Hello, we're back, and it's so good to see you. After an intensely challenging 20 months, the hospitality industry has come out the other side, and we're ready to hear the specials and have a glass of something delicious.
What a relief, because dining out is about so much more than just refuelling. It's where we catch up, hang out, celebrate and commiserate.
Like many other best-laid plans this year, we've had to pivot. Switching from a book to a magazine has given us more time to visit the latest restaurants, bars and cafes and be as up-to-date as possible.
It also doesn't seem like the right time to rank and critique businesses that have been fighting to survive, so the hats aren't back this year. The venues are presented unscored, and there are no individual awards. But rest assured: each one has been vouched for by professional critics and meets our strict criteria. If it's in the Guide, it's good.
If we learnt anything in lockdown, it was that eating and drinking out is a vital part of life, and Victoria has one of the most exciting, agile and creative dining scenes in the world. The quality of the produce, diversity of cuisines, and the passion of its people makes this state an agenda-setting place to eat, whether it's a power brunch, a late-night feast, a round of snacks or a life-changing degustation. You'll get the lowdown on the best of the best here.
If it's in the Guide, it's good.
This summer we're fully vaxxed, checked in, and ready to party. It's time to make a booking and try something new. Where do you want to go tonight?
–Michael Harry, Victorian Editor
On the cover
Khanh Nguyen's kaya jam parfait sandwich features on the menu at his new restaurant Aru and is inspired by his travels to Singapore. Kaya (pandan and coconut custard) is made into ice-cream and pressed between waffles made with salted koji (used in fermented foods such as soy sauce). Davidson plum jam is piped on top to cut the richness. Pass a spoon, please!
The Good Food Guide 2022 magazine will be 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.