The best restaurants in Sydney right now
Summer 2023 update: Summer is here! And so too are the longer balmy days, feel-good atmosphere, and yes, OK, some sweat. We’re here for all of it. Make the most of the gorgeous weather, get out of the house and check out Sydney’s fine establishments. Not sure what restaurant to book? You’ve come to the right place. Here's our list of Time Out's best restaurants in Sydney right now, from hot newcomers to time-honoured institutions, curated by our expert local editors and critics who have tasted their way through Sydney, including Time Out's Food & Drink Writer Avril Treasure. How did we narrow it down to the very best? When deciding, we considered fun, flavour, creativity, value for money – and 'wow' factor. So yes, of course, you’ll find a fine diner inside the Sydney Opera House here, but you’ll also find neighbourhood pasta, hole-in-the-wall Thai and spots right by the sea. Right now, we're loving relaxed coastal restaurant Sean's, retro NY-style steakhouse Clam Bar, and with this weather, you can't go wrong with a long lunch at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, of course. (Be sure to check out our guide to Sydney's best new restaurants, too.) Bon appétit. Recommended: After a drink? Check out our favourite bars in Sydney. Or: Our list of the best cheap eats.
The best waterfront restaurants in Sydney
You know you've reached peak Sydney when you're sipping a crisp vino over a beautiful meal and outside the windows is the big blue. Perhaps it's three-courses of modern Aussie fare from Sean's Panaroma overlooking North Bondi Beach? Or maybe you prefer the gentler harbour vistas you get at Chiosco or Catalina, or spots that are right on the sand like Bobby's and The Boathouse Shelly Beach? One thing's for sure, eating by the water gives your meal that extra shine, which is why so many Sydneysiders flock to the shores for a special occasion, year-round. For your next extra special soiree, book a table at one of the best waterfront restaurants Sydney has on the books, rounded up by Time Out Sydney's critics, including Food & Drink Writer Avril Treasure, who has had her fair share (and then some) of long, boozy lunches by the sea. Looking for an epic place for a drink? Here's our guide to Sydney's very best bars.
The best Japanese restaurants in Sydney to book right now
Japanese food isn't just made to be eaten. It's an art of vibrantly coloured cuts of fresh fish, delicately layered condiments and the showmanship of an itamae (a sushi chef dishing up umami bites right in front of your table). And so it’s good that, thanks to all of the incredible Japanese chefs gracing our shores, we are never short of options here in Sydney. From the sushi roll lunch-run to the full sashimi-laden dego, Time Out Sydney's critics, including Food & Drink Writer Avril Treasure, have found the best of the best – here’s where to do Japanese in the city. Keep the culinary experience going with this list of Sydney's best ramen. Feel like heat? Check out our guide to the finest Thai spots around town.
The best Italian restaurants in Sydney
There’s no doubt about it, Sydneysiders can’t get enough of Italian food. And who can blame us? There’s something about a bowl of perfectly al dente pasta paired with a luscious, rich ragu that just hits the spot. And white Italian cuisine differs throughout the 20 incredible regions – broadly speaking the northern regions eat more rice and polenta, and down south they feast more on seafood – Italians share a love of beautiful, seasonal produce, choosing simplicity rather than overcomplicating dishes, and cooking food with soul. No wonder we love it so much. Luckily, there are a wealth of excellent options to choose from when it comes to Italian dining in Sydney. Time Out’s editors and critics, including our Food & Drink Writer Avril Treasure, have picked our favourite eateries covering all bases – from casual red-sauce joints and classic pizzerias to fine dining restaurants – so no matter what mood you're in, there's something here for you. Not in the mood for pasta? Here are our picks of the best spots for Greek and French food in Sydney
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 best pizza restaurants in Sydney right now
Sydney is no slacker when it comes to Italian food (just take a look at all these red-hot places here). And our pasta game is very strong. But when it comes to our pizza restaurants, we reckon they may be a slice above the rest. Whether you're a sucker for traditional Neapolitan pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven and topped with beautiful produce, get around NY-style slabs so big you can fold them in three, or you're hungry for a Sicilian-style slice with a thick and fluffy crust, Time Out Sydney's critics, including Food & Drink Writer Avril Treasure, have pulled together the best places to get your fix – and these are the venues that are topping the class. Hungry for more? Here's our pick of the very best restaurants in Sydney right now. Love Greek food food? Us too. Check out the finest Green eateries in Sydney.
