Australia's major cities are home to some of the world's most diverse and vibrant culinary scenes, from international port city Sydney to world-renowned culinary destination Melbourne. The country's annual Good Food Guide Awards presents top-tier dining establishments with yearly awards, including prestigious Chef's Hat designations. Diners can select from a wide variety of Chef's Hat-designated restaurants serving up unique global fare, ranging from traditional Italian eateries to creative pan-Asian fusion destinations. Many top restaurants offer beautiful waterfront views of areas like Darling Harbour or the gorgeous Western Port Bay and Mornington Peninsula. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
Ishizuka is a hidden gem on Melbourne's food scene, opened in 2018 by its namesake executive chef Tomotaka Ishizuka. The restaurant, which was honored with major awards at the 2019 Good Food Guide Awards, is known for its refined kaiseki-style fine dining, served up in an elegant basement-level space offering seating for 16. Up to 11 courses are served up nightly for all diners, with dishes following traditional Japanese philosophies of emphasizing fresh, unique ingredients rather than overwhelming them with seasoning and preparation. Diners can enjoy the restaurant's delightful Kaiseki Menu tasting menu, which is available Wednesday through Monday evenings. Wine pairings are curated by sommeliers David and Sarah Lawler, along with traditional sake options imported from Japan.
basement level b01/139 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia, Phone: +61-3-85-94-08-95
2.Lucio's Italian Restaurant
© Lucio's Italian Restaurant
Lucio's Italian Restaurant is a beautiful Italian-style restaurant in Sydney's Paddington district, opened in 1983 by restaurateur Lucio Galletto. The restaurant is best known as one of Australia's most renowned "art restaurants," named as one of the top restaurants in the world for art and decor by The Independent. Its reputation for art began in 1984 after Galletto framed a sketch by artist Sidney Nolan, starting the restaurant's highlighting of works by contemporary Australian artists. Its Plate Collection, founded in 1998, challenges regional Australian artists to design ceramic plates with designs of their choosing. Diners can enjoy excellent Northern Italian fare at lunch and dinner, including favorites like wagyu beef tartare with smoked daikon and egg yolk, black handkerchief pasta with mussels and prawns, and roasted suckling pig with green apples and pearl onions. Wine pairing lists are curated by sommelier Dirk Bromley, showcasing Italian and Australian favorites.
47 Windsor St, Paddington NSW 2021, Australia, Phone: +61-2-93-80-59-96
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© Oakridge Wines
Oakridge Wines was originally established in 1978 in Australia's beautiful Yarra Valley wine growing region, operated under the direction of chief winemaker David Bicknell. The winery, which is internationally recognized for its high-quality red and white varietals, is home to a vibrant kitchen garden that sources ingredients for its delicious fine dining restaurant. Executive chefs Jo Barrett and Matt Stone craft a menu of innovative modern Australian cuisine, serving up delicious dishes like smoked quail with shiitake mushrooms and lap cheong, barbecue pumpkin kebabs with hummus and sandalwood nuts, crocodile toasts with daikon radish and desert lime, and kangaroo loin with brassica leaf and macadamia nuts. A five-course chef's tasting menu highlights delicious selections like dry-aged duck jersey milk brie, available with in-house wine pairing options.
864 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream VIC 3770, Australia, Phone: +61-3-97-38-99-00
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EZARD is the signature restaurant offering from acclaimed Melbourne chef Teage Ezard, opened in 1999. Today, the restaurant has become one of the city's top fine dining destinations, serving up tasting and a la carte menus throughout the week at lunch and dinner. Diners can enjoy elegant entree selections like Chinese-style duck with mushroom fried rice, swordfish crudo with fermented red chili and cultured goat milk, five-spice pork belly with caramelized apples and sherry, and wagyu beef with smoked ox tongue and koji cream. A five-course tasting menu is available Friday and Saturday evenings, showcasing selections like local mushrooms in gruyere custard with hen eggs and salted walnut nougatine. Dedicated vegan and vegetarian menu offerings ensure a delightful dining experience for guests with dietary restrictions.
