American tennis pro Bethanie Mattek-Sands’ favorite restaurants in Melbourne, Phoenix and Paris
Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 37, a nine-time Grand Slam doubles champion, returns to the Australian Open this month looking for a third victory to add to her wins of 2015 and 2017 here. Over the past decade in Melbourne, she has kept busy off the pitch exploring the local culinary scene. The tennis player loves teppanyaki, sushi and is on the hunt for quality Australian chocolates and croissants.
Mattek-Sands and her husband and manager, Justin, split their time between stays at the Como Hotel and Crown Melbourne with Airbnb accommodation, allowing them to cook for themselves and shop at markets.
“I love using the kitchen and given that I’m only home a few months a year during the season, it’s also a great way to feel like a local,” says Mattek-Sands.
Essential dish at home
My husband has a backyard smoker at home in Phoenix, Arizona. I love his roast chicken and our homemade butternut squash soup. I’m very picky with our meats and everything we buy is farm-raised and organic.
my guilty pleasure
I am a dark chocolate lover. At the moment, I love Ritual Chocolate, Le Petit Duc, Dick Taylor and Manoa. My other guilty pleasure is homemade crispy rice bars.
Justin’s Level-up Crispy Rice Treats
- Melt 225g salted grass-fed butter, then add and melt 4-5 packets of quality vanilla bean marshmallows (I use Hammonds), stirring until completely smooth (turn off the burner).
- Add 1 box of rice chips and mix.
- Pour into a 33cm x 23cm x 5cm mold and spread around – no need to press them firmly, you want them to be a bit loose. Let cool, slice and enjoy.
The Best Kitchen Wisdom I Cling To
Cook and clean as you go and know your ingredients. I spend a lot of time in grocery stores and I read the labels. I like to know what’s in my food – from spices to oils. I’m particular about what goes into my body.
My favorite local restaurants (and must-try dishes):
I know award-winning sushi chef Engin Onural from Sushi of sand fish and whiskey in Arizona (also in Palm Springs). He makes me custom rolls with wagyu beef or a mix of land and sea.
vecine makes amazing halibut ceviche, Peruvian fried chicken and the best dessert – banana bread with peanut butter mousse.
My favorite hometown haunted
- Lux The cafe, located in downtown Phoenix, is known for its baked goods and makes a great vegan gingerbread cookie.
- La Grande Orange grocery store is a fun country store where you can buy local handicrafts. Their lattes are really delicious.
- I’m a mezcal girl – always served clean – but when I need a cocktail I go to Toca Madeira watch the mixologists do everything in front of me. Bitter and twistedvoted one of the 50 best bars in the United States, is another favorite.
Where is your favorite place to eat in Australia and do you have any special food memories here?
Every stay in Melbourne includes regular visits to Hunky Dory in South Melbourne. We met the owner Phil Hatzis and became good friends. When I’m done playing AO matches, Phil will always have fresh, quality food waiting for me.
I also like the teppanyaki restaurant Wagyu Ya in southern Yarra. They can serve the meat as lean as possible and I’m really picky about my cuts. It’s a place I go to every year.
I became addicted to Bahari Greek restaurant during the Covid lockdown in Melbourne in 2021. I ate their food daily.
Other restaurants I have enjoyed include Rice, Paper, Scissors; Mom Hochi and Cheers.
ON THE ROAD
What is your favorite gourmet city?
Paris is my favorite gourmet city. It’s nice to know that you can go to any bistro in the area and find a quality steak and fries. I’m a huge croissant lover and we rented scooters to try all the best addresses in each arrondissement (district).
What are the favorite dishes there?
Fillion’s butchers roast chicken – be sure to get the drippings. The owner has been there for 40 years and sells chickens on the side of the road. He knows me now, as we go there every year. We buy a baguette in a bakery and eat by the river or sit near the Eiffel Tower. It’s a culinary experience off the beaten path.
The Fountain Of Mars is another favorite. Their duck confit and cassoulet with a bottle of red wine is a must. I can text the owner and he’ll arrange a confit when I play Roland-Garros.
I also like the Marais area – lots of cafes and croissant shops. The Marais Colimacon is a good restaurant – they serve what we call Beef Wellington.
Where do you stay when you are there and why?
I have stayed in many boroughs over the years and enjoy them all for different reasons. I really enjoyed the Grand Hotel of the Royal Palace.
We now usually rent an Airbnb, and Justin gets amazing beef from a world famous butcher, Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, and grill it, because you can’t eat at every meal.