Australia’s food capital revealed.
It’s a rivalry that will always exist. But let’s decide once and for all if Melbourne or Sydney has the best food
IT’S the age-old debate between Melbourne and Sydney – which city has the country’s best restaurants.
And it’s a debate that became particularly fierce recently with the announcement of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in Melbourne last month.
Sydney restaurants were cruelly ignored while Victoria increased to having two in the Top 50 – Attica at 32 and Brae at 44. Sparing Sydney’s blushes a little, at least Quay made the broader list at 95, up a few spots on last year.
But World’s 50 Best isn’t the only list around. Every year, magazines, newspapers and websites rank their top restaurants. As yet, no one has ever put those various lists together to create the ultimate list – that is, until now.
I have taken data from 10 different local sources as well as the World’s 50 Best list to make my master list.
I would like to add that I have forced myself to be dispassionate in this endeavour. It hurts me deeply that many of my favourite places haven’t made it into this Top 20.
And if you disagree, please don’t whinge to me. Instead, book dinner at the place you think has been unfairly omitted to show your support for them.
Using my extensive statistical knowledge (a year at school) and my in-depth understanding of reviewing (a slightly longer term), I undertook this epic task by combining scores from the delicious. 100 list for both cities published last year with the top charts from Time Out, Gourmet Traveller, Good Food Guides and online review sites Zomato and Tripadvisor, as well as those World’s 50 Best scores.
Even though these sources apply different values to pick their choice for the best restaurants, it’s interesting how much agreement there is at the top, suggesting restaurant lists are a lot less subjective than you might think.
With weighting the scores, I have tried to reflect the commonly held views within the hospitality industry on the value of a restaurant’s appearance on each respective list.
I should also note that while I have been involved in some of these lists in the past, I made no contribution to any used here.
The top three – Attica, Brae and Momofuku Seiobo – all ranked highly by most guides with just minor differences over their order. This explains why there is only a meagre three points dividing these top three on my list and why they are so far ahead of the chasing pack.
Though both cities feature in the top five, Melbourne has more, though Sydneysiders will be quick to point out that one of those is actually in Birregurra, 114km and 106 minutes’ drive from Melbourne.
Meanwhile, Melburnians will be equally quick to point out that it can take 106 minutes to get from Redfern to Bondi Beach on a sunny day.
Proud, but annoyed, Sydneysiders will retort that at least Sydney has sunny days. Both will now sulk.
NO, SYDNEY WINS
Sydney has more restaurants overall in my top 20 list. It has 12 as opposed to eight. But as the team from Sepia is set to relocate south, Melburnians will be sure to claim that the honours are almost even. Gee, I do wish we could step away from all this parochial rivalry and just realise that there is amazing eating in every major Australian city.
ALMOST IN THE FRAY
Bubbling just outside the Top 20 (and scoring less than 30 points) were Sydney’s Lumi Bar & Dining, Stanbuli and Rockpool Bar & Grill, as well as Melbourne’s Press Club and Cutler & Co.
THE SHOCKING TRUTH
All this begs the question, what would the chart look like if we ignored the World’s 50 Best and used only local opinion? The results may delight, shock or disgust you. To see how the list changes, go to delicious.com.au.