Margaret named NSW restaurant of the year as the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2024 launched

The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2024, featuring the best restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs across NSW and ACT, launches tomorrow after Margaret was named Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year at a chef-studded awards ceremony held in Sydney tonight. Sustainable seafood pioneer, Josh Niland, also took out the coveted Oceania Cruises Chef of the Year award.

The annual Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide has been recognising the best chefs and restaurants since 1984, and this year’s Guide is a compilation of almost 500 independent reviews visited by our team of critics over the past six months. Good Food is considered Australia’s most respected food and beverage title, and its coveted hats – from one to the pinnacle of three hats – are recognised as the industry gold standard.

This year’s Guide includes a record 157 hats: three restaurants received three hats, 39 restaurants received two hats and 116 restaurants received one hat. The three hat winners were Oncore by Clare Smyth, Sixpenny and Quay.

“Dining in NSW and the ACT has never been better, with more hats awarded than ever before in the Guide’s history,” said Callan Boys, SMH Good Food Guide editor.

The glamorous awards ceremony – supported by long-term co-presenting partner Vittoria Coffee and co-presenting partner Oceania Cruises – was held at the Art Gallery of NSW’s North Wing (known as Sydney Modern). Three hundred chefs, restaurateurs and industry legends from NSW and Canberra dining and drink scenes gathered as 14 awards, along with the hats, were handed out.

“I think this year’s Guide is one of our best and most user-friendly efforts to date, with more venues catering to different budgets, and more reviews from outside the inner-city than ever before,” said Boys. “Regional dining, in particular, is booming.”

For the first time, a Canberra venue, Such and Such, took out Aurum Poultry Co. New Restaurant of the Year. Murwillumbah’s Bistro Livi, in the Northern Rivers, was named Regional Restaurant of the Year, while Byron Bay’s Bar Heather took the gong for New Regional Restaurant of the Year.

New this year is the Critics’ Pick, with Malay Chinese Noodle Bar taking out the inaugural Critics’ Pick award. “This year we’ve introduced a Critics’ Pick tick to the Guide for places that don’t quite reach the score for a hat – perhaps it’s a counter-service pizzeria, or tiny shop with only two tables – but our reviewers are big fans of it regardless,” said Boys.

“The Woon family behind Malay Chinese have nourished Sydneysiders since 1987 with extraordinary har mee noodle soups and laksas. It was great to have co-founder Meng Wong accept the award before heading home for a 4am rise to start preparing his daily broths.”

Kylie Kwong was named the Vittoria Coffee Legend Award for her outstanding long-term contribution to the hospitality industry. For more than three decades, Kwong has nourished Sydneysiders with her vision for what Australian-Chinese cooking could be. Kwong’s influence reaches beyond the professional kitchen to affect local and global communities at all levels.

Shashank Achuta, who works as sous chef at Brasserie 1930, was awarded Smeg Young Chef of the Year.

The Oceania Cruises Service Excellence Award was given to Alice Dwyer of Pipit, while Pokolbin’s Yellow Billy restaurant in the Hunter region was named Oceania Cruises Drinks List of the Year.

Cafe of the Year went to Happyfield; PS40 took out Best Bar; Sommelier of the Year was awarded to Max Gurtler from Oncore by Clare Smyth; and the Innovator of the Year winner was Plate it Forward’s Shaun Christie-David – a big thinker with bright ideas that better the community.

The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2024 includes almost 500 independently reviewed city and regional reviews, including Sydney’s top 20 cafes, pubs and bars, and top 10 lists for each Australian state and territory. The Guide features 88 new full restaurant reviews – a combination of restaurants that have opened in the past 12 months, new discoveries, or old favourites reappearing.

Edited by Callan Boys, The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2024 reviews have been undertaken by a team of esteemed critics including Boys, Terry Durack, Jill Dupleix, David Matthews and Sarah Norris, all of whom review independently and anonymously. More than 500 restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes were visited across NSW and Canberra over the course of six months, but not all venues made the cut.

“While Good Food is known as the home of the hats, the Guide is much more than high-end restaurants. This year’s edition spans everything from long-adored institutions, pub eateries, suburban gems, no-frills pizza shops, hole-in-the-wall noodle shops to CBD bistros and luxurious regional destinations. Importantly, it covers a broad range of budgets,” said Sarah Norris, Head of Food for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WAToday.

The glossy 148-page Good Food Guide 2024 NSW and ACT magazine is on sale from tomorrow (Tuesday, October 24) and is the definitive guide to the state’s restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs. The guests were treated to a menu by MOD Dining chef Clayton Wells, featuring supplies from Aurum Poultry Co. Drinks were supplied by Vittoria Coffee, Archie Rose and Penfolds.

The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2024 magazine is available from newsagents, supermarkets and for $14.95

The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2024 award winners:

Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year: Margaret

Oceania Cruises Chef of the Year: John Niland

Aurum Poultry Co. New Restaurant of the Year: Such and Such

Regional Restaurant of the Year: Bistro Livi

New Regional Restaurant of the Year: Bar Heather

Oceania Cruises Service Excellence Award: Alice Dwyer (Pipit)

Smeg Young Chef of the Year: Shashank Achuta (Brasserie 1930)

Sommelier of the Year: Max Gurtler from Oncore by Clare Smyth

Oceania Cruises Drinks List of the Year: Yellow Billy, Pokolbin, Hunter Region

Vittoria Coffee Legend Award: Kylie Kwong

Cafe of the Year: Happyfields

Bar of the Year: PS40

Innovator Award: Plate it Forward’s Shaun Christie-David

Critic’s Pick Award: Malay Chinese Noodle Bar

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