The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2024, featuring the best restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs across NSW and ACT, has launched with Margaret named Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year at an awards ceremony held in Sydney. Sustainable seafood pioneer, Josh Niland, also took out the coveted Oceania Cruises Chef of the Year award.
The annual Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide has been recognising the best chefs and restaurants since 1984, and this year’s Guide is a compilation of almost 500 independent reviews visited by our team of critics over the past six months. .
This year’s Guide includes a record 157 hats: three restaurants received three hats, 39 restaurants received two hats and 116 restaurants received one hat. The three hat winners were Oncore by Clare Smyth, Sixpenny and Quay.
Callan Boys, SMH Good Food Guide editor, said “Dining in NSW and the ACT has never been better, with more hats awarded than ever before in the Guide’s history.”
The awards ceremony – supported by long-term co-presenting partner Vittoria Coffee and co-presenting partner Oceania Cruises – was held at the Art Gallery of NSW’s North Wing (known as Sydney Modern). Three hundred chefs, restaurateurs and industry legends from NSW and Canberra dining and drink scenes gathered as 14 awards, along with the hats, were handed out.
Boys continued: “I think this year’s Guide is one of our best and most user-friendly efforts to date, with more venues catering to different budgets, and more reviews from outside the inner-city than ever before.
“Regional dining, in particular, is booming.”
For the first time, a Canberra venue, Such and Such, took out Aurum Poultry Co. New Restaurant of the Year. Murwillumbah’s Bistro Livi, in the Northern Rivers, was named Regional Restaurant of the Year, while Byron Bay’s Bar Heather took the gong for New Regional Restaurant of the Year.
New this year is the Critics’ Pick, with Malay Chinese Noodle Bar taking out the inaugural Critics’ Pick award.
Boys added: “This year we’ve introduced a Critics’ Pick tick to the Guide for places that don’t quite reach the score for a hat – perhaps it’s a counter-service pizzeria, or tiny shop with only two tables – but our reviewers are big fans of it regardless.
“The Woon family behind Malay Chinese have nourished Sydneysiders since 1987 with extraordinary har mee noodle soups and laksas. It was great to have co-founder Meng Wong accept the award before heading home for a 4am rise to start preparing his daily broths.”
Kylie Kwong was named the Vittoria Coffee Legend Award for her outstanding long-term contribution to the hospitality industry. For more than three decades, Kwong has nourished Sydneysiders with her vision for what Australian-Chinese cooking could be. Kwong’s influence reaches beyond the professional kitchen to affect local and global communities at all levels.
Shashank Achuta, who works as sous chef at Brasserie 1930, was awarded Smeg Young Chef of the Year.
The Oceania Cruises Service Excellence Award was given to Alice Dwyer of Pipit, while Pokolbin’s Yellow Billy restaurant in the Hunter region was named Oceania Cruises Drinks List of the Year.
Cafe of the Year went to Happyfield; PS40 took out Best Bar; Sommelier of the Year was awarded to Max Gurtler from Oncore by Clare Smyth; and the Innovator of the Year winner was Plate it Forward’s Shaun Christie-David – a big thinker with bright ideas that better the community.
Edited by Boys, The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2024 reviews have been undertaken by a team of esteemed critics including Boys, Terry Durack, Jill Dupleix, David Matthews and Sarah Norris, all of whom review independently and anonymously. More than 500 restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes were visited across NSW and Canberra over the course of six months, but not all venues made the cut.
Said Sarah Norris, head of food for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WAToday, “While Good Food is known as the home of the hats, the Guide is much more than high-end restaurants. This year’s edition spans everything from long-adored institutions, pub eateries, suburban gems, no-frills pizza shops, hole-in-the-wall noodle shops to CBD bistros and luxurious regional destinations. Importantly, it covers a broad range of budgets.”