Photo: The Lion Hotel
Australia’s dynamic and evolving culinary scene is celebrated for the second year in The Australian Financial Review Australia’s Top Restaurants presented by Qantas. This is the only national restaurant awards program of its kind to be decided by the votes of the chefs and restaurateurs themselves, resulting in a unique insiders’ guide to the best Australian dining at every level.
Last year, Sydney’s Sepia, run by Martin Benn and Vicki Wild, took both Australia’s Top Restaurant and Top Chef awards.
This year, more than 100 new entries have been added, making the Top 500 an incredibly diverse and very “now” list that includes not only the fine dining greats and much-loved institutions, but new restaurants, bars and bistros, from city laneways to shady vineyards.
Renowned food and restaurant writers Terry Durack and Jill Dupleix, who return as the 2016 Australia’s Top Restaurants co-directors, say the awards celebrate Australia’s growing culture of excellence.
“Adding so many newcomers to the Top 500 is living proof that the Australian dining scene doesn’t stand still for a minute,” says Durack. “Victoria wins with the most new entries in 2016, although Western Australia is experiencing a new boom that’s dining, not mining, with 21 out of the 56 Western Australian entries being new to the list.”
Among the list of 500 are last year’s high-ranking favourites Sepia, Attica, Quay and Brae, with newcomers including Adelaide’s modern Italian gem Osteria Oggi, Sydney’s game-changing Continental Deli Bar Bistro, and Melbourne’s Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, where the cooking turns history on its head.
Here’s the full Adelaide list:
Ruby Red Flamingo
Vitners Bar & Grill, Angaston
Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar
Terroir Auburn, Auburn
Gaucho’s Argentinian Restaurant
Parwana Afghan Kitchen
Botanic Gardens Restaurant
Shanker’s Authenic Indian Cuisine
Press Food & Wine
The Mayflower Restaurant & Bar
Henley Farm, Seppeltsfield
Windy Point Restaurant, Belair
The Pot Food & Wine
2KW Bar & Restaurant
Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurnt
Jolley Boarhouse Restaurant
The Bridgewater Mill, Bridgewater
D’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant, McLaren Vale
Hill of Grace Restaurant
The Salopian Inn, McLaren Vale
The Tasting Room at Mayura Station, Millicent
Kenji Modern Japanese
Georges on Waymouth
Coal Cellar & Grill
The Lane Vineyard, Hahndorf
Street ADL (now Blackwood)
The Elbow Room, McLaren Vale
Pipers of Penola, Penola
Leonard’s Mill, Second Valley
The Lion Hotel
Compiled in conjunction with a distinguished Australia-wide panel of Good Food Guide editors, reviewers and industry experts, the Top 500 list highlights a number of Australian dining trends. 2016 sees the healthy growth of chef’s kitchen gardens and the resurgence of skills such as on-site butchering, as seen at the Yarra Valley’s Healesville Hotel and Western Australia’s Co-Op Dining.
“We’re also seeing new restaurants open with more counter dining than table seating,” says Jill Dupleix. “The likes of Fleet at Brunswick Heads, Franklin in Hobart and Sydney’s Kensington Street Social make it fun to get up close and personal with the chefs.”
The Top 500 chefs and restaurateurs form an academy whose votes determine Australia’s Top 100 Restaurants, to be announced in May.
This year, the Top 100 list and Australia’s Top Chef Award will be joined by an inaugural Top Service Team Award, an innovation prompted by key restaurant industry players.
“All good operators know that the experience of dining has to be about more than the food, and the service team contributes hugely to the financial success of the business,” says Durack.
It’s not just the chefs who get to have their say – the Australian public can also weigh in when voting commences for The People’s Award on 1 March. Australians can choose their favourite restaurant by voting from the list of 500 and the winner will be announced with the Top 100 list.
The Top 100 list will be announced at a Gala Awards ceremony in Sydney on Monday, 2 May and published in The Australian Financial Review on Tuesday, 3 May.
Australian food lovers can also look forward to the exciting Dining Program that supports the awards – with all those restaurants nominated in the top 500 given the opportunity to stage a unique dining event. The program will roll out nationally, allowing Australia’s discerning diners to visit their favourite restaurants and take part in the great adventure that is dining in Australia in 2016.
For more information and to view the full list of Australia’s Top 500 restaurants, go to www.australiastoprestaurants.com