Restaurants

2003 Mo Vida rides Spanish wave

Barcelona-born Frank Camorra opened Mo Vida in laneway in Melbourne, with tapas as bar food and more substantial plates to… Read More

2002 El Bulli named world’s best

The el Bulli restaurant in Roses, Catalonia, under chef Ferran Adrià, was named best restaurant in the world by Restaurant… Read More

2000 GST introduced

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced, providing another incentive to eat at home. Food for human consumption was… Read More

2000 McDonald’s the Olympic restaurant

The official Olympic restaurant for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games was that great Australian institution – McDonald's. The Sydney 2000… Read More

1999 McDonald’s launches McOz

The truly Australian touch in this burger was the addition of beetroot. The McOz consisted of a burger patty with… Read More

1994 ACT bans smoking in restaurants

he Australian Capital Territory was the first jurisdiction in Australia to ban smoking in restaurants. Smoking was still permitted in… Read More

1994 Peter Doyle opens Cicada in Sydney

Chef Peter Doyle, realising that the old-style formality was out-of-step with the times, transformed Sydney institution Le Trianon into Cicada.… Read More

1993 Fanny’s Restaurant closes

In the early 1990s, Australia paid a high price for the excesses of the 1980s with what Paul Keating famously… Read More

1991 Middle Eastern food at O’Connell’s

Greg Malouf started cooking upmarket Middle Eastern food at O’Connell’s Hotel in South Melbourne, redefining the possibilities of this cuisine.… Read More

1991 Kentucky Fried Chicken becomes KFC

With health-consciousness increasing, Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name to eliminate the ‘F’ word. It became KFC. No longer ‘Finger-lickin’ good’,… Read More

1991 Darley Street Thai opens

David Thompson opened Darley Street Thai in Sydney’s Newtown in 1991, taking Thai food in Australia to a new level.… Read More

1990 The Hard Rock Café

Cheap and cheerful was the order of the day as the recession bit. Part of the international chain, The Hard… Read More

1990s Fusion cooking

Fusion cooking started before the 1990s (at Tetsuya’s, for example) but in this decade became more widespread. Chefs combined eastern… Read More

1989 Tetsuya’s opens in Rozelle.

One of the few Australian restaurants ever to make it into the top ten of Restaurant magazine’s Best Restaurants in… Read More

1988 The term molecular gastronomy coined

Oxford  Professor of Physics,  Nicholas Kurti, and French physical chemist and magazine editor, Hervé This, coined the term molecular gastronomy… Read More

1988 Caffè e Cucina opens in Chapel Street

The new licensing laws allowed cafés in Victoria to serve a glass of wine, a coffee or a complete meal.… Read More

1988 First Australian Subway opens in Perth

Founded by Fred de Luca in Connecticut in 1965, the  Subway chain of sandwich shops was soon an expanding franchise operation. The… Read More

1987 Black Monday kills the big business lunch

The ‘80s ‘greed is good’ philosophy came to an abrupt end when the stock markets crashed on Black Monday, 19… Read More

1986 The Age Cheap Eats Guide launched

Alan Attwood, the Cheap Eats guide's inaugural editor, writes: ‘Ah, 1986. What a year. Bob Hawke was prime minister of… Read More

1986 Fringe Benefits Tax introduced

The federal Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) was introduced on 1 July 1986. FBT was payable on restaurant meals, which were… Read More

1985 Restaurant meal delivery service

While pizza delivery started in Brisbane as early as 1978, the first service set up for meal delivery from restaurants… Read More

1985 First Australian Sizzler opens

Sizzler was an American idea - the first one was  opened in 1958 in California by Del and Helen Johnson.… Read More

1984 First Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide

The first Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, edited by Leo Schofield, David Dale and Jenna Price, began with The… Read More

1983 Iain Hewitson opens Fleurie

Described by Iain Hewitson as “the last BYO in Melbourne”, Fleurie, in a Toorak side street, offered superb food, attentive… Read More

1983 First tapas in Australia?

Opening towards the end of 1983, Torremolinos restaurant in Sydney claimed to be the only restaurant in Australia serving tapas.… Read More

1983 Seafood dining in Melbourne

In 1983, Jean Jacques Lale-Demoz opened his seafood restaurant in North Melbourne. The fine diner was in the vanguard of… Read More

1983 Domino’s launches with home delivery

The first Australian Domino’s store opened in Springwood, Queensland, in 1983. Domino's home delivery service gave it an advantage over… Read More

1982 Denny’s restaurants open in Australia

Denny's restaurants were another example of an American chain that tried to expand into Australia, but without success. The Australian… Read More