187 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia, Phone: +61-3-96-39-68-11
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5.Pt. Leo Estate
© Pt. Leo Estate
Pt. Leo Estate is one of the Mornington Peninsula's most beautiful dining destinations, located on a private estate offering stunning 180-degree views of the Western Port Bay, Phillip Island, and the estate's gorgeous sculpture park. Three dining destinations are offered onsite, including signature restaurant LAURA, named in honor of the famed Jaume Plensa sculpture of the same name. The intimate dining space is focused around an open-plan kitchen, offering elegant, thoughtful dishes crafted by culinary director Phil Wood, including selections like potato duchess with shiitake mushrooms, pan-seared hapuka with fennel and tomato dressing, and Western Port Bay wagyu with almonds and polenta. Wood-fired oven specialties take center stage at the Pt. Leo Restaurant, while a lovely wine terrace served up shared table food in an informal, all-weather patio setting.
3649 Frankston - Flinders Rd, Merricks VIC 3916, Australia, Phone: +61-3-59-89-90-11
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© Saint Peter
Saint Peter is a delightful Paddington fish eatery that has received a plethora of major international awards since its opening in 2016, including a shortlisting for the World Restaurant Awards and a Chef of the Year nod from GQ for executive chef Josh Niland. The restaurant is known for its sustainably-sourced Australian seafood entrees, which are prepared simply and expertly after processing in its custom-designed fish butchery facility. A dedicated aging room focuses on dry-aging techniques, bringing out intense flavors and lean preparations in regional mackerel, albacore, and other seafood selections. Diners can enjoy delicious entree selections like Murrumbidgee Murray cod with burnt tomato and garlic mayonnaise, Swansea bonito with barbecued zucchini and bush tomato harissa, and Clarence River octopus with fennel and white olive.
362 Oxford St, Paddington NSW 2021, Australia, Phone: +61-2-89-37-25-30
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7.Lulu La Delizia
© Lulu La Delizia
Lulu La Delizia is acclaimed as one of Australia's top wine bars, opened in 2017 by executive chef and owner Joel Valvasori. The Subiaco restaurant, which is named in honor of its owner's Italian nonna, Diners can enjoy excellent classic Italian fare at lunch and dinner Wednesdays through Saturdays, focusing on handmade pasta entrees prepared with Old World techniques. Popular pasta selections include bucatini verdi with blue swimmer crab and vermouth, gnocchetti with king prawns and ox heart salsa, and agnolotti sottocenere with silverbeets and pickled sultanas. A fine wine list offers up Italian and Australian wine selections, carefully curated to complement all entrees.
5/97 Rokeby Rd, Subiaco WA 6008, Australia, Phone: +61-8-93-81-24-66
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Templo is a charming 20-seat neighborhood restaurant in Hobart, opened to the public in 2015 by restaurateur Chris Chapple and chef Matt Breen. The lovely restaurant showcases quaint decor elements, including exposed timbers, raw brick walls, and a polished composite floor. Dining experiences focus on communal dining at a round share table, which offers cafeteria views of the restaurant's kitchen. Chef's dining experiences are available, along with hearty a la carte pasta, land, and sea entrees, including the restaurant's signature gnocchetti in Bolognese sauce. Sangria and fine wines are served, though guests are welcome to bring their own beverages for an additional fee.
98 Patrick St, Hobart TAS 7000, Australia, Phone: +61-3-62-34-76-59
© Bistro Blackwood
Bistro Blackwood is a lively bistro in Adelaide's CBD, operating as the sister restaurant of Restaurant Orana, 2019's restaurant of the year according to Gourmet Traveller. The bistro, which was opened in 2018 by Jock Zonfrillo, serves up an ever-evolving menu of classics crafted with indigenous ingredients from local organic farms and producers. Diners can enjoy excellent globally-influenced entree selections like fire-pit smoked pumpkin with smoked almonds and chermoula, Port Wakefield squid with chili and cassava, South Australian pork with Asian greens and Korean spicy rice cakes, and barbecue wagyu brisket with labneh and collard greens. A 40-bottle wine list focuses on local bottles from small producers, though all guests also have access to Restaurant Orana's 400-bottle selection.
