Did you know that in 2023 solo dining in Australia rose by about 14 per cent year-on-year? That’s right – more of us are taking ourselves out on dinner dates than ever before, according to a new study shared from OpenTable, and we are absolutely here for it.
Based on data from 110,000 diner reviews, OpenTable has also announced its Top 50 Restaurants in Australia for 2023 (if you're after Sydney's top restaurants, take a look at Time Out's guide here). More than half the venues were regional, and NSW had 13 restaurants in the Top 50, including Time Out Sydney's Best Fine Dining Restaurant 2023 nominee Clam Bar. Pellegrino 2000 and Osteria di Russo and Russo were also among several Sydney restaurants that nabbed top spots in 2023, proving our love affair with Italian food continues. Victoria took the crown as the state with the most restaurants on the list at 17, and Queensland had 15. Country wineries also shared the limelight, making up 14 per cent of the top 50. You can check out the full list here.
Using data from its extensive diner network, the restaurant booking platform has also revealed some interesting insights into Aussie dining trends.
The food items we’re mentioning more in reviews include ramen (which topped the list with a 19 per cent increase year-on-year), followed by spaghetti, mushrooms, burrata and curry, while modern Australian was the most popular cuisine on this year’s Top 50 list. Other trending cuisines include Afghan (which saw a 73 per cent increase), Scandinavian (a 63 per cent increase) and, perhaps surprisingly, Irish (a 38 per cent increase).
Not only did we expand our palates, but we also hunted for cheaper drinks in 2023. Talk of happy hour specials increased in reviews by 18 per cent (check out Time Out Sydney's happy hour guide here) with 5pm bookings seeing the largest year-on-year increase at 4 per cent. It makes sense we’d want to save on bevvies when you consider that the average spend per person has apparently jumped from $59 to $61. Our love for dining out has not declined however, as the national dining demand remained flat year-on-year.
“Despite the rising cost of living, Aussies were still keen to book a restaurant whether close to home, or as our list shows, explore places a little further from home to make their year memorable over a meal,” said Drew Bowering, senior director of sales and services APAC at OpenTable.
Data also revealed Tuesday dining to be on the rise – the day saw saw the largest year-on-year growth (5 per cent) compared to any other day of the week, and when it comes to our preferred time to dine, 6pm outranked all time slots across the week (which makes sense when you consider Sydneysiders are usually up early to hit the gym or to surf at one of our beautiful beaches).
See you at the pub at 5pm next Tuesday!