12 restaurants that show the culinary best of Australia

Credit: ESSA Restaurant
Tuna sashimi sihs at Essa Restaurant in Brisbane, one of the best restaurants in Australia

These are the best restaurants in Australia that everyone knows, famous for outstanding service, food, and wine.

Many have stood the test of time like the hatted Brisbane bistro founded in the 90s, the Melbourne institution that’s a temple to natural wine, and the garage-style Sydney trattoria. The Greats have weathered highs and lows, proving they’re here to stay.

Explore the 12 greatest spots across Australia’s capital cities and book a memorable meal on OpenTable.

The best restaurants in Australia worth booking right now – read on for a guide.

For the charm of a neighbourhood trattoria – book at Pellegrino 2000 in Sydney

Ravioli with prawns and brown butter at Pellegrino 2000 in Sydney, one of the best restaurants in Australia
Dig into comforting pasta like ravioli with prawns and brown butter at Pellegrino 2000. Credit: Pellegrino 2000

With acclaimed chef Dan Pepperell leading the kitchen, it’s no wonder Pellegrino 2000 is a consistent Surry Hills favourite. The neighbourhood trattoria is heavy on the charm and energy and includes a lively upstairs space lined with cognac leather banquets, a window counter with stools on the footpath, and a candlelit dining room downstairs. Pepperell’s carby and comforting standbys are what keep Sydneysiders coming—there’s quail saltimbocca that bursts with flavour, pork ragu bianco on lumache (snail pasta), and an extra-delicate ravioli with prawns and brown butter. A wine list celebrating Italian drops and a strong grappas and amari selection rounds out the experience at this adored garage-style trattoria.

Check availability  Discover more restaurants in Sydney

For its outstanding wine list – try The Carlton Wine Room in Melbourne

Anchovies on fried bread with ricotta and pickled cucumber at The Carlton Wine Room in Melbourne, one of the best restaurants in Australia
Fried bread with anchovies, ricotta, and pickled cucumber is an ideal snack to have with natural wine at The Carlton Wine Room. Credit: The Carlton Wine Room

Natural wine is the star of the show at this three-story spot, The Carlton Wine Room. But the experience is anything but pretentious. Hospitality vets Andrew Joy and Travis Howe are friendly hosts, and experts at good conversation—and armed with the best wine recs. Chef John Paul Twomey leads the kitchen, serving dishes heavy on the local produce. Think stracciatella with pickled mushrooms and potato focaccia and rich wagyu rump cap tempered with black garlic and creamed kale. The wine list (split into three categories) is constantly changing and full of unusual options, with a sommelier always available to answer questions.

Check availability  Discover more restaurants in Melbourne

For top-notch seafood and iconic views – visit Rick Shores in Gold Coast

Wine glasses and an ocean view at Rick Shores in Brisbane, one of the best restaurants in Australia
Rick Shores’s unbeatable ocean views are one of its many draws. Credit: Rick Shores

The views from Burleigh Heads’ pan-Asian restaurant Rick Shores are unbeatable. Set above the crashing surf, when the enormous windows are thrown open, diners can feel the salt spray as they dig into top-notch seafood like grilled scallops with white radish and dashi or rainbow trout with maple ponzu and Thai-style herb salad. A set menu for groups over six takes the guesswork out of dining, and an extensive a la carte selection of share plates (Korean fried chicken, whole barramundi, and more) ensures you can have everything at this iconic Gold Coast spot.

Check availability  Discover more restaurants in Gold Coast

For a group feast – don’t miss Double Rainbow Bar & Eating House in Perth

The extensive menu at Double Rainbow Bar and Eating House in Perth, one of the best restaurants in Australia
Double Rainbow Bar and Eating House is a Korean-inspired restaurant, ideal for a group meal. Credit: Double Rainbow Bar & Eating House

Double Rainbow Bar & Eating House’s Korean-ish menu was made for a group feast, and the restaurant’s long tables allow for just that. Share dishes like octopus with yuzu shiitake XO sauce and fried mushroom bao—the restaurant’s menu is stocked with vegan options, making it that rare crowd-pleaser. But this is definitely drinking food, so level up your party with soju cocktails, beers, and wine—ideal chasers to a bowl of spicy oyster mushroom and peanut noodles at this fast and furious Northbridge favourite.

Check availability  Discover more restaurants in Perth

For banquet-style Korean food – feast at Kobo in Sydney

The multi-course Korean-accented degustation menu at Kobo constantly changes. Credit: Kobo

Eight guests, one chef, and an evening filled with stories sums up the Kobo experience. Hatted chef Jacob Lee’s 90-minute service takes cues from surasang bap sang (table for kings)—a banquet-style meal he learnt to make from his grandmother in Korea. Only Lee knows what will be served that night. There might be thin slices of swordfish with Mandarin marinade, blue mackerel in brown butter with pickled ginger, or crisp seaweed rolls with wagyu, truffled potatoes, and sea urchin, all presented as Lee talks through the creative process behind each showstopping dish.

Check availability  Discover more restaurants in Sydney

For a laid-back but luxurious meal – head to French Saloon in Melbourne

Whole-roasted market fish at French Salon in Melbourne, one of the best restaurants in Australia
The French-inspired dishes at French Saloon are elaborate, like the whole-roasted market fish. Credit: Tess Kelly, French Saloon

From Tuesday to Friday, French Saloon’s crimson-ceilinged loft space is open to the public, with weekends reserved for functions. That leaves four days to work through a killer French-inspired menu that features steak tartare, whole-roasted fish with puy lentils, and a long list of cheeses ripened and aged in the cellar at nearby Spring Street Grocer. The fluted zinc bar is the room’s centrepiece—grab a seat here to sip on excellent cocktails, aperitifs, or by-the-glass wines. 

