Australia’s Top Destinations To Wine And Dine

Quay, Sydney
Quay, Sydney

If you’re wondering where to go for the best dining experiences in Australia, look no further…

Australia’s best chefs, sommeliers and dining establishments have been honoured at the national Good Food Guide Awards in Melbourne for the first time, marking the official launch of the 2019 Good Food Guide.

Jock Zonfrillo’s Restaurant Orana (SA) nabbed the night’s top honour of Vittoria Restaurant of the Year – following his win in the Food for Good category last year, while Peter Gilmore (Quay, NSW) took out the prestigious Citi Chef of the Year award, and Jodie Odrowaz (Iki Jime, VIC) was named the Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year.

New Restaurant of the Year was awarded to Laura (VIC), while Santa Vittoria Regional Restaurant of the Year went to the much-lauded Brae (VIC).

Also unveiled at the awards was this year’s edition of Australia’s most prestigious annual food bible – the Good Food Guide 2019, now in its 39th edition. Known for its independent, anonymous reviews written by a panel of trusted restaurant critics, the Guide recognises the best Australian restaurants nationally with ‘hats’, symbolised by a chef’s toque, with the term ‘hatted’ now embedded in the Australian lexicon.

To secure a coveted spot in the Guide, restaurants in New South Wales and Victoria must score at least 14 out of 20, while all other states must score a minimum of 15.

More than 500 restaurants from Darwin, Hobart, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Canberra were reviewed, with 264 of these receiving hat status, ranging from one to three.

Only seven restaurants nationally achieved the top accolade of three hats: Attica (VIC), Brae (VIC), Momofuku Seiobo (NSW), Minamishima (VIC), Quay (NSW), Restaurant Orana (SA) and Sixpenny (NSW).

The catalogue of influential Guide editors includes founding editors Claude Forell in Melbourne and Leo Schofield in Sydney – along with Terry Durack, Jill Dupleix and Matthew Evans – who have charted the growth of the restaurant industry in Australia, and helped to shape it.

The 2019 Good Food Guide Award Winners


Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year – Restaurant Orana, South Australia

Winner criteria: Ticks every box. The winning restaurant does not need to receive three hats, but must capture the mood of the nation right now and exemplify what it means to be a world-class restaurant.


  • Quay, Sydney
  • Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney
  • Cutler & Co, Melbourne
  • Brae, Birregurra


New Restaurant of the Year – Laura, Victoria

Winner criteria: The most exciting opening in the past 12 months, this restaurant sets the eating agenda and starts conversations. Represents everything that’s fresh, hot and interesting about dining.


  • Poly, Sydney
  • Matilda 159 Domain, Melbourne
  • Yarri, Dunsborough
  • Bert’s, Sydney


Citi Chef of the Year – Peter Gilmore, Quay, New South Wales

Winner criteria: This chef must be at the forefront of dining, setting new standards, creating new flavour combinations, doing something original, and adding something extra to the Australian dining scene.


  • Paul Carmichael, Momofuku Seiobo
  • Analiese Gregory, Franklin
  • Dan Hunter, Brae
  • Josh Niland, Saint Peter


Santa Vittoria Regional Restaurant of the Year – Brae, Victoria

Winner criteria: The best beyond metro limits. The winning establishment must provide a restaurant experience comparable to anything in the city but remain uniquely regional.


  • Laura, Victoria
  • The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery, New Norfolk
  • Fleet, Brunswick Heads
  • Muse Restaurant, Hunter Valley


Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year – Jodie Odrowaz, Iki Jime, Victoria

Winner criteria: This award is chosen by a panel of food professionals led by Damien Pignolet. It celebrates the memory of a great young chef and is the ultimate accolade for a committed and talented young cook.


  • Monika Frkovic​, Vic
  • Malcolm Hanslow, ACT
  • Daniel Lidgard, Vic
  • Jessica Moore, NSW


Wine List of the Year – Otto, Queensland           

Winner criteria: A diverse and high-quality by-the-glass selection alongside an accessible bottle list that displays a good range of vintages and complements the restaurant’s food and style.


  • Marion, Melbourne
  • Aubergine, Canberra
  • 1889 Enoteca, Brisbane
  • Aria, Sydney

Regional Wine List of the Year – Wickens at the Royal Mail, Victoria

Winner Criteria: Honouring a wine list outside the city limits that displays a diverse selection that complements the restaurant’s food and style while reflecting the unique qualities of the region.


  • Fleet, Brunswick Heads
  • Brae, Birregurra
  • Laura, Point Leo Estate
  • Cullen Estate, Margaret River


Sommelier of the Year – Travis Howe, Carlton Wine Room, Victoria

Winner criteria: The successful wine professional is able to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of their subject, while helping to influence and educate diners. They must be personable, inclusive, curious and driven to constantly deliver the highest level of service.


  • Astrid McCormack, Fleet
  • Marie-Sophie Canto, The Dolphin
  • Ian Trinkle, Aria Brisbane
  • Shanteh Wong, Quay


Citi Service Excellence Award – Kylie Javier Ashton, Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney

Winner criteria: The winner of this award executes the highest standard of restaurant service, from attitude and skill to knowledge and personality.


  • Greta Wohlstadt, Orana
  • Jeremy Courmadias, Quay
  • Wimmy Winkler, Saint Peter
  • Jason Lui, Flower Drum


Vittoria Coffee Legend Award – Stefano de Pieri, Stefano’s Cantina, Victoria

 For an outstanding long-term contribution to the industry, chosen from a short list by Les Schirato of Vittoria Coffee.


Bar of the Year – The Dolphin Hotel Wine Room, Sydney

Winner criteria: The best all-round bar that nails service, drinks, vibe and decor. The winning bar adds something new or different to the drinking scene.


  • Hellbound Wine Bar, Adelaide
  • Bar Rochford, Canberra
  • Romeo Lane, Melbourne
  • The Gresham, Brisbane


Food for Good Award – Sydney Doesn’t Suck, New South Wales

The winner of this award, which celebrates innovation, social enterprise and sustainability, goes above and beyond to contribute to the broader community.


  • Eat Up (VIC)
  • NCIE food program (NSW)
  • Produce to the People (TAS)
  • Food for Thought (national)

Share this article