On paper, it sounds easy. Just take a chef from one of the world's best-liked restaurants, bring her to Australia, connect her with the finest bespoke producers, set her up in a stunning kitchen of her own in a lovely, comfortable room, backed by superb front-of-house staff and a dizzingly good cellar. Of course, for chef Danielle Alvarez and the team from Merivale it's been years of hard slog (Alvarez moved here from the US for the job in July 2014). But then that's exactly what makes Fred's so magical: it all feels not just effortless, but like it was meant to be, a team effort unified under a leader with rare command of her craft. An exciting, satisfying night out with style to burn, and more than enough substance to back it.
Finalists: Cirrus Dining, Sydney; Saint Peter, Sydney
Raise a glass to the winners of Gourmet Traveller's 2018 Restaurant Guide Awards, sponsored by Vittoria Coffee, Santa Vittoria and Ilve. What a busy year it's been. While there's lots changing in Australian dining, it only makes us value the basics - impeccable service, inventive menus and carefully curated wine lists - even more. Here are the best of the best.