From Port Douglas to the Gold Coast, to south-east of Toowoomba, 44 regional restaurants have shown they can match it with their city counterparts after making the grade in the first delicious.100 Queensland list.
The delicious magazine (a News Corp owned publication, which also owns this newspaper's website) reviewers spent months combing the state to come up with an exhaustive list showcasing the best 100 restaurants in the state.
The magazine's editor-in-chief Kerrie McCallum says the reviewers judge not only on chef technique.
"We needed to know that you would walk away from any place listed feeling thrilled, surprised, comforted, content and exposed to something new," she says.
Kerrie says the biggest surprise on the eastern seaboard is the breadth and depth of Queensland's regional food scene.
"The Gold Coast has emerged as a true food and drinks destination and to hit the number one spot with Rick Shores was testament to that," she says.
"The wealth of good produce in Queensland regional centres, and our growing appreciation of this as customers, has really contributed to this boom being experienced from the Gold Coast to Port Douglas."
Other regional restaurants named in the 100 include the Spirit House at Yandina on the Sunshine Coast, which entered the list at number 29, The Long Apron at Montville (number 6) and The Office in Toowoomba (number 51).
The Weekend magazine's contributor chefs Peter Kuruvita and Matt Sinclair also made the cut with their Sunshine Coast restaurants.
Matt Sinclair came in at 63 with the restaurant he opened in June, Sum Yung Guys, and Peter Kuruvita's Noosa Beach House is number 69.
The Spirit House manager Jess Da Costa says the team is thrilled to appear in the rundown.
"In south-east Queensland, there's so many great areas to travel to, people are travelling out of the city to enjoy a destination dining experience," she says.
"We were absolutely thrilled (to make the cut). At Spirit House, it's not about getting awards, it's about people having an experience for all the senses and stepping out of their comfort zone."
Head chef Minh Le, of Peak Restaurant at Spicers Peak Lodge in Maryvale (south-east of Toowoomba), is also chuffed at the restaurant's number 19 placing on the list.
"It's quite humbling," Minh says of the award. "We just try to push forward, for me it's about pushing forward and giving customers an experience."
The Sunday Mail food editor Anooska Tucker-Evans says Queensland's regional restaurants have had a cracker year.
"What's setting them apart from their city counterparts is their access and use of top-notch, local ingredients specific to their region to create dishes that not only have a sense of provenance but are also truly delicious," she says.
"Great dishes start with great ingredients and the chefs in the regions are putting the best of Queensland on a plate.
"Regional restaurants are also delivering some of the best service around."
But did the reviewers get it right?
We want to know what you think. Vote for your list at couriermail.com.au/delicious100.
THE TOP 10
1. Rick Shores, 43 Goodwin Tce, Burleigh Heads, 56306611, rickshores.com.au
2. Urbane, 181 Mary St, Brisbane, 32292271, urbanerestaurant.com
3. Esquire, 145 Eagle St, Brisbane, 32202123, esquire.net.au
4. GOMA Restaurant, GOMA, Stanley Pl, South Brisbane, 38429916, qagoma.qld.gov.au
5. Gauge, 77 Grey St, South Brisbane, 36380431, gaugebrisbane.com.au
6. The Long Apron, 68 Balmoral Rd, Montville, 1300252380, spicersretreats.com
7. The Wolfe, 989 Stanley St, East Brisbane, 38917772, thewolfeastbrisbane.com.au
8. Aria Brisbane, 1 Eagle St, 32332555, ariarestaurant.com
9. Blackbird Bar and Grill, Riverside Centre, 123 Eagle St, Brisbane, 32291200, blackbirdbrisbane.com.au
10. Pony Dining, 18/45 Eagle St, Brisbane 31813400, ponydiningbrisbane.com
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