American Restaurants for Thanksgiving


Image: Shutterstock.

The following is a guest post by Georgia Smail, Chief Food Writer at Dimmi.

The Best American Restaurants To Celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia

Australian locals would be forgiven for not realising that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This American holiday has never gathered that much steam on Australian shores.

But on November 27 – the fourth Thursday of November – 316 million Americans will sit down to roast turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie in a feast to rival the rest.

For American expats living in Australia, the absence of such a holiday must sting a little each year. Which is why we decided to compile a list of the very best all-American restaurants in major capital cities, based on diner reviews and ratings on – Australia’s largest restaurant booking network.

American expats and Aussies looking for an all-American feed on November 27 can make a restaurant booking online. Then just sit back, relax and enjoy pumpkin spice in spades.


Who: Dove & Olive
Where: Surry Hills

A Surry Hills favourite, Dove & Olive specialise in the hybrid cuisine that is Italian American – with Modern Australian overtures. Think tender steaks, chicken schnitzel and fries baked to perfection – and that’s just the $9.90 cheap eats menu. Dove & Olive caters to parties of all sizes, from intimate dinners for two to full-blown dinner parties for twenty or more. The food is hearty and more than enough to fill bellies, Thanksgiving style.

Who: Bridge St Garage
Where: 17-19 Bridge Street

Subdued lighting, diner-style seating and gourmet burgers are the name of the game at Bridge St Garage. Adding a Latin American twist to the American-style diner, the menu features both traditional Argentinian and classic American comfort food. There’s a four person minimum and you’ll need to make the restaurant booking at least 24 hours in advance. Don’t delay, this one will fill up fast.


Image: Shutterstock.


Who: Gramercy Bistro
Where: 162-164 Commercial Rd, South Yarra

With all the benefits of an American menu, but with a distinctly European atmosphere and conveniently located just outside the Melbourne CBD – Gramercy Bistro really is the best of both worlds. Enjoy small plates packed with flavour, or go all out for a satisfying burger or steak. Just don’t forget to come back in the morning for their Buttermilk Hotcake Stack or American Waffles – breakfast is served until 3pm, with bacon.

Who: Third Wave Café
Where: 189 Rouse St, Port Melbourne

An American BBQ to put the rest to shame. The meat at Third Wave Café is marinated and smoked for hours on end using different woods to get the flavour just right. Enjoy lamb shoulder, beef brisket or your choice of pork or beef ribs, or go for an American classic like the Rueben sandwich. Diners with big appetites can even attempt the 3 course American BBQ feast for two – available for a limited time only and including starters, mains, sides, dessert and even a couple of beers thrown in.


Who: The Old Crow
Where: 172 Newcastle St

With a unique spin on classic American fare, The Old Crow serves up the very best cuts of pork shoulder, Angus beef flank and more, then slow-cooks, smokes and braises them to perfection. Even the snacks and small plates are packed with flavour, with chilli jam, hot sauce and beetroot ketchup just a few of the secret ingredients.

There’s a set menu for parties of eight or more, but you can also make a small booking for two. Reservations are essential at this Perth gem, so don’t delay.

To make a restaurant booking or for more information on any of the restaurants featured, visit

Happy Thanksgiving.

My fellow expats, how will you be spending Thanksgiving?

Night Noodle Markets, Melbourne

Night Noodle Market is part of Good Food Month, Australia’s largest food festival.

Over 17 summer nights, the banks of the Yarra River are alive with the delicious aromas of authentic Asian food. You’ll find fare from Korea, Vietnam, China, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, India, Malaysia and Burma among the 50 food stalls.

If you love Asian food, you can’t miss it. I tasted some spicy chicken skewers and naan bread from one Indian stall, popcorn chicken from a Korean stall, a delicious spicy salad from Red Spice Road, and some sweet mini pancakes.


Welcome to the Night Noodle Markets.


FareShare rescues surplus quality food from supermarkets, farmers and other businesses to create free nutritious meals for Victorian charities such as soup vans, homeless shelters, and food banks.


Om nom nom nom.


Yummy Indian food.

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You Never Lamb Alone

Did you know Aussies love lamb? In fact, in 2010, roast lamb was declared the national dish by popular vote. It is a beloved Sunday night ritual, the roast lamb dinner. The roast lamb is typical prepared with rosemary and served with potatoes and other roasted vegetables.

Naturally, lamb gets a lot of media attention and some humorous advertising. Here’s the latest from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).

I like the ad, but where’s Sam Kekovich?

