Gourmet Traveller

Best in show



In a year dominated by casual Italian-ish openings, Totti’s is the definitive model. Old olive tree in the courtyard, pretty wood oven in the wide open dining room, blistered bread doused in olive oil and served with an array of snacks, killer pasta, and Negronis by the litre. Merivale’s knack for giving people what they want before they know they want it continues. And with chefs as sharp as Mike Eggert and Khan Danis on execution, and a wine list this strong, the appeal is only getting stronger.

In short: Right on trend.


Tiny Joy is a bumblebee of a restaurant. Logically, it shouldn’t be able to fly. But this minimalist 10-seater – down a laneway and with just two employees (first-time owner-chefs Sarah and Tim Scott) – builds a powerful buzz regardless. The Scotts live above the shop they both helped design and build, and do everything, from creating the layered tasting menus, to wrangling drinks and washing up. Redefining fuss-free fine dining, one beautifully detailed dish at a time.

In short: Big ideas in a tiny package.


Lygon Street isn’t the first place you’d think to look for a clean-lined, beautifully serviced French-Japanese fine diner but an incongruous address is just part of Kazuki’s charm. Relocating their seven-year-old restaurant from Daylesford to the city, Kazuki and Saori Tsuya elevate it to another level entirely, succeeding admirably via a minimalist dining room, precise cooking, thrilling flavours and comprehensive attention to detail, from linen to wine list.

In short: Excelling in new territory.


Few understand the theatre of dining as instinctively as Rinaldo Di Stasio. His new city outpost is proof of that. It’s an expression of his passions in three dimensions – art, food, design, architecture, wine, family, beauty, Italy – in an idiosyncratically beautiful space that’s part temple, part stage, part party. The result? Dining that’s fun, that makes you want to dress for dinner, drink another Martini, order a second dessert. Dining that reminds you that life is good.

A spectacular spectacle.

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