The 32 best restaurants in Surry Hills
Leafy and buzzing Surry Hills might just be the neighbourhood with the very best of what this city has to offer in terms of eating and drinking. Whether it’s homestyle, hole-in-the-wall Indonesian or an all-out chef’s menu from a kitchen with nothing but open flames, each and every price point and palate is catered to on these streets, from the fringe of the city down to the bottom of Crown. Time Out Sydney's editors and critics, including Food & Drink Writer Avril, have chosen their favourite picks from the 2010 postcode. Go forth and eat well. After a bargain? Check out Sydney’s best cheap eats
The 22 best vegetarian restaurants in Sydney
Long gone are the days when mushroom risotto was the only option on Sydney menus for vegetarians. Okay, so a few places are still championing that veggo staple, but if you know where to go you need never set eyes on it again. Not all of these restaurants are exclusively vegetarian, but everyone on this list is serving the kind of exciting, delicious vegetable-based fare that will make you reconsider meat in favour of a whole head of cauliflower, a perfect pizza or a totally plant-based degustation. If you're a dedicated herbivore, you can find Sydney's best vegan restaurants.
The 23 most sustainable restaurants, bars and cafés in Sydney
Sustainability seems to be the word on everyone’s lips right now. And, you’ll want to lick yours clean after dining at our city’s most conscious and creative eateries. Whether it’s sourcing from local farmers, cooking top-to-tail, or embracing more plant-based menus, these restaurants and cafés prove that dining out doesn’t have to cost the environment. We’ve separated the wheat from the chaff and compiled a list of Sydney’s sustainability champions.
The best restaurants in Redfern
If you haven't been to Redfern lately, you need to. The inner-city suburb is bursting with tasty eats, lush green parks and killer bars. From ramen to pasta, vego dishes and share plates that will make you not want to share, the 2016 postcode has got it going on. When it comes to where to eat in Redfern, these are the chart-toppers – we know, because our editors are experts in eating out (someone's got to do it). Want to go on a cocktail adventure? Check out our guide to Sydney's finest bars. ALSO RECOMMENDED: The absolute best restaurants in Sydney.
Chef's Specials: Sarah Qian of Compassion Creamery
Sarah’s speaking from her oat cheese factory in Waterloo. Yes, oat cheese factory. For the last year she’s been working full-time on Compassion Creamery, the business she started during lockdown that’s making the world’s first creme cheese made from oats. “Do you remember when we had curfews?” she says. “You’d go out and grab a coffee in your one-hour time slot. There were a lot of people not remotely plant-based or vegan but would rave about oat milk lattes. All of a sudden I began to think about oat cheese.” Sarah herself has been vegan for about eight years, but the food industry is relatively new to her. After completing her degree in chemical engineering, she moved into the corporate world (“I sold my soul for a few years”) as a management consultant. Once she identified the gap in the market, she worked at home on her startup’s R&D process and eventually came up with a minimum viable creme cheese product. She tested it at nearby cafes (Newtown’s Buddha Bowl and Glebe’s Oh My Days) and it proved so popular that customers started coming back for more. The pilot plant she works from now is aimed at helping her scale-up the process and producing the quantity that would be required for a viable business. And while chemical engineers aren’t famed for their cheese-making, Sarah’s degree has certainly given her some advantages along the way. “What a chemical engineer does is figure out how to turn raw materials into final products,” she explains. “Anything that requires a manuf
The Chef's Specials Series
You've eaten their food, you've sipped their drinks, and you've enjoyed their extraordinary dedication pulled from years in the hospitality biz. Now we're flipping the script and want to know exactly what makes Sydney's best chefs tick, what inspires them, and exactly what we should be eating on a night out. Introducing: the Chef's Special series, where we sit down for an intimate chat with the biggest names in hospo (and the up-and-comers you should keep an eye on) to get a glimpse over the pass and into the minds of the folks behind your favourite restaurants. Want to keep up with the best on the Sydney dining scene? Check out the winners of the 2022 Time Out Food and Drink Awards here.
Listings and reviews (11)
First: A hot towel on arrival. Spa-style timber interiors. Glass sliding doors etched with the words “Boutique Saké Room”. Minimum spend. Then: A kitchen door with views of a gloomy car park. A Doraemon figurine in the bottle cabinet. In the fruit bowl, someone’s drawn a smiley face on a sweet potato. Darlinghurst’s newest Japanese joint, Amuro, is neither chic nor shabby. Or maybe it’s both. But the restaurant’s swirl of contradictions is actually one of its drawcards. They don’t do reservations here – if you want one of the restaurant’s 20 seats, you’d better arrive well before 6pm. The majority of the spots are counter-top, front-row tickets to the chef show, with a couple of two-seat, window-side tables away from the heat of the kitchen. Through the other side of your hot towel, you’ll be greeted with a postcard. The image is from a city sidestreet – geishas in the shadow of a towering pagoda in what looks like old-timey Kyoto – and on the reverse, a short list of dishes are written in hand-scrawled caps beneath the words “Week 34”. And tonight, conversation is on the menu. Literally. Amuro’s dishes are ever-changing, rotating in tune with the seasons and at the volition of the young team’s culinary creativity. What doesn’t change, though, is the drinks etiquette. With no written wine list, the two house rules are (a) you must order at least one drink, and (b) you must order them only “through conversation”. This has come about, so the staff say, because such is the avera
The Dolphin Hotel
In a city loaded with hidden gems – concealed in dark alleys and dingy basements, behind unmarked doors and unassuming shop windows – there are other venues that go for the opposite approach, sucking you in with a blast of bright lights and loud noises. The Dolphin Hotel is one of those. You can hear it coming from a dozen doors down on Crown Street. Baselines blare from open windows, diners chatter cheerily from curbside tables, a giant banner strung from the first floor balcony reads: You Want a Pizza Me? Stepping inside is like entering the heart of the storm. This isn’t, after all, your standard Sydney pub. Walls wrinkle with off-white fabric, tables and chairs pop with black-on-white faux graffiti, daily specials are taped to arbitrary vertical surfaces. The place is positively sprawling, opening into a collection of distinct dining rooms and bar areas, including an outdoor terrace and street seating.The clientele is young, smartly dressed, and – on weekends – in a riotous mood. The packs of day drinkers and hen parties are more likely to be after a tray of sours than a perfect pizza. But that hasn’t stopped the hotel’s head honchos from serving that up. They’ve spent the last few months building the Delfino Pizzeria, a dedicated in-house pizza kitchen. It boasts a handmade Neapolitan Mesiano wood oven, a dough recipe made of three types of Italy-imported flours, and the masterful hands of head pizzaiola Sasha Smiljanic, who previously led the kitchen at popular Newtown
Head to South Eveleigh’s Locomotive Street any weekday lunchtime and you’ll find buzzy lines of office workers mobbing the doorways of established Sydney chains like Kürtősh, Pepper Seeds and Anita Gelato, not to mention Kylie Kwong’s excellent eatery, Lucky Kwong. But quietly frying churros and packing tacos is their lo-fi neighbour that has more than food to shout about. Coyoacán Social is the new Mexico street food outfit that’s moved into a tangerine-orange shipping container in the wall next to the Commonwealth Bank building. It’s the third restaurant from Plate It Forward, the social enterprise that already has Sydney favourites Colombo Social and Kabul Social to their name. This time, Plate it Forward’s founder Shaun Christie-David has teamed up with head chef Roman Cortes to create this homage to Mexican street food. The restaurant donates meals to people facing long-term unemployment and food insecurity in both Sydney and Mexico, including to the centre that helped Cortes himself overcome addiction in Mexico City. The organisation also works with local charities to create a safe space within the Redfern and South Eveleigh communities that surround their latest eatery. So, what about the food? The small menu draws on Cortes’ family recipes from Mexico City, Jalisco and Coyoacán, featuring familiar exports like tacos, quesadillas, tostadas and nachos. There are three types of quesadillas; the chicken tinga coming recommended, with smoky chipotle-style chicken with fres