285 Rundle St, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia, Phone: +61-8-82-27-03-44
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Akachochin is a delightful traditional Japanese eatery on Melbourne's South Wharf, opened in 2012 by restaurateur Paul Mathis. The restaurant is named in honor of the traditional red paper lanterns that hang outside Japanese-style izakayas, borrowing cues from izakaya culture in a down-to-earth atmosphere. It was named as one of Melbourne's hottest sushi restaurants by the Good Food Guide Awards in 2013, serving up an excellent menu of sushi rolls, sashimi, and tasting platters. Diners can enjoy high-quality main dishes like teriyaki wagyu steaks with yuzu dressing and wasabi, deep-fried lamb ribs glazed in ginger soy honey sauce, and pan-fried chicken breasts in creamy miso sauce. Sake and whiskey flights highlight over 50 varieties of imported Japanese liquors.
33 S Wharf Promenade, South Wharf VIC 3006, Australia, Phone: +61-3-92-45-99-00
© Bodega 1904
Bodega 1904 is a charming tapas restaurant inspired by Sydney's historic Growers Markets, named in honor of the year that the Rozelle Tramway Depot opened. The restaurant, which opened in 2017, is the third offering from Porteño owners Joseph Valore, Ben Milgate, and Elvis Abrahanowicz. Diners can enjoy creative tapas selections like chargrilled southern calamari with squid ink rice and horseradish cream, fried corn arepas with mushroom and romesco sauce, stuffed cassava croquettes with fontina cheese, and raw kingfish crudo with blood orange gazpacho and black bean dressing. Full entree selections are also offered, including grilled sovereign lamb rumps with harissa and silverbeet, wagyu skirt steak with red cabbage and chimichurri, and duck Maryland with plantain sauce and barley. In addition to extensive wine pairing lists, a climate-controlled wine store sells wines to go for picnics and takeout.
1 Dalgal Way, Forest Lodge NSW 2037, Australia, Phone: +61-2-86-24-31-33
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12.Georges Mediterranean Bar and Grill
Georges Mediterranean Bar and Grill is one of Sydney's premiere waterfront dining destinations, showcasing unparalleled views of Darling Harbour from its open-air cocktail lounge. The restaurant is known for its high-quality Greek cuisine offerings, which highlight mezze-style tapas for sharing with the entire table. Daily menus focus on local seafood and fish offerings, prepared according to delicious Mediterranean customs. Mezze banquets are served up for two or more diners at tables, showcasing selections like grilled octopus, chicken souvlaki, haloumi, and beef kofta with stuffed green olives. Greek feast banquets are available all day, serving up platters of slow-roasted Greek lamb with accompaniments like lemon oregano potatoes, zucchini fritters, taramosalata, and mixed marinated olives.
King Street Wharf, 3 The Promenade, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia, Phone: +61-2-92-95-50-66
© Bar Saracen
Bar Saracen is a fantastic Lebanese-style offering from restaurateurs Joseph Abbound and Ari Vlassopoulos, best known for their work at Melbourne favorites like Rumi, Pei Modern, and Hellenic Republic. The restaurant, which opened in 2018 within the former dining space of Rosa's Kitchen, is helmed by executive chef Tom Sarafian, showcasing lesser-known Middle Eastern cuisine offerings at lunch and dinner. An extensive list of shareable mezze offering showcases traditional favorites like labneh and housemade pitas, beef kebabs with mustard leaf, deep-fried okra with cumin and lemon, and makdoos-style fermented eggplant. Larger shareables such as fish fatteh are complemented by a selection of creative desserts, including date and coffee ice cream and traditional cheese mamool.
Ground/22 Punch Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia, Phone: +61-3-86-39-02-65
Balthazar has been one of Perth's favorite dining destinations since the late 1990s, housed within a beautiful Art Deco apartment building in the city's Lawson apartment district. The restaurant has been recently completely overhauled by restaurateurs Emma Ferguson and Daniel Morris, now under the direction of executive chef Skye Faithfull. Dining selections change frequently to reflect seasonal produce bounty, showcasing elegant main dishes like goat curd agnolotti with heirloom pumpkin, seafood spaghettini with garlic and prawn oil, kangaroo loin and tail with sweet potatoes, and beef filets with chestnut mushrooms and spinach. A terroir-driven wine selection is available by the glass or by the bottle, with takeout service available for enjoying selections at home.
