The 2019 Good Food Guide and Awards have been launched »

Now you can plan your Australian travel around the hats!

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<i>The Australia Good Food Guide 2019</i> By Myffy Rigby

The Australia Good Food Guide 2019 By Myffy Rigby [©Simon & Schuster Australia]


Australia’s best chefs, sommeliers and dining establishments were honoured recently as Melbourne played host to the national Good Food Guide Awards for the first time – marking the official launch of the 2019 Good Food Guide.

Announced at a sit-down, black-tie event at Crown Melbourne and presented by long-term principal partners Vittoria Coffee and Citi, the Awards saw the best and brightest of Australian food and wine turn out to celebrate.

Jock Zonfrillo’s Restaurant Orana (SA) nabbed the night’s top honour of Vittoria Restaurant of the Year – following his win in the Food for Good category last year, while Peter Gilmore (Quay, NSW) took out the prestigious Citi Chef of the Year award, and Jodie Odrowaz (Iki Jime, VIC) was named the Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year.

New Restaurant of the Year was awarded to Laura (VIC), while Santa Vittoria Regional Restaurant of the Year went to the much-lauded Brae (VIC). This is also the first year the national awards has been held in Melbourne, with support from Visit Victoria.

In addition to the Awards, the event unveiled this year’s edition of Australia’s most prestigious annual food bible – the Good Food Guide 2019.

The Guide of independent, anonymous reviews is written by a panel of trusted restaurant critics and recognises the best Australian restaurants nationally with ‘hats’, symbolised by a chef’s toque.

To secure a coveted spot in the Guide, restaurants in New South Wales and Victoria must score at least 14 out of 20, while all other states must score a minimum of 15. 

To achieve a hat is a pinnacle of a chef’s career and a restaurant’s history, and the term ‘hatted’ has become embedded in the Australian lexicon. [Ed: See below for score breakdown and awarding of hats].

The 2019 edition of the Good Food Guide has been published by respected lifestyle publishers Simon & Schuster Australia, marking the start of a three-year publishing partnership with Fairfax Media that strengthens the Guide’s national expansion.

More than 500 restaurants from Darwin, Hobart, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Canberra were reviewed, with 264 of these receiving hat status, ranging from one to three.

Only seven restaurants nationally achieved the top accolade of three hats, and they include Attica (VIC), Brae (VIC), Momofuku Seiobo (NSW), Minamishima (VIC), Quay (NSW), Restaurant Orana (SA) and Sixpenny (NSW).

The catalogue of influential Guide editors includes founding editors Claude Forell in Melbourne and Leo Schofield in Sydney – along with Terry Durack, Jill Dupleix and Matthew Evans – who have charted the growth of the restaurant industry in Australia, and helped to shape it. 

It is this rich 39-year tradition that the 2019 Good Food Guide editor Myffy Rigby upholds, ensuring the Guide remains Australia’s pre-eminent restaurant bible.

“The second annual national Good Food Guide is a reflection of the thousands of voices that make Australia one of the most diverse and delicious places to eat in the world. The Guide is a celebration of the industry as a whole. Every one of the restaurants featured is a summation of all those moving parts. We recognise the hard work of all those Australian restaurants and everything they do to enrich the scene.”

Tanya Smith, Chief Customer Officer at Citi Australia said, “It’s no secret that Australians love their food, with Citi cardholders spending more than $400 million on dining over the past 12 months.”

“We are passionate about our sponsorship of the Good Food Guide. It’s a fantastic way to recognise Australia’s top talent, enabling us to continue our support of an industry that consistently rewards and delights our customers. This sponsorship is just one part of our Citibank Dining Program, which also sees us partner with more than 450 partner restaurants Australia wide to offer customers a complimentary bottle of wine when they dine.”

Rolando Schirato, Managing Director of Vittoria Food & Beverage said, “Now in our 18th year of being principal sponsors of these awards, Vittoria Coffee are avid supporters of the restaurant industry. We’re continually amazed by the vision, innovation and creativity Australian restaurants produce night after night on a world stage. We salute all winners tonight and look forward to a great year ahead oVf dining.”

