12 Ace Australian Wine Restaurants

Diverse wine destinations Down Under
12 Ace Australian Wine Restaurants
Grand Award winner Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel boasts a 3,000-selection wine list filled with Australian gems. (Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel)
Jan 17, 2019

These Australian spots span the culinary spectrum, from classic Italian plates to creative preparations of kangaroo, but they share a common thread. Each holds a Wine Spectator Restaurant Award for a carefully curated wine list, and together they represent some of the country’s best collections. Discover 12 eateries Down Under with well-rounded wine lists that champion Australia’s renowned regions. All prices are listed here in U.S. dollars.

To check out more wine-and-food destinations around the world, see Wine Spectator’s nearly 3,800 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the 100 Grand Award recipients worldwide that hold our highest honor.

Do you have a favorite you’d like to see on this list? Send your recommendations to restaurantawards@mshanken.com. We want to hear from you!


Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel
Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel gives guests a peek at their 30,000-bottle cellar through a glass enclosure.

WICKENS AT ROYAL MAIL HOTEL
A wine destination worth the detour
98 Parker St., Dunkeld, Victoria, Australia
(61) 3-5577-2241
www.royalmail.com.au
Open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Sunday

Grand Award
Wine list selections 3,000
Inventory 30,000
Wine strengths Wine lovers flock here for the comprehensive program that excels in Australia, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Spain, the Rhône, Italy and Germany. Guests can make their selection from the list or choose from several wine pairings. The starting prices for the five-course menu are a standard pairing for $90, the Australian pairing for $97 or the French pairing for $180.
Recent rebranding Formerly sharing a name with the hotel, the restaurant is now named after executive chef Robin Wickens and boasts a new space with views of the surrounding mountains of Grampians National Park.
Cuisine Wickens presents regional dishes through various tasting menus that change daily, ranging from five courses for $123 and eight courses for $140 to a chef’s-table experience for $162. The 2017 renovations also brought a stronger connection between the cuisine and its source, with at least 80 percent of the restaurant’s produce now coming from the hotel garden.
Distinct experiences The restaurant offers sommelier-guided tours of the cellar with comparative tastings and bottles from the collection available for purchase. The wine list provides special tasting opportunities as well: Premium labels available by the glass include Penfolds Shiraz South Australia Grange and Dominique Laurent.


Bacchus
Bacchus’ dining room is as chic as the outdoor pool area.

BACCHUS
Enjoy a global wine list poolside
9 Glenelg St., South Bank, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
(61) 7-3364-0870
www.bacchussouthbank.com.au
Open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Saturday

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 610
Inventory 3,000
Wine strengths Head sommelier Andrew Giblin views his list as a tour of the world’s great wine regions. The program covers Old and New World labels from international producers but focuses on Australian picks, showcasing names like Grosset, Torbreck and Kaesler. Italy and France (especially Burgundy and Champagne) also stand out.
Unexpected selections Rounding out the classic wine regions are lesser-known names like Japan’s Grace Winery and Uruguay’s Viñedo de los Vientos.
Cuisine Chef Massimo Speroni serves creative takes on seasonal Australian cuisine, like a starter of 24 hour–cooked tongue with char-grilled avocado and white balsalmic gel. There’s also a variety of pastas and entrées with regional ingredients, including kangaroo.
Indoor-outdoor experience Bacchus is set on the Brisbane River but features a waterfront view of its own in the glamorous poolside area. The space is in addition to an indoor dining room with a warm, modern look by Los Angeles designer Tracy Beckmann.


Black Bar & Grill
Black Bar & Grill's chef brings international influence to the steak-house menu.

