Five fine diners at the top of their game.
It's one of Australia's most exclusive restaurants, but Attica also has a social conscience and a wry sense of humour. Native ingredients are presented in daring new ways, from tree ants served as "caviar" to emu liver in a silky parfait. Owner-chef Ben Shewry's food is delicious rather than fussy, and might include his spin on "kangaroo frites", which arrive with a perfume spritzer of vinegar to mist on chips.
74 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea, 03 9530 0111, attica.com.au
Attica in Ripponlea. Photo: Supplied
In this light-splashed 30-seat room two hours from the city, each dish arrives with a rich backstory. It might be a vibrant salad containing whatever's picked from the prolific gardens that day, a whimsical "lamb biscuit" topped with dill pickles, or a rib-sticking bowl of treasured family beans with egg yolk and fermented rye. By the time the final petit fours arrive, you'll feel sated, body and soul.
4285 Cape Otway Rd, Birregurra, 03 5236 2226, braerestaurant.com
Brae restaurant in Birregurra. Photo: Supplied
Koichi Minamishima's 10-piece omakase is, quite simply, unbeatable. Details are key, from the silent gliding doors to the glistening black plates for each piece of nigiri. Add silky service, impeccable design and sparkling ingredients such as Hokkaido scallops, South Australian oysters and wagyu-like tuna belly, and you'll understand why this is Melbourne's superior sushi-ya.
4 Lord St, Richmond, 03 9429 5180, minamishima.com.au
Minamishima in Richmond.
Brothers Blayne and Chayse Bertoncello's garden-to-table star delivers a sustainable menu packed with fun. A plump oyster has its cream-and-brine flesh beautified by buttermilk and a blanket of mouse melons, while the famous sourdough has earned the title of destination bread. Such community-minded, "big picture" dining is impressive, but the buoyant hospitality makes it just so likeable.
70 Princes Hwy, Beaconsfield, 03 9769 9000, omyrestaurant.com.au
O.My restaurant. Photo: Simon Schluter
Vue de Monde
This sky-high stalwart is the city's go-to special occasion diner, offering the drama and theatrics that make eating out so much fun. Australian ingredients are expertly deployed, from Manjimup marron splashed with curry broth to tangy Davidson plum served like a lunchbox rollup. Few can match end-of-days indulgence like Vue.
Level 55, Rialto Towers, 525 Collins St, Melbourne, 03 9691 3888, vuedemonde.com.au
Marron at Vue de Monde. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui
The It Lists are brought to you by Citi
This article features in the Good Food Guide 2022 magazine, published on November 30 with presenting partners Citi and Vittoria Coffee, and free with The Age. Also on sale from December 7 in newsagents and supermarkets.