The Hottest New Restaurants in Australia to Book Now
Image credit: Cassie Abraham
Such and Such, ACT1/35
Mal Hanslow, executive chef at Canberra’s dégustationonly fine-diner Pilot, was whipping up a simple dinner at home when he thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a restaurant where I could just cook like this?”
Now he does: 80-seater Such and Such, which he opened with partners Dash Rumble and Ross McQuinn in Constitution Place in the CBD, moments away from the Canberra Theatre. On the surface, the new eatery seems to be everything that Pilot isn’t: colour-popping interiors filled with art, lots of share plates and a good chunk of real estate reserved for walk-ins. But taste the food and Hanslow’s signature skill is on show.
St Siandra, NSW2/35
Could anything be more Sydney than arriving at lunch in a boat? Make a movie-star entrance at Mosman’s breezy, Amalfi-style St Siandra, which has its own moorings and private beach. In the kitchen, chef Sam McCallum (ex-Nomad) creates holiday feel fare like fresh grilled seafood and steaks, paired with spritzes and light wines.
A titan of the Australian culinary scene, Guy Grossi’s latest foray into Brisbane has arrived with the opening of the Amalfi Coast-inspired Settimo at The Westin Hotel. Expect silky pastas (try the zesty Pasta al Limone); plenty of seafood offerings; Guy’s Papa’s Lamb and his signature Tiramisu which is scooped out of a giant serving bowl – just like it would be at home. Tip: come at breakfast for the Italian pastries made fresh daily.
Nomad’s mini-me has finally opened in Sydney’s Surry Hills. Led by chef Jacqui Challinor, Beau & Dough serves up fragrant manoush, baklava and coffee at the front, while sultry Beau Bar presents generous seafood platters, lobster thermidor and steak frites. The spiced lamb manoush is an instant winner.
Image credit: Kate Shanasy
All Saints Estate has long been a drawcard in Rutherglen – it sits inside a 159-year old castle, after all. But a multimillion dollar restoration and a brand-new cellar door and restaurant have taken things to new heights. All terracotta, blonde wood and vineyard views, Kin is headed up by executive chef Jack Cassidy (ex-Jackalope), who takes his ingredients straight from the landscape. We’re talking Murray cod, Rutherglen honey and durif, the region’s signature grape.
Image credit: Komeyui restaurant
Claiming to be the home of Australia’s longest sushi bar (12 metres, if you’re asking), the twin to South Melbourne’s Komeyui has opened a warmweather outpost in Brisbane’s Spring Hill. Diners have the options of à la carte or omakase and there’s also a refined bento box menu for an upscale working lunch.
Sala, the new double-storey Italian seafood restaurant in a wharf-meets-warehouse at the end of Pyrmont’s Jones Bay Wharf, has all these things, tied together with a top-tier spirits list.
There are three places to sit: mezzanine, downstairs inside and alfresco. Lower level by the window is the pick for those harbour views and you should kick things off with a bittersweet Cynar Amaro Sour to set your appetite to drive. Order share plates from the crudo and antipasti menus then move onto primi and pesce. The must-try is the squid ink tortellini, stuffed with a smooth mousse of crab, a dish that has been upcycled from executive chef Danny Russo’s time heading up L’Unico in the early aughts and has followed him around ever since.
Tommy Gunns, Vic8/35
Restaurant Igni’s former head chef, James Bond-Kennedy, has packed his knives and headed a few clicks along the Bellarine to Barwon Heads and a welcoming weatherboard cottage called Tommy Gunns. Inside, he’s cooking happy, holiday friendly bistro food – steak, great seafood, excellent fries – that hits the exact right spot when you’re enjoying a few days away.