Promenade Bondi Beach
At first glance, Promenade Bondi Beach is everything you might expect ‘Promenade Bondi Beach’ to be. The latest upmarket diner on Bondi’s beachfront was probably always destined to soak in smooth sandy interiors, crowd with linen-clad clientele, and flog crudo, Sydney rock oysters and homemade flatbread with whipped ricotta. But Bondi Pavilion’s newest tenant does more than enough to distinguish itself from its noisy and fabulous neighbours: Icebergs, Topikós, and Lola’s, to name a few. For starters, owners House Made Hospitality (also Apollonia, Lana) have bagged one of the most iconic venues in town. The heritage-listed Bondi Pavilion, which has stood since the establishment of municipal surf sheds on the site in 1911, is fresh from a multi-million-dollar restoration, which thankfully maintains its recognisable Spanish-style roofing and archways. Its sprawling 900-square-metre spot at the beach’s centrepoint gives Promenade Bondi Beach an unrivalled location and makes it the largest beachside restaurant in Australia. Then there’s the format. Promenade Bondi Beach rolls restaurant, café and bar into one multi-purpose venue. There’s a kiosk for takeaway coffees; and a dining room, bar and ocean-facing verandah that seats 67. Plus, room for 140 more on their walk-in-only, Med-style terrace, ‘The Front Yard’, complete with olive trees and Australian natives stopping inches short of the actual beach. And then, of course, there’s the food. Before you’ve even taken your seat at on
When a restaurant in Sydney stays open until 2am, it feels a little shameful to head over for a 6pm reservation. But honestly it doesn’t really matter when you go to Jimmy’s Falafel – you’ll most likely lose track of the time anyway. Not to mention which country you’re in and what decade it is. The first thing you’ll notice when you enter is the décor: the giant dining room is a ’70s throwback, complete with a glimmering disco ball, coppertone fittings, and walls plastered with vintage posters from old Middle Eastern movies, concerts and tourist boards. It’s loud and chaotic. Hurried waitstaff navigate tight alleys between tables, excited diners shout over mezze-packed platters, and the playlist blasts out old-school beats.But amid the disorder there runs a tight ship. A dozen or so blue-capped chefs whizz round the small square kitchen and toss ingredients over open flames and under boiling oil. The food is out fast – 130 customers are attentively served with thoughtful recommendations and ready-to-go veggie variations on meaty menu items. Jimmy – whose face adorns the walls, menu, coasters and staff tees (captioned “Jimmy For President”) – isn’t the owner or someone who works here. He’s a friend of Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes. The restaurant is steered instead by head chef Simon Zalloua and Alex Verhovtsev, whose visits to Lebanon, Jordan and the UAE helped inspire the Middle Eastern menu.In March, Jimmy’s Falafel moved 18 doors down George Street from its OG three-year-old
Eco-friendly bars aren’t an entirely new thing. Two years ago, Re – the brainchild of international bartending VIP, Matt Whiley, and Icebergs founder Maurice Terzini – landed with a bang in South Eveleigh, as the world’s first no-waste cocktail bar. Since then, some bars have waved a green flag and talked about their recycling efforts, but few have really walked the walk and adopted a holistic, sustainable model. Until Daintree Sydney. And trust us when we say this one’s not cutting any corners. Daintree Sydney calls itself “a small bar with a big purpose”. It’s small, all right – the insidefive-table fit-out is intimate, furnished with tables made from discarded mango treecuts and a rosewood