18 of the Best New Restaurants to Try

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They’re of the moment and making an impact. Here are the newest – and hottest – restaurants around the country.

Victoria

Transformer

The team behind Brunswick Street’s Vegie Bar has gone gastronomic at Transformer, a meat-free restaurant that’s causing a stir in fashionable Fitzroy. 

Rosa’s Canteen

Rosa Mitchell’s latest restaurant is a sleek, slightly corporate space at the banking and legal end of the CBD but the Italian fare is as authentic as her fans have come to expect. 

Donovans

A year after fire tore through its seaside kitchens, Melbourne’s beloved beach house is the talk of the town again. 

New South Wales 

nel

Great dishes are often inspired by fond food memories. At Nel, the dégustation-only menu is a whimsical homage to the food of chef Nelly Robinson’s childhood. 

The Gantry Restaurant & Bar

As boats bob on the shimmering harbour, a mix of lovers, lunchers and hotel loafers sip cocktails on Pier One wharf. Thanks to the sweeping views, it’s impossible not to be mesmerised by Sydney’s latest waterfront idyll. 

Firedoor

When Lennox Hastie, former chef at Spain’s Asador Etxebarri (renowned as one of the best restaurants in the world), said he wanted to set up shop in Sydney, Sydney got excited. And then Sydney waited. And waited. More than three years later, the result is breathtaking. 

Queensland 

Pizzeria Violetta 

It’s as if someone took a tiny, bustling corner of Naples and transported it to Brisbane’s western suburbs. The open kitchen is a flurry of flour, dough and rapid-fire exchanges of Italian. 

Malt Pier

Overlooking a swimming pool in the new Pier Waterfront precinct in Newstead, this compact café-bistro has an exclusive vibe. The Scandi-chic fit-out features muted tones, handcrafted timber furniture and wall-to-ceiling glass revealing a tranquil view. 

Happy Boy

Happy Boy is a surprise package. For starters, it’s tucked away in a spare, industrial-chic space on a residential side street just a stone’s throw from the CBD. Nobody is stumbling upon this place by accident. This is Chinese – but not as you know it. There are no fish tanks or 40-page menus here – just one page listing an eclectic array of dishes from Sichuan, Cantonese, Hainanese cuisines and beyond. 

Australian Capital Territory 

Italian & Sons – Bacaro

Can’t get a table at the wildly popular Italian & Sons? Scoot around the back to the sleek wine bar they’ve just opened. 

Local Press

Single-speed bike-riding hipsters mingle with dog walkers and pram pushers, all tucking into brunch after a morning stroll around the lake. This is one of Canberra’s hottest cafés so get there early or be prepared to wait for za’atar-coated eggs with dill yoghurt and quinoa tabouleh or banana and coconut pancakes. 

Western Australia 

Mary’s

A permanent pop-up? A revolving restaurant? Mary’s, the night-time alter ego of Highgate’s Mary Street Bakery, could be described in myriad ways but all you need to know is that it’s one of the hottest openings west of the Nullarbor. 

Sauma

Sure, you’re welcome to drop by this modern Indian restaurant for a beer or cocktail at the bar but strong-willed is the drinker who can resist Gurps Bagga’s menu of spice and all things nice. 

South Australia 

Africola

Chef Duncan Welgemoed has returned to his South African roots after a journey that’s taken him through several UK Michelin-starred restaurants. The showstopper is a roasted cow’s head, served in the form of three different dishes. 

Orana

Like Denmark’s Noma and Brazil’s DOM – restaurants celebrated for their focus on native produce – Orana aims to make the unfamiliar familiar. Owner-chef Jock Zonfrillo works with about 40 native ingredients to create exquisite dishes that showcase Australia’s more exotic flavours. You might start at crocodile with green mango and wattleseeds or Alexander palm with bush honey and green ants, before moving on to dishes such as charred kangaroo tartare with gubinge (billygoat plum), grass and wild garlic. 

Northern Territory 

Seoul Food

One of Darwin’s finest Korean restaurants is winning fans thanks to dishes such as pork belly with kimchi, Korean-influenced beef carpaccio and vegetarian bibimbap. 

Tasmania

Frank Restaurant

You won’t find the usual cuts of beef at Frank. Here, there’s flat iron steak, hanger steak and entraña (inside skirt steak), all cooked over a charcoal grill. One of the latest additions to Hobart’s happening waterfront has a strong Latin American influence, from the smoky octopus to the charred vegetables with tomatillo, apple salsa and goat’s curd.

Willing Bros Wine Merchants

This neighbourhood wine bar is bang in the centre of Elizabeth Street’s restaurant strip in North Hobart. Locals jostle for a spot at the bar or one of the few tables inside. Drop in for a drink and something to nibble (warm olives or chicken-liver parfait) or settle in for duck cassoulet or steak frites with Paris butter. 

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