The Age Good Food Guide 2015: a few of our favourite things

Most delicious dessert: Supernormal.
Most delicious dessert: Supernormal. Photo: Eddie Jim EJZ

Where to eat now

Is The Town Mouse a bar or a restaurant? Does it really have only stools, not chairs? Who cares? Dave Verheul's cosmopolitan food is like a little black dress … it goes anywhere with style. The room is small and sleek, the service spot-on, and there's a tiny courtyard. And, dear Santa, they do gift vouchers, too.

Best gourmet getaway

Lake House (Daylesford) easily one of the country's finest boutique hotels. Runner-up Royal Mail Hotel (Dunkeld).

Local hero

Mister Bianco (Kew) for its feel-good Italian food. Runner-up Union Food & Wine (Ascot Vale).

Favourite fine-dining adventure

Tuesday's chef's table nights at Attica (Ripponlea) where dishes in development are served on a $125 set menu.

Vintage hall of famers

Thirty-five-year guide stalwarts are Abla's (Carlton), Flower Drum (Melbourne), (Grossi) Florentino (Melbourne), Vlado's (Richmond). ''One of the gratifying things is seeing restaurants with as much, or more history, still figuring,'' says co-editor Janne Apelgren. ''Abla's and Vlado's are still in the Guide under the same owners, 35 years on. Florentino, with a third generation of the Grossi family now at work, is a stalwart. Flower Drum is about to turn 40, Punch Lane is 20, and Kenzan, in Collins Place, is 32. Loyalty is one of the things I love about Melbourne diners.''

Top spot to dust off the BYO bag

Ocha (Kew) will treat your brought-from-home wine with respect, likely even pouring it into the correct glasses.

Most delicious dessert smack-down

It's Supernormal's (Melbourne) luxe chocolate, salted caramel and peanut butter parfait versus Brae's (Birregurra) parsnip, apple and chamomile dessert, which channels a cannoli using some innovative ingredients.

Best restaurateur merch

Teage Ezard's (Ezard, Melbourne) parmesan, garlic and rosemary olive oil, available in 375ml bottles.

Happiest place to dine barefoot, in boardshorts

Kosta and Pam Talimanidis run the coastal restaurant from where you'd rather be, A La Grecque (Aireys Inlet). Runner-up Wye General Store & Cafe (Wye River).

Best reason to volunteer as designated driver

The matched juice menu at Attica (Ripponlea), which might include smoked granny smith apple.

Favourite food on wheels

The cheese trolley at Merricote (Northcote).

Top spot to hear yourself (and your dining companion) talk

Bacash (South Yarra).

Most jaw-dropping view

Chris's Beacon Point (Apollo Bay), Vue de Monde (Melbourne).

Top urban al fresco eating

Fatto, Rosetta, Sake (Southbank); Paco's Tacos (Melbourne); Uncle (St Kilda); Union Dining (Richmond).