1980s Yum cha becomes popular

Literally 'drink tea', yum cha became popular in Australia in the early 1980s, first taking hold in the Chinatown establishments… Read More

1980s New Asian food choices

With the White Australia policy firmly in the past new Asian food choices emerged on the restaurant scene. The arrival… Read More

1979 First Ali Baba kebab store

The first Ali Baba kebab restaurant opened in 1979 outside the Woden Plaza in Canberra’s inner south. It was founded… Read More

1978 First McDonald’s Drive-Thru

In 1978, Australia's first McDonald's Drive-Thru opened in Warrawong, New South Wales. This was just three years after their first… Read More

1977 Clichy restaurant opened in Collingwood.

Chef Iain Hewitson and food critic Sigmund Jorgenson started the influential Clichy restaurant in unfashionable Collingwood. The restaurant menu experimented… Read More

1976 First Thai restaurant

The first Thai restaurant in Australia was the Bahn Thai,  which opened in Melbourne's St Kilda Road in June 1976.… Read More

1975 Flower Drum Restaurant opens in Melbourne

Gilbert Lau was part-owner of the Empress of China restaurant in Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, one of the first upmarket… Read More

1975 Baxter Provender’s new dining style

Back in the days when we hadn't heard of the degustation menu, partners Alistair Herbert and Camillo Haffar opened Baxter… Read More

1972 Shakahari vegetarian restaurant opens in Lygon Street

The ceiling upstairs at Shakahari was silver insulation foil. There was brown rice a-plenty. The food was wholemeal, unrefined and… Read More

1972 Red Rooster founded in WA

The Aussie-owned fast food chain began in Western Australia.  Originally a family business, Red Rooster was acquired, and the chain… Read More

1971 Hungry Jack’s launches in Australia

The US chain Burger King couldn’t use their own brand in Australia, as the name had been trademarked by a… Read More

1971 First Australian McDonald’s opens in Sydney

The first Australian McDonald's opened in the Sydney suburb of Yagoona 16 years after the company was founded in the USA.… Read More

1970 Pizza Hut launches in Australia

The first Australian Pizza Hut opened in Belfield, Sydney in April 1970.  The building (shown here) was most recently a Korean… Read More

1968 Subway emerges in Connecticut

A recent high school graduate, 17 year old Fred DeLuca, and family friend Dr. Peter Buck teamed up to open… Read More

1968 Tasmania’s first licensed restaurant

Until the 1960s, if you wanted to wine and dine in Tasmania your options were restricted. There were fancy meals… Read More

1968 Australia’s first restaurant guide

“Galloping Gourmet” and television chef Graham Kerr published Graham Kerr’s Guide to Good Eating in Sydney – Australia's first restaurant… Read More

1968 Kentucky Fried Chicken launches in Australia

Australia's first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet opened in Guildford in Sydney’s western suburbs on 27th April 1968, with a staff… Read More

1967 Taco Bill founded

Mexican food was a new experience for most Australians when the founder of Taco Bill, Bill Chilcote, arrived in Australia… Read More

1967 Bourbon & Beefsteak, Kings Cross

In 1967 a new era in the Americanisation of Australian food began. King's Cross in Sydney was the location of… Read More

1966 Stephanie Alexander starts Jamaica House

Started by Stephanie Alexander and her Jamaican husband, Monty, mainly as a way to sell products imported from the West… Read More

1964 Golden Fleece roadhouses promoted

It's not clear when the first of the Golden Fleece branded restaurants was opened - perhaps in the 1950s or… Read More

1962 New Year’s Eve at the Rex Hotel, Bondi

The special New Years's Eve menu at the Rex Hotel was typical for its time. It offered Oysters Naturelle or… Read More

1962 Christmas menu at Hotel Astra, Bondi

The multi-course Christmas menu at the Hotel Astra, Bondi, offered such choices as Oysters Natural au Citron, Consomme Royale, Fillet… Read More

1962 Southern Cross Hotel opens in Melbourne

The Southern Cross Hotel was the first luxury hotel in Melbourne to depart from the traditional style of hotels like… Read More

1962 First Burger King in Adelaide

Adelaide's Burger King chain had nothing to do with the similarly-named chain in the United States. However, its founder, Don… Read More

1961 Toto’s Pizzeria opens in Carlton

Toto’s claimed to be the first pizzeria in Australia, and on this basis was inducted into World Pizza Hall of… Read More

1960 Restaurant licence introduced in Victoria

The new licence allowed alcohol to be served with food. Formerly only hotels, registered clubs and wine saloons could legally… Read More

