Sydney’s culinary landscape ranges from lauded fine diners to cosy wine bars, secret laneway restaurants and tiny omakase bars where getting a reservation is harder than running into Chris Hemsworth.Tuck in to some of Sydney's best.
Famous fine diners
Start at the top with the big guns of Sydney’s fine dining scene. Quay, Bennelong, Aria and Cafe Sydney serve superb modern Australian cuisine coupled with front row seats to dazzling Sydney Harbour. Wood-fired meats, seafood and a world-class wine list star at the visually impressive art deco Rockpool Bar & Grill while Sydney institution Tetsuya’s French-Japanese degustation menu never fails to impress.
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar meanwhile doesn’t rest on its superlative vistas of Bondi’s world-famous ocean baths alone. Expect elevated classics like Icebergs’ beef tartare, mixed tableside, and pavlova (an Australian classic) from restauranteur Maurice Terzini.
Each year the Good Food Guide awards chef’s hats (similar to Michelin stars) to Australia’s top restaurants; three hats being the top award. In 2020& it was awarded to Quay and Sixpenny, a smart and elegant diner in the Inner West that pays homage to old and new.
Inside the new Crown complex at Barangaroo, the impressive list of headliner restaurants includes internationally renowned Nobu, and Ross and Sunny Lusted's highly anticipated Woodcut. Three Michelin-starred British chef Clare Smyth will open Oncore, her first international restaurant, at Crown in mid 2021.
Speaking of wood, there’s no gas or electricity at Surry Hills’ Firedoor, where everything is cooked over coals and the ingredients speak for themselves. It's all about fire at Porteño, an achingly cool Argentinian grill, too. Chippendale’s Automata serves bold food in an industrial dining room, while Potts Point is home to Yellow, Sydney's first fine dining vegetarian and vegan restaurant, pairing creative dishes with an excellent wine list.
In the CBD, follow the queues down a pedestrian laneway for Mr Wong. The wait is long but oh so worth it for contemporary Australian-Cantonese cuisine and cool cocktails. Sydney is also seeing the rise and rise of the omakase, loosely translated to "I'll leave it up to you". Do whatever it takes to get into the 11-seater Kuon Omakase, soon to open sister restaurant Kuon Tempura and Chaco Bar with its 13-dish omakase.
Seriously sophisticated dining is to be had across Sydney. The Hamptons-inspired Chiswick in Woollahra by chef Matt Moran is hemmed by manicured gardens and serves up a fresh produce menu driven by the kitchen garden. Monopole in Potts Point is dark and moody with a 500-strong wine list. Nearby the historic Finger Wharf in Woolloomooloo meanwhile delivers a taste of ‘La Costiera’ with newcomer the Amalfi Way.
Eat every part of the fish (from scales to eyeballs) at sustainable seafood eatery Saint Peter in Paddington and tuck into arguably Sydney’s finest fish and chips at Cirrus. Embrace old school glamour at Hubert, a classic French restaurant with a dining room decked out in wood and velvet, set below ground in the city centre.
Still hungry? Book dinner at the casual-but-exceptional Ester in Chippendale (don’t miss the Sunday roast), Bentley with its cult wine list of more than 1,000 bottles or Pilu at Freshwater for a taste of traditional Sardinia. Classic French dishes meanwhile are the order of the day at newcomer L’Héritage set in an old soldier’s drill hall overlooking Mosman’s secluded Chowder Bay.