Best Places To Eat In Australia
Australia has an exciting array of native ingredients and a food culture that is constantly evolving, as international dishes are reimagined and adapted by the local cuisine. Not only can you indulge in unique flavors, but you can enjoy them in a one-of-a-kind environment. Try a plate of Asian street food on a Darwin beach at sunset, or tuck into a meat pie at Melbourne's most famous sporting ground. Plus, there are world-class restaurants run by world-renowned celebrity chefs. Here are my picks for the best places to eat in Australia.
1. N Lee Bakery Cafe, Melbourne
N Lee Bakery Cafe makes the best banh mi and brace for impact. There are two locations in the CBD, but the one on Smith Street is the best. Don’t be afraid of the quick-moving lunchtime queue. The fixings are traditional: house-made pate, mayo, cucumber, pickled carrot, cilantro, a choice of pork, chicken, or tofu, and a secret sauce. The freshness of the bread, the quality of the pork, and the sheer size of the sandwich make it one of the best meals in town.
2. Aubergine, Griffith
Ben Willis' entry into the black (okay, grey) pav category takes the form of a smashed black sesame and star anise version. Poached apricots, apricot sorbet, black sesame custard and mango find a home among shards of the meringue. Welcome to the dark side.
3. Franklin Resturant, Hobart
Even though not a lot of Australians eating kangaroo meat, it is still must try food when traveling to Australia. For the one visiting Sydney head to Meat & Wine Co., one of best restaurant cooking Kangaroo meat in Australia.
4. Sourced Grocer, Brisbane
The rapidly growing Brisbane food scene has taken café staples, such as Bircher muesli and banana bread, and applied a fine dining finesse to create an original style of food that's spreading throughout the Queensland capital. The team at Sourced Grocer was one of the first to do an upmarket take on café staples that seems perfectly matched to the laid-back nature of Brisbane, and now its standalone restaurant Gauge is winning a swag of awards for its inventive dishes, like the garlic bread with burnt vanilla and brown butter.
5. Sunset Dinner, Kings Canyon
Native Australian ingredients are fundamental to the country's cuisine, and the Northern Territory offers opportunities to experience bush foods and the culture that has used them for thousands of years. Near Alice Springs, enjoy an immersive dining experience with Arrernte Aboriginal chef and host Bob Pernuka Taylor from RT Tours. On a Mbantua Dinner, you'll indulge in a three-course meal infused with unique flavors of the Australian bush. After dinner, spot the animals that only come out after dark, and marvel at millions of stars above. Nitmiluk Tours will take you through the winding Nitmiluk Gorge on a sunset dinner cruise, where you'll eat a three-course meal cooked on-board as the setting sun transforms the landscape. Learn about seasonal bush foods and medicines used by the Luritja and Pertame (Southern Aranda) people with a Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Tour, set in the breathtaking backdrop of Kings Canyon.
6. Black Star Pastry, Sydney
Black Star Pastry has long been keeping pie-lovers weak at the knees with their lamb shank & red wine pie, often toted as Sydney’s most exalted pastry offering. Yet some other members of the Black Star royal pie family – notably the kangaroo and the beer & brisket – have recently made moves to come from behind and snatch the crown for their own. If it comes to blows, we’d go to battle with these pastry titans any day.
7. Frosty Mango, Queensland
The start of the mango season signals summer in Australia, and enjoying these plump, sweet fruit as the weather warms up is an Australian rite of passage. Mangoes have become synonymous with the state of Queensland where they're grown in large numbers, so there's no better place to eat one. Australians will tell you the best way to enjoy this tropical treasure is the deliciously messy, traditional way: by slicing the "cheeks" off each side, picking them up with your hands, and eating the flesh inside. You'll find many mango dishes on menus across the state, like the frozen treats at Frosty Mango on the coastal route to Far North Queensland, or pick up a fresh bunch at a local market.
8. Quay Resturant, Sydney
Thanks to chef Peter Gilmore's intricately prepared and delicately balanced dishes, Quay has won more awards than any other restaurant in Australia, listed for five years on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list while holding the title of Best Restaurant in Australasia for three of those years. Located on Sydney Harbour's waterfront, with sweeping views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, this is a uniquely Australian dining experience with food and views that are both world class.
9. Elephant Beach Cafe, Western Australia
The Western Australia Gourmet Escape celebrates a region where Australia's surf culture and fine dining collide. Each year a roster of international chefs head to the world's only wine region with surf beaches on its doorstep to celebrate the fresh produce, iconic Australian wines and the amazing seafood that the region produces. Drawn by the waves, many of the area's most skilled chefs and winemakers are also keen surfers. They include Elephant Beach Cafe chef Tony Howell, who uses the local seawater to brine his meat and boil his prawns. Visit during the Gourmet Escape and you will see why so many celebrity chefs consider this one of the most interesting and original foodie events on the calendar.
10. Very Good Falafel, Brunswick
Very Good Falafel is easily the best in town. Bright green and chunky on the inside, crisp on the outside. The Brunswick storefront is seemingly always packed with people in search of a quick bite, maybe a crisp salad, velvety hummus, or sabich bursting with eggplant — and falafel, always. If you like heat, ask for extra zhug, which is house-made and loaded with cilantro and green chile.
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