1960 Australia’s first revolving restaurant

Just one year after the world’s first revolving restaurant opened in Dortmund, Germany, the Hammon family opened the Skyway restaurant… Read More

1960 Fanny’s restaurant opens

Fanny’s restaurant was opened by Gloria and Blyth Staley in Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, on the site of a Greek café.… Read More

1958 Cuckoo restaurant opens

The Cuckoo restaurant opened in 1958 in Olinda, a hamlet in the Dandenong Ranges outside Melbourne. It was run by Willi and… Read More

1957 Lucia’s Pizza Bar in Adelaide

Lucia's Pizza Bar opened in 1957 and may well be Australia's first pizza restaurant (a title claimed for many years… Read More

1957 Australia’s first Japanese restaurant

The first Japanese restaurant in Australia wasn't a separate restaurant at all, but an annexe to the Dungowan restaurant in… Read More

1956 Beppi’s Italian Restaurant opens in Sydney

Certainly a stayer on the Sydney restaurant scene, Beppi's opened on 10 June 1956 and is still (as of 2021)… Read More

1956 The Arab coffee lounge opens in Lorne

This famous coffee lounge,  in the popular seaside resort on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road was opened by brothers Graham, Alistair,… Read More

1956 Olympic Games attracts chefs to Melbourne

The 1956  Olympic Games changed the restaurant scene in Melbourne. Despite an initial suggestion that shearers’ cooks should introduce visiting… Read More

1955 First McDonald’s opens in USA

Salesman Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald's in Illinois in 1955, licensing the name from a Californian Bar-B-Que restaurant that… Read More

1954 Melbourne’s first pavement café

By all accounts, the first pavement café in Melbourne was at Mirka's - the café opened by Georges and Mirka… Read More

1954 Curried Goanna served in Sydney

On 8 May 1954, Curried Goanna was among the foods served at a special Northern Territory night at a Sydney… Read More

1954 Pellegrini’s opens in Bourke Street

Pellegrini’s (66 Bourke St, Melbourne) was one of the first wave of Italian cafés in the city and remains virtually… Read More

1952 Kentucky Fried Chicken brand launched in USA

Harland Sanders opened his first restaurant in 1930 in the front room of a gas station in Corbin, Kentucky, naming… Read More

1939 Steak Diane introduced to Australia

There is some dispute about the origins of Steak Diane but it was almost certainly introduced to Australia by Tony… Read More

1936 Harry’s Cafe de Wheels

Harry 'Tiger' Edwards operated a pie cart in Sydney's Woolloomooloo  just before WWII, taking advantage of custom from the navy… Read More

1932 Australia’s first milk bar

The Black and White 4d. Milk Bar, in Martin Place, Sydney was opened by Mick Adams in November 1932. He developed… Read More

1930 First Coles cafeteria

For several generations of Australians, a visit to Coles Cafeteria was the highlight of a trip to the city.  Coles'… Read More

1928 Melbourne’s Café Florentino founded

Rinaldo Massoni purchased Café Denat in Bourke Street, Melbourne, in 1928 and changed the name to Café Florentino. Now called… Read More

1904 Hydro Majestic hotel opens at Medlow Bath

Built by the retail magnate Mark Foy, the Medlow Bath Hydro opened in 1904 as a hydropathic sanitorium and health… Read More

1893 Cafe Denat opens in Melbourne

The restaurant that was to evolve into Café Florentino opened its doors in Melbourne's Little Collins Street in 1893. The… Read More

1892 Hopetoun Tea Rooms in Melbourne

Melbourne's oldest tea rooms, the Hopetoun Tea Rooms, were originally set up as a small tea room in the fashionable… Read More

1891 Quong Tart opens his first Sydney tea room

Quong Tart was born in Canton, migrated to Australia at the age of nine and was raised by a Scots family… Read More

1885 Origin of Doyles at Watsons Bay

The Doyle family trace their restaurant's history back to 1885 when Alice Doyle's grandparents, Henry Newton and his wife Hannah… Read More

1882 Sixpenny restaurants in Melbourne

A story titled "Life in Australia" was published in Reynolds's Newspaper in London in 1882. It described the type of… Read More

1879 First Greek fish and chip shop 

Athanassio Comino hailed from the Greek island of Kythera and arrived in Sydney in 1873. Although some accounts say he… Read More

1867 Menzies Hotel opens in Melbourne

Menzies Hotel, on the corner of Bourke and William Streets, was the first of Melbourne's grand Victorian era hotels. For… Read More

1858 Café de Paris restaurant opened in Melbourne

The Café de Paris restaurant was among the earliest European-style restaurants to open in Melbourne, although four-penny, six-penny and shilling restaurants… Read More

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