The hats are back, with some notable movers in the Guide’s 42nd edition.

In a big win for fans of banh mi en croute, contemporary fine diner Aru has taken out top honours at the 2023 Good Food Guide Awards.

Aru opened on Little Collins Street in 2021 and quickly won a following for Khanh Nguyen’s elegant, savvy takes on Southeast Asian flavours, building on the success of sister restaurant Sunda and adding fire to the equation. (Among some of its more notable followers: Nigella Lawson, a repeat visitor during this year’s Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.) Aru was named Restaurant of the Year from a field of heavy-hitting finalists, including GimletNavi, O.My, Vue de Monde, Filipino sensation Serai, and Grill Americano.

Elsewhere, Julian Hills, chef-owner at Yarraville’s Navi was awarded Chef of the Year, with Serai taking out New Restaurant of the Year and Connearre’s Moonah winning Regional Restaurant of the Year.

The Service Excellence Award went to Brownyn Kabboord of Trentham’s Du Fermier, with Caretaker’s Cottage taking out Bar of the Year and Lorna in Ferntree Gully awarded Cafe of the Year.

The 2023 Guide also marks the return of the hats after a three-year hiatus, with some notable movers among the results.

Hugh Allen’s towering Vue de Monde was restored to three hats, joining elite company in Birregurra’s Brae and precision omakase restaurant Minamishima as the only restaurants to receive maximum hatting. Newcomer Yugen was awarded two hats after opening just one month ago, while Jung Eun Chae’s regional Korean favourite Chae and Chris Lucas’s ritzy Society were also awarded two hats for the first time.

For the full list of winners, hats and hearts – a new rating in 2023’s Guide – head to

By Frank Sweet