Sometimes the holidays roll around and you just can’t be stuffed leaving the country, and that’s okay. There’s beauty in keeping it domestic, especially if you’re lucky enough to live on a continent home to a million diverse restaurants, beaches and bushland. You can stay in Australia and simultaneously feel like you’re travelling the world.
So if you decide on having a “staycation” this year or plan on road-tripping interstate, we’ve hit up the team at Delicious Magazine for the insider tips on the best restaurants in Australia.
Queensland: Happy Boy
Forget sweet and sour pork, it’s all about authentic Chinese cuisine at this adorable eatery based in Fortitude Valley, Brissy. If you’re planning a trip to QLD, this place is well worth a pop-in. Not only is the quality of food notches above any basic Chinese restaurant, but the dining space is also beyond charming. The industrial vibe of this little restaurant makes it trendy without it trying too hard.
You won’t be finding tiny portions here and you won’t be needing to fork-out the big bucks, either. Most main meals are between $15 to $20, though we’d 100% recommend splurging and getting the pork and prawn wonton entre. For mains, go for the beef brisket stew with noodles or the mapo tofu if you’re vego.
And if you’re into wine, here’s the good news: not only does this place have a stellar meal menu, the wine list is incredibly unique. This little establishment favours small producers which means it’s the perfect place to go if you’re into trying lesser-known wines from around the country. You can even take a bottle home, if you so wish.
Western Australia: Kailis Fish Market Café
If you’re heading to Fremantle it would be a darn shame if you don’t make an appearance at Kailis Fish Market Café. It’s the perfect spot to pick up your weekend fish and chippies fix. What’s great about this local legend is that you’re able to splurge on the finer foods of the sea, like rock lobster and fresh oysters, but it also offers the classics – basic snapper and chips or catch of the day. There’s a meal for every taste and price range.
The dining space is open, airy and right by the water. This eatery has a relaxed vibe and is the perfect place to visit after a day spent outdoors or if you’ve had a particularly stressful time at work. Why? Because they offer wine and good wine at that. If you’re wanting to be adventurous try the whole fried herring or seafood chowder served in a hollowed out loaf.
Australian Capital Territory: Yat Bun Tong
If you love dumplings, this is your new home. You can’t find a place in the ACT that perfects dumps like this one, you just can’t. Head to Braddon to visit this gem and while you’re there make sure to try the pork and chives buns or the signature pork and crab.
And if their delicious dumplings weren’t enough, you can also watch the chefs make them through the glass window front. It’s entertainment and dining all at once.
New South Wales: Pazar Food Collective
Have you ever tried Turkish-Mexican food? Well, you can after paying a visit to Pazar Food Collective. Turkish-Mexican is how chef-owner Attila Yilmaz describes her eclectic menu. If you’re vegetarian, you’ll be cheering when you see the countless veggo options on offer. The charred pumpkin with pepita chimichurri and feta is out of this world but if you’re a meat-eater, go for the harissa-roasted chicken.
The vibe of this eatery is low-key and on-point: the interior has a warehouse feel and the drinks list is fun and innovative. If you’re down for an evening out with mates or are on the hunt for the next cool restaurant, head out of Sydney’s CBD and to this restaurant in the outer-suburb of Canterbury.
Victoria: Mya Tiger
If you’re heading to St Kilda and want to know where’s “popular” to go for a feed, this would be the place. This Cantonese restaurant is constantly packed and is clad with velvet booths and its walls are covered in peeled paint. Mya Tiger has got personality in spades and that’s what makes it all the more special.
This Cantonese food hasn’t been dulled-down to suit Aussie tastebuds. The menu’s greatest hits include kingfish in yuzu, crunchy school prawns, five-spice chicken ribs and tender wagyu in black pepper. The mains are a tad pricey so we recommend heading here if you’re looking to treat yo’ self.
South Australia: Topiary
Chef Kane Pollard is all about sustainability at Topiary. He’s not about chopping off the tops of carrots or throwing away pumpkin seeds and yet the food remains delicious.
Topiary’s rustic vibe and cottage feel (it’s literally tucked away in a garden) will have you feeling like you’re in a scene from a vintage novel. The cocktails are equally as classic. This eatery serves eggs every way for breakfast and the scones are top-notch. There are more adventurous choices too, like fried gnocchi with peas, beans and house-made ricotta.
It’s fancy, quality food that you’d expect to cost an arm and leg but the prices remain surprisingly modest. So if you’re feeling a little “extra” drop those dollars and splurge on dessert. You won’t regret it, not here.
Tasmania: Maharaja Authentic Indian Restaurant
This low-key dining space is located in Hobart’s CBD so if you’re planning a trip to Tassie, there’s simply no excuse to not go.
This eatery’s impressive factor is that somehow, someway, the menu manages to include a dish from all of India’s different regions. There are a million different curries and Indian-style breads to choose from. If you’ve never had Lachha Parantha, here’s the place to try it. This place has perfected this flaky wholemeal brushed with butter.
If you’re a novice when it comes to spicy food, there’s no issue here. All plates can be ordered mild, medium or hot. We love a restaurant that offers BYO – Maharaja only charges $5 for corkage, so come prepared.
Who needs a Euro trip when you’ve got the low-down on the best eateries across Australia? And if you’re hungry for more, grab Delicious magazine’s special 18th birthday edition, complete with Australia’s top 100 restaurants.