The Best Outdoor Restaurants in Sydney
Al fresco. It might sound fancy, but in reality everybody can channel a bit of Italian romance and enjoy their meal outside. Lucky for you, there are plenty of awesome outdoor dining options in Sydney that can suit a variety of moods, occasions and budgets.
Eating outside adds another element to the dining experience, and with the amazing weather and scenery available 24/7/365, there's no excuse for not letting the spectacular natural and manmade features of the NSW capital help you get the most out of your next meal.
Whether it's hip hangouts for the in crowd, quieter, more refined restaurant experiences or a light and breezy bite to eat, make a booking at one of the best outdoor dining spots in Sydney today and get ready for anything but your average meal.
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel
Location: Watsons Bay
Great for: A long lunch complete with a bottle of champagne and stellar seafood in one of the hottest spots in all of Sydney
It's hard to talk about outdoor dining in Sydney without getting this venerable venue into the conversation early and often. Many think of Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel as a party haven, with one of Sydney's best rooftop bars providing cold drinks and thumping dance beats. And they wouldn't be wrong. But it's also one of the best outdoor dining spots in Sydney. The hotel's Beach Club is the optimal venue for a long, lazy lunch. Grab a bottle of something tasty and browse through an amazing menu of sensational seafood, with everything from poke bowls and fish pie to oysters and seafood platters that are great for sharing.
Another option if you're looking for a more formal dining experience is to have a few drinks at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel and then walk next door to the iconic Doyles on the Beach. There you'll get a front row seat to amazing Sydney Harbour views and a menu full of some of the best seafood in the country. With more than 130 years serving Sydney, they must be doing something right. Whatever you decide, take the ferry to the Watsons Bay terminal and arrive on the doorstep of these two amazing outdoor dining options.
Great for: Environmentally conscious foodies and yum cha fanatics who want to take it outside
Vegan. Yum Cha. Outdoors. Iconic city location. Bodhi ticks a lot of important boxes for those sometimes left out in the cold when it comes to Sydney's outdoor eating scene.
This outdoor plant based yum cha eatery sits beneath St. Mary's Cathedral in Cook + Phillip Park in the heart of the Sydney CBD. Surrounded by the house of worship on one side and calming fig trees on the other, this inner city escape is a wonderful spot to fill up on fantastic cruelty-free food. Grab a table for lunch and devour yum cha staples in the form of dumplings, buns and rolls made to the strictest vegan standards. Bodhi's double-take-worthy imitation meat might even just fool your carnivorous pals.
Great for: Putting on your fancy clothes and celebrating a milestone birthday or anniversary with a meal over Middle Harbour
The Louis Terrace at Bathers' Pavilion delivers outdoor dining bliss at Balmoral Beach, one of Sydney's most underrated seaside stops. Not nearly as popular as the bigger boys and girls to the east and north, it's a local favourite of those who call the Lower North Shore home.
We'll forgive you for falling into daydreams of gallivanting around Europe once you take your seat on the the Louis Terrace, with Breezy Mediterranean vibes transporting you overseas (no passport required). This atmosphere is paired with the revered Thai menu from Betel Leaf @ Bathers', including its share plates, curries and stir fries. Add uninterrupted views of Middle Harbour and beachgoers below you and you've got everything you need for outstanding outdoor dining. And with the deck's recent renaming to honour two-plus decades of serving Louis Roederer as the house champagne, it'd almost be rude not to order a glass. Actually, make it a bottle and thank us later.
Great for: Getting the family out for a high quality meal with a hefty helping of outdoor space in which the kids can run around.
An outdoor spot with top-shelf food that you can take the kids, a stone's throw from the CBD? It's true. The Camperdown Commons project is a working urban farm that might have you thinking you've driven a couple hours down the South Coast, such is the strength of its atmosphere and organic paddock-to-plate ethos. Part of the Commons is acre, which features a large grassy area out the front that hosts tables, chairs and umbrellas for diners of all ages to enjoy and play in.
It might sound a bit ramshackle, but acre is anything but. While the kids enjoy the outdoor play area and library, you can chow down on substantial meals featuring fresh produce grown on-site. And with rotating monthly menus to really take advantage of seasonal ingredients, you can go again and again without a repeat order. Good luck choosing from all the gorgeous, colourful vegetable dishes (examples include beetroot tartare, roasted pumpkin) and hearty proteins (slow-cooked lamb ribs, Kobe wagyu rump).
Great for: Getting the crew around a table for a fun feed as the laid back vibes of the Northern Beaches wash over you
If The Newport is anything, it's big. A big space with big views and a big selection of food to nibble on or dive headfirst in to. This beacon of fun in Sydney's Northern Beaches overlooking Pittwater saw a massive Merivale renovation in 2016, breathing new life into the pub formerly known as The Newport Arms.
The massive (and we mean massive) outdoor deck is big enough to get lost on, with picnic tables and more traditional four-top circular tables and chairs to seat hundreds of guests. Like when you park your car in a crowded garage at the shops, you might want to make note of where your table is when you go to place your order. Fair warning: figuring out what you want to order might prove difficult considering The Newport's collection of outstanding options. With five different places from which to order, you can find everything from a specialised seafood menu to pizza and classic pub grub.
Location: Surry Hills
Great for: Those who love a good glass (or bottle) of red, white or rose and their brunches bottomless
It's all in the name. OK, not all in the name, as this sweet Surry Hills spot is much more than its deep list of delicious drops. The Winery's outdoor terrace offers a great green space in the middle of one of the most popular sections of Sydney's urban jungle. This fun, vibrant laneway venue is almost always full of patrons packing the benches beneath the fairy lights.
Food-wise, you'll get to pick from a European-inspired menu that emphasises quality over quantity of options. However, for the best off all worlds, the bottomless brunch is where it's at. Three courses, two hours of bottomless drinks and plenty of good times are the order of the day every Saturday and Sunday.
Great for: A great dish near the ocean at one of the most popular spots in the Eastern Suburbs
Ever since its schmick 2015 makeover at the hands of Justin Hemmes, the Coogee Pavilion has become a go-to dining spot for visitors of all tastes, especially those who prefer to eat and drink outside. The pick of the outdoor seating is the Rooftop, which serves up awesome food from the Vinnie's Pizza menu with a side of amazing scenery. In fact, the views of the Coogee Beach coastline across the street just might be the main event. Wash it all down with a Pavilion piña colada, spicy watermelon margarita or fruity house spritz and you'll really be in paradise.
One of the other things that makes 'The Pav' so fantastic is that it's so many things to so many people. With a range of venues populating its floors, including Una Más and its tremendous tapas and the Mediterranean magnificence of Mimi's, there's a little something for everyone. And for a more traditional outdoor pub, the Coogee Bay Hotel is just a few hundred metres down the road
Already knocked all these outdoor venues off your to-do list? Here are a few more of Sydney's best outdoor eating options: