Sydney is a beautiful city with an array of restaurants to try. This blog post contains 16 of the best Sydney restaurants for tourists to visit.
If you are visiting Sydney, Australia and want to find out what some of the best places in town are to eat at, then this article is for you! Here we share our favourite spots for foodies who don’t know where all the hot spots are located or can’t decide on one place because they’re all so good.
Keep reading if you want to go on an adventure through Sydney’s finest culinary offerings and discover new places that will make your mouth water and stomach growl with excitement!
There are two things Sydneysiders love above all else: a superb meal and a stunning view. So you can imagine how excited they get about a restaurant with a fantastic outlook. At these much-loved eateries, the view is just as delicious as what’s on the plate.
Sydney’s culinary landscape ranges from lauded fine diners to cosy wine bars, secret laneway restaurants and tiny omakase bars. Getting a reservation is more complicated than running into Chris Hemsworth.
Read on to find out how to eat like a local in the exciting Australian city.
1. 10 William St
The drinks have always been a draw at 10 William St. For the vine-dedicated, there’s the chance to get lost in a deep list of minimal-intervention wines from Italy and people doing exciting, preservative-free things at home and further afield.
But waiting in the street out front, jostling for space between the tiny tables, and swiping the seeded pretzel through the whipped bottarga dip has become as much a necessity as ordering a glass of something fresh and juicy from the chalkboard.
The few signatures – that pretzel, the ragù, the tiramisu – remain on the food front, but newly installed chef Trisha Greentree, fresh from working the kitchen garden at Brae, has made a point of befriending local growers and producers and making their products the defining factor of her menus.
Perhaps Stracciatella from Vannella in Marrickville spread with anchovies and blackened spigarello leaves, or white corn from Boon Luck Farm under a grating of cured egg yolk and lime. Come dessert, the flan – rich without being eggy and covered in orange and Partida Creus vermouth caramel – is a new bittersweet classic that’s all her own. One to savour.
A venue for all day and all comers, A1 has settled into its role nicely, servicing pre-, post- and mid-work crowds with cut-above breakfast, lunch, dinner and plenty in between.
The design, which might be described as private-school-cafeteria-comes-to-the-big-city (luxe plastic chairs and tables; marble accents), looks its best during the day, but the kitchen shows both substance and style the whole way through.
This might mean a crab and XO sauce omelette paired with good coffee in the AM; salads, such as couscous with burnt honey and pomegranate, accompanying the likes of roasted lamb shoulder at lunch, or top-notch sandwiches from the takeaway window; and a concise share menu at night, with enough twists and turns to keep you sitting up straight.
There are enormous mussels on fat slices of toast, say, with a tomato base and an anise accent from licorice herb. Or a plate of kingfish collars sauced in ghee and a coconut cream flavoured with curry leaf.
Drinks land as a more clipped, more affordable, more local spin on the list over at neighbouring sibling Automata, and service is just as sharp.
Throw in intriguing desserts built for comfort, and there are plenty of reasons to stay back after class.
3. Alberto’s Lounge
Alberto’s embraces its billing as Restaurant Hubert‘s Italian cousin with gusto: same soft-lit charm, smooth service, plush carpet and wood panelling, but a little more bustle, a little more jostling for space, and (just maybe) a little more fun.
It’s a return to new-wave Italo form for chef Daniel Pepperell, too, who keeps one eye on tradition and the other on how to advance it.
The Amatriciana is proof of the former: house-made bucatini in a sauce of guanciale and its rendered fat with pecorino, chilli and tomato that’s both rich and slippery, in a good way.
For the latter, take the trippa alla Romana, melting into the sauce the way it might in a trattoria in Testaccio, but spun in the direction of butter chicken with the deft deployment of cream and spice.
Sommelier Andy Tyson’s wine offer is more natural than at Hubert. Still, excitement is the through-line, whether from one of many bottles under $100 or back-vintage Barolo from a section labelled “Il Rosso Divino”.
A crisp cannoli is a cracking finish, but daily changing gelati – mango and sticky rice, perhaps – capture Alberto’s in a single scoop: technically astute and bristling with adventure.
Aria is known for its gobsmacking views of the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour and its flexible menu.
The wine list that positions exceptional local bottles alongside international benchmarks.
The menu shows off fresh Australian produce, and a chef, Joel Bickford, set on making the very best from them. But as much as this has always been a place that sets a bar for Australian dining, that hasn’t meant standing still.
