John Lethlean

“To me, there is little more exciting than listening to a society, a culture, through its food, both traditional and contemporary,” says Melbourne-based food journalist, John Lethlean. As the food critic of Australia’s national newspaper, The Australian, Lethlean reviews restaurants from around the country. For the Local Tongue, he shares his favourites, from suburban pho in Victoria, to one of the nation’s most iconic dining rooms.
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Australian-Italian Pasta

If there is a restaurant producing better pasta than Lulu La Delizia anywhere in Australia, I haven’t found it. The true expression of a first generation Australian with Italian roots.

More Roman Than Rome

Melbourne’s Cafe di Stasio is quirky, indulgent, and more like a real Roman restaurant then you will find in Parts of Rome. The whole package: food and wine service and an unpredictable X factor that makes every visit a delight.

‘Real Deal’ Pho In Melbourne’s ‘Burbs

Inner city pho simply doesn’t cut it any more; to get the real deal you need to drive out to Vietnamese enclaves such as Springvale and find a place like Hung Vuong Saigon Pho, which specialises in southern Vietnamese pho. The generosity, flavours and authenticity embarrass inner-city pretenders.

Consistently Brilliant

Everybody talks about cooking with fire, smoke and charcoal but nobody delivers the way Lennox Hastie delivers at Firedoor in Surry Hills, Sydney.  The way he uses smoke and warmth from embers to enhance just about everything makes this one of Australia’s consistently brilliant restaurants.

Dining Room With A View

Icebergs Dining Room at Bondi, Sydney, is the quintessential great Australian dining experience. The view, the staff, the style and the outstanding Italian-ish food. Not cheap but where else would you take a well-heeled visitor from abroad?

Guide last updated March 2020

Our guides are fact-checked and updated regularly. Read more here.

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