Sirloin steak with French fries at Franca Brasserie, Sydney.
Elegant-but-casual is a hard act to pull off. If you’re going to eat the best gruyère soufflé of your life, it’s more likely to be served in a place where you feel pressured to wear your Sunday best. Not at Franca Brasserie. Although each dish will have you daydreaming about it for weeks—from the clams with vegetables, wasabi and charred sourdough, right down to the grilled broccolini with parmesan—the atmosphere is one of a friendly neighbourhood brasserie. Don’t get us wrong: the décor is undoubtedly elegant, reminiscent of a first-class experience aboard the Orient Express, but it’s not intimidating. You could comfortably return for more fine French fare every day of the week.