Get us in your inbox

Search
View of Sydney Harbour Bridge at sunset
Photograph: Nikki To | Quay

The 17 best restaurants in Australia right now

Plan your trip around a meal at one of our country’s finest and fanciest restaurants

Melissa Woodley
Written by
Melissa Woodley
Advertising

What’s the secret recipe for crafting an exceptional dining experience? In coming up with Time Out’s list of the best restaurants in Australia we considered a mix of ingredients. Talented chefs? Stylish decor? Lively ambience? Top-notch drinks? And of course, food that you can’t stop thinking about for days, months, or even years. Luckily, Australia’s restaurant scene is sizzling with spots that check all these boxes, plus so much more.

Our nation’s top restaurants are a celebration of Australia’s native ingredients too. From an intimate 40-seat dining room cut into the rolling hills of Tasmania’s countryside to a 30-year-old institution overlooking Sydney’s sparkling Bondi Beach, these are the restaurants Time Out Australia’s team, including resident foodie Melissa Woodley, recommends for your next culinary adventure.

RECOMMENDED: These are the best luxury hotels to book in Australia.

The best restaurants in Australia

  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • Ripponlea
  • price 4 of 4

Attica is not just a meal. It's an all-consuming sensory experience that has been a regular on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list for years. Given its worldwide reputation, scoring a table is no easy feat, and you’ll need to book far, far in advance. Those lucky enough to try chef and Netflix star Ben Shewry’s ambitiously Australian menus can expect artful dishes that hero hyper-local ingredients, including barbecued saltwater croc ribs, smoked emu with warrigal greens and finger lime, and wattleseed cake.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106089369/image.jpg
Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Paddington
  • price 2 of 4

Sydney is home to – dare we say – the world’s most revolutionary seafood restaurant, helmed by the pioneer of ‘nose to tail’ cookery, Josh Niland. Perched at the restaurant’s beautiful marble-topped counter, you have front-row access to watch Saint Peter’s chefs transform a whole fish – guts, flesh and bones – into the most sustainable eight-course tasting menu. Think coal-kissed coral trout head, salt and vinegar mackerel, dry-aged swordfish, and even ice cream made from fish eyes. 

https://media.timeout.com/images/106089369/image.jpg
Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
Advertising

No gas. No electricity. Only fire. At Adelaide’s first open-flame restaurant, main character energy comes from a three-and-a-half-tonne wood-burning oven that sizzles everything from local figs and sourdough crumpets to black Angus strip steak, bone marrow and Southern Rock lobster. Michelin-trained chef Jake Kellie heads this sleek barbecue restaurant, which is housed inside a heritage-listed sandstone building. You can dine à la carte from Arkhé’s seasonally-driven menu, or try for a seat at the exclusive chef’s table, located in the heart of the restaurant. 

https://media.timeout.com/images/106089369/image.jpg
Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia

Named after a Japanese style of pottery, Raku blurs the lines between art and sustenance. The menu is extensive, showcasing seafood in all its glory. You can have it raw in the kingfish served with truffle yuzu, cold in a spanner crab sushi roll, or hot as king prawns doused in XO butter. Masters of the blades, the chefs expertly slice up fresh snapper, tuna belly and scallops into sashimi or nigiri; add crunch with popcorn shrimp on the tempura menu; and grill high-grade Wagyu on a robata charcoal grill. From the express lunch to the royal tasting degustation, Raku will leave you wishing you lived in Canberra (almost). 

https://media.timeout.com/images/106089369/image.jpg
Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Australian
  • The Rocks
  • price 4 of 4

What does it take to earn the crown of Sydney’s finest diner? Perhaps the dress-circle harbour views? Or the exquisite works of art on each and every plate? The custom-made crockery? The cornucopia of produce grown exclusively for the restaurant? The service team’s unrivalled professionalism? Some restaurants are engineered for special occasions and totally worth the splurge – Quay is most definitely one of them. 

Nostalgic flavours and playful desserts take flight at this small suburban diner in the Bush Capital. Pilot’s seven-course set menu is quintessentially Australian, and on any given day, you may be served IPA beer pretzels, Hawaiian pizza scrolls or brandy butterscotch Wagon Wheels. The experimental non-alcoholic drinks pairing is just as impressive as the boozed-up version, with a focus given to small, sustainable Aussie producers.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106089369/image.jpg
Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
Advertising

Cut into the rolling hills of Tasmania’s countryside, this intimate restaurant is a tribute to all that’s good in Tasmania. Guests must enter through an enclosed foyer to reach the warm, sun-kissed dining room (seating only 16 guests), which offers exceptional views of Hell Fire Bluff and Maria Island beyond. Van Bone’s menu takes guests on a journey of up to 14 courses, showcasing Tasmania’s finest from the surrounding land and sea, along with produce harvested daily from their onsite orchards and evergreen market gardens. The all-Tasmanian drinks menu completes this exemplary, small-scale dining experience.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106089369/image.jpg
Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Melbourne
  • price 3 of 4

To question Gimlet’s beauty is like pondering out loud whether the sky is blue. One foot through the door into the almighty fine diner (in fact, Time Out Melbourne’s crowned winner of the Best Fine Dining award in 2023) and you’re swept into an era of astonishingly impressive 1920s glamour. The handsome, plush curved booths invite you to settle in and share a bottle of Champers with a friend, uniformed staff skate around the floor with ease, and warm light dances off the grand chandeliers overhead. You can, of course, go all out at Gimlet and dine on lobster, caviar service and exxy bottles of wine all night, but even just popping in for a few cocktails and a taste of a few dishes here and there is truly a lovely way to experience the restaurant, which tends to feel welcoming and adaptive no matter how much you’re willing to splurge.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106033404/image.jpg
Lauren Dinse
Food & Drink Writer
Advertising