The 2019 Good Food Guide Award winners:

Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year – Restaurant Orana, South Australia

Winner Criteria: Ticks every box. The winning restaurant does not need to receive three hats, but must capture the mood of the nation right now and exemplify what it means to be a world-class restaurant.
Finalists: Quay, Sydney; Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney; Cutler & Co, Melbourne; Brae, Birregurra

New Restaurant of the Year – Laura, Victoria 

inner Criteria: The most exciting opening in the past 12 months, this restaurant sets the eating agenda and starts conversations. Represents everything that's fresh, hot and interesting about dining.
Finalists: Poly, Sydney; Matilda 159 Domain, Melbourne; Yarri, Dunsborough; Bert’s, Sydney

Citi Chef of the Year – Peter Gilmore, Quay, New South Wales

Winner Criteria: This chef must be at the forefront of dining, setting new standards, creating new flavour combinations, doing something original, and adding something extra to the Australian dining scene.
Finalists: Paul Carmichael, Momofuku Seiobo; Analiese Gregory, Franklin; Dan Hunter, Brae; Josh Niland, Saint Peter

Santa Vittoria Regional Restaurant of the Year – Brae, Victoria

Winner Criteria: The best beyond metro limits. The winning establishment must provide a restaurant experience comparable to anything in the city but remain uniquely regional.
Finalists: Laura, Victoria; The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery, New Norfolk; Fleet, Brunswick Heads; Muse Restaurant, Hunter Valley


Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year -–Jodie Odrowaz, Iki Jime, Victoria

Winner Criteria: This award is chosen by a panel of food professionals led by Damien Pignolet. It celebrates the memory of a great young chef and is the ultimate accolade for a committed and talented young cook.
Finalists:  Monika Frkovic¿, Vic; Malcolm Hanslow, ACT; Daniel Lidgard, Vic; Jessica Moore, NSW


Wine List of the Year – Otto, Queensland

Winner Criteria: A diverse and high-quality by-the-glass selection alongside an accessible bottle list that displays a good range of vintages and complements the restaurant's food and style.
Finalists:  Marion, Melbourne; Aubergine, Canberra; 1889 Enoteca, Brisbane; Aria, Sydney


Regional Wine List of the Year –Wickens at the Royal Mail, Victoria

Winner Criteria: Honouring a wine list outside the city limits that displays a diverse selection that complements the restaurant's food and style while reflecting the unique qualities of the region.
Finalists:  Fleet, Brunswick Heads; Brae, Birregurra; Laura, Point Leo Estate; Cullen Estate, Margaret River


Sommelier of the Year –Travis Howe, Carlton Wine Room, Victoria

Winner Criteria: The successful wine professional is able to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of their subject, while helping to influence and educate diners. They must be personable, inclusive, curious and driven to constantly deliver the highest level of service.
Finalists:  Astrid McCormack, Fleet; Marie-Sophie Canto, The Dolphin; Ian Trinkle, Aria Brisbane; Shanteh Wong, Quay


Citi Service Excellence Award –Kylie Javier Ashton, Momofuku Seiobo, New South Wales

Winner Criteria: The winner of this award executes the highest standard of restaurant service, from attitude and skill to knowledge and personality.
Finalists:  Greta Wohlstadt, Orana; Jeremy Courmadias, Quay, Wimmy Winkler, Saint Peter, Jason Lui, Flower Drum


Vittoria Coffee Legend Award – Stefano de Pieri, Stefano’s Cantina, Victoria

For an outstanding long-term contribution to the industry, chosen from a short list by Les Schirato of Vittoria Coffee.


Bar of the Year – The Dolphin Hotel Wine Room, New South Wales

Winner Criteria: The best all-round bar that nails service, drinks, vibe and decor. The winning bar adds something new or different to the drinking scene.
Finalists:  Hellbound Wine Bar, Adelaide; Bar Rochford, Canberra; Romeo Lane, Melbourne; The Gresham, Brisbane


Food for Good Award – Sydney Doesn’t Suck, New South Wales

The winner of this award, which celebrates innovation, social enterprise and sustainability, goes above and beyond to contribute to the broader community.
Finalists:  Eat Up (VIC), NCIE food program (NSW), Produce to the People (TAS), Food for Thought (national)


The score breakdown for reviews and awarding of hats is:

14                    Good

1 hat               15 Very good

2 hats             16 Great

2 hats             17 Excellent

3 hats             18 Outstanding

3 hats             19 Incredible

3 hats             20 Perfection


The national Good Food Guide 2019 edited by Myffy Rigby is published by Simon & Schuster (Sydney, NSW; Oct 2018; Pb; 284pp; RRP A$29.99). It is available at newsagents and online at »

It can also be purchased elsewhere online via »

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