bar top repurposed from work site waste. The slightly roomier outdoordeck that faces the water (albeit one street back behind the Overseas PassengerTerminal) holds two levels of seating under one of the oldest trees in the Rocks (or so we’retold). For the “big purpose”, the clue’s in the name: Daintree Sydney opened in partnership withHalfCut, an environmental non-for-profit that raises funds to protect rainforests and wildlife.A huge 50 per cent of the bar’s profits go towards reforestation of Queensland's Daintree Rainforest, which is Australia's largest – and the world's oldest. Daintree Sydney’s owners, the Laidre Group, which opened the nearby maritime-themed rum bar the Keel in 2021, have cordoned off half of the bar’s premises to track their progress. Their aim is ambitious: save
Tucked behind a curtain inside a former hummus bar lives Nomidokoro Indigo, Darlinghurst's newest and, surely, tiniest izakaya. It’s the latest project from the Hatena Group, whose quiet empire already boasts Haymarket’s Nakano Darling, and Crows Nest’s Yakiroti Yurippi and Tachinomi YP. Owners Tin Jung Shea, Mitomo Somehara and Chris Wu have overseen an exceptionally tidy fitout that features 11 counterside seats, a four-person standing bar, and a small number of al fresco tables out the front. Don’t worry about making a bit of a scene while trying to take your seat (it’s not easy) – just muscle in alongside the ten other bodies at the counter and pick up your complimentary hot towel. For a space you could barely squeeze your car into, it’s not at all claustrophobic. The lively staff are attentive but unintrusive, and the house playlist softly chimes a blend of Western and Japanese pop – the place strikes an unlikely balance between bustling and serene. The dishes are all small plates. The cheaper, snack-sized entrées range from the simple and familiar (salted edamame, sliced tomato salad) to the curious and captivating. Firmly in the latter category: nine cubes of torched cream cheese in a silky miso marinade; a crowd of smoked pickles (iburigakko) that simultaneously fold and crunch between your teeth; and a plump steamed rice ball (onigiri) dressed with nori and an acetic core of pickled plum. Make sure your tongue is well-briefed for that last one – the plum fizzes and s
You might walk right past Fontana. But it's there. Atop a carpeted staircase that fades into the facade between two takeaway shops on Redfern Street, there’s a small red-trimmed restaurant that hums to cool jazz and the lively chatter of excited diners. If you haven’t been yet, you might know this concealed location from its previous inhabitants, Ron’s Upstairs, which closed its doors in 2022. Fontana’s menu is almost self-effacing – but don’t let them undersell themselves. Instead, ask one of the friendly waitstaff, who are cheerily snacking on a share plate of chef handouts, to talk you through the dishes. Items that could easily be overlooked (let’s say, garlic bread) are transformed in the snap of a single word (in this case, caramelised). It’s a delicious way to start – the bread comes disguised as a humble supermarket bun, but quickly reveals itself in a crunchy bite that spills molten garlic butter onto your plate. Pane fritti (yes, fried bread) is also humbly listed – almost like it doesn’t want to be picked. They’re plated as little puffy tubes, topped with a line of tomato paste and a single anchovy (or an eggplant slice, for veggies). They taste incredible and weigh nothing – you could inhale a dozen and still be hungry for mains. Go one better by pairing these two with the ricotta della casa, a soft slab of freshly made ricotta drenched in olive oil, that's to be enjoyed as an accompaniment or solo by the forkload. The menu changes frequently to keep the dishes f