Aria 2019 is a restaurant of kangaroo tartare concealed under delicate folds of beetroot, of yabbies curled in tomato broth with ribbons of jamón, of skinned snapper fried crisp and served with beach greens, finger lime and a lick of beurre blanc.
Desserts – and a course of Moreton Bay bug with congee, broth, shiitake mushrooms, and silky sheet made from smoked scallop – can have a lot going on, but the flavours are precise, the presentation refined, and when things are good, they’re spot on.
Suppose you don’t feel like a degustation dinner. In that case, you can mix and match plates of various sizes, from shelled Pacific oysters with Keri berry and beach banana to Iberico Jamon with white beetroot, macadamia and saltbush.
Sure, floor staff can miss details and be distracted by shiny things, but gloss and sparkle have always sway here. And who can argue with that view?
For lunch, they offer a 5-course menu, and for dinner, a 5 or 7-course menu.
What’s in a name? Automata, as machines, function seamlessly without any hint to their inner workings.
Here, in an industrial setting warmed by buzz and hum, layers of depth and nuance lie behind a veneer of simplicity.
Take the beef rump cap – pink, with a dark crust – for which the accompanying grains, called Job’s tears, have been inoculated with koji for added savouriness.
Or the circle of raw yellowfin tuna, covered with burnt watermelon dressed with tamari, hides a centre of cream turned sour with kefir.
The 5-course prix fixe may have crept to over $100, but based on the level of skill and the speed of thought, this is still one of the best-value tasting menus around.
Marvel at the delicacy of beetroot slices pinched around spheres of sheep’s curd and served in a broth of crab apple and fennel, or the depth of flavour in the ink sauce underscoring arrows of cuttlefish.
Add a killer drinks list with a fondness for the rare and unusual and staff who are both switched on and relaxed, and this is a place that’s ticking over nicely. Well-oiled and running smoothly.
Menus are formulated with freedom and energy that translates into the dining room, with beverages and pairings beyond wine. The warehouse-style space along Kensington Street includes a mezzanine and communal tables.
Bennelong delivers the whole package: superb food, excellent service, and a gorgeous view of the city and the harbour.
All this, and you also get to dine inside one of the Opera House sails.
Special occasions and Bennelong go together. Set within the concrete belly of an Opera House sail, the serene dining room spotlights Indigenous art, brass-gold Tom Dixon lamps and lantern-lit tables with leather chairs alongside a floor-to-ceiling harbour view.
It’s a stellar stage for an assured take on event dining conducted in three succinct acts.
The set menus serve up the very best Australian produce (think shaved southern squid and pasture-raised duck), showcasing the diversity of Australian dining inside one of the country’s most iconic venues.
The show might open with brown butter playing as a nutty backbeat to lemon emulsion accompanying just-cooked Moreton Bay bug, then follow with pull-apart confit duck leg that reaches a higher note amid a textural harmony crispy skin, sweet persimmon and pickled black fungus.
Come dessert, the signature pavlova, meringue sails soaring, borders on kitsch and sentimental, but is kept in check by a sharp passionfruit sauce.
Better to order the Neenish tart, a wafer-crisp pastry shell filled with bittersweet chocolate cut with a raspberry ripple and covered with yin-yang icing – a sophisticated coda expressed with mirror-glaze precision.
The hefty wine list leans strongly Australian, ranging from renowned shiraz viognier to single-vineyard Beechworth Roussanne. Service is confident and charming, ideally in tune with the whole production, ensuring any occasion at Bennelong is just that little bit extra.
The Bentley was opened in March 2006 by Chef Brent Savage and Sommelier Nick Hildebrandt.
With the Bentley came a new kind of restaurant for Sydney – one where the food could challenge and inspire you, but in a relaxed atmosphere where you could find an eclectic list of wines not offered anywhere else.
Ever since their earliest model, the Bentley crew has steadily stayed ahead of the pack.
From the Surry Hills original (Bentley) where casual but clever drinking came with anything but simple food, to today’s modest empire of seafood with a view (Cirrus), fine dining without meat (Yellow) and good food-with-wine or the other way around (Monopole), this city is all the better for their work.
Under a black-splashed ceiling laced with intersecting steel frames, their flagship restaurant and bar is an unlikely hotel dining room except for the city folk at many of its dark wood tables.
