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Leaving in 2 wks for Honeymoon in Australia - need restaurant advice!

Hi, I live in Los Angeles and my fiance and I are going to be leaving in just over 2 wks for a 2-week honeymoon in Australia. Unfortunately, we have just not had time to book restaurants, so we are doing it a little last-minute. However, we do want this to be a culinary tour and cannot wait to experience the cuisine there - it will be our first visit.

We would like some recommendations for our 3 nights in Melbourne and 3 nights in Syndey (also if possible, for our 2 nights in the Yarra Valley and 1 night on the Great Ocean Road - we are staying over in Port Campbell, but those are less important)

So far, from what I have read, we wanted to book (or try to book) at these restaurants in Melbourne - must narrow down the list if we were able to get into all of them:

Flower Drum
Vue de Monde

**What do you think of this list? I added more than 3 b/c we weren't sure and expected we may get shut out, especially at Vue de Monde. We are staying in South Yarra if it matters.

And in Sydney:

Billy Kwong’s or Becasse or Marque
(do not want to continually travel to Surrey Hills, though admit I do not know where that is)

**Wanted to try for Rockpool or Testuya's but they were panned by several people so I was reluctant to pull the trigger. What do you think of the list above? (Location-wise, we are at the Shangri-La if that matters)

Thanks so much,

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  1. Your Melbourne restaurants are good choices. Flower Drum is not as great as it was but still OK. Red Emperor at Southbank has Peking duck I believe is better and cheaper too.
    Vue de Monde is wonderful but at present booked out well in advance. As you are an overseas visitor you may be able to get a table. I would try to talk to them soon. Good Luck.
    We had dinner at Pearl ( in Richmond, a short walk over the river from South Yarra ) last Friday and it was great food and service.
    You can either walk to the Botanical or catch a tram.
    A new restaurant Three One Two, in Drummond St Carlton ( old Mrs Jones restaurant ) has wonderful food too. We had a degustation menu there and enjoyed every bite.

    1. Good list for Sydney. Surry Hills is about 1km from the CBD. Est is superb, Becasse?Marque good, Longrain wonderful (but hard to get a table unless you go early)..Billy Kwong is good but small uncomfortable, noisy and you can't book. You might try China Doll at Woolloomooloo Bay - similar food, great service/view and you can book.If you're feeling French, you might try Bilson's at the Radisson in the CBD, an exquisite dining experience.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sleuth

        Hi - I've got to disagree with the China Doll - not a patch on BKs, or indeed most of China Town.

      2. Hi there !
        We did Flower Drum a few weeks back, it's gone down hill majorly. Try The Tea House, great service and food for half the price. There is no feeling of " occassion" anymore at FD.
        Vue De Monde and Interlude are fabulous. I would ring VDM asap to book..
        I have heard of a restaurant in North Melbourne called the Courthouse... it's next on my wish list...it's getting very good reviews...2 chefs hats, but not sky high prices, yet !
        For a cheapie splurge,, try mud crab in Pacific House Richmond... just turn up and wait for a table.
        Enjoy !!

        1. For a honeymoon - Becasse for sure in Sydney. It's tasteful, excellent food and great for couples. I far preferred it to both Rockpool and Tetsuya.

          In Melbourne, Flower Drum was disappointing based on expectations (rated one of the best Cantonese in the world). It just doesn't excite (but does Cantonese ever excite?). But every dish was perfectly cooked and served - but no creativity just perfect cooking of boring dishes.

          1. Fenix, 680 Victoria St, Richmond, perched on top of the Yarra River with lovely bushy views (yet 10 minutes drive from the CBD)is serving incredibly innovative food in newly renovated premises. Costing roughly A$70/ head for 3 courses with other little taste sensations, it has 1 Hat in the Good Food Guide.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bjrocky

              Actually Fenix served the best meal we had in Australia, but I know they've changed their format recently (and renovated) so I was hesitant to recommend it. What I REALLY liked was that they were prepared to serve wines by the glass - and all were local. This is a place to go BEFORE visiting the Yarra valley to get an idea of what wineries to visit. And we discovered the Geelong wines at Fenix too (just over from Yarra and much smaller). My favourite was the Terra Moorabool Pinot Noir.

            2. We went to Melbourne for 5 days in August. There are just tons and tons of restaurants closed by the Central Business District, where we stayed. We didn't have any meals booked but had many, many wonderful meals. We enjoyed just walking around the area and pick out places that we found interesting. There are lots of good eats there and we were definitely impress with the choices. There are as many selection as we have at home in San Francisco. You may want to reserve a day to go exploring.

              Also, if you get a chance, visit the Victoria Market around lunch time for some great eats.

              1. I just wanted to thank everyone - we had amazing meals during our entire trip. I am going to do a long post at some point when I come up for air - we took lots of photos so I will post those too and link to the website.

