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Inside Story

Inaugural People’s Choice Award reflects Victoria’s diverse tastes


The first Age Good Food Guide People’s Choice Awards has been awarded to local favourite Red Spice Road in Melbourne. More than 16,000 passionate diners voted for their favourite restaurants, cafes and bars across Victoria in the Guide’s first annual people’s poll. The World Loves Melbourne was taken by the popularity of these awards, lighting up our social media. Of course we voted ourselves (confidential, and we love you all).

The People’s Choice Awards announcement is a prelude to the hospitality industry’s night of nights, The Age Good Food Guide Awards presented by Vittoria Coffee and Citi, on September 21, before the release of the 36th edition of The Age Good Food Guide 2016 on September 26. The top 10 favourite restaurants includes five Asian-style restaurants, two Italian restaurants, a contemporary Australian classic, a long-running regional fine-diner and even a vegan establishment.

Top 10 Victorian restaurants as voted by diners:

1. Red Spice Road, Melbourne

2. Lake House, Daylesford

3. David's, Prahran

4. Chin Chin, Melbourne

5. The Grand Hotel, Richmond

6. Vivace, Brighton

7. Rice Paper Scissors, Melbourne

8. Rockpool Bar & Grill, Southbank

9. Smith & Daughters, Fitzroy

10. Longrain, Melbourne

The World Loves Melbourne has visited 9 of these 10 restaurants and rates them highly! Great to see Lake House in the list, with diners feeling the love for a regional restaurant an hour and a half drive from Melbourne. Chin Chin powers on as a perennial favourite (just keep that caramelised pork on the menu please). The Grand Hotel in Richmond is a great foodie hub that excels with it's hatted dining room with Michelin trained chefs, Monday Italian nights, and it's epic events in their superb function rooms. Smith & Daughters has taken the vegan scene by storm and provides so many points of difference.

The Age Good Food Guide 2016 Editor Roslyn Grundy said Melbourne was often thought of as an Italian restaurant hotspot. “The People’s Choice Award top 10 is a refreshing take on Victoria’s restaurant scene, and the diversity is a reflection on the vibrant industry,” Grundy said. 2 “These restaurants, and particularly Red Spice Road, mobilised their loyal diners to vote via their social media channels and databases, and it’s great to see the passion people have for these establishments.”

Located on McKillop Street, Red Spice Road is famous for its chilli caramel-glazed pork belly, which diners love so much that Executive Chef John McLeay has not been able to take it off the menu in the eight years the restaurant has been open. “The People’s Choice Awards list is a great cross-section of venues that Victorians love, trust and recommend to friends, so I would encourage people to book or line up for a table and see why they are so popular,” Grundy said.

The Age Good Food Guide and Awards are presented by Vittoria Coffee and Citi. For more information on the winners visit Note to Editors: The Age Good Food Guide Awards will take place in Melbourne on Monday, 21 September with an array of the state’s top chefs and suppliers gathering for an evening event celebrating the best of the state’s dining scene. The Age Good Food Guide 2016 will be on sale from Saturday, 26 September at participating newsagents, 7-Elevens and supermarkets while stocks last for the special price of $10 with The Saturday Age. It can also be pre-ordered online at for $24.99.