They’re here for Hildebrandt’s seamless wine list and pairing flair, and Savage’s determinedly modern menu made up mostly of prime seafood and often curious vegetables: scallop tartare with plum, almond and lemon verbena, say, or apple cucumber with green kohlrabi, hazelnut and camel’s milk curd.
Fresh, herbal, astringent flavours are offset cleverly – with the likes of a creamy smoked pil-pil sauce (with just-cooked bass groper), perhaps, or a profoundly meat-like onion broth (served with WA marron).
And it’s all mighty pleasurable. Right through to soft cones of pumpkin curled around sweet pumpkin curd with faintly bitter brown-butter ice cream alongside.
Oysters, warmed in the woodfired oven, come swimming in sake butter. Jerusalem artichokes, fried in a lacy batter, arrive with something called egg butter.
A roasted prawn shipping crumbly capers drips with fermented shrimp butter. Cured bonito lands with whipped pork fat.
Restraint may not be the word that comes to mind here(more like oof). Still, Ester‘s ability to take one or two main ingredients and distil them into a plate that pays close attention to texture, temperature and just a few supporting flavours is nigh-on unrivalled. (That said, add a simple salad – a garden of white cucumber, herbs and leaves that’s wildly bright and acidic – to take the edge off.)
Signatures, of which there are plenty, show off Mat Lindsay’s approach best: the boudin noir on steamed bread is still the best sausage sanga in the country, and the charry potato bread with kefir cream, trout roe and dashi jelly – hot, cold and very addictive – beat out all imitators.
The room, bones laid bare, buzzes happily, the wine list skews intensely natural, and service is sharp yet laid-back. Together, it makes a place excelling in its own skin, a local restaurant with international credentials. Lucky Sydney.
9. Fratelli Paradiso
From ex-pollies enjoying an espresso over the paper to couples in need of a late-night bowl of scampi spaghetti, this café-turned-trattoria is woven into many of a local’s weekly routines.
At Fratelli Paradiso might be a wait. A glass of Tuscan sangiovese from the primarily Italian, largely natural wine list might take a while to arrive. But such insouciance is all part of the Italo charm this Potts Point staple exudes.
When the waiter is there, they’re there – accented, crisply uniformed and prepped to decode the Italian scribbles on the blackboard against a soundtrack of jazz and a room of soft lighting.
They’ll explain the entrée listed as “polipo”, perhaps, as thinly sliced, tender octopus dolloped with vibrant capsicum purée and lifted with cups of pickled Cipollini onion.
Or how the sheets of green spinach pasta in that bubbling-hot, cheesy lasagna are made daily on the marble bench that, come dinner, becomes a communal dining table.
Glide a spoon through the marsala-spiked tiramisù, order an Amaro Lucano and sit back to revel in the wonder that is this neighbourhood favourite.
Fred’s has the magic formula figured out.
After three years, a fireside perch around the dreamy hearth-centred kitchen is still a coveted booking, in no small part because of chef Danielle Alvarez’s intelligent, proven first cooking.
She’s transplanted her Chez Panisse sensibilities to Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, such that bright, seasonal produce shines with vitality on the plates in the elegant French farmhouse room.
A light touch with precise technique supports, rather than outshines, the ingredients: grapes, vibrantly sweet from roasting, tame the melty richness of a crusted, playbook perfect charcoal-grilled rack of lamb; while bitter Castel franco leaves chime with the nuttiness of thinly shaved slices of raw Jerusalem artichoke, with the sweet balance from a Meyer lemon dressing.
A visit to Fred’s would be incomplete without experiencing the rustic finesse of the house-rolled pasta and pastry, be it the agnolotti – umami bombs filled with white Bolognese – or the miso chocolate tart, with a buttery crust that shatters into a just-set custard, its deep cocoa flavour offset with burnt honey.
Let the consummate staff guide you to the gems on the wine list and happily, willingly fall under Fred’s spell.
11. Icebergs Dining Room & Bar
If there were an award for Sydney’s sexiest dining room, Icebergs would win hands down.
Settle in at your table with one of Icebergs’ signature cocktails and let yourself be mesmerised by the endless rows of waves rolling into the beach. The Italian-influenced menu has plenty of tasty options; start with one of the superb pasta dishes, such as fresh fusilli with a ragu of suckling pig.
A plate of blushing tuna tartare, dotted with beetroot-pickled radish, fennel pollen and trout roe, is set down by a waiter in a white jacket.
There’s loud applause.
