- Destination NSW
Aerial view of Royal Botanic Gardens and Sydney Harbour.
Views of Bronte beach, Sydney
Sydney city skyline lit up during Vivid Sydney 2013. View from Circular Quay.

Gourmet dining Sydney

  • Quay Restaurant, The Rocks
  • Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney


Sydney’s hatted restaurants

Each year, the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide awards the honour of one, two or three 'chef’s hats' to leading restaurants across Sydney and NSW. Receiving even one hat is considered high praise indeed, with very few restaurants attaining a three-hat status. In the 2016 Good Food Guide, only four restaurants were awarded three chef’s hats.

Must Do

Sydney's Best Restaurants

Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney

Sydney offers many award-winning dining experiences with outstanding food, wine and ambience. This year four Sydney restaurants received a coveted 'three hats' award in the SMH Good Food Guide Awards for 2016.

Quay is one of these, currently ranked as number 58 on The World's Best Restaurants list. Located on Sydney Harbour, it offers sweeping views from the Sydney Opera House to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and on-point fine dining. The Bridge Room is another three-hatter, with next-level dining that would be at home anywhere in the world, it's ranked 84th on The World's Best Restaurants list, and is winner of the Good Food Guide's Restaurant of the Year for 2016.

Rockpool was also awarded three hats, with sommelier Seb Crowther awarded Sommelier of the Year. Sepia has the honour of three hat status, winning the SMH Good Food Guide Restaurant of the Year thanks to Australian Gourmet Traveller Chef of the Year Martin Benn’s food artistry, Vicki Wilds award-winning special front-of-house service and an expert sommelier.

There are currently 24 two-hatted restaurants in Sydney. Highlights include the famous Aria, Bennelong, named Best New Restaurant for 2016, Cafe Paci, with head chef Pasi Petanen named Citi Chef of the Year, avant-garde LuMi Bar and Dining, upmarket Chinese Mr Wong, Newtown degustation wizards Oscillate Wildly and perennial favourite Tetsuya’s.

With more than 40 single-hatted restaurants, it’s hard to decide where to start. Standouts include ACME, Catalina Rose Bay, Cho Cho San, Firedoor, Moon Park, Nomad and Ume.

The Bridge Room - Restaurant of the Year

The Bridge Room, Sydney

The SMH Good Food Guide Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year earns its title thanks to chef Ross Lusted​’s confident, less-is-more approach, a fabulous French/Aussie hybrid of a wine list from head sommelier Matthieu Rabiet, and the understated mid century interior. The food here is exceptional.

  • Ester, Chippendale


    Bookings are highly recommended for this sought-after Chippendale eatery, with its high ceilings, eclectic wine list and wood-fired everything. Named Time Out Sydney's 2014 Restaurant of the Year, Ester also earned two chef’s hats in the SMH Good Food Guide 2015 and 2016.

  • Neil Perry and Phil Wood, Rockpool


    Located in the historic Burns Philp Building on Bridge Street, the kitchen of this three-hatted restaurant is run under the guidance of Neil Perry, one of Australia's leading and most influential chefs. Neil was the first chef in NSW to earn a cumulative total of 100 chefs' hats in the SMH Good Food Guide.

  • Marque, Surry Hills


    Marque combines classic French cuisine with the best of Australian produce, with head chef Mark Best pushing the boundaries in unexpected ways using innovative techniques from dehydration to flash-freezing. The result? Robust flavour combinations and carefully composed presentations.