Broadsheet’s team of editors, writers and photographers eat and drink out a ‘helluva lot. It’s obviously an awful job. As the end of the year looms, it’s time to scroll back and painstakingly pull together the most memorable things we ate over the past 12 months.

RESTAURANTS

Lee Ho Fook, Melbourne
Tacey Rychter, editor

I’m mostly vegetarian, but I went all out at Lee Ho Fook earlier this year. I’m impressed by Victor Liong’s ability to cross cuisines with ease, while still honouring regional Chinese flavours. The beef tartare is a headrush of freshness – raw beef mixed with cucumber and tingly Sichuan peppers humming so loud you can feel the blood pumping in your ears.

Marion, Fitzroy
Nick Shelton, publisher and founder

The ox tongue and mortadella dish at Marion is out of this world. I’ve had it every time I’ve been back – which is a lot.

Estelle Bistro, Northcote
Tim Fisher, editorial director

Scott Pickett’s ambitious E.S.P. is everything you want from a degustatory experience, but Estelle Bistro next-door came up with the goods for me. The rabbit ravioli with morel foam wiped away any residual cynicism I had about foams by simply being the most intensely tasty thing I remember eating this year.

Emilia, Melbourne
Imogen Dewey, assistant editor

I think this place nails something special. It feels so easy to drop in, share a bottle of wine and order a plate of something (or many plates). The dishes are simple, but made with care. None of them try too hard. But since I'm being forced by my editor to choose ... the tagliatelle alla bolognese (pork and beef ragu). Or the potato gnocchi with crab and cuttlefish ragu and zucchini.

Ezard at Levantine Hill, Coldstream
Tim Grey, food editor

The flank steak is a cheap cut of meat done masterfully, with a little salsa verde made from the garden on top. Definitely the best steak I’ve had in Australia this year.

Minamishima, Richmond
Caroline Clements, publications director

Watch on at the bar while your chef lays 12 pieces of delicately prepared sushi in front of you over a couple of hours. Your chef will let you know to eat it “with soy sauce” or “no soy sauce”, and when you look back at him confused (because you thought all sushi was eaten with soy sauce) he'll repeat it. At the end of the grand succession of exquisite combinations, you get to select your favourite piece to have again. The engawa flounder fin was mine.

Ike’s at The Beaufort, Carlton
Kristoffer Paulsen, photographer

I guess I’m a simple man with simple tastes, but in my book, a really, really good cheeseburger is it for me. Not too heavy, a perfect floury bun with cheese melted just right and a delicious pickle. You’d think it’d be really easy to get it right, I’m amazed at how many people manage to completely fuck it up. Daniel Dobra (the head chef) nails it. I’d argue that Ike’s does the best cheeseburger I’ve had in Melbourne, possibly Australia. Keep it simple, stupid.

Sugar Prawn, Collingwood
Sofia Levin, writer

This one scores extra points for fun. Nothing gets an iPhone out of a pocket faster than a giant bone sawed down the centre and served on an oversized prawn cracker. The idea is to break bits off the cracker and use it to scoop out rich master-stock marrow from the middle of the bone. Decadent is an understatement.

Sth Central, South Yarra
Gareth Sobey, photographer

Classy but unpretentious, newly opened Sth Central gives northsiders like myself a reason to cross the river. Its slow-roasted beef short rib is sensational, served with freshly grated horseradish. Match it with a candy-red Aperol cocktail.

CAFES

Lune Croissanterie, Fitzroy
Tacey Rychter, editor

A croissant is a croissant is a croissant. Is it worth queuing for? Let me put it this way: it’s not going to fix your marriage or change your life. This is not a magic croissant. But I say with full conviction that Kate Reid and company are making the best croissants in Melbourne, and if pastries make you happy – then it could change your life, in a small way.

Lights in the Attic, Hawthorn East
Sofia Levin, writer

This unassuming cafe serves the first brekkie dish to excite me in a long while. A hangover is no match for the Bird Nest – strings of elongated French fries wrapped around to form a nest that protects a couple of Scotch eggs with oozy yolks. A kransky-and-chilli-bean base soaks into the nest, making this the ultimate comfort brunch.

BAWA, Hawthorn
Anna Webster, writer

I find most iced coffees too sweet, but BAWA does an iced coffee made with its special whipped skim milk, which is just awesome. It’s like a Greek frappe, and when you’re sitting inside that leafy, breezy space, you could almost be on holiday.

Burnside, Fitzroy
Gareth Sobey, photographer

A minimal, relaxed coffee bar run by a team of coffee pros, Burnside on Smith Street quickly became my new local. The ever-friendly Jona Gunn (ex-Seven Seeds and Coffee Supreme) pulls some of the best espresso I’ve tasted in the inner north. Top it off with a croissant served with some tasty jams and preserves.

Smith & Deli, Fitzroy
Miriam Kauppi, subeditor

This spunky neighbourhood deli is the whole package: a rock’n’roll attitude and cabinets stacked with out-of-the-ordinary vegan options. Its plain and almond croissants are only available on Saturday mornings, and sell out in just hours. There’s a reason for that. They are flaky, buttery, and they fill the good-vegan-croissant-shaped hole in the lives of so many.

BARS

Heartbreaker, Melbourne
Kristoffer Paulsen, photographer

Mike and Zara from The Everleigh opened Heartbreaker in the city recently, and I love their pre-bottled cocktails (a complete contrast to The Everleigh, where they make cocktails based on what you tell them you like), and they’re awesome. After a Christmas party recently that ended up at Heartbreaker, the next day I found three crumpled receipts, all for rounds of four bottled Negronis. Surely that speaks for itself?

Bar Exuberante, Richmond
Tacey Rychter, editor

I wanted to say Negronis at Heartbreaker but Kris took it. I went to Bar Exuberante (on the site of sadly defunct Der Raum bar) and had the hot-cold pina colada. It’s like a luxe, expensive, boozy dessert – warm white-chocolate and coconut foam on top of a cool, lavender-infused rum cocktail. Extra points for the Tiki mug.

Lume, South Melbourne / Four Pillars Gin, Healesville
Tim Grey, food editor

I can’t decide between my top drinks this year, so I’ll cheat: one would be the Red Snapper by Nick Tesar at Lume, a take on the Bloody Mary made with fresh passata from the kitchen and local gin; the other is Four Pillar’s incredible Navy Strength gin, distilled with finger lime and turmeric, which I drank neat at the opening of its Healesville distillery. Admittedly, I threw up into my gift bag on the bus ride home, but it still didn’t mar the experience.

Bar Clarine, Fitzroy
Linsey Rendell, writer and photographer

My favourite here is a dish of salted cod flakes folded through mashed potato and topped with oyster salt and a sous vide egg. The yolk required a quick puncture so to spill over the mash, before being scooped up with crispy wafers of fish skin. Textural, flavourful, playful and engaging – it gave new meaning to Friday night fish 'n' chips.

Smithward, Collingwood
Gareth Sobey, photographer

With a vibe placed somewhere between Paris and Portland, I’ve yet to be disappointed by the wine list at Collingwood’s Smithward. The standout has been the Gosling Creek Pinot Noir, grown locally in the Otways and a perfect match for Smithward’s trademark melted raclette.