three hat restaurants

How Many Three Hat Restaurants Are There In Melbourne?

It's hard to get a hat. The Age Good Food Guide Awards 2016 seemed like a shake-up of sorts. We're sure all the restaurants were judged on their merits, but there were as many "losers" as winners. Melbourne has two-three hat restaurants - Attica and Brae (technically not Melbourne but regional).

Can we conclude that Sydney, with a plethora of high-end restaurants, is the fine dining capital of Australia, with Melbourne, the winner of the "mid-end" casual scene? The stats would suggest that. Who then is the foodie capital of Australia? We like to enjoy it all; the perfect combination would be to take Sydney high end and combine it with the Melbourne mid-range. Brisbane and Hobart might have something to say about that being on the rise.

When you read through the guide cover to cover as we did over a long 4-hour lunch (rather appropriate), you realise that many of the hatted restaurants of yesteryear are no longer hatted. Indeed some of them have been trending down over several years. 

Yes, it's hard to get a hat. We applaud Woodland House for going from one hat to two, Lume for its debut hat, Minamishima (a name some people had trouble with possibly after a few drinks) to burst onto the scene with two hats, and all the other hat winners. Attica and Brae should also be congratulated (it's a long way to the top) for keeping their three hat status.

We also appreciate the cheap eats and cafe sections, for example. Well done to Delhi Streets, who we highly rate ourselves, and to Shandong Mama for enriching our culinary scene. We note the trend to healthier eating cafes, becoming more Superfood bowls than burgers.

You can argue one way or another about several restaurants, but overall we think the Good Food Guide gets it about right (whether anyone cares about our opinion). One thing we can say is that we've personally been to the vast majority of the restaurants in the Good Food Guide, which is more than most.

Altair Restaurant in Warrandyte can lay claim to the best dining in the eastern suburbs with a score of 14.5; indeed, they also scored higher than many of the big-name wineries nearby.

When you get awarded a hat, it's clear you need to keep working hard to keep it. Every year each restaurant is assessed through an exacting process; one cannot assume a restaurant is locked in for a hat for years to come. 

We feel that some restaurants have "hat moments" throughout the year, but it's the consistency of hat quality day in and day out that is needed. Anyway, we are not the reviewers but rather opinionated bloggers. At least we can speak from a base of visiting hundreds of restaurants per year.

Three Chef Hatted Restaurants In Melbourne

2021 has hardly been the year of dining out, and it's safe to say we're all overdue for a killer meal. For chefs and restaurants, being awarded a ‘Chef Hat’ is the highest honour. 

For restaurant-goers, it means your hitlist is pretty much done and dusted. We've got four months left of the year. You better believe we're making the most of it. 

So for food with all the frills, tip your hat to these amazing chef-hatted restaurants in Melbourne – which ones will you be booking? 

Attica

A fixture on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list since 2010, Ben Shrewy's Attica is a must-try for all foodies. Serving up inventive tasting menus that push the culinary boundaries, each dish heroes local, underrated ingredients like bunya nuts and murnong. Eclectic, warm and one-of-a-kind, dining at Attica is a unique experience worth more than three hats.

74 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea

Brae

The very definition of farm-to-plate, Brae has retained their three chef hats and was awarded Vittoria Restaurant of the Year. Sitting pretty on 30 acres with vegetable plots and an established grove of over 100 trees, Brae uses fresh produce from its farm as well as that of local producers and growers to shape its ever-changing menu. 

Get the full experience and stay in one of their six eco-friendly luxury guest suites. Pure bliss. 

4285 Cape Otway Rd, Birregurra, Victoria

Vue de Monde

Sitting high above the city skyline, Vue de Monde, as its name suggests, consistently takes diners to new culinary heights. Retaining their two hats with inventive, sustainability-focused dishes, Shannon Bennett's mainstay establishment continues to evolve. 

Be sure to treat yourself to the signature chef’s tasting menu whilst you take in the 360-degree views of the city.

Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins Street, Melbourne

Laura

The Mornington Peninsula's Pt. Leo Estate is home to Australia's most comprehensive sculpture collection and two-hatted restaurant, Laura. A gourmet hideaway promises an ultra-luxe dining experience in a gloriously intimate setting. 

With a choice of four, five or six courses, along with a perfectly paired wine list, diners take a gastronomic tour of the region through each plate.

Point Leo Estate, Merricks, Victoria

Minamishima

Refined, minimal and exact, Minamishima is the epitome of fine Japanese dining. Following the principles of omakase dining, the menu is dictated by the chef and is influenced by the seasons, but expect handcrafted nigiri to make an appearance. 

Everything served up to diners has been meticulously considered, from the fresh, local produce to the precision plating. Whether you dine at the counter, sushi-bar style, or in the dining room, you are in for a real treat.

4 Lord Street, Richmond

Ten Minutes By Tractor

ten minutes by tractor

Ten Minutes By Tractor is a must-visit for those passionate about food and wine. Named after the convergence of three family-owned Mornington Peninsula wineries (each ten minutes by tractor apart), the estate offers some of the truest expressions of the region's varieties as well as inspired dining. 

Chef Adam Sanderson’s tasting menu celebrates the incredible local produce taken from neighbouring farms, the kitchen garden and ingredients foraged from around the region.  

1333 Mornington-Flinders Road, Main Ridge

IDES

This special occasion fine diner is known for its thrillingly original modern Australian food. Seating just 36 people, the $160 dinner menu constantly evolves with the seasons and contains novel ingredients and combinations. 

The risks pay off, with every dish artfully marrying flavour, technique and artful plating, all of it culminating in their iconic ‘black box’ dessert – a bucket list Melbourne dish everyone should try.

92 Smith Street, Collingwood 

Gaea

When the head chef has stints at Attica and Vue de Monde under their belt, you know you’re in for a rough time. This 16-seat, degustation-only restaurant is fronted by Mo Zhou, a Henan-born chef passionate about creative cooking and local produce. 

Those unafraid of the novel will be delighted by his imaginative flavour and textural combinations, with dishes guaranteed to have you deep in thought at the dinner table.

1/166 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Amaru

Unbound by geography and genre, Clinton McIver and his kitchen continually chase exciting new flavours and textures. In their $220 ‘Sensory’ menu, peak produce meets inspired cooking in dishes like aged cobia with dried strawberry, rhubarb and green almonds, or barbecued redfish with Mexican mole, warrigal greens and rosella. 

Meanwhile, the cosy yet elegant fitout creates instant intimacy while being simple enough to let the sophisticated dishes sing.

1121 High Street, Armadale

Cutler & Co

A sleek yet industrial setting within an old factory, it’s easy to settle in for the evening at the elegant Cutler and Co. With a focus on top-quality produce and a great fine dining experience, the menu is designed to share simple and seasonal modern Australian dishes. 

55/57 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

 

Wickens at the Royal Mail

 

Wickens at the Royal Mail Hotel is a two-hatted paddock to plate sensory experience with an everchanging menu that plays on locally grown and foraged flavours. 

Relying heavily on produce harvested daily from the hotel’s organic kitchen garden and boasting a world-class wine list from the impressive 28,000 bottle wine cellar, you'll never want to leave. À la carte or degustation, Wickens at the Royal Mail Hotel is destination dining at its finest.

98 Parker St, Dunkeld, Victoria

three hat restaurants

 

Flower Drum

Flower Drum is synonymous with Melbourne hospitality – the 45-year-old Cantonese institution even has its own Wikipedia page. Around a sumptuous grand dining room weave experienced waiters who greet their regulars (politicians, high profile chefs and celebrities among them) like old friends. Signature dishes such as the deftly carved Peking duck, mud crab xiao long bao and quail sang Choi bao are mainstays decade after decade, as is the wallet-busting premium live seafood cooked to world-class perfection.

17 Market Lane, Melbourne

Ishizuka

Acclaimed chef Tomotaka Ishizuka’s ultra-exclusive, hidden basement restaurant embodies the ultra-seasonal ‘kaiseki’ style of Japanese dining. Seating just 16 guests, everyone is served an 11-dish tasting menu displaying luxe ingredients, exceptional technique, and wow-inducing plating. 

