Yes, a New Zealander helms the only Australian restaurant on the World's 50 Best Restaurant list. Attica is the brainchild of Ben Shewry, who oversees the creation of a menu featuring predominately indigenous Australian ingredients. With the help of family and friends, he even built the dining room himself to reflect Australia's natural landscape. So where does Shewry eat when not serving kangaroo or making his family's favorite lasagna? Co-founder Leiti Hsu sat down with Shewry at his restaurant in Melbourne to find out his top picks:
Top Paddock — Discover what makes Melbourne's breakfast culture world-famous when you start your morning at Top Paddock. Try one of their famous fry-ups or opt for avocado toast topped with tomatoes, almond hummus and a poached egg. There's also coffee, an impressive range of breakfast cocktails and fresh-pressed juices.
Lune — According to Shewry, Lune Croissanterie surpasses the already considerable hype surrounding it. "It's incredible—the best croissant I've ever eaten." Shewry chooses a slightly warm classic croissant, but Lune is also known for their savory pastries, which range from the typical ham and gruyere to the experimental reuben stuffed with pastrami, sauerkraut and topped with cornichon. Try before you judge.
Glovers Station — Housed in a Tudor-style building, Glovers Station offers leisurely all-day breakfast and lunch. Turn your morning meal into dessert with chai panna cotta studded with muesli, or keep it savory with chili scrambled eggs on toast. While the clean white dining room is certainly relaxing, take your meal in the outside patio if the weather is nice.
Tivoli Road Bakery — Don't ask Shewry to pick his favorite pastry at this Melbourne bakery because "everything is just absolutely delicious." Stop by this Scandi-chic bakery in the morning for a warm croissant or homemade yogurt with fruit and granola. At lunch, you can get everything from a classic bowl of spiced pumpkin soup to toast studded with olives and topped with butter bean hummus, pickled spring onion, chilli and lemon.
Straits Cafe — This under-the-radar restaurant is Shewry's pick for delicious and authentic Malaysian food. Located in the suburb of Wantirna, head here to feast on assam laksa, mee goreng and char kuey teow (fried flat noodles) for a fraction of the price it would cost in the center of the city.
Dainty Sichuan — Shewry loves the spice-heavy dishes at this local favorite. His go-to dish? Ants Climbing the Trees, which combines fried vermicelli noodles with minced pork and chilies. They're also famous for their hot pot, cumin lab and mapo tofu. A frosty beer helps reduce the pepper burn.
IDES — Shewry describes this fine dining restaurant as "small, modern, ambitious" and you'll notice what he means as soon as you step into the minimal grey dining room. Head chef Peter Gunn worked at Attica as Shewry's sous chef for five years. At Ides, Gunn focuses on seasonal Australian ingredients prepared simply, plus a knock-out wine list that features bottles from local natural producers.
BONUS STOP: Springvale — "No tourist would have a reason to go [to this Melbourne suburb]," says Shewry. But you should. "There's a big Vietnamese and Chinese community and plenty of markets. Go and eat delicious noodle soup or just head to the food court to look at all the Australian ingredients. This isn't like the States or Canada where things are imported. At the markets in Springvale all the Asian fruits or vegetables you see are grown here in Australia."