The winners of the annual Age Good Food Guide awards were announced last night, with newcomer, Minamishima taking out the Restaurant of the Year title.

Opening in late 2014, owner and chef, Koichi Minamishima said that he opened the Japanese restaurant with one particular goal: “To fill each customer with joy through the art of sushi.”

In addition to the coveted Restaurant of the Year title, Minamishima also claimed two Chef’s Hats and manager and sommelier, Randolph Cheung was awarded the Citi Service Excellence award.

Regional favourite, Birregurra’s Brae also took home two awards: the Santa Vittoria Regional Restaurant of the Year; and chef-owner, Dan Hunter claimed the Citi Chef of the Year award. The restaurant also retained its three hats.

Attica was the only Melbourne restaurant awarded three hats in the 2016 Guide. The two hat category however increased from 16 to 20 restaurants in the past 12 months, with Minamishima, Circa, Moon Under Water, The Press Club and Woodland House all joining the two-hat ranks.

Best New Restaurant went to Pasta bar Tipo 00, which is run by a team who have worked at Melbourne hotspots such as Saint Crispin, Estelle, Vue de Monde and the Grossi family’s Merchant; and the Young Chef of the Year title was awarded to George Tomlin of The Town Mouse in Carlton.

“You know you’re looking at an educated food city when some of the year’s hottest openings are a vegetarian fine diner, a dedicated pasta joint, a sushi restaurant and a diner devoted to Nashville-style hot chicken,” said The Age Good Food Guide editor, Roslyn Grundy.

The 2015 awards also saw the introduction of three new categories: The Food For Good Award which was taken out by ASRC Catering for their commitment to providing training and work opportunities for asylum seekers; Best Cheap Eat which was taken out by Indian diner Delhi Streets; and the People’s Choice Award which went to Red Spice Road.

Regionally, the big winner was Central Victoria with four restaurants (Catfish, Ballarat; The Good Table, Castlemaine; Masons of Bendigo, Bendigo; and Public Inn, Castlemaine) earning their first chef’s hat. The Mornington Peninsula's Ten Minutes by Tractor was awarded two hats, and Montalto, Paringa Estate, and Port Phillip Estate were each awarded one hat.

The top suburbs and towns for dining excellence based on number of hatted restaurants are Melbourne (23), Southbank (six), Richmond (four), Carlton (three), Fitzroy (three), St Kilda (three), Red Hill South (three), Collingwood (two), South Yarra (two), Castlemaine (two), and Daylesford (two).

A total of 15 awards were presented during the evening:

  • Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year: Minamishima, Richmond 
  • Best New Restaurant: Tipo 00, Melbourne 
  • People’s Choice Award: Red Spice Road, Melbourne 
  • Citi Chef of the Year: Dan Hunter, Brae 
  • Young Chef of the Year: George Tomlin, The Town Mouse 
  • Santa Vittoria Regional Restaurant of the Year: Brae, Birregurra
  • Food For Good Award: ASRC Catering 
  • Best Cheap Eat: Delhi Streets, Melbourne 
  • Citi Service Excellence: Randolph Cheung, Minamishima 
  • Vittoria Coffee Legend (for an outstanding long-term contribution to the industry): Gail and Kevin Donovan, Donovans 
  • Best Bar: Romeo Lane, Melbourne 
  • Donlevy Fitzpatrick Award (honouring restaurant-quality food in a bar setting): Bar Clarine, Fitzroy 
  • Champagne Pol Roger Sommelier of the Year: Meira Harel, Lake House 
  • Wine List of the Year: Woodland House, Prahran 
  • Regional Wine List of the Year: Ten Minutes by Tractor, Main Ridge 

Hatted restaurants:

City & Suburbs

Three hats: 


Two hats:
Circa, Cutler & Co, Ezard, Flower Drum, Grossi Florentino Upstairs, Matteo’s, Minamishima, Moon Under Water, The Press Club, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Rosetta, Saint Crispin, Spice Temple, Vue de Monde, Woodland House

One hat:
Bacash, Bistro Guillaume, Bistro Vue, Cafe Di Stasio, Cecconi’s Flinders Lane, Centonove, Coda, Cumulus Inc., Da Noi, Dandelion, Donovans, Easy Tiger Smith St, Epocha, European, The Grand, Huxtable, Il Bacaro, Kappo, Kenzan, Longrain, Lume, Maha, Merricote, Mister Jennings, MoVida, MoVida Aqui, No. 8 by John Lawson, O.My, Pei Modern, The Point Albert Park, Pure South, The Roving Marrow, Sarti, Stokehouse City, Supernormal, Tipo 00, Tonka, The Town Mouse, Union Dining


Three hats
Brae (Birregurra)

Two hats
Gladioli (Inverleigh), Lake House (Daylesford), Provenance (Beechworth), Royal Mail Hotel (Dunkeld), Ten Minutes by Tractor (Main Ridge)

One hat
A La Grecque (Aireys Inlet), Broadgauge (Wodonga), Catfish (Ballarat), Chris’s Beacon Point (Apollo Bay), Eleonore’s (Yering), The Good Table (Castlemaine), Kazuki’s (Daylesford), Masons of Bendigo (Bendigo), Montalto (Red Hill South), Paringa Estate (Red Hill South), Port Phillip Estate (Red Hill South), Public Inn (Castlemaine), Simones Restaurant (Bright), Source Dining (Kyneton), The Stag (Port Fairy), Stefano’s (Mildura), Tani Eat & Drink (Bright), Terminus at Flinders Hotel (Flinders), Terrace Restaurant (Wahgunyah), Tulip (Geelong)


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *