With our outgoing and creative chefs, fresh, unique produce and progressive designs, it’s no surprise that Australia is home to some of the world’s best dining experiences. Our adventurous and forward-thinking chefs have a population of inquisitive, menu-minded people to support and celebrate their latest and most eccentric creations.
When it comes to living out our dining dreams, it’s time Australians moved beyond outdated ideas of European cities and started looking at their own backyard.
Sydney, New South Wales
Being served hand-harvested seafood as you overlook the Sydney Harbour Bridge in one of the country’s most awarded restaurants has to be one of the most iconic dining experiences in the country. You’ve likely heard of celebrity chef Peter Gilmore, who leads the Quay team, his eager experimentation and appreciation of diverse foods driving the quality and energy of the restaurant. Gourmet Traveller describes the experience as “a lesson in taste and judgement”, while patrons describe the wonderful food, service and atmosphere as a “once in a lifetime” experience.
Magill, South Australia
South Australia is known for its wine and fine dining experiences. Magill Estate may be the perfect union of both. Admire the panoramic view of the estate’s vineyard through the floor to ceiling windows as you savour their complex and extensive degustation menu. Staff walk you through each taste presented by chef Scott Huggins. The menu, the wine and the experience are flawless, though it does come with its well-earned fine dining price tag.
Red Hill, Victoria
Tedesca Osteria, is one of the newer gems to join the mantle of the Mornington Peninsula. Designed by the keen architectural eye of Patrick Ness and filled with the warmth and culinary genius of Brigitte Hafner, Tedesca has a bespoke, grounded feel to it. Ingredients change with the seasons, according to local availability and what grows in their own vegetable patches. Even the benches are decorated with flowers from the garden. John Lethlean, of The Australian, described the model as “the perfect manifestation of hospitality”. Tedesca was awarded Best Restaurant at the 2020 Eat Drink Design Awards, yet remains more grounded and affordable than many of its culinary peers.
Image credit to tedesca.com.au.
Southwest, Western Australia
Winner of the 2018 Restaurant of the Year Award, Wills Domain delivers inventive and original dishes with high technical precision. Wills Domains sits upon 60 hectares of rolling hills and vineyards to the north of the Margaret River region, overlooking the Indian Ocean. For those looking to enjoy fine dining in Western Australia, booking a seat at this award-winning restaurant is a must. Where else can you enjoy Patagonian tooth fish with mantis shrimp and scallops with a side of potato gems?
If you’ve ever wiggled your toes in the world of fine dining, you’ve likely heard of Attica. New Zealand-born chef and owner Ben Shewry explores the story of our country and continent as he brings local and indigenous foods to the oh-so-fancy fine dining scene. From crocodile ribs and local herbs to chicken soup jelly, this restaurant combines the classic and the experimental, nodding to this land’s oldest inhabitants while looking to the future of flavour.
Fico – Italian for fig – is an intimate restaurant bursting with fun and flavour that is self-described “casual fine dining”. Offering two tasting menus and a small a la carte menu for those seated at the bar, both with the option of paired beverages, the food and wine is centred around the fresh and local produce for which Tasmania is known. All their pasta is made by hand and cooked to al dente perfection, though its Italian origin acts only as inspiration to this diverse and adventurous menu.
Image credit to ficofico.net.
Pyrmont, New South Wales
If you enjoy fine dining for the flavour and the energy of the experience, Momofuku Seiobo might just top your to-do list. Unlike many other fine dining experiences, Momofuku doesn’t concern itself with fronting formality and poise, instead presenting dishes that are colourful and complex in their flavour. Chef Paul Carmichael’s ties to Barbados and Puerto Rico can be tasted in his exciting and eclectic menu. Gourmet Traveller describes the experience as “dining freed from convention”.
North Brisbane, Queensland
If you’re a fan of MasterChef, you may know chef Shannon Kellam for his chocolate de passion challenge. The dish combines chocolate hazelnut praline mousse, passionfruit curd, strawberry sorbet, and the tears of MasterChef participants who marvelled at its complexity and flavour. Montrachet combines French perfection, elegant décor, exceptional service, artful presentation and robust flavours.
Santini Bar & Grill
Perth, Western Australia
Sophisticated yet relaxed, Santini Bar & Grill is at the forefront of the Posh Casual Movement, serving classic dishes in a warm, approachable environment. The extensive menu is designed around what you – the diner – wants to eat, rather than what might impress critics with its obscurity.
Little Miss Korea
Darwin, Northern Territory
This unique Korean Charcoal BBQ restaurant promises an intimate and relaxed dining experience with exciting and memorable food. Celebrity chef Chung Jae Lee, who started the restaurant in 2015 says, “our passion at LMK is to deliver the freshest dining experience in Darwin”. The menu is surprisingly affordable, given the restaurant’s popularity and high ratings, making the experience all the more inclusive and fun.
What has been your favourite dining experience to date? What restaurants would you recommend to someone travelling through your state?
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