In Food + Drink

Australian Chefs Share Their Favourite Foodie Finds

If there was ever a person to ask for food recommendations, it would be a chef. As professional cooks, they’ve studied flavours and tastes in detail so know what’s worth our time, no matter our palate.

We asked a handful of seasoned Australian chefs to share that knowledge. Internationally, and right here in Australia, here are their favourite foodie finds:

Best local foodie find


The eye fillet steak at Vlados in Richmond, Victoria. Image: Vlados / Facebook

“I have a few go-to restaurants. On The Inlet in Port Douglas [QLD] for its fresh seafood and relaxed, no nonsense vibe. Prime in Martin Place in Sydney for its amazing wine list and excellent service.

“And Vlados in Richmond, Victoria. It’s a hidden gem, and almost an institution to those in the know. I had the best meat experience of my life – the 16-ounce steak and homemade sausage with pickled cabbage.” – Ben Bamford, Birch, Southern Highlands

“I frequently visit Chaco Bar in Darlinghurst with my partner. Their ramen for lunch or yakitori for dinner are both amazing – the dishes are authentic, simple and incredibly tasty. The eggplant skewer is a must try.” – Francois Poulard, Chiswick, Sydney

best food in australia fish

Freshly-caught fish is one of Chef Xenia Jade’s best Australian food finds. Image: Elle Hughes / Pexels

“To be quite honest, the best food comes from chance encounters, and when it’s created in nature, using available resources. One of my favourite things to eat in Australia has been a freshly-caught fish, that I or a friend has reeled in, baked over hot coals or open fire.” – Xenia Jade, Lot. One Potts Point, Sydney

“My best local foodie secret is a little cafe in Burwood [NSW] called The Picnic. They do this delicious dish with wild rice and salmon, chili, pickled radish and an amazing lime soy dressing. It’s an indoor/outdoor set up with picnic tables set in the middle of a field – I highly recommend it to anyone that’s in the area.” – Jordan Brogan, Alibi, Sydney

“My best local foodie secret would definitely be Wagin Duck. It isn’t well known yet on the East Coast of Australia, but is by far the best duck in Australia hands down. What makes it so special is that not only is it fresh and locally grown in WA, but it’s also free-range. And believe me, you can taste the difference.” – Nic Wood, QT Perth, Perth

Best international foodie find


Chef Ben Bamford says the Halibut dish from Ahernes in Ireland is his favourite overseas meal. Image: Ahernes Youghal / Facebook

“Apart from my mother’s roast beef with all the trimmings, the best meal I’ve enjoyed outside of Australia would be the freshest of Halibut simply cooked in buerre noisette and served with rosemary poached crab claw meat and lemon buerre blanc at Ahernes Restaurant [in Cork, Ireland]. After enjoying this, I actually asked if they had any kitchen positions available and ended up working there for two years.” – Ben Bamford of Birch, Southern Highlands

“Around ten years ago I was travelling with a group of friends in Porto, Portugal. I ordered Bacalao [salted cod] from a local restaurant, which was incredible. It was by far the cheapest and best meal I’ve enjoyed overseas. Food is all about creating memories with great company – this dish, combined with my friends at this time and place, was the best thing that could have happened.” – Francois Poulard of Chiswick, Sydney


Food at Bikini Restaurant in Seminyak, Bali is a favourite of Chef Nic Wood. Image: Bikini Restaurant / Facebook

“For me, the best dish I have eaten overseas would have to be the Foie gras doughnut and fruit paste from Bikini Restaurant in Seminyak, Bali, by Chef Jethro Vincent. This dish has two of my favourite things combined into the perfect mouthful! I just love Foie Gras and who doesn’t love doughnuts? So what more can I ask for in a dish?” – Nic Wood, QT Perth, Perth

“My favourite treat was always Vareniki, which she used to make on occasion. They were large dumpling-like pastries, stuffed with fresh sour cherries and sugar. These cherries, you can only find locally, and I have not been able to find them anywhere in Australia. We used to pick them off the trees together, outside in the courtyard of her cottage.” – Xenia Jade of Lot. One Potts Point, Sydney


Chef Jordan Brogan of Alibi says Hangi, the traditional cooking of the Maoris’, was his most special meal. Image: Tourism New Zealand

“One of the most special dishes I had overseas was in New Zealand at a Maori village in Rotorua, eating a Hangi, the traditional cooking method of the Maoris’, which is cooking food in a hole in the ground then placing the food inside and covering it with earth.

“Because the ground is so hot there it slowly cooks the food and the flavours were just unreal. It’s great to learn about all the different cooking methods there are out there and seeing the history of food cooking techniques, it’s something I look forward to having again.” – Jordan Brogan, Alibi, Sydney

(Lead image: Food at Bikini Restaurant in Seminyak, Bali, image: Bikini Restaurant / Facebook)

Published 21 March, 2019