6 The Esplanade, Perth WA 6000, Australia, Phone: +61-8-94-21-12-06
XO is a delightful offering from executive chef AK Ramakrishna, opened in 2015 in Narrabundah. The restaurant strives to explore the bounty of the Canberra region, crafting unique Southeast Asian cuisine offerings with local produce. Diners can relax in the restaurant's sleek, charming dining room space, which features blonde wood elements, white brick walls, and modern decor elements. Unique Asian fusion entrees served up throughout the week including nasi goreng with squid ink fried rice and spanner crab, Asian-style spaghetti Bolognese, and roasted pumpkin masak lemak with coconut and turmeric curry. Clever shareables include pork katsu banh mis, diced beef tenderloin pho dumplings, and shantung bao sliders.
16 Iluka St, Narrabundah ACT 2604, Australia, Phone: +61-2-62-95-96-96
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© Capitano Carlton
Capitano Carlton is the latest restaurant offering from the team behind Melbourne favorites like Bar Liberty, Above Board, and Rockwell and Sons, opened in 2018 within the former restaurant space of The Beaufort. The restaurant focuses on serving up Italian-American entrees with simplistic flair, inspired by the Italian dining scene of the United States. Charming interior decor showcases an Art Deco flair, highlighting rich maroon design and terrazzo tile flooring. Diners can enjoy excellent classic pizzas, ranging from simple but decadent cheese pies prepared with aged mozzarella and pecorino to creative variants like fennel and garlic salami. Traditional favorite entrees like veal parmigiana are also served up, along with classic pasta selections like lamb ragu cavatelli or prawn butter ravioli.
421 Rathdowne St, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia, Phone: +61-3-91-34-85-55
Berkelo is a quaint bakery in Brookvale helmed by master baker Matt Durant, opened in 2016. The bakery serves up some of Sydney's best artisanal bread selections in its small, garage-like shopfront, crafted with unbleached Australian stoneground flour and sustainable and organic ingredients. Selections change daily, depending on the availability on seasonal ingredients, with a focus on health-conscious offerings eschewing refined sugars and artificial flavorings. Diners can purchase loaves of delicious crisp sourdough bread or enjoy it by the slice with house-churned Jersey cream butter and honey. Excellent pastry selections include labneh-cream-filled choux with macadamia nuts, salted caramel, and dehydrated bananas. Light cafe fare served up throughout the week includes English muffin sandwiches, croissants, and sweet and savory pies.
8 William St, Brookvale NSW 2100, Australia, Phone: +61-4-29-53-12-51
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18.Marta Osteria Sydney
© Marta Osteria Sydney
Marta Osteria Sydney is a delicious Roman-style restaurant opened in 2018 by executive chef Flavio Carnevale. The Rushcutters Bay favorite dining spot serves up straightforward, traditional Roman cuisine options, housed within a lovely open-air space with regular, bar, and communal table seating. Diners can enjoy house specialties like cacio e pepe, a famed Roman pasta dish prepared with pecorino romano cheese, black pepper, and butter. Roman pinza flatbread pizzas highlight ingredients like fior di latte gelato cream, San Marzano tomatoes, zucchini flowers, and buffalo mozzarella. A balanced wine list highlights selections from Italy's Lazio region, with a focus on biodynamic producers, while a cocktail list focuses on Italian classics like Aperol spritzers and Negronis.
30 McLachlan Ave, Rushcutters Bay NSW 2010, Australia, Phone: +61-2-93-61-66-41
© Babajan Eatery
Babajan Eatery is a charming modern Turkish-style eatery in Melbourne's lovely Carlton North neighborhood, opened in 2017 by Kirsty Chiaplias, a former apprentice of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay known for her work at the Workers' Food Room. The delightful cafe, which is overseen by executive chef Ismail Tosun, showcases lovely design elements by Fitzroy North designers Christensen and Jackson, showcasing steel and timber decor elements and reclaimed church pew seating. Contemporary twists on traditional Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine takes center stage, including favorites like ox cheek shawarma, trout spanakopita, and za'atar bread. At breakfast, diners can enjoy selections like eggplant aleppo, crab and halloumi omelettes with avocado and radicchio, and rose and cardamom mastic rice pudding with poached rhubarb.
