The best Mexican restaurants in Sydney right now
For devotees of genuine Mexican fare, it's a great relief that Sydney is no longer only served by the tacky Tex-Mex, stand-and-stuff, burrito-centric eateries there were once the sole expression of the cuisine readily available here. There's now an exciting new wave of Mexican diners sweeping Sydney, with nary a pinata, sombrero or lucha libre mask in sight. We're not saying there isn't a time and a place for a bowl of liquid queso and a dorito or two - there really is - but with a culture and cuisine that spans thousands of years and dozens of regions, it's a crime to assume that Old El Paso and a cartoonishly large frozen Margarita is anything close to 'authentic'. Prime your palate for the true flavours of Mexico with our guide to the best Mexican eateries in Sydney, curated by Time Out Sydney's Food & Drink Writer Avril, and fellow critics. Keen to get around some killer spots for an arvo tequila or two? Check out Sydney's best rooftop bars right now Love spice? Check out our guide to Sydney's hottest Thai restaurants Thirsty? Have a look at the best bars in Sydney right now
The 22 best wine bars in Sydney
No two ways about it, Sydney's wine bar scene is flourishing. There were hardly any of a decade ago, and now they're all over town. What's more, wine bars are now some of the best spots in Sydney to grab a nice dinner with friends. It makes no difference whether you're a novice or an expert, fancy something natural or classic, old world or new, or whether you want to spend moderately or extravagantly – there's somewhere on our list for every palate, at every price point. Bottoms up. Can't get enough of that boozy stuff? Check out the absolute best bars in Sydney here.
The best vegan restaurants in Sydney
People are choosing plant-based eating for its softer step on the Earth, concerns about animal cruelty, and the health benefits of vegetable-rich diets. Plus, there's been a rise in flexitarian diets – you might not be a full-time vegan, but where you can, you opt for more plants on your plate. Only a few years ago, vegan dining meant a whole lot of pulses and sprouts, but now Sydney is home to plant-based burger shops, classic Italian pizzerias that showcase cheese and meat alternatives, gelato shops that favour coconut bases, and a growing contingent of fine diners offering fancy degustations for vegans. Below, we've rounded up the best vegan restaurants in Sydney. Cool with eggs and dairy? Check out the best vegetarian restaurants in Sydney. Got a mixed group? Head to one of the best restaurants in Sydney. On a budget? Have a look at the best cheap eats in Sydney. Want to shop sustainably? Check out our guide to ethical shopping in Sydney here.
Listings and reviews (7)
Bistro Sociale Bowral
It’s hard not to like the Southern Highlands; it seems that just about everybody you know is at least a little bit smitten thanks to rolling green hills, wild coastlines and real cottagecore energy. Bowral in particular draws our envy: those beautiful tree-lined streets, the charming high street, those oh so pretty country estates with their grand entrances, everlong driveways and impossibly manicured front gardens. Sure it’s a little posh and grandiose but there’s nothing really wrong with that. One of these rather posh and fancy looking buildings is the Berida Hotel, located just off the main street. A beautifully restored 1920s boutique hotel that was initially a private residence. Bistro Sociale is the showpiece of the Berida Hotel, and what a beautiful showpiece it is. As you enter through the double doors there is a lounge area with fireplace to your left and the main bar to your right. The restaurant is divided into three separate dining spaces, creating a sense of intimacy and different mood in each area. Floor to ceiling windows allow natural light to flood in and tables are set comfortably apart. It all feels like a throwback to a bygone era, with period-style chandeliers and white tablecloths completing the high society vibe. The Gin Trading Co is the bar accompanying Bistro Sociale, and the gin list here is incredible: page after page of Australian gin is followed by even more pages of imported gin. With over 100 different gins on offer (most of these Australian-m
Annata has been quietly making a statement in Crows Nest since its doors first swung open in mid-2015. Situated midway along the ever-expanding Willoughby Road dining strip, it offers a different and slightly more upscale experience than most of its neighbours. Right from the word go the idea was to introduce a casual fine-dining experience where both the level and execution of the food and beverage offerings pushed locals beyond anything they had seen before in the neighbourhood. An ambitious undertaking in a conservative suburb. Seven years on and the restaurant has changed hands once but retains the high standards it has always aspired to. The seasonal menu is concise and aims to highlight the best locally available produce; both à la carte and tasting menus are offered, so you can choose your own culinary adventure based on what you’re hankering for. The first plate to hit the table is tempura zucchini flowers with ricotta and burnt honey. Fresh, light, crunchy and sweet. Add an Ortiz anchovy for a salty hit. A crudo of yellowfin tuna is served with caper dressing and baby red peppers and garnished with crisp fried curry leaves. The sweetness of the capsicum really brings this dish alive and the crunch of the leaves adds real satisfaction to the mouthful. Cape Grim beef tartare is topped with a layer of green tomato mostarda and an elaborate crown of crunchy onion rings. It is a cracking dish again with very clever use of sweetness to direct your dining pleasure but ke
Bootleg Italian arrived late 2021, after a couple of false starts (thanks again Covid) and has made an instant impression. Occupying a spot just a stone's throw from William Street, a neon pink sign lights the way to this new neighbourhood gem. Formerly a take-away burger joint, owner and former hairdresser Sam Overton saw potential in the space for a locals hangout, a place you could come to a few nights a week, a place, according to the signs, promising Eats. Beats. Booze. The room is long and narrow with the ‘restaurant’ occupying the front half and the ‘bar’ out the back, neatly bisected by the kitchen's pass. The fit-out feels distinctly “Italian” with its black-and-white tiled floor, white tablecloths and single yellow roses on each table; romance, but make it old-school. Look around the room however and you find olive green walls and a hot pink ceiling, and though it could come off as a jarring techni-coloured fever dream, the effect is anything but. The tables are set with pink plates to match the ceiling, and its little details like this that tie it all together so comfortably. The vibe in here is electric with groups of two or four filling out the room and the unmistakable buzz of Friday night bringing some big energy. It’s a fun place to be, without a hint of pretentiousness. The staff are well-informed and friendly and the infectious drive of owner Overton clearly spills all through the place as he moves around the room sharing laughs and tips with guests If it’s
