Melbourne during the tennis. From January 14-27 there's nowhere else to be. Especially in 2019 when the food and drink offerings are set to match (or dare we say even surpass) the sizzling world-class action happening on court.
Forget soggy burgers and lukewarm chips, sports event food has never been better, with options from the fast and fabulous to the eat-slowly-and-savour special occasion fare you'd expect to find in fine diners of international repute.
So here's our hot tips. From champagne and caviar to vegan bowls and baos and everything in between. Plus one final totally non-food related tip your mother will totally thank us for: don't forget the hat and sunscreen.
Steamed pulled pork bun, ginger and pickles from Beijing Betty at the Australian Open 2019. Photo: JAKE RODEN
1. Beijing Betty makes her debut
What: 1980s China meets modern Melbourne at this contemporary take on Cantonese classics in an industrial themed dining room, from the team behind Hanoi Hannah, Tokyo Tina and Saigon Sally. Set to be colourful, fun, exciting, and most importantly of all, delicious.
Don't-miss dishes: Pork and prawn wonton, chilli vinegar and ginger; Steamed pulled pork bun, ginger and pickles; Kung pao chicken, dried chilli and cashew.
Good for: A fun buzzy catch-up with mates.
Alejandro Saravia will be serving up something special at the AO Chef Series dinners. Photo: Fiona Hamilton
2. World-class fine dining at the AO Chef Series
What: World-class chefs serve up something special for a series of very special dinners at neighbouring venue The Glasshouse. Feast on fine dining fare from Jacques Reymond, Alejandro Saravia from Farmer's Daughters and Pastuso, Melbourne; Simone Zanoni from Four Seasons George V, Paris, and Duncan Welgemoed from Africola in Adelaide.
Don't-miss dishes: Alejandro Saravia's Lakes Entrance preserved sardines, Yarra Valley farm caviar, sour yoghurt and coriander oil; Jacques Reymond's Deep sea groper en croûte, Petuna Ocean trout mousse, and king brown mushrooms with champagne sauce; Duncan Welgemoed's Ngeringa farm salad, pickled peaches and camel feta and Simone Zanoni's Onion Tart with cacio-pepe gelato. Wow.
Good for: When only the finest food will do.
3. Nobu's pop-up restaurant
What: The world's most recognised Japanese restaurant (and favourite haunt of many a top tennis player), Nobu returns for 2019 bigger and better than ever, with a bespoke dessert that instagrams as beautifully as it tastes.
Don't miss dishes: Yuzu cheesecake filled with a passionfruit mango sauce, served on a green tea custard tart with blueberries and lemon balm leaves.
Good for: Lovers of fine Japanese cuisine, and tennis.
4. Rockpool returns
What: A three-course a la carte lunch or dinner at Neil Perry's iconic two-hatted Rockpool, reinvented for the Australian Open in a relaxed, courtside setting.
Don't-miss-dishes: Cape Grim minute steak with Café de Paris butter and Yellowfin tuna with salmorigilio, shaved fennel and lemon.
Good for: A fine dining experience inside the Australian Open venue.
The hummus bowl at Colours Kitchen. Photo: Supplied
5. Colours Kitchen by Charlie Carrington
What: Chef Charlie Carrington from one-hatted Melbourne restaurant Atlas Dining brings his creative and colourful approach to cooking to the Australian Open in 2019, with an outlet set up near Court 3.
Don't-miss dishes: The vegan Hummus bowl with chickpea, tabouli, pickles, tehina, za'atar & paprika pita bread.
Good for: Your vegan and vegetarian friends.
6. Food trucks and old favourites at Grand Slam Oval
What: It's always all happening at Grand Slam Oval, especially in a food and drink sense. George Calombaris' Hellenic Republic makes its debut, introducing an exciting pop-up in the brand new Melbourne beach-themed location. Find a spot in front of a screen and settle in with kebabs from Biggie Smalls, Mexican faves from Mamasita, Neil Perry's Burger Project and authentic American barbecue from San Antone, pizza from 'world's best' winner 400 Gradi among others.
Good for: Casual grazing through the day and night.
The Lavazza Cafe will keep sports fans caffeinated at the Australian Open. Photo: Supplied
7. Refresh and refuel with coffee and champagne
What: Prepare for any five-setters or just pace yourself for a long day and night ahead with a coffee hit at Lavazza's two level cafe with a selection to please even the biggest connoisseur - iced if you prefer. Then there's the Piper Heidsieck champagne bar, the Aperol bar as well as a bunch of other options to keep you quenched.
Don't-miss drinks: Iced cappuccino from Lavazza.
Huxtaburger will be serving up something colourful at the AO Festival at Birrarung Marr. Photo: Supplied
8. The AO Festival at Birrarung Marr
What: You don't have to go into the Australian Open to enjoy the buzz and action. Birrarung Marr is the place to be to grab a cold one from the Garden State pop-up rooftop bar or the Canadian Club Racquet Bar, something delicious to eat from Huxtaburger or Hunky Dory, while you sit back and watch some master strokeplay on the big screen, while you look around, watch the sun go down and murmur 'how good is Melbourne, seriously?".
Good for: Soaking up the tennis vibes without splashing out on a ticket.
For more info and bookings and tickets go to ausopen.com.au