The night before your booking at S'more, you'll receive a text. It's a reminder that you must spend at least $95 per person on food, that you must consume it in under two hours, and that certain premium items must be pre-ordered before 9am on the day of your reservation. These items include things that sound really, really, fancy, and are indeed really, really, expensive. For instance, there's the live lobster pasta for $248. ‘Best of the Best’ Wagyu for $350. A bottle of Dom Perignon with caviar bumps and lobster rolls for $660. Strangely, the text leaves you bracing yourself for a restaurant that doesn't actually exist. Once you've parked up among the cicadas on a residential street in the leafy north shore suburb of Castlecrag, and stepped through an unmarked black door under the neon gaze of chef Sam Young's glasses, you'll realise that nothing else about this place is fancy at all. Bare tables are bound by hard metal chairs that look fresh from their IKEA boxes. Small dishes are served on branded wax paper you'd find in a burger chain. A wall-sized blackboard displays the menu in childish bubble letters. Diners arrive in T-shirts and shorts. Young couples take videos on their phones. Families are loud and relaxed and let their kids play. It's not showy. It's not flash. It's all pretty lovely. As you settle into the rhythm of the restaurant's Motown playlist, your eyes will likely be drawn to the unusual cocktail menu. If, like us, you want something that's basically
When you arrive at 53 Foy Lane and find yourself double-checking directions under the glow of a neon-lit fire door, don’t worry: you’re in exactly the right spot. In a couple of minutes you’ll be whisked down a hallway, into an elevator, and up 18 floors to a spacious glass-walled dining room. Kiln opened in October 2022, and the place feels young and bright-eyed – even though the building carries national historic significance. It’s located on the site of the Tyne House brick factory, home to Australia’s earliest ceramic kiln discovery, where convict Jonathan Leak (deported here for life from the UK for burglary) produced pottery way back in the 1820s. Needless to say, Kiln doesn’t fare badly from this prize location. Popped atop the new 264-room Ace Hotel, the restaurant offers panoramic views of downtown Sydney, peering down on the Downing Centre and Griffiths Teas buildings, and gazing up through vast retractable skylights, punctured by the tops of the city’s tallest towers. The 108-seat floor plan offers a mix of sofas, chairs and barstools, all in sight of the open kitchen and woodfired oven. The walls are draped in pale linen, custom-painted with pigment made from salvaged waste materials, which gives the room a playful feel. Chef Mitch Orr (who’s racked up culinary awards at the likes of Acme and CicciaBella) describes Kiln’s cuisine as “Italian-ish”, taking influence, too, from Japan and South East Asia. Menu sections are unlabelled but loosely grouped as entrées,
UPDATE: From March 6, 2023, the Charles is offering a Champagne afternoon tea experience involving its roving dessert trolley, for $99 per head. ***** There’s a certain stereotype associated with any fancy white-clothed (in this case, ‘grand’) brasserie, especially one where the wine list soars up to $38,000 bottles, the cocktail ice is embossed with the institution’s logo, and the menu throws out phrases like ‘signature caviar service’. For some, that stereotype is ‘pomposity’. The Charles, though, manages to evade the clichés and make fine dining, believe it or not, fun. In fact, they tackle the problem head-on. As their culinary director, Sebastien Lutaud, explains, the team has set out to “celebrate the charm of old-school hospitality without the stuffiness”. To thank, we have Etymon Projects, the hospitality company behind Lavender Bay’s Loulou Bistro (and its next-door neighbour, Loulou Boulangerie & Traiteur). They come equipped with executive chef Billy Hannigan, who brings with him eight years of experience at London’s two-Michelin-starred the Ledbury, plus pastry chef Rhiann Mead, whose CV features Sydney fine-dining heavyweights Bennelong and Quay. A scroll through the restaurant’s Instagram doesn’t quite do the place justice. It’s infinitely cosier, friendlier and more wholesome than the flash décor and polished photography let on. Much of the space is open plan, with rows of plush seating offering views of the brass-plated pass, while other diners are tucked awa