Check availability  Discover more restaurants in Melbourne

For stellar wine and pintxos – try Udaberri Pintxos y Vino in Adelaide

Exposed brick and intimate booths at Udaberri Pintxos y Vino in Adelaide, one of the best restaurants in Australia
The fit-out at Udaberri Pintxos Y Vino is moody and modern. Credit: Udaberri Pintxos Y Vino

This moody Basque wine and pintxos (snacks) bar has seduced Adelaideans since 2012. Gin and tonics are the house specialty, with 20 variations featuring experimental ingredients like marmalade and dehydrated apple. Stretch your evening with snacky dishes like 24-month aged Serrano ham or porcini paté. Intimate booths, vinyl on the turntable, and exposed brick make Udaberri Pintxos Y Vino one of the chicest escapes—and sought-after date backdrops—in town.

Check availability  Discover more restaurants in Adelaide

For a multi-course Italian extravaganza –  celebrate at Cecconi’s Flinders Lane in Melbourne

Multi-course Italian menu at Cecconi's Flinders Lane in Melbourne, one of the best restaurants in Australia
Cecconi’s Flinders Lane is open late, giving diners plenty of time to savour a multi-course Italian extravaganza. Credit: Diego Ramirez, Cecconi’s Flinders Lane

Cecconi’s Flinders Lane‘s Venetian side doesn’t just show up in its pitch-perfect Italian dishes. The beloved restaurant leans into all things dolce vita side by staying open until midnight every night but Sunday. The late hours mean plenty of time to devour a multi-course extravaganza that features Cecconi’s-grown seasonal fruit and vegetables. Get ready for classics like golden calamari, gnocchi with ossobuco, charred prawns with sweet cherry tomato purée, and 400 grams of grass-fed, Southern Ranges striploin, served with broccolini and roasted potatoes.

Check availability  Discover more restaurants in Melbourne

For its environmentally conscious approach – try ESSA Restaurant in Brisbane

Wine bottles on shelves next to a chalkboard displaying an oyster selection at Essa in Brisbane, one of the best restaurants in Australia
Essa is a modern Australian restaurant known for environmentally conscious dining. Credit: Tim Salisbury, ESSE Restaurant

One of the most unique things about this modern Australian hotspot is its menu, filled with environmentally conscious dishes described in quirky detail. Exhibit A: The bread “that we try really hard every day to make as nice as possible” is served with Jersey milk butter. For the ultimate ESSA experience, get the Leave It To Us option, where local produce pops up in unexpected but delicious ways. Grab a reservation on a Sunday for a more low-key meal—it’s when the sleek modern space serves a casual family-style lunch.

Check availability  Discover more restaurants in Brisbane

For top-notch homemade pasta and bread – book at Devine Food & Wine in Sydney

Ravioli at Devine Food & Wine Sydney, one of the best restaurants in Australia
Many of the Italian-inspired recipes at Devine Food & Wine were passed down from the owners’ grandmothers. Credit: Devine Food & Wine

This family-run wine bar and restaurant has fed Sydney’s CBD since 2003. In a city that loves a hot new opening, Devine Food & Wine’s secret is the fundamentals—outstanding food, exceptional customer service, and a wine list that’s 400 bottles strong. Pasta and bread are made in-house, including pappardelle with smoky wagyu ragu and squid ink spaghetti with sea urchin. Sophisticated and refined, this old-school-at-heart venue is all about its Italian roots, cooking dishes inspired by the owners’ nonnas’ recipes

Check availability  Discover more restaurants in Sydney

For exceptional bistro-style dishes – unwind at Bistro Français in Adelaide

Black furniture and a large French poster at Bistro Français in Adelaide, one of the best restaurants in Australia
Bistro Français has a French-inspired menu to match its Parisian bistro vibe. Credit: Bistro Français

French classics dominate the menu at this cosy Hyde Park bistro, but the vibe is far from stuffy. In fact, owners Nazzareno Falaschetti and Fabien Striet prove French food isn’t always about rich sauces or special occasions. Instead, the Bistro Français menu prioritises dishes suited for casual everyday dining like ratatouille, mushroom crepes, and steak frites. That easy-breezy approach is part of what’s earned it a rep as one of the best French restaurants in Adelaide, even though it only opened its doors in 2022.

Check availability  Discover more restaurants in Adelaide

For Chinese food that celebrates local ingredients – visit Lagoon Dining in Melbourne

Lagoon Dining in Melbourne serves Chinese-inspired food
Lagoon Dining’s cuisine celebrates Chinese culinary traditions. Credit: Lagoon Dining

Carlton is best known for its Little Italy district, but the food-focused suburb also includes venues like Lagoon Dining, a Chinese stunner. Some of the dishes are modern riffs on classics like beef short ribs with black pepper sauce or charcoal-roasted char sui. Others, like steamed Humpty Doo barramundi with a spicy doubanjiang bisque, are complete originals. The menu might take diners on a trip around north and southeast Asia, but the dining room is quintessential Melbourne with sleek light fixtures, white-washed bricks, and an oversized front window looking out on Lygon Street.

Check availability  Discover more restaurants in Melbourne

Hungry for more? Explore more great restaurants to try in Australia on OpenTable.
Keen for more of Australia’s best restaurants? Check out the below guides:

Find your table for any occasion