Perched sky-high on the rooftop of the renowned Como The Treasury Hotel, Wildflower is proudly the highest-ranked restaurant in Perth. Every plate has a story to tell and revolves around the Indigenous ethos of six seasons. As the narrative unfolds over a four-, six- or eight-course degustation, you can take in sweeping views across the Swan River and city skyline. It’s worth playing with Wildflower’s cocktail list too, where native Australian ingredients steal the spotlight, including Davidson plum, strawberry gum, fingerlime and quandong. 

https://media.timeout.com/images/106089369/image.jpg
Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
  • Restaurants
  • Bondi Beach
  • price 3 of 4

This 30-year-old beachside institution, affectionately known as the ‘salty jewel' of Bondi, has been championing seasonal produce long before it was cool. Award-winning chef Sean Moran’s creativity is showcased on the restaurant’s daily-changing three-course blackboard menu, which takes cue from the restaurant’s farm harvests in Bilpin – and is so closely tied to the seasons that it could quite literally change mid-service. Cross your fingers that Moran’s famous roast chook is on the menu, and don’t underestimate the nostalgic comforts of his seasonal jelly with ice cream for dessert.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106089369/image.jpg
Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
Advertising
  • Bars
  • Restaurants

If anyone ever complains about Canberra’s nightlife, just nod quietly and then laugh all the way up the stairs to Bar Rochford. This is undoubtedly the best little wine bar in the ACT and it’s hidden away in one of the capital’s oldest buildings. Once you’re up in the cosy confines of this first-floor bar you could be in Melbourne, Munich or Manhattan. Let their young gun team guide you on a vinous adventure that traverses the world, but if you don’t order food too, it’s a lost opportunity. The $90 set menu isn’t a cop-out; it’s more like a tour of their latest and greatest seasonal hits. 

https://media.timeout.com/images/106089369/image.jpg
Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • Fortitude Valley
  • price 2 of 4

Pushing the boundaries of what can be accomplished in a kitchen using exclusively the power of woodfire and smoke, Agnes brings precision to this unwieldy and demanding medium. Executive chef Ben Williamson and his talented team use different types of wood – ironbark, apple wood, cherry wood and olive wood – to uniquely interact with each of the dishes, whether it be Wagyu sirloin, pork tomahawk, Murray cod or potato flatbread. Agnes’s brilliance lies in merging food with architecture; those hanging lights transition from necessary beacons into spotlights over the table, forcing you to focus on every flavour, every technique, every crumb. You’ll want something to wash it all down with and fortunately, the team at Agnes has curated an impressive cellar of over 1,400 bottles from across Europe and Australia.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106089369/image.jpg
Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
Advertising

This is not your white-tablecloth kind of fine diner; it’s a casually charming Northern Rivers edition, run by hatted chef and Noma alumnus Ben Devlin, and his wife Yen Trinh. The best seats in the house are at Pipit’s open kitchen counter, where wild foraged plants – most sourced from within 15 minutes’ drive of the restaurant – and sustainably caught seafood are smoked, charred or kissed on the woodfire grill. From the koji sourdough to the delicate linguine and tropical ice cream, everything is made in-house, with any offcuts fermented or converted into dressings, charcuterie, vinegars and even, kombucha. Pipit’s five-course tasting menu is seasonally curated, and with advance notice, they can cater for pretty much any dietary requirement.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106089369/image.jpg
Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
  • Restaurants
  • Birregurra
  • price 3 of 4

 It takes a full day to dine at Brae. A meal at one of Victoria’s most highly decorated fine dining institutions fits a micro holiday into the hours needed to get out to the gently sloping paddocks of Birregurra (an easy two-hour drive from Melbourne), dine in rural splendour at an appropriately relaxed pace at Dan Hunter’s famous farmhouse restaurant, and return home. You could make it a genuine mini-break should your budget stretch that far, but it’s hard to think of a more pleasant day trip than one centred around the country’s pre-eminent dining experience. Now excuse us while we try to score a booking before everyone else does.

Advertising

“Please wear something that makes you feel fabulous.” That’s dress code at this highly coveted ‘fun-dining’ restaurant in Hobart. The menu remains a mystery until you’re seated in Fico’s intimate 40-seat dining room, as it evolves depending on the day’s best produce. Throughout the nine-course tasting extravaganza, chef-owners Federica Andrisani and Oskar Rossi weave their magic, marrying local Tasmanian produce with sophisticated European techniques. A robust wine list ensures your dining experience is nothing short of extraordinary. 

https://media.timeout.com/images/106089369/image.jpg
Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia

34 seats, eight sittings, two spaces and one signature menu. In the foothills of Penfolds’ historic Magill Estate vineyard (est. 1844), this blowout restaurant matches stellar views of Adelaide city with seriously sophisticated food and hospitality. Chef Scott Huggins works with the finest South Australian produce in an innovative degustation menu that can be paired with predictably brilliant wines (go all out and order some Grange – you know you want to).

https://media.timeout.com/images/106089369/image.jpg
Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Beaconsfield
  • price 3 of 4

Time Out Melbourne's Restaurant of the Year in 2023 may be almost a decade old, but it still stands out as one of the most energising fine dining experiences in Melbourne. This farm-to-table restaurant’s kitchen sources all of its ingredients from a nearby 2.5 acre farm in Cardinia, owned and run by friends of the chefs. Each dish elevates humble produce to new heights, an alchemical feat that looks far outside the box in delivering an experience you'll remember. Up the ante and pair your four- or seven-course seasonal menu with regional wines from small producers near and far.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106033404/image.jpg
Lauren Dinse
Food & Drink Writer
Recommended
    You may also like
    You may also like
    Advertising