But it’s not for the beauty of the dish, nor the theatre of mixing it tableside. It’s for a proposal, the second of the day.
There’s much to love about Icebergs – where else can you feel the ocean breeze on your face as you fork hand-rolled spinach spaghetti with nubs of slow-roasted lamb, eggplant and juniper spice?
Or Pesce del Giorno: perhaps blue-eye trevalla with a skin of glass-like crispness and scales of anchovy-buttered kipflers, oxalis, Cime di Rapa, radish and briny Alto olives. There’s a brightness to the modern Italo-style menu, matched by an equally energetic floor team, wine list and soundtrack.
Tiramisù for two, meanwhile, is well worthy of its Icebergs legend status, a treasure chest of jelly cubes, coffee sorbet and more. So what on earth is in it? “Everything,” says the sommelier. Don’t wait for an occasion. Just say I do.
Bondi Icebergs has been the home of Winter swimming since 1929, and their famous pool is open to visitors all year round.
Located above the pool, their fully licensed clubhouse is open to both members and guests, and all visitors are welcome to enjoy sweeping views over the pool and Bondi beach as they drink or dine on their sunny balconies.
12. Lankan Filling Station
At Lankan, even the most humble ingredients are transformed into something special.
The cabbage mallung sees the quotidian vegetable thinly sliced, tossed with mustard seeds and ghee, and transformed into a sophisticated dish worthy of multiple helpings. At the same time, the red lentil dhal comes thick, scoopable and heady with coconut cream and curry leaves.
Even the suwandel rice, an heirloom variety sourced from a Sri Lankan not-for-profit, is notable for its beautiful fluffiness. But, of course, there are fancier dishes, too: pan rolls, those crisp crêpe cylinders stuffed with curried minced beef, and a dark and broody goat curry fragrant with cardamom and clove.
Lacy hoppers, primed for tearing and dipping, are as unmissable as ever, as are the symbols, such as the coconut number (pol sambol) that’s complex and funky with dried Maldive fish.
The waitstaff is agile in more ways than one, deftly ducking and weaving through the narrow space while replenishing hopper supplies, though orders can go missing if not taken through the tick-the-menu system.
On paper, the desserts don’t sound like much – curd with kithul, say – but the appeal is in the execution, and one bite of that sharp, silky buffalo curd with rich palm sugar syrup will convert the doubters. It’s a final, masterful lesson on how simple is best.
Sudachi and zibibbo. Suckling pig and shishito. Sashimi and gnocchi. “You are confined only by the walls you create”, reads the text printed on the glass walls hemming in LuMi.
It’s a bit hammy, sure, but the mood is right on: in bringing a Japanese perspective to bear on Italian cuisine, Federico Zanellato treads territory few chefs dare to.
But his scope is far broader: a single scallop, sliced and put back together with interleaved slivers of rhubarb and jalapeño, for example, is listed on the menu as ceviche, but plays like sashimi, and spins in a new wave Crudo direction with a base of buffalo curd and rhubarb vinegar.
A pumpkin and goat’s curd tartlet capped with crunchy pepitas, or a single ravioli filled with liquefied pecorino and celeriac coated in duck jus? That’s just good eating.
LuMi is a package deal, the technique near faultless, the room warm, the service relaxed, the pacing spot-on, all complemented by a drinks list that is classic and interesting in both wine and sake territory.
For dessert, a simple buffalo milk ice cream with popcorn and coffee caramel keeps creativity close but deliciousness closer. If these are the walls, LuMi’s bounds are endless.
14. Mr Wong
Layered with timeless colonial furnishings, including timber floors with tile inlay, bamboo framed French woven chairs and slow turning ceiling fans, Mr Wong pays homage to classic Chinese influences in a contemporary style.
The Cantonese-style menu features over 60 dishes as well as an unrivalled dim sum selection.
Mr Wong sure knows how to roast a duck. Beside the open kitchen, the birds hang raw and radiant in a glass display, quietly awaiting the five-spice and roasting treatment.
They arrive shiny and crisp-skinned, with an excellent fat-to-tender-meat ratio, primed for rolling in pancakes with cucumber and hoisin sauce.
Duck is a top-order at this Merivale behemoth, where the extensive menu shows a grab bag of Chinese influences under a loose Australian-Cantonese banner. There are wins in excellent fried rice and braised mushrooms that sing with Shaoxing wine sweetness, for example, or with the likes of Sichuan-style crisp battered eggplant in the fish-fragrant sauce.
