Top Restaurants in Australia

Australians are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out, whatever the occasion – a romantic dinner for two, a business lunch or a family celebration. The country boasts some of the best restaurants and chefs in the world, and fine dining has become one of Australia’s favorite national pastimes. Recent years have seen an explosion of top quality restaurants throughout the country, with each state regularly claiming a share of the highly sought-after National Restaurant Awards. There are choices to suit every persuasion – from traditional Australian favorites such as steak and seafood, to ethnic choices from virtually every corner of the globe. Here is a full list of Australian City Restaurants.

Many of Australia’s top restaurants have received recognition in prestigious national and regional restaurant award schemes, which make it easy for the discerning diner to know where to go for excellent food and service. Although all recent award winners are too numerous to mention, a few can be singled out for their outstanding performance in winning highly acclaimed restaurant awards.

1. According to the Australian Gourmet Traveler Restaurant Guide awards, the top restaurant across the whole of Australia in 2008 is Pier at Rose Bay, NSW. Diners at this outstanding seafood restaurant enjoy views across the Bay and the freshest seafood and seasonal produce, making it ideal for a special occasion or formal dinner. Favorite menu choices include the oyster entrée, the Chef’s specialty sashimi, and the enticing range of desserts. To accompany a meal, Pier’s wine list includes a wide range of vintage and new release choices.

2. The 2008 Regional Restaurant award holder is Nu Nu, located at Palm Cove, Queensland. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Nu Nu’s ambiance reflects its relaxed tropical location right on the beach. This top restaurant serves traditional Australian dishes, with Asian influences and many original twists. For breakfast, you can enjoy specialty pancakes and tropical coconut hotcakes, or opt for more traditional eggs and bacon cooked to perfection. Lunch temptations include a range of light seafood choices and delicious specialty sandwich options, while for dinner favorite options among regulars are the Queensland mud crab with yellow bean and eggplant relish, rack of lamb with green sauce, or duck with radish and broth. The refreshing fruit-based dessert choices are divine too!

3. Melbourne is home to Vue de Monde, overall winner and best Fine Dining restaurant in the highly prestigious Savour Australia 2007 awards for restaurant excellence. Serving fine French cuisine, Vue de Monde proudly offers the highest standards of service to be found anywhere in Australia. The restaurant doesn’t have a dinner-time menu – instead highly acclaimed Chef Shannon Bennett will put together a unique feast for each table of between five and fourteen courses, consisting of the most luxurious ingredients, finely presented. Lunchtime diners can select from a range of signature dishes from the A La Carte menu de jour, including such delights as braised veal cheek with parmesan gnocchi and mandarin baby carrots, blue fin tuna niçoise, and pumpkin risoni with jamon velouté, followed by tasty desserts or a wide choice of exquisite cheeses.

4. Also in Melbourne is Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar & Grill, awarded best restaurant of the year in the Age Good Food Guide awards 2007. Specializing in dry-aged Grass Fed Beef, Rockpool also offers live seafood choices and delicious fish dishes, all served in a comfortable, homely setting overlooking the city and the Yarra River.

5. Australians themselves voted for their favorite restaurants in the XYZ Networks LifeStyle Food Channel’s “I love Food” Awards. Coming top overall, and also winning the Favorite Modern Australian Restaurant and Favorite New South Wales Restaurant categories, was Georgie’s Cafe Restaurant at the Gallery in Grafton. Situated in a tranquil setting amid the gallery’s latest collections, and with a quiet external courtyard, this is the perfect place for casual dining with a stylish touch. The lunch menu entices diners with its Toasted Turkish Sandwiches, Aussie lamb burger, and other tasty meat and fish options. For dinner, there is a delicious range of entrees, main courses and desserts on offer, with favorites including the freshly shucked oyster entrée, Scotch fillet of beef, comfit of duck Maryland with mashed potato, grilled zucchini and bacon, and the not-to-be-missed lemon and lime tart with orange syrup and fresh cream, or the delectable home-made ice cream and sorbets.

6. For a really special restaurant setting, try Darleys – Lilianfels in the Blue Mountains, 2008 winner of the AHA (NSW) Regional Restaurant of the Year award. Located in the 114-year old former home of Sir Frederick Darley NSW’s sixth Chief Justice, with extensive well-kept gardens adding to the scenic experience, Darley’s offers a fine-dining experience in luxurious surroundings. The menu reflects the traditional setting usesthe freshest local produce. Entrée choices include handful of enticing options, followed by the most tasty cheeses or delectable desserts.

7. When you’re craving the best steak around, where better to go than Cha Cha Char Wine Bar & Grill in Brisbane, the 2007 winner of the best Steak Restaurant award? Serving satisfying portions of the finest, most tender beef in a scenic setting overlooking the Brisbane River, the restaurant also offers a separate main menu with equally tasty non-steak choices, such as confit duck shank, crisp skin salmon with buckwheat noodle and Asian herb salad or the intriguingly-named warm salad of Moreton Bay bugs and corned wagyu brisket.

8. For exquisite Japanese food, try Koko in Southbank, Melbourne. Awarded best Asian restaurant in the 2007 Restaurant & Catering Victoria Awards for Excellence, Koko is notable not only for its excellent, beautifully presented Japanese cuisine, but also for its serene Japanese ambience, enhanced by the soothing effect of an interior water garden. Renowned chef Allan Koh offers teppanyaki style set menus as well as A La Carte options, which change to reflect the best seasonal produce available. The sashimi, sushi, teriyaki and tempura are always highly popular.

9. One of the best places in the country to eat Chinese and other Asian food, according to the 2007 Savour Australia awards, is Ginseng Restaurant in Manuka (ACT). The popularity of this restaurant with its simple, minimalist surroundings is a testament to the excellence of its food. The joy of eating Asian is the ability to select numerous dishes from an enticing menu to share with friends. Popular choices include crispy Pancakes or five spice squid for starters, followed by duck san choy bao, spicy laksa or bok choy noodle soup, to name just a few.

10. Finally, for the finest Indian food in the country, look no further than Tandoori Oven at Hyde Park, Adelaide, several times’ winner of the “Australia’s Best Indian Restaurant” award. The Tandoori Oven is a family-owned restaurant which specializes in North Indian cuisine, including delicately spiced, mild to medium curries and a range of vegetarian options. Tandoori dishes are cooked in traditional charcoal-fired clay ovens to provide a distinctive flavor.