Complex yet restrained dishes are a masterclass in Japanese perfectionism, changing day by day under the freshest produce on offer.

139 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Navi 

Located in the up and coming suburb of Yarraville is one of Melbourne’s most exciting and innovative restaurants. Serving a degustation menu to only 25 guests a night has given chef-owner Julian Hills more space to flex his creative muscles, with the results speaking for themselves –weekends are usually booked out months in advance. 

Adventurous diners are bound to love the genre-bouncing playlist and novel drinks list (think wattleseed espresso martinis and toasted rice kombucha) before they even get to the food, which includes adventurous bites like trout roe and black garlic macarons or blue cheesecake with tamarillos.

83b Gamon Street, Yarraville

Grossi Florentino

When a dining experience kicks off with a ceremonial Champagne trolley, you know you’re in for a good night. And in the opulent setting of Grossi Florentino, they pull out all the stops. 

Chandeliers hang elegantly from the ornate ceiling, and ancient murals decoratively line the walls. This has Italian romance written all over it. The food is exquisite, serving traditional comfort plates with a touch of decadence. This is a dining experience like no other. 

80 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Atlas Dining

Atlas isn’t your typical restaurant. Chef Charlie Carrington’s ambitious project changes its menu entirely every four months, creating a new degustation that celebrates a different country’s cuisine. The result is a thoughtful, exciting experience that takes you worldwide without leaving Melbourne

Previous iterations have included Israel, India, China and Lebanon. Still, right now, they’re bringing it home with an Australia-inspired set menu that highlights native ingredients and the wonderful diversity of our multicultural dining landscape.

133 Commercial Road, South Yarra 

three hat restaurants

Tonka

Fiery Indian cuisine with a refined and contemporary touch is what you can expect from this CBD mainstay, tucked off one of Melbourne’s most iconic laneways. The luxe white tablecloths won’t be pristine for long after you devour Tonka’s glorious saucy and succulent dishes. 

The lamb curry with roasted coconut and black cardamom is hard to pass up, or try something from one of the Tandoor ovens, like the whole spatchcock or Petuna ocean trout.

20 Duckboard Place, Melbourne

Coda

A true Melbourne institution, sleek and chic Coda is widely agreed to be one of the city’s best. Always buzzing with its special brand of energy, not only is this the place to be seen on a Friday night (or any other night for that matter) – but you’re guaranteed a brilliant meal in the process. Trust us, the yellowfin tuna alone is worth the wait.

141 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants

A three-hatted restaurant located in Melbourne’s central business district, Vue De Monde offers some of the city’s best dining. It’s an ultra-fine dining experience.

An overview of the Chef Hat system can be found below: 12-13 points: fine cuisine. An optional hat (similar to a Michelin star) could put your head on the ground for 14-15 minutes. Five hats at 19 points: A trip to Michelin stars at 18-19 points): three hats, worth a trip (similar to three Michelin stars)

There are no longer many restaurants in Melbourne; categorise them according to their size and region.

You can only find a ‘hat’ for chefs and restaurants when they’ve won prizes. Scores go towards ingredients, service, technique, value, and consistency in a restaurant. An eatery needs no more than 15 out of 20, taking these factors into account. There are a few places that offer two to three hats.

Each restaurant can be rated separately based on its cuisine. Chef Hats awards chefs who demonstrate continuous excellence in cooking.

Two Chef Hatted Restaurants In Melbourne

From high profile newcomers to classic eateries that have stood the test of time – these are the places where memories (and memorable meals) are made.