                Thanks again for all your input -

                1. For fine dining in Melbourne I was most impressed with Da Noi on Toorak Road. It is rustic southern italian simply presneted. The tasting menu is stupendous as is the un pretnesious atmosphere that blends modern california with old world charm to create an eating experience abound with warmth and casues three hours to pass in the blink of an eye.

                  For a more casual experience go to I carusi, for hands down the best Pizza in Australia. The crust is thin and crisp with a slight buttery sweetness. The fungi porcini is awesome. It is also byob. There are two locations I forget the exact adress, but the one NOT in St. Kilda is slightly better.

                  You will have to St. Kilda though since it is home to Melbournes finest bakery. Baker De Ciricio, I believe is the name, has counter seating for 5 and pastries and cookies that are as good as anywhere I have ever been. They are also very unique in their changing menu. The biscotti is like none I have ever had. The only bakery I have ever been to that beats this is Mrs. London's in Saratoga springs, New York.

                  Those are the three must goes.

                  I would not confidently tell that you have to go any where else. I ate at Pearl, which was OK, Very modern Australia in its produce used.

                  1. longrain and billy kwongs both fabulous - but Very new Italian- chef is Darren Simpson (river cafe) - La Sala, just near Longrain - a unique dining exp - perfect for Honeymoon material!

                    1. How was your australian honeymoon? My fiance and I are starting to investigate australian honeymoons but are more interested in outdoorsy activities than hitting up the best restaurants. Can you give us some good advice? or at least tell us about your honeymoon?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sschro2

                        Hi sschro2,

                        There's plenty to do outside in Australia and it depends on where you want to be. Queensland is generally pretty popular with tourists and honeymooners because of all the islands and of course, the Great Barrier Reef. There's also a nice hilltop drive in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales (homestate of Sydney). Western Australia is very beautiful and the weather is generally similar to that of California. You can do lots of hiking and wineries, etc.

                      2. Congrats on your marriage. There are some good tips emerging on this thread. To add my own voice to the Melbourne discussion, I'd definitely skip Flower Drum and instead aim for:

                        * Vue de Monde
                        * Interlude
                        * Three One Two
                        * The Press Club
                        * Becco
                        * Bistro Guillaume

                        And in Sydney, you can safely skip Rockpool (it's recently downgraded to become a fish bistro). Tetsuya's is amazing but can be hard to get into. Safer bets might include:

                        * Quay
                        * Pier
                        * Aria
                        * A Tavola
                        * Icebergs Restaurant

                        Longrain and Billy Kwong are both fantastic, but you can't book. You'd need to be there by 6pm to be certain of a table, otherwise they'll make you wait in the bar. Est, Becasse, Claudes and Marque are also each superb, but the ones I've listed above all have better atmosphere I reckon (and all of them, except A Tavola, have wonderful water views). And don't panic at all about going to Surry Hills a lot. It's incredibly close to the city, and is actually where most of the city's best eateries are these days. Enjoy your honeymoon!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MaestroSid

                          Despite the fact the original posy was November 2006 (so meganinlosfeliz is coming up to anniversary number 2!) - Marque is not just good, it's up there with Michelin starred restaurants in France (but at half the price).

                          And Tetsuya's is a religious experience.

                        2. Hi,

                          Tetsuya's is one of the best restaurants in the world but around a 6 month waiting list for a weekend (maybe try lunch or a week night?). My husband and I arrived in Sydney from the UK on Valentine's Day this year and ate at Aqua which overlooks the harbour bridge and the food is divine...that'd be my top tip! Have fun!!

                          1. We're just back from two weeks in Australia and must say that Tetsuya's was fantastic- as good as Per Se and Guy Savoy. The food was memorable and the waitstaff was charming, welcoming and knowledgeable. The 10 course set menu was perfect and the chef was very creative in accomodating Mr. Vegetarian.
                            Aria, with a direct view of the Sydney Opera House was quite good also.
                            In Port Douglas, we had an excellent dinner at Nautilus, a beautiful, elegant outdoor restaurant in a jungle-like setting. The seafood is impressively fresh, mostly with Asian influences and the setting is very romantic.
                            The food market in Adelaide has EVERYTHING. From spectacular fruits and vegetables, to bread, artisanal cheese, honey, seafood and exotic meat. They give out samples and the kangaroo was beyond delicious; imagine the best beef you have ever eaten.
                            Finally, the Observatory Hotel in Sydney was a perfect place to stay. The breakfast buffet was amazing, with freshly squeezed orange, grapefruit and watermelon juices and fruit that included kiwi and passion fruit as well as the more expected choices. They also serve a traditional tea in the afternoon which is as good as any in London, plus they have the nicest and most talented concierges we have ever met; they got us great tickets for the opera and reservations at all the restaurants mentioned above.