In the seafood stakes, pipis in a vibrant XO sauce win out over steamed cod fillets for both interest and execution – a whole fish might be a better bet.
There’s plenty to see in the two-level dining room, from the Shanghai colonial-era accents to the glassed-in wine cellar where staff ascend a ladder to reach the bottles above.
Sprawled over two levels, the 240 seater Mr Wong is one of the most famous restaurants in the northern end of the Sydney CBD. It offers a range of dining options varying from large group tables to intimate tables for two and seating at the open kitchen.
There may be a couple of draughty pockets, and the somms might steer you towards the pointier end of the Burgundy-heavy wine list, but these are small losses, because as that final, memorable deep-fried ice-cream shows, at Mr Wong, when you win, you win big.
15. Restaurant Hubert
An elegant French restaurant hidden below ground in the Sydney CBD, Hubert is reminiscent of post-war Paris. The dining room is dimly lit with low ceilings, red leather booths, vintage prints on the walls and even a tattered grand piano.
It’s a surprisingly large space spread across two bars, various dining rooms and even a theatre, used for talks and masterclasses.
Whether midday or midnight, a frisson of celebration is ever-present in the parallel universe of Hubert.
Descend the winding staircase and come hither into a faux Belle Époque salon of perpetual candlelight and popping Champagne corks.
The menu comprises classics like oysters mignonette, duck parfait, beef tartare, chicken fricassee and cote de boeuf. Choose something from the French-focused wine list or one of the excellent cocktails.
The kitchen is open until 1 am, making it the perfect spot for late-night fine dining.
Lovers canoodle in the tête-à-tête booths; a band limbers up for jazz and chansons; a magnum of Louis Roederer arrives at an already lively table of revellers. The hefty magnum collection is part of a stellar cellar that ranges wide and wisely.
The party starts with a bang, perhaps an extravagant mouthful of trout roe, avruga caviar and sea urchin, or a deep-fried molten ball of Gruyère. The French-ish menu nods and winks at tradition: roasted snails with house XO sauce and gratin spicy with kimchi.
The crowd-pleasing whole roast chicken, however, needs no twist. It’s straightforward and superb, tender from brining and steaming, golden from frying, with a simple bread sauce and a dash of green garlic oil.
When you think the party has peaked, the outcome is a couple of support acts, a slice of banoffee and a Gallic crème caramel, which prompts another look at the wine list. But, no, the party has barely started.
Yellow is the bold third iteration in the culinary ventures of Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt. They have crafted a new way to dine this time, serving inventive, contemporary vegetarian food and good wine in a natural setting.
Housed in a former gallery and bohemian artists’ collective, Yellow exhibits vegetables with a cutting edge honed with a sharp sense of focus and creativity.
Walk into the warm golden glow of Yellow’s terrace lights on Macleay St, Potts Point and instantly feel a palpable sense of ease. The plant-based menu will awaken your senses.
Go from fermented pumpkin, pepitas and persimmon to eggplant, garlic and almond, with every dish spiced and garnished to aromatic perfection.
Then go on a journey through the carefully crafted wine list, guided by the selections of awarded sommelier and owner Nick Hildebrandt. Its eclectic flavours strike the perfect complement to the plant-based menu.
Thin cones of fermented pumpkin and scattered wattleseed arranged over buffalo-milk curd, say, or bright heirloom tomatoes poached and served in a sweet-savoury dashi broth adorned with garlic flowers.
Mini tortillas with crisp, sweet potato, blackberry and lime yoghurt are a lesson in balancing seemingly disparate elements, while zucchini flowers stuffed with water chestnuts, lightly fried and topped with glimmering pearls of lemon gel, present a vegetarian staple in a new light.
There’s much interest in drinking, too.
Nick Hildebrant’s wine list leans naturally with bottles Australian and international, familiar and rare. Case in point: a glass of funky, crunchy Cota 45 palomino from Sanlúcar in Spain’s sunny south.
And to finish? The sweet, sour flavours of honeydew sorbet with yuzu and peppermint recall the fizz of corner-shop sherbet. Paired with the laid-back feel of a wine bar, cool interiors and intelligent service, it spells good times – and Sydney’s best fine vegetarian.
Reservations are recommended at the restaurant known as Sydney’s most artful expression of vegetarian food. Book for dinner any night, but only the weekend for lunch.