  • Dinner by Heston: Heston Blumenthal’s first permanent restaurant in Melbourne is one of the most exciting openings of 2016. With a chef who has taken the entire culinary world by storm, it’s no wonder Dinner by Heston is sitting pretty with two hats.
  • Ezard: Serving ‘Australian freestyle cuisine’, anything goes at two-hatted restaurant Ezard.
  • Flower Drum: Presenting Cantonese cuisine in all its glory, Flower Drum has been consistently awarded hats for a refined, traditional Chinese menu.
  • Grossi Florentino Upstairs: Proving Italians do more than pasta (although pasta is great), Grossi Florentino Upstairs’ menu is one of the best three-course menus in Melbourne, and they have the hats to prove it.
  • The Press Club: Luxe Greek degustation? Yes, when it comes to The Press Club.
  • Rockpool Bar & Grill: Designer steakhouse with a modern Australian makeover, boasting the choicest cuts and freshest local produce.

One Chef Hatted Restaurants In Melbourne

Melbourne’s hot choices: on-trend and old school; these cosmopolitan diners bring the world’s best cuisine to Melbourne.

  • Lee Ho Fook: A relative newcomer to the hatted restaurant scene, Lee Ho Fook combines modern Asian cuisine with simple service and a spice-packed menu
  • Bar Lourinha: Mediterranean tapas, vibrant cocktails, and impeccably charming service lift this not-so-average bar to the next level.
  • Bistro Guillaume: A classic French bistro tucked beside the Yarra River; Bistro Guillaume is home to dishes like freshly shucked oysters swimming in red wine vinegar and the best onion soup. Ever.
  • Cecconi’s: An Italian favourite, Cecconi’s on Flinders Lane is a must for date night, morning, or day as it’s an all-day eatery that serves from breakfast to dessert.
  • Coda Bar and Restaurant: Proving Vietnamese cuisine isn’t all about street food, except palm sugar meringue and Nonya-style satay lamb chop with a spiced peanut crumb.
  • Spice Temple: Another Neil Perry offspring, Spice Temple is reinventing the perception of yum cha and Chinese cuisine in Melbourne.
  • Cumulus Inc.: An all-day restaurant with a brunch as good as its dinner, Cumulus Inc. is a smart choice for anyone with a grumbly tummy.
  • Embla: An impeccably elegant wine bar with tasty food to the boot, you can’t misstep at Embla.
  • Epocha: Housed in a stunning Victoria terrace, Epocha isn’t all about appearances. From roast potatoes in duck fat to market fish with smoked eggplant, eat your way through this one-of-a-kind restaurant.
  • The European: Breakfast through dinner is unashamedly European, as you may have guessed.
  • French Saloon: Opened above much-loved Kirk’s Wine Bar, French Saloon feels like a slice of Paris a level above Melbourne.
  • Il Bacaro: An old-school restaurant that’s never out of style, Il Bacaro is charming and unfailingly classic.
  • Kappo: A modern Japanese restaurant featuring deep greys and an intimately small space, Kappo’s set daily menu is all about skill and culinary love.
  • Longrain: The ever-popular south-east Asian restaurant continues to shine with crowd-favourites caramelised pork hock with five spices and chilli vinegar.
  • Maha: Middle Eastern cuisine is having its (well-deserved) moment in Melbourne. If you’re a newbie, Maha is the place to start.
  • MoVida: Pretentious service is unwelcome at MoVida. For those foodies who feel intimidated by glittery interiors and suited waiters – MoVida’s casual charm is for you.
  • Other: A modern French restaurant opened earlier this year. Only amateurs underestimate Oter’s simple one-page menu.
  • Rosetta: Neil Perry’s menu; You’ll discover hand-made pasta and food straight from a wood-fired oven. The Rosetta Ristorante gets a triple-A with a side of drool.
  • Sarti: If you haven’t visited Sarti, then you can’t call yourself a proud Melburnian.
  • Supernormal: A fresh-faced, share-style venue in Melbourne’s CBD, Supernormal is pretty super. Especially if you’re judging by the lines come Friday night.
  • Tipo 00: Squid ink pasta, pappardelle with braised wagyu scotch and gnocchi with braised duck. Run, don’t walk.

Resources:

OPINION: THE AGE GOOD FOOD GUIDE - IT'S HARD TO GET A HAT

Melbourne’s Chef-hatted Restaurants You Need To See To Believe

Melbourne’s hatted restaurants

Scroll to Top