For 10 years, Sam Kekovich has been the “Lambassador”. He’s been warning Aussies on Australia Day of the dangers to the Australian national identity if it doesn’t eat lamb. Who could forget the Barbie Girl commercial?

Alas, after 10 years, Kekovich may have retired from his lambassador position and opened the way for a new body of creative ads, or perhaps we have to wait until Australia Day to see more of him.

I never ate so much lamb until I came to Melbourne. How about you? What do you think of the MLA commercials?

Tastes Like Home

Image: DTTSP

Image: DTTSP

Today’s prompt in the Expat Blog Challenge is, “Tastes like home.”

I’ve blogged quite a bit about Melbourne food and dining out. It’s not that I don’t enjoy food here; I do. I especially like trying new restaurants and new foods. I’m a hopeless optimist. No matter how often I am disappointed by food and restaurants, and that’s quite often, I still keep at it, believing that it might be better next time.

Almost nothing in Melbourne tastes like its counterpart in Miami. Pizzas, burgers, hot dogs, sausages, cheeses, coffee, pasta dishes, steaks, cocktails – none of it tastes the same. Only American commercial foods such as McDonald’s, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, and Coca-Cola taste alike. That aside, nothing tastes like home, nothing.

My partner Theo insists I can find everything in Melbourne. I can’t find Cuban food. I can’t even find the ingredients to cook Cuban food at home. My mother sends me Cuban coffee and some spices. I attempt to cook arroz con pollo (yellow rice and chicken) and picadillo, but they don’t taste the same. I haven’t bothered to attempt making Cuban bread, pastelitos, or desserts. And, oh, do I miss it.  Cuban food, that which I ate nearly everyday for more than 30 years, is now something special, something I look forward to when I return to Miami for a visit. I want to fill my belly with it at every meal as if I could store it and bring it back with me like a chipmunk storing nuts in his cheek pouches. The only thing I bring back are extra pounds.

This is one of those expat experiences that local people are astonishingly insensitive about. In part it’s because, I’ve discovered, many Aussies think American food is crap and Melbourne’s food is far superior. Let’s pretend that’s true. Even so, how would they feel if they could no longer drink their favorite beer or coffee, or eat their favorite pizza or souvlaki, and they couldn’t find anything like the lamb or sausages they’ve been eating their entire lives? Would they be so flippant then?

What flavours from home do you miss?

Melbourne Restaurants

Image: DTTSP

Image: DTTSP

Today’s assignment in the Expat Blog Challenge is to write a restaurant review.

I recently wrote about dining out in Melbourne. It’s not very often a pleasant experience for me and my Aussie partner. It’s too crowded. It’s too noisy. The portions are small. It’s so expensive. The service is mediocre. I need water. I need a napkin. By lemonade, do you mean a Sprite or lemonade?

Nevertheless, I enjoy dining out because I like trying new restaurants and I still hope to find that restaurant with that mouth-watering dish I can’t get enough of and that perfect little cafe with the barista who knows my name and how to make beautiful coffee art. And because there’s little more that I enjoy more than a good conversation with a good friend over coffee or a nice meal.

Rather than a single restaurant review, I’ll mention a few places in Melbourne worth checking out.

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Melbourne Dining Out Tips

A laneway in the CBD lined with cafes.

A laneway in the CBD lined with cafes.

Earlier this week I wrote about how despite the fact that both Americans and Australians speak English, we sometimes speak different versions of it. Similarly, we both have lips and tongues and teeth and tastes buds and we probably equally enjoy meeting our friends for coffee and eating out, but dining in Miami and dining in Melbourne are very different experiences. Here’s a little guide to eating out in Melbourne.

I’m certain that Melbourne has some exquisite restaurants, the kind with maître d’s with French accents and mustached men that place a fine linen napkin on your lap for you. I don’t go to those restaurants. I’m talking about your average cafes, pubs, and restaurants, the kind that line the many fabulous laneways in the CBD, the kind where you meet your friends and book club, not your Japanese business client.

The first thing to know is that dining in Melbourne is, for the most part, not a quiet, private affair. Many cafes and restaurants are tiny, with tables very close together, and long tables where different parties sit together. Be prepared to hear almost every conversation going on except yours.

The second thing to know is that you don’t need to tip. Servers here earn a normal wage and do not depend on tips. You can leave a tip if you want, but it’s neither necessary nor expected. This is good for the server, but not so great for the customer. It is highly unlikely you will receive the kind of restaurant service you’re used to in the USA.

