garlic butter (drool!). The sandwich was built with sliced grilled chicken, cheese, roquette and a sun dried tomato mayo. It was very tasty, the mayo giving off a nice saltiness to off set the blander chick and roquette. The sandwich was quite sizeable, definitely a two hand effort.

J told me that she was very impressed with the nachos, especially the amount of topping. J liked that they had more of the sour cream/guacamole/salsa then most nachos you get out at restaurants – which is never enough! She was a little wary about adding the chicken, because she’d never had chicken with her nachos – but she was very impressed and liked it a lot.

Service at Gus’ is efficient and polite. The girl who served us was fine, she got our order right, but she was neither happy nor overly attentive. The guy behind the counter when we went in to pay was quite chatty and put a smile on our faces as we left.

Verdict: I think Gus’ is a good “go to” place. In all honesty, the food is nothing to write home about, but it’s quick and basic – which is sometimes all you need! The greatest thing about Gus’, though, is the atmosphere, the location and the legend.

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