Restaurants in Australia are as diverse as they are plentiful. With a restaurant scene rich with cultural influences from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, America and Polynesia, Australia has become a destination for restaurant buffs from around the world. While a blossoming food culture exists right throughout the country, Sydney and Melbourne are at the forefront Australia's fine dining scene. "Modern Australian" is the term used to describe our cuisine; a mix of east meets west, somewhat French, somewhat Italian, somewhat Asian. Our own unique style, but unclassifiable.
There is no real discernable difference in cuisine from region to another, but influences such as italian and greek in Melbourne and asian in Darwin are noticeable. Australians love their seafood: Sydney rock oysters, Queensland sea scallops, rock lobsters and mud crabs, giant king prawns and Balmain bugs (the Balmain gug or Moreton Bay gug is a type of slipper lobster and is closely related to the rock lobsters. It is a popular crustacean commonly found in restaurants, fish markets and local fish shops), blue eye cod and Barramundi are all delicacies regularly found on menus throughout the country.
Indigenous foods are also becoming widely recognized and available, enabling the creation of dishes such as: calamari seasoned with lemon myrtle, aniseed myrtle linguine tossed with South Australian scallops, native spinach fettuccine with crocodile, creamy bush tomato and macadamia sauce, kangaroo fillet crusted with mountain pepper, served with a pepper berry dressing and rosella flower salad. And of course there are witchetty grubs, a delicacy usually reserved for those who venture into the outback.
Restaurant Opening Times & Reservations
From relaxed water front cafes to internationally renowned award winning restaurants, whatever the style, Australia serves up an infinite range of culinary delights that will satisfy the most discerning palate. Every restaurant operates on their own opening & closing time but as a guide:
- Breakfast: 7am - 10am
- Lunch: 12noon - 2pm
- Dinner: 6pm - 9.30pm
Reservations are usually made by phone, fax or via the Internet. It is advisable to book award winning restaurants several days – in some instances weeks – in advance. The bill (check/cheque) includes service and tax. Tipping is optional but appreciated. If you are pleased with the service it is customary to add a tip of 5-10%.