Truth be told, dining in Melbourne is always something of a mystery to me. I haven’t worked out all the rules and the adventure begins on arrival. In some restaurants, you should wait to be seated while in others you can just walk in and sit where you want. The problem is I can never tell which is correct at most eateries. You’d think there’d be a sign, but, more often than not, there isn’t. So, ask if you can go ahead and sit or if you should wait to be seated.

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5 of the Best Restaurants in Australia

Red Spice Road

Red Spice Road

This article was provided by The Expat Hub, the number one online stop for expatriates looking for advice, support and information.

For centuries nations like France and Italy have been getting all the glory when it comes to innovation in the kitchen and daring in the dining room, while countries like Australia have been typecast as producers of limited varieties of foods (shrimp on the barbie anyone?)

But one restaurant revolution later and Australia has well and truly made its mark on the culinary map.

In recent years Australia has developed a reputation as a nation of bold flavours and high quality produce and is recognised for developing its own Antipodean cuisine whilst incorporating culinary styles from across the globe.

Although the country boasts a huge amount of fantastic eateries for foodie expats to enjoy, this is our pick of five of the best restaurants Down Under!

Red Spice Road, Melbourne

Red Spice Road provides diners with an authentic South-East Asian dining experience. Customers are encouraged to eat communally, in the style of Asian familial and social gatherings. With shared dishes, a comfortable atmosphere and a casualness you don’t expect to come with fine dining, there’s a real sense of community about Red Spice. Although all the restaurants dishes are fresh, flavoursome and beautifully presented the big draw of Red Spice Road is the banquet menu. The huge array of dishes on offer draw from traditional Asian flavours and techniques but often feature an unusual twist, like the Burmese Split Pea Fritters with Spice Tamarind Dipping Sauce. Must try: Lychee Jam Doughnuts with Cinnamon Ice-Cream.

Quay, Sydney, New South Wales

The 3 Hat and 3 Star rated Quay restaurant boasts some of the most incredible views Sydney has to offer. Positioned in the dress circle of the harbour, Quay looks out over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The head chef of this internationally acclaimed restaurant is culinary heavyweight Peter Gilmore. Thanks to Gilmore’s innovative exploration of nature and texture (and his use of rare ingredients) Quay scooped Number 29 on 2012’s World’s Best Restaurant list – making it the highest ranked Australian restaurant. For three consecutive years Quay has also been voted The Best Restaurant in Australasia. Must try: Hapuka poached in crème fraiche and served with Tasmanian pink flesh potatoes, tender almonds and scorched beet leaves.

Garagistes, Hobart

Although billed as a wine bar (and a damn good wine bar at that) Garagistes is also a restaurant which serves fantastic food. The menu changes daily to ensure the produce is at its freshest and that the dishes compliment the extensive selection of natural wines. Seasonal and locally foraged ingredients are always used and where possible every part of the cooking process (from smoking and curing to pickling) is done in house. The big emphasis of Garagistes is on communal dining with progressive meals and sharing dishes. As the menu changes so frequently it isn’t extensive (usually about ten savoury meals and two sweet) but the quality is superb and you’re guaranteed delicious, surprising taste sensations. Must try: Smoked wallaby tartar with native pepper, hazelnuts, cocoa nibs and chickweed.

Tetsuya’s, Sydney

Within a heritage-listed building Tetsuya’s dishes up plate after elegant plate of Japanese/Australian fusion cooking. In the kitchen the Japanese philosophy of natural, seasonal, flavours is combined with classical French technique to create really light and unique dishes. Tetsuya’s offers a ten-plate degustation menu which includes courses like sashimi of kingfish, salad of big eye tuna with daikon and braised oxtail with sea cucumber. To add to the experience the three main dining areas are filled with eclectic examples of fine art and ceramics and look out on to an exceptional Japanese garden. The restaurant also has an on-site test kitchen so experimentation and dish development is always ongoing. Must try: Yuzu, blood orange and black pepper sorbet.

Cumulus Inc.

Cumulus Inc.

Cumulus Inc., Melbourne

Cumulus is based in a turn-of-the century rag-trade building in Finders Lane – Melbourne’s famed fashion and art district. Since 2008 Cumulus has been providing locals with an inspiring place to interact as well as a place to get top of the range food for every meal of the day. Andrew McConnell is the man behind an exciting range of dishes including the unusual breakfast offering Shakshouka (baked eggs with shanklish and roasted peppers) and the decedent dinner dish wagyu bresaola with artichoke and truffle cream. Cumulus also has an extensive wine list, caters for private and corporate functions and has been listed in the Age Good Food Guide for three consecutive years. Must try: Saffron spiced cauliflower, golden raisins, pine nuts and curd.

Have you tried any of these restaurants? What are your favorite restaurants down under?