BLACK BAR & GRILL
A stylish Sydney steak house
The Star, 80 Pyrmont St., Sydney, Australia
(61) 2-9777-9109
www.star.com.au/sydney/eat-and-drink/signature-dining/black-bar-and-grill
Open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Saturday

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 1,200
Inventory 5,000
Wine strengths Australia and Burgundy make up the bulk of the wine program, which also excels in Champagne and New Zealand. Nearly 50 wines are available by the glass, including 12 premium pours by Coravin.
Cuisine Chef Dany Karam was born in Lebanon, where he trained for five years before working in France and eventually settling in Australia. Karam brings this global perspective to Black Bar & Grill, spicing up the steak-house menu with starters like kingfish sashimi with horseradish cream and sides like fattoush salad with pomegranate molasses.
Guiding guests Head sommelier Addy Lam provides valuable descriptions and context throughout the list, like background on benchmark producers, grape variety origins and full-page wine region maps.
Australian champion Designated sections spotlight domestic producers such as Brokenwood and Cambrien, listing several vintages of each, accompanied by background information on the region and labels.


The Crafers Hotel
A love of French wine drives the wine list at the Crafers Hotel.

THE CRAFERS HOTEL
A regional restaurant in a historic hotel
8 Main St., Crafers, Australia
(61) 8-8339-2050
www.crafershotel.com.au
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 1,885
Inventory 14,000
Wine strengths Overseen by wine director Jonathan Brook, the program emphasizes Australian wines and boasts an extensive French collection. The most impressive sections include Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Loire and Champagne.
Propelled by passion Owners Ed Peter, Julie Peter and Brett Matthews have a particular affinity for French wines and supplement the restaurant’s list with picks from their personal collections. The wine team also selects a “Winery of the Month” to showcase South Australian producers they’re excited about.
Easy to enjoy The Crafers Hotel’s “Big Book of Wine” includes maps, tasting notes and contextual tidbits on the selections. In addition to the full wine list, there’s an abbreviated “Little Book of Wine,” with by-the-glass selections and approchable, value-driven bottles.
Cuisine Chef Stephane Brizard works with locally sourced ingredients on the regional menu, creating dishes that are distinct yet familiar. For example, the fresh market fish is served with olive dust and saffron pommes fondantes, and the chicken Parmigiana is made with ham and verjuice vinaigrette.


Golden Century Seafood Restaurant
The wine program at Golden Century Seafood Restaurant complements dishes like sliced live abalone.

GOLDEN CENTURY SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Local go-to for live seafood and fine wine
393-399 Sussex St., Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
(61) 2-9212-3901
www.goldencentury.com.au
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 590
Inventory 5,000
Wine strengths Golden Century Seafood Restaurant is open until 4 a.m., so there’s plenty of time to enjoy owner and wine director Eric Wong’s outstanding list. His selections are strongest in Australia, Bordeaux and Burgundy.
Cuisine Chef Ho Li’s extensive Asian menu focuses on Chinese cuisine. Li is also the chef at another Best of Award of Excellence winner owned by Wong, the Century.
As fresh as it gets One of the restaurant’s biggest draws is its selection of live seafood that goes far beyond basics like crab and lobster. Dine on daily catches like prawn, perch, scallop and more, and choose the preparation style from options like steamed, braised and pan-fried with gravy.
Accentuating an icon Peruse the lengthy collection of labels from Australia's Penfolds, including more than 40 vintages of Grange and 15 vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon South Australia Bin 707.


Jonah’s Restaurant
Jonah’s Restaurant serves up seasonal cuisine by the ocean.

JONAH’S RESTAURANT
Outstanding wines at an intimate retreat
Jonah’s Boutique Hotel, 69 Bynya Road, Whale Beach, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
(61) 2-9974-5599
www.jonahs.com.au
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 1,710
Inventory 12,500
Wine strengths Open since 1929, Jonah’s Restaurant relies on longstanding relationships with beverage suppliers for its extensive wine list. Wine director Niels Sluiman’s program excels in Australia, France (especially Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne), Italy and Germany.
Cuisine Straightforward dishes keep the spotlight on local ingredients and chef Matteo Zamboni’s technique. The seasonal Australian menu offers items like seared pork belly, mushroom risotto and wild-caught fish with herbs, lemon and brown butter.
Associated spot Owner Peter Montgomery also owns Award of Excellence winner the Flooded Gums Restaurant in Bonville, Australia, several hundred miles up the coast. Sluiman is in charge of the wine program there too, which has 250 selections and an Australian focus.
Breathtaking beach views With floor-to-ceiling windows and a white-washed aesthetic, the restaurant has a beachy yet modern feel. The dining room overlooks the clear waters and rocky coast of Whale Beach. For guests seeking an even better view, there’s an outdoor terrace with a menu of light bites and shareable small plates.


