The 64 best cheap eats in Sydney right now
Summer 2023 update: Sydney is a lot of things. Drop-dead beautiful, for one. Safe and clean, for another. But it’s no secret that Sydney sure is exxy. The good news is that we’re lucky to have a huge amount of cheap eats. And often they rival any dishes you would find in a fancy fine diner. We've rounded up our favourite places with prices that won’t burn a hole in your wallet. Happy eating. Going out for a meal is sometimes a big occasion, worth the splurge. But it doesn't have to be that way. From banh mi to tonkotsu ramen, biang biang noodles to vegan burgers, and pretty much everything else in between, some of Sydney's greatest culinary hits are the cheapest. Time Out Sydney critics, including Food & Drink Writer Avril Treasure, have eaten their way around town, and while cheap isn't what it used to be, there are still lots of excellent affordable venues to check out. These are the ones well worth their salt. Want to spend less at the big-ticket players? Check out our cheap fine-dining hacks. Looking for a café to sit down at for coffee and brunch? Here's our guide to the best cafés in Sydney.
The 65 best cafés in Sydney right now
Summer 2023 update: Start your summertime morning on the right note with a swim at one of Sydney’s most beautiful beaches followed by a delicious brekkie and on-point coffee at one of the cafés below. Because who wants to cook eggs and bacon at home? Not us, that’s for sure. Sydneysiders are café people. We're constantly on the hunt for the city's best coffee, we won't bat an eyelid over shelling out $30+ a head for brunch, and we love nothing more than donning our finest sport-luxe activewear and catching up with mates on a weekend morning over eggs, fritters and crusty artisan sourdough. So, whether it's a reward for tackling one of Sydney's most beautiful walks, a quick caffeinated catch-up, an indulgent hangover fix after a night at one of the city's best bars, or a workday coffee stop, these are the best Sydney cafés, according to our in-the-know Time Out Sydney critics, including Food & Drink Writer Avril Treasure. We'll have a B&E roll, please. Is it lunch time? Check out our guide to Sydney's best restaurants right now.
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 Thai restaurants in Sydney
In Sydney, there’s good Thai and there’s great Thai, and we’re all about the latter. From the best deep-fried snapper to the finest pad Thai outside of Chiang Mai, Time Out Sydney critics, including Food & Drink Writer Avril Treasure (who has spent weeks happily eating her way around Bangkok, Krabi and Phuket), have rounded up our list of the best places to get your Sydney-Samui on in town. BYO milk. Craving carbs? Try one of Sydney's best Italian restaurants. After a Greek feast? Check out Sydney's top Greek eateries. RECOMMENDED: The absolute best restaurants in Sydney
The best Greek restaurants in Sydney
These restaurants make a strong argument for switching permanently to a Mediterranean diet. You can do fancy Greek at the Apollo where you can order up saganaki (that's fried cheese) and slow-roasted lamb shoulder, or you can hit up an old school gyros joint, and smash grilled Greek pita bread jammed with crisp, fatty pork bits. Whether it's a late night snack or a full family feast, these are the best places to eat Greek food in Sydney. If you're working on a budget try one of the best cheap eats in Sydney. After Italian? Here's our guide to the tastiest Italian restaurants in Sydney. Keep eating at the absolute best restaurants in Sydney.
The best Chinese restaurants in Sydney
From specialty Sichuan spots to hot Cantonese kitchens, Sydney has some seriously great Chinese restaurants. Time Out Sydney's critics, including Food & Drink Writer Avril Treasure, have eaten their way around town to bring you this curated and up-to-date list. So whether you want to go all out and explore regional cuisines, sit down for yum cha, grab some takeaway barbecue duck or hand-thrown noodles, you'll find your spot here. These are the best Chinese restaurants Sydney has to offer – we're hungry just thinking about them. Recommended: Here are the tastiest cheap eats in Sydney right now Check out the best Italian joints in Sydneytown Here are the top bars in the city for when you want to hit the town
The 45 best rooftop bars in Sydney
We're all about a secret underground dive bar or two – but in a city as beautiful as Sydney, it seems like a damn shame to retreat into the depths for every tipple. From a sundowner by the harbour to a sunny rooftop in the Inner West, our town is awash with sky-high watering holes. So we've rounded up the best spots in the city to sip a cold one under a gorgeous open sky. But drinkers beware: Sydney's rooftop bars play host to some of the most contested seats in the city, so get in early for a spot in the sun. For more al fresco drinking try one of Sydney's best beer gardens. Looking for another top-notch watering hole? Check out the best bars in Sydney.
