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WHERE TO EAT IN AUSTRALIA




Australia has developed its own culinary identity in the past 20 years or so and modern Australian food, often with a Mediterranean or Asian twist, is now widely available. Reflecting the country’s multicultural population, there is also a wealth of ethnic restaurants. Every cuisine, from Algerian to Zambian, is on a menu somewhere in Australia, particularly in the major cities. Australian restaurants make good use of the variety of homegrown produce, especially seafood and beef. No Australian meal is complete without a glass of one of the many local wines or beers . For a cheaper eating-out option, try one of the many BYO (Bring Your Own) unlicensed restaurants, where customers take their own wine, but may be charged a minimal corkage fee. 

TYPES OF RESTAURANTS



 All major Australian cities offer a wide choice of restaurants. Formal dining establishments, bistros, stylish cafés and pubs are all readily available to suit any budget. Food on offer ranges from haute cuisine to informal snacks. Outside the main cities, some of the best restaurants can be found in the many wine regions and often in the wineries themselves . Prices, however, vary widely. They tend to be highest in Sydney, Melbourne and other major tourist resorts, although prices are usually lower than in comparable places in Europe and the United States. As a general guideline, the bill at a showcase Melbourne or Sydney restaurant featuring a celebrity chef will be at least A$150 per head, including a shared bottle of wine. At a Bring Your Own (BYO) or an unpretentious Asian or Italian restaurant it may only be A$30–40 per head. A counter meal at a pub, café or at a snack bar should generally cost around A$15–20 per head, if you include the cost of a drink. A welcome new trend in Australia is the increasing emphasis on courtyard, garden, boulevard and other outdoor eating facilities, making the most of the country’s benevolent climate.


EATING HOURS AND RESERVATIONS



Most restaurants serve lunch between 12:30pm and 3pm; dinner is served from 6:30 to 10:30pm. Many establishments, however, particularly the big city bistros and cafés, have become more flexible, opening for breakfast and closing late. Most budget and ethnic restaurants often close a little earlier, at around 9:30pm, depending on the demand. Most establishments are also open seven days a week, 365 days a year. However, it is advisable to check in advance with individual restaurants, particularly those outside the capital cities. To avoid disappointment, advance telephone bookings are generally recommended.

PAYING AND TIPPING



Major credit cards are accepted in the majority of Australian restaurants, although it is a good idea to confirm this in advance or on arrival. A Goods and Services Tax (GST) is included in restaurant bills in Australia. Tipping is not compulsory, but in recognition of outstanding service or a particularly fine meal, a small gratuity is always appreciated. How much to leave is the prerogative of the customer, but 10 per cent of the total bill would generally be appropriate in a restaurant. This can be left either as a cash tip on the table when you are ready to leave or by adding it to the total if paying your bill by cheque or credit card.

CHILDREN

Few restaurateurs will refuse admission to children as long as they are well behaved. Many restaurants also provide high chairs and a children’s menu. The best family budget options are local sports club bistros, pub bistros, hamburger chains or Italian or Asian eateries.


WHEELCHAIR ACCESS

 Spurred by legislation in the various states, most restaurants now provide special wheelchair access and toilet facilities for the disabled. However, it is still advisable to check in advance on the facilities available.

VEGETARIANS




It is rare for a restaurant not to feature at least one dish for vegetarians, and a variety of choices is the norm, particularly in regions where there is an abundance of homegrown produce. There are also specialist vegetarian restaurants and cafés in the major cities. If you have special dietary requirements, it is sensible to call the restaurant in advance, especially in more rural areas.

ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRINKS

If a restaurant is described as licensed, it refers to its licence to sell alcohol. Australian wine lists are outstanding and generally highlight the wines of the particular state or district . Wine is sold by the bottle, carafe or glass. There is usually a good choice of beers, ales, ciders and spirits as well. BYO restaurants, which are not licensed to sell alcohol, are extremely popular in Australia and offer diners the opportunity to bring the wines they wish to drink with their meal, although beer is not usually permitted. For non-alcohol drinkers, tap water is entirely safe, but many people prefer to drink bottled still or sparkling water. Fresh fruit juices are also very popular.


DRESS

 Dress codes are virtually non-existent in Australian restaurants, although a handful of the more up-market establishments may ask men to wear a tie in the evenings. Most establishments, however, including beachside cafés, frown on scant beachwear. For most situations, the phrase “smart casual” sums up the Australian approach to eating out.

SMOKING

Smoking is banned inside restaurants and cafés, though smoking is permitted in designated outside areas. Fines may be levied if these regulations are disregarded. Smoking restrictions are also strictly applied in traditional pubs. There is no smoking indoors or near food.

WHERE TO EAT IN AUSTRALIA WHERE TO EAT IN  AUSTRALIA Reviewed by MELANIE INFINITY on January 10, 2020 Rating: 5

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