If you know Bondi Beach then you’ll definitely know Harry’s. Down the bottom of Wairoa Avenue is where you’ll find this institution; for around 25 years it has cranked out coffees and fed the Beautiful Bondi Set. It’s a classic beachside haunt, you know the type: always busy but never rushed, always bumping into a friend or two, a gathering place for locals (and visitors in the know) that adds a bit of soul to a community. Earlier this year Harry’s had a bit of a facelift, nothing major but a bit of a refresh to allow the space to transition from cool cafe to sexy izakaya: enter RND, or Raw Next Door. Next door that is, to another Bondi institution, Raw Bar. RND takes on a semi-industrial vibe by twilight, with its polished concrete, timber settings and that easy Japanese minimalist styling. It’s a striking space with seating all along the street-facing window, plus tables outside to sit and soak up the salty ocean air. There’s a little projector throwing old black-and-white Japanese films onto one of the walls, a really cool touch and maybe a nice distraction for those awkward moments when conversation stutters. The menu is concise, a one-pager and it’s very tempting to order one of everything, which would comfortably feed you and a couple of mates. Edamame to start, as is practically the custom at any Japanese eatery here. It’s often the simplest things that make the biggest difference and a quick char on the hibachi grill plus some smoked soy turns this humble starter i
Just north of Manly you’ll find Freshwater, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it beachside suburb that radiates laid-back, coastal living. It’s one of those Place That Time Forgot kind of vibes, where the power of the ocean permeates every street corner, where it feels like you should never be in a rush and should always be wearing a smile and a pair of Havaianas. There are some great places to eat and drink in Freshie: fine-dining institution Pilu has it’s imperious home here, overlooking the beach; the newly renovated ‘Hilton’ or Harbord Hotel is a stone’s throw up the street and has stepped up it’s offering; Stowaway Bar cranks out the good times, keeping the locals happy; and now it has St Alma, the new offering from chef Tim Christensen and Jack Leary. The pair opened Alma Avalon in 2017 and have watched it become a favourite amongst locals way up on the Peninsula. On the back of this success the pair have returned to Freshwater to open St Alma in the very site they had initially dreamed of opening Alma five years earlier. Located on the main drag, Albert Street, the upmarket Mexican restaurant is set in the old Bendigo Bank site, and turns out it was an inspired choice to return. White exteriors and large windows give a breezy first impression. The interior is spacious and comfortable, the fit-out thoughtful and well executed. Clusters of pendant lights with large bulbs alongside warm strip lighting play a big part in the ambience of the room. A large open kitchen with gallery s
While the flashy city CBD might get a lot of attention when it comes to the culinary scene, the lesser spoken of North Sydney CBD is doing plenty to catch the lime-light. One such heavy-hitter in the ring is Glorietta, barely a stone’s throw from the Harbour Bridge, tucked away on Mount Street in North Sydney. A recent-ish addition to the small but growing food and drink scene north of the Coathanger, it is one of so many venues that have had to contend with the nightmare of covid and lockdowns for almost all of its short existence. The vibe at Glorietta is neighbourhood trattoria meets inner-city business lunch spot. The space itself is glorious; a cavernous, almost industrial space that breezily weaves together many different and disparate elements. Here and there a cement pillar; floor-to-ceiling windows; a large open kitchen with bar seating for culinary voyeurism; a classic Italian-style timber island bar and glass bi-folds leading to a tranquil outdoor courtyard. The dining room is softened by wooden fixtures and rattan chutes suspended high above your head. The combination is effortless, a light-filled oasis amid a sea of high-rises. A truly refreshing choice for dinner or your work lunch-break. Speaking of which. The menu is split into two sections: 'From the Kitchen' and 'From the Pizza Oven' and despite not being overly extensive certainly covers more than enough ground. The notoriously difficult classic of frittura di mare is all about the soft, fleshy and chewy c
Late in 2021, a warm and cosy new diner opened its doors in Manly. Away from thebig-group owned pubs and restaurants of the wharf and beachfront, there is a growing clutch of high-quality venues quietly brewing up a vibrant and diverse dining and drinking scene.The buzzing hub is the southern end of Pittwater Roadd (and onto Belgrave Street) but dotted around off the main drag you’ll find plenty more on offer. One of these dots is Banco, a smart-casual hole-in-the-wall restaurant from the team behind Corretto Dee Why.You’ll find it hidden away on Whistler Street, a big neon bottle and a couple of street-side tables signalling that good times await.The restaurant is tiny but manages to host 32 guests comfortably: you can choosebetween a seat at the bar or a cosy table along the banquette, or if you’re lucky you mightgrab one of the coveted outdoor spots. Banco is certainly bringing something different andpromises ‘Natural Wine - Hearty Food - Hip Hop - Cocktails’. And these it delivers in spades.There is always the potential, that when small and busy venue hangs it hat on musicalstylings, that said music will end up locked in a noisy death spiral competing against thethrum of customers, each attempting to drown the other out. However, it’s immediately obvious that the Banco crew has a good handle on this; the volume set firmly to Background Vibes Only, which makes the space comfortable and inviting. Perfect for a pair or a double date and the crowd on the evening of our visit