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 restaurants in Chinatown Sydney
Have you been down to Chinatown recently? Post-pandemic, long-standing institutions are now operating alongside brand-spanking-new eateries, and there’s a real buzz in the air. Which is great news, because the culturally rich and historial area is not only an important part of Sydney for locals and tourists, but for our Australian Chinese population. From dumpling houses to fiery Thai joints and spice-rich Malaysian spots, there is excellent – and damn affordable – eating and drinking to be had along Haymarket’s Dixon Street and the surrounding alleyways. Time Out Sydney’s critics, including Food and Drink Writer Avril Treasure, have eaten their way around this yum town to bring you this guide to the best places to visit. RECOMMENDED: Keen to know more? This insightful in-depth tour is an excellent (and tasty) way to learn more about Chinatown Can't get enough? Check out our guide to the best Chinese restaurants in Sydney
The best sandwiches in Sydney right now
Sandwiches? Well, they're the best thing to come out of slicing bread. Here, the criteria is pretty simple: very good things in between two very good slices of well-sliced bread. No burgers, bagels, scrolls and banh mi (they’re a league of their own). No half-hearted strings of romaine here, no siree. Time Out Sydney critics, including Food & Drink Writer Avril Treasure, have eaten their way around carb-town (which frankly, is the most delicious place to be) to curate this list of the best sandwiches in Sydney. 'wich on, friends. Want more budget food? Here are the best cheap eats in Sydney right now. Heading our later? Check out our ultimate guide to the best restaurants in Sydney.
Listings and reviews (4)
Any bar that’s playing 50 Cent’s 'P.I.M.P.' and serving a drink called the Walking Dead (aged rum, Fernet Branca, pineapple, lime, ginger beer served tall over ice) is more than alright in our books. Super Whatnot is one of Brisbane’s hottest bars offering up a short, sharp list of tasty cocktails (there’s a Tequila Sour in the mix, along with a Bobbie Burns and a Red Hook), great tunes and good vibes. There’s no bouncer out the front, just a girl in knee-high socks watching the numbers (there are only 60 seats at 'Whatnot) through the door. The bar, though it’s smack bang in the city, hosts a mix of indie kids, guys in suits and off-duty bartenders. On Time Out’s visit, it’s Nas and nachos night – pulled pork nachos and a Pisco Sour plus a ‘delicious beer’ for $10 along with $3 gin’n’juice for the Snoop and Dre fans. Super Whatnot is a multi-tiered wonderland of laidback fun with a team of bartenders hell-bent on serving up good times. We’ll buy that for a dollar.
View bars, up until very recently, have traditionally been the sort of tourist traps where your Mai Tai comes pre-mixed, and the lime in your Margarita comes out of one of those green squeezy bottles. Or worse, out of a bucket. But that's a world away from Cove - the shining star on the new strip of the South Brisbane parklands. Everything is displayed on backlit shelves resembling Art Deco filing cabinets. That everything we're talking about involves a great selection of rums and bourbons and a cocktail list ranging from fun'n'fruity to more serious offerings like their Mai Tai and their riff on the Treacle - that next-day-head-banger, here with grapefruit juice and tequila. Tasty. And if you're after a snack while you're here, you could do worse than try the chilli jam doughnuts - a savoury take on their sweet cousins. Cute. The great thing about this bar is it's basically a cocktail strip, with some outdoor seating, spilling out onto the promenade. That means you can choose to either sit up at the bar with a view of the hooch or at one of the tables spilling out on to the promenade and look out over Brisbane River. Either way, you win.
Two of the city’s most talented bartenders in one place? Yup, you’ve hit the Laneway, where Callum More and Perryn Collier are making drinks and breaking hearts. The bar is hidden behind inner-city brasserie the Euro. Walk straight through the restaurant to the dark bar out the back, which confusingly can’t actually be reached by a laneway. Get 'em to make you something with their house-blended whiskey or go straight off the list. There are two of Time Out’s favourite drinks on the list – the Tipperary (whiskey, green Chartreuse, sweet vermouth) and the Boulevardier (bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth) – and one of the most impressive beer selections we’ve seen in a good long while. Sure, there are flat screens throughout the bar but rather than footy they’re playing cuts from Charlie Chaplin movies. And OK, something needs to be done about that teenagers-losing-their-virginity music – but when they place a Toronto made with their own house-blended whiskey down in front of you, everything’s just peachy.
This is about as close as you get to a Steampunk bar in Australia, we reckon. Sure, there's a cocktail list and guys behind the bar who are very happy and more than capable to make you a three-gin Martini or whatever, but what the Press Club is really about is getting in and getting out with beers and simple mixed drinks. Check out the gigantic metal fan in its metal cage, slowly rotating, or the big propeller hung over the bar with a giant eye right in the middle that winks every now and then. It's been a fixture here since 1998. Live'n'local bands often play here and later in the evening you'll find a tantalisingly rumptacular mix of old school hip hop and break beats. So you can see why this isn't really the place to be requesting Trinidad Sours. Because at the heart of it, this is a big, busy bar that is as much about good times as it is quality drinkin'.