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

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents -

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.


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.


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.


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 de­li­

LEAD­ING LIGHT Ap­ple and rhubarb oil dish at At­tica.

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