Masani Italian Dining & Terrace
Daughter-father team Kara and Richard Maisano work together at Masani Italian Dining & Terrace.

MASANI ITALIAN DINING & TERRACE
Traditional Italian eats on the outskirts of Melbourne
313 Drummond St., Carlton, Victoria, Australia
(61) 3-9347-5610
www.masani.com.au
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 630
Inventory 7,100
Cuisine Chef-owner Richard Maisano trained in Switzerland and Italy before opening Masani in 1983. He’s known for his from-scratch Italian fare honoring both his roots and the region, particularly handmade pastas and wild game specialties.
Well-established setting The restaurant's Victorian-style building dates to the 1880s, and the dining room conveys a sense of classic European comfort, with exposed brick walls and a fireplace.
Wine strengths Maisano’s daughter, Kara, is the restaurant’s wine director. Her program covers a broad range of Italian regions and shows similar strength in Australian and French labels.
Accessible tasting The “Gusti da Masani” menu consists of five special courses for just $58 per person, or $105 with wine pairings. This value is reflected on the moderately priced wine list, which has 19 wines by the glass and 60 half-bottles.


Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth
Perth is one of three locations of Rockpool Bar & Grill.

ROCKPOOL BAR & GRILL PERTH
Beyond your basic steak house
Crown Perth, Great Eastern Highway, Victoria Park, Perth, Australia
(61) 8-6252-1900
www.rockpoolbarandgrill.com.au/perth/home/
Open for lunch, Sunday to Friday and dinner, daily

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 2,445
Inventory 12,000
Wine strengths Head sommelier Andrew Symes emphasizes Australia on the wide-ranging list, with a heavy focus on Western Australia’s Margaret River region. The program also shines in classic regions around the world such as Burgundy, Italy, the Rhône, Bordeaux and Champagne.
Domestic depth The wine list is peppered with strong verticals, particularly from Australia. Highlights include eight vintages of Grosset Riesling Clare Valley Polish Hill, 10 vintages of Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River, and eight vintages of Mount Mary Quintet Yarra Valley.
Cuisine Chef Dan Masters’ lengthy menu extends beyond traditional steak-house offerings with pastas, regional entrées and more. In the dining room, the open kitchen provides a peek at the dry-aged cuts from Australian farms cooking on the wood-fired grill.
Part of the family Rockpool Bar & Grill has another Best of Award of Excellence–winning location in Sydney. Both restaurants are owned by Rockpool Dining Group, which also includes Best of Award of Excellence winners the Cut Bar & Grill, Jade Temple and Rosetta, and Award of Excellence winners Saké Restaurant & Bar and Spice Temple.


The Source at MONA
The Source serves artfully plated food that rivals the pieces in the encompassing museum.

THE SOURCE AT MONA
Fine dining with an artsy edge
MONA, 655 Berriedale Road, Berriedale, Tasmania, Australia
(61) 3-6277-9904
www.mona.net.au/mona/restaurant
Open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Monday

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 1,970
Inventory 20,000
Untraditional setting The Source is inside MONA, Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art. Exhibits tend to be avant-garde, and that modern approach is reflected in the dining room. The glass-enclosed space features sleek table settings and wraparound views of the Derwent River.
On-site wine producer MONA is located at Moorilla winery, which was founded in 1947 and now has a partnership with the museum. The Source showcases the label on the opening page of the wine list, offering more than two dozen bottlings of sparkling, white and red wines.
Wine strengths A wide range of regions shine in wine director Pip Anderson’s program. Burgundy and Australia are the biggest standouts, followed by Germany, Champagne, Bordeaux and Spain.
Cuisine Chef Vince Trim combines regional ingredients, French technique and a hint of whimsy on the à-la-carte menu. Offerings change seasonally, but expect memorable dishes like wallaby with beetroot and hazelnuts and lamb collar with harissa and spelt.