Image credit: Steven Woodburn
El Primo Sanchez, NSW9/35
Sydney’s having a real-deal Mexican boom: Pyrmont’s Nativo, Newtown’s Maiz and Taqueria Zepeda at the Rocks, just for starters. Now a Maybe Group and Public Hospitality collaboration, under the direction of chef Alejandro Huerta, is opening El Primo Sanchez in the old Rose Hotel in Paddington. Classic cocktails such as Negroni and Old Fashioned are made with either mezcal or tequila to offer a taste of the distinctive Mexican spirits and the food isn’t an afterthought: there’s a solid taco menu, as well as Oaxacan tlayuda (Mexican pizza) and plenty else to snack on and share.
Allegra Dining Room, SA10/35
It was a sad day for Adelaide vegans when Allegra Dining Room in the CBD called it a day at the end of 2021. Actually, it was sad for everyone because this wasn’t a restaurant just for the plant-positive; it was a place that served fresh, lively food that even a meat eater could love. Now the 28-seater has reopened and is booking up fast.
Clam Bar, NSW11/35
When Dan Pepperell and the team from Pellegrino 2000 and Bistrot 916 launch a new venue, Sydneysiders will go to battle for a booking. So expect to join the city’s eating elite when Clam Bar opens next month at 44 Bridge Street in the CBD, the Art Deco site of the former Bridge Room. The style is New York grill: steak, whole fish and a ton of fresh shellfish, almost certainly with some sort of Pepperell twist.
Image credit: Underbar
The relocation of stand-alone Ballarat restaurant Underbar to its new home in the boutique Hotel Vera had more than its share of pandemic-related delays. But now, headed up by Per Setrained Derek Boath and wine maestro Anthony Schuurs, it’s finally here. Seasonal, fresh and local is not a new concept but what these guys do with it is. Make a booking and find out.
It’s been a while since “the other side of the bridge” has seen anything like Petermen, Josh and wife Julie’s second high-end eatery after award-winning Saint Peter in Paddington. Set to open next month, Petermen – the name comes from a traditional word for “fishermen” – seats about 60 and sits on a leafy corner in St Leonards. “It’s a beautiful location and an unbelievable footprint of a restaurant,” says Josh. “I just want to walk in and see people enjoying incredible Australian produce.”
The menu will be grouped under headings such as “fruits, vegetables and cheese” and “mollusca”, the latter including clams, squid and octopus. A typical dish might be a dry-aged coral trout, sliced and fanned into one of Josh’s inimitable plated artworks, with herbs and the trout’s offal as its centre.
Al Lupo, WA14/35
What’s summer without a new beach bar? North Fremantle’s latest is Al Lupo. It’s a simple formula: gorgeous space; fabulous wine, beer and cocktails; delicious share plates; and unbeatable views. Summer in a nutshell
Image credit: Steven Woodburn
It was a bit of a shock when stalwart Toko, on Crown Street in Surry Hills, shuttered its doors earlier this year. The glamorous, moodily lit izakaya – famous for its smoked miso king salmon, soft-shell crab and yuzu meringue cheesecake – had been part of the dining landscape for 15 years. Thankfully for its many loyal patrons, the closure wasn’t permanent and Toko 2.0 has opened on George Street in the CBD. Apart from the new address, things remain largely unchanged – from the menu favourites to some of the staff, including owner and menu maestro Matt Yazbek, head chef Sunil Shrestha and manager and sake sommelier Paul Birtwistle. Even the design evokes comfort and joy: the sushi and robata grill counter’s there, as is the private dining room. “It felt incredible to see customers flowing back to the venue and enjoying the same experience and vibe as in Surry Hills,” says Yazbek of the first few days after opening. “We’ve had an amazing response.”
Image credit: Next Door
Next Door, NSW16/35
The baby sibling to Neil Perry’s Margaret (yes, it’s next door), this chic-but-chilled bar and eatery (30-36 Bay Street, Double Bay) serves antipasti, cocktails and Perry’s famous cheeseburger with sell-your-soul-for-it sauce. No bookings; just wander in from midday, Wednesday to Sunday
Africola Canteen, SA17/35
Another side project – though this one doesn’t sit physically beside its famous parent – Africola Canteen is in Norwood and the speciality is salads, like broccoli with green goddess dressing and crisp garlic.