713 Nicholson St, Carlton North VIC 3054, Australia, Phone: +61-3-93-88-98-14
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20.Don't Tell Aunty
© Don't Tell Aunty
Don't Tell Aunty is the vision of executive chef and restaurateur Jessi Singh, known for his Indian-style eateries throughout Australia and the United States. The restaurant proudly wears its Indian heritage on its sleeve but eschews Indian restaurant cliches, opting instead for lush velvet decor, long banquet tables, and a lively bar lit with spotlights. Bollywood movies are projected onto the restaurant's walls for diners to enjoy while they partake in "inauthentic Indian" menu selections, including modern takes on traditional favorites like palak paneer, chana masala, malai kofta, and aloo baingan. Tandoor oven specialties range from grilled summer prawns and Aussie lamb chops to vegetarian selections like beetroot paneer tikka. Other unique menu items include Asian fusion fare like Colonel Tso cauliflower and creative naan pizzas topped with fontina cheese and green mango pickle butter.
414 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia, Phone: +61-2-93-31-53-99
© Restaurant Moon
Restaurant Moon is a unique Darlinghurst dining destination from restaurateurs Jackie Park and Touchpong Chancaw, known for their work at Aum. The restaurant, which opened in 2018, is housed within an elegantly-designed space in the city's former Onde building, serving up upscale Thai selections throughout the week at lunch and dinner. Creative entree selections include 72-hour braised Jack's Creek beef ribs in tamarind glaze, Aylesbury duck confit in panang curry, crispy pork belly with Chinese broccoli and fermented soybeans, and stir-fried zucchini and pumpkin with coriander and fried egg. Diners can also enjoy traditional Thai favorites like pad Thai, crab fried rice, and pad se ew, served up alongside fresh Sydney rock oysters and shareables like pork char siu.
346 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia, Phone: +61-2-93-57-60-84
© Bistro Rex
Bistro Rex is a modern French bistro in lovely Potts Point, helmed by chefs and owners Michelle Powell and Jo Ward since 2017. The restaurant focuses modern bistro classics seven days a week at lunch and dinner, housed within a beautiful dining space designed by Ralph Rembel and GP2 Projects. It has received a number of major awards throughout its tenure, including Wine Goblet and Chef's Hat designations by the Good Food Guide Awards. Diners can select from hearty classics like twice-baked cheese souffles, chicken liver parfait, grilled half duck a l'orange, and sirloin steak frites. A full cocktail bar offers house signature cocktails alongside an extensive wine list showcasing more than 300 French wine selections.
50 MacLeay St, Potts Point NSW 2011, Australia, Phone: +61-2-93-32-21-00
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25 Must-Try Restaurants in Australia
- Ishizuka, Photo: Ishizuka
- Lucio's Italian Restaurant, Photo: Lucio's Italian Restaurant
- Oakridge Wines, Photo: Oakridge Wines
- Ezard, Photo: Ezard
- Pt. Leo Estate, Photo: Pt. Leo Estate
- Saint Peter, Photo: Saint Peter
- Lulu La Delizia, Photo: Lulu La Delizia
- Templo, Photo: Templo
- Bistro Blackwood, Photo: Bistro Blackwood
- Akachochin, Photo: Akachochin
- Bodega 1904, Photo: Bodega 1904
- Georges Mediterranean Bar and Grill, Photo: lily_rocha/stock.adobe.com
- Bar Saracen, Photo: Bar Saracen
- Balthazar, Photo: Balthazar
- XO, Photo: XO
- Capitano Carlton, Photo: Capitano Carlton
- Berkelo, Photo: Berkelo
- Marta Osteria Sydney, Photo: Marta Osteria Sydney
- Babajan Eatery, Photo: Babajan Eatery
- Don't Tell Aunty, Photo: Don't Tell Aunty
- Restaurant Moon, Photo: Restaurant Moon
- Bistro Rex, Photo: Bistro Rex
- Cover Photo: Adam Calaitzis/stock.adobe.com
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