Harvard Wang
Vue de Monde serves an extensive wine list in a modern setting.

VUE DE MONDE
A sky-high, time-tested concept
Rialto Tower, 525 Collins St., Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
(61) 3-9691-3888
www.vuedemonde.com.au
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 1,800
Inventory 12,000
Evolving concept Shannon Bennett opened Vue de Monde in 2000, when he was just 24 years old. The restaurant has relocated several times since then, most recently to the 55th floor of the Rialto building.
Contemporary space Diners can now peer out at panoramic views of Melbourne and beyond. The dramatic room is adorned with modern details like fur-lined chairs and illuminated art.
Cuisine Chef Justin James' cuisine has also evolved. Vue de Monde opened as a classic French restaurant and has shifted to a more locally-focused menu that aims to celebrate the bounty of nearby growers. The prix-fixe menus vary but typically offer about 15 courses, priced at either $197 for the seasonal tasting or $222 for the chef’s tasting.
Wine strengths The wine program reflects the menu’s local focus with an outstanding Australian collection. Head sommelier Carlos Simoes Santos also provides an extensive selection of French wines, with highlights in Burgundy, Champagne and Bordeaux.


Doot Doot Doot
Doot Doot Doot creates a memorable experience with its fun name and dramatic dining room.

DOOT DOOT DOOT
A tasting-menu spot with vineyard views
Jackalope Hotel, 166 Balnarring Road, Melbourne, Australia
(61) 3-5931-2500
www.jackalopehotels.com
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 250
Inventory 1,000
Local focus Doot Doot Doot overlooks Willow Creek Vineyard in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula wine region. The restaurant aims to highlight the bounty in its backyard through carefully sourced ingredients and a wine list emphasizing small producers as well as the on-site vineyard.
Wine strengths The restaurant has a playful name but a serious, Australian-focused wine program, run by head sommelier Susei Ko. The list mostly offers wines from vineyards that are the same size or smaller than Willow Creek Vineyard, which is 27 acres.
Cuisine The five-course tasting costs $80, with wine pairings for an additional $144. Chef Elliott Pinn helms the kitchen, serving a constantly-evolving menu of dishes like prawn with summer peas and cod with sweet potato, radish pods and spiced tomato.
Luxury among the vines The encompassing Jackalope Hotel is a destination itself, with contemporary art installations and sculptural pieces throughout the property. Most of the 45 rooms and suites overlook the surrounding vines.


Ezard
Guests can choose their own adventure at Ezard, with several kinds of menus available.

EZARD
Melbourne hot spot with a flexible format
187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Australia
(61) 3-9639-6811
www.ezard.com.au
Open for lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday

Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 330
Inventory 1,550
Cuisine Chef-owner Teage Ezard helped establish Flinders Lane as the dining hub it is today. At his eponymous restaurant, he treats Australia-grown ingredients with Asian techniques on the refined yet moderately priced menu.
Wine strengths Sommelier Brendan Bennett manages the wine program, which is strongest in Australia. The list also impresses in France, particularly Burgundy, where you’ll find prized bottlings from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine Leflaive and more.
Customizable meal In addition to the standard à-la-carte menu, Ezard offers five- and eight-course tasting menus with optional beverage pairings. Monday through Friday, during lunch, guests can take advantage of “Ezard 45,” a 45-minute meal of two courses and a glass of wine for AUS$45 (about $33).


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