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Former Port Cygnet Cannery chefs Lachlan Colwill and Sophie Pope have opened an intimate diner inside the Lexus showroom in Hobart. With seats for just 12, the format is as much about conversation and storytelling as it is about food.
Image credit: The Marion
The Marion, ACT19/35
Originally an event space, The Marion on Lake Burley Griffin is now serving elegant weekday lunches – lobster bisque, roast Muscovy duck with puy lentils – best enjoyed on the sunny deck by the water.
“Gildas is about an olive stone’s throw away from Firedoor,” says Lennox Hastie of his new Basque-inflected wine and tapas bar in Sydney’s Surry Hills. The chef has olives on his mind because he’s been taste-testing hundreds to find the perfect one to feature in the gildas from which the venue takes its name. A gilda is the quintessential Basque bite: a toothpick featuring simply an olive, a Cantabrian anchovy and a guindilla pepper – and it is, of course, the centrepiece of the food offering here. Beyond that there’s pintxos and share plates that work either as a quick snack alongside a glass of sherry or vermouth, or a full meal if you order enough.
Thi Le made a name for herself as Melbourne’s maestro of modern Vietnamese cooking with the legendary Anchovy. That restaurant is currently on pause and in its place is Jeow in Richmond, serving fresh, à la carte Laotian cuisine that references the suburban cooking Le loved as a child. Standout dishes include aromatic duck larb, rich beef stew and sakoo yat sai, a tapioca dumpling filled with peanut and Jerusalem artichoke.
Ex-Joy chef Tim Scott has built his own dream restaurant, the 24-seat Exhibition in the Brisbane CBD, designing everything from the ceramics to the playlist. Guests can choose from two produce-driven set menus or sit at the bar for drinks and snacks such as oysters, caviar and cured meats. It’s an intimate space with an open kitchen designed to transport you fully into Scott’s culinary world.
Image credit: Ulrich Lenffer
Italian house of deliciousness, Don Peppino’s in Paddington, was with us for a good time not a long time but now part of its original crew has reassembled at the equally excellent Fontana in Redfern. The menu wanders all over the boot; there’s a Roman-style deep-fried artichoke, mozzarella in Carrozza sandwiches spiced up with ’nduja, and chef Daniel Johnston makes his own Southern Italian taralli – little biscuits sprinkled with fennel seeds that are beautiful with salami. And of course, there’s pasta – lots of it, including the chickpea-bomb ciceri e tria that was a Peppino’s favourite. The Don may be gone but the legend lives on.
Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters, VIC24/35
When chef Alejandro Saravia opened Farmer’s Daughters, his Melbourne CBD lovesong to Gippsland, in 2021, he was inundated with emails from producers in other parts of the state. “They were introducing their products to us and true to our commitment to promoting the Victorian farming industry, we thought it’d be a good idea to expand our reach.”
The result is Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters, a new 180-seat restaurant at Federation Square. Its sole purpose is to champion the food, wine and arts of often overlooked Victorian regions. The focus will rotate: on one visit there may be pottery from Bendigo or art from Gippsland, the next it might be a wine-matching dinner from a small winery or a micro-distiller creating bespoke cocktails. Food-wise, everything will be Victorian, from seafood to venison to vegetables, and cooked over wood and coals. There’ll even be visual projections transporting guests into different regional communities.
Image credit: Hervé’s
The Craft’d Grounds precinct in Brisbane welcomes a classy newcomer: a French inflected loft restaurant helmed by ex-Hôtel de Crillon hospitality honcho Hervé Dudognon. Steak, seafood platters packed with Australian produce, an Australian/French/ Corsican wine list and affogato menu are the highlights.
Image credit: Izgara
The name is Turkish for “grill” and grilling is the life-force behind chef and co-owner Efe Topuzlu’s Potts Point spot, inspired by his family’s restaurant from his teenage years in Istanbul. Iskender lokum (lamb loin on smoked eggplant) and other decadent classics – and a few modern surprises, like a caviar service – arrive amid plush velvet banquettes. The cocktails are a standout; be sure to try the frothy Apricot Sour
Image credit: Jungle Fowl
Jungle Fowl, QLD27/35
Ben Wallace and Rachael Boon, the team behind the South-East Asian long lunches at Oaks Kitchen & Garden at Oak Beach, have opened a bigger offshoot in Port Douglas. There’s a walk-in bar for drinks and snacks, plus a bookings-only restaurant that serves banquet-style feasts. Unlike the BYO Oaks, wine and cocktails will be more of a feature here
400 Gradi, VIC28/35
They’ve already brought their moreish Napoli-style pizza to Melbourne, Adelaide and the Mornington Peninsula. Now the team at 400 Gradi has opened a vast 300-seater in Mildura. The fiery diavola is a standout but don’t overlook the starters, including mussels in white wine and garlic
The Lodge Bar & Dining, QLD29/35
A Michelin star just twinkled its way onto Brisbane’s James Street by way of Matt Lambert, the executive chef of this brandnew opening. His previous gig, The Musket Room, in New York, scored a star. At The Lodge, an extension of premium menswear brand Rodd & Gunn, he’ll direct that pedigree into suave classics like rib eye tomahawks with horseradish and buttered Moreton Bay bug rolls.
Image credit: Steven Woodburn
Ace Hotel and the Porter House, NSW30/35
Australia, it seems, is entering an energetic new era of luxury hotel restaurants. From Peppina at The Tasman in Hobart to Audrey’s at The Continental Sorrento in Victoria, extravagant food offerings are really giving the rooms and suites a run for their money. Two of the most recent to jump onto the trend in Sydney are The Ace Hotel in Surry Hills and The Porter House Hotel by MGallery in the CBD. The former has the plant-forward Loam and Mitch Orr’s fire-focused Kiln, while the latter, which opens this month, is a 122-room hotel connected to a five-storey hospitality destination that includes all-day Henry’s Bread + Wine, rooftop bar Spice Trader and brasserie Dixson & Sons, with ex-Fish Butchery whiz Emrys Jones leading the culinary direction. It’s all great news for out-of-towners and just as good for locals – dine-and-drop staycation, anyone?
Enter Via Laundry, VIC31/35
“To find us is half the adventure,” says Helly Raichura of her restaurant, the 20-seat Enter Via Laundry, which is in a new secret location in Carlton. The other half of the adventure is booking.
But once you arrive, a world opens up. You’re led through a courtyard draped with jasmine and bougainvillea into the living room filled with rattan furniture and rich fabrics, before entering the dining space of ocean-blues and golds. Then there’s the food, which Raichura has designed to be an honest exploration of different regions of India. She’s currently focused on Bengali cuisine (she plans to swap every few months) and the journey begins with small plates of luchi and dum aloo, which is fried bread with potato in yoghurt sauce, or prawns marinated in mustard and coconut and chargrilled with nasturtiums. Then the meal moves to the bhog, a feast served on copper-andtin kansa plates and eaten with the hands.
Image credit: Studio Bland
Sushi Room and Sunshine, QLD33/35
Hellenika and SK Steak & Oyster were already excellent reasons to pay a visit to The Calile Hotel. Now there are two more: Sushi Room, with its elegant minimalist seafood, and Sunshine which sits just outside the hotel in the James Street precinct and serves bright vegetable-forward food with a Mediterranean edge.
Printhie Dining, NSW34/35
Printhie Wines in Orange is renowned for its spectacular cool-climate sparkling. Its natural match are briny Sydney rock oysters, which are held live in a tank at the new Printhie Dining restaurant. Follow that with a three- or five-course dégustation, accompanied by views over the surrounding orchards and vineyards.