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Where to eat and drink near the Sydney Opera House

The top spots for pre and post-gig snacking and toasting

Photograph: Hamilton Lund, Destination NSW

Get your glad rags on and head down to Circular Quay with plenty of time to spare before curtain up for an early dinner, or even just a pre-threatre tipple at these restaurants and bars located near the Sydney Opera House. 

As close as possible

Opera Bar
Bars

Opera Bar

Beauty and convenience don’t always go hand in hand, but Opera Bar is a glam exception to the rule. It manages to be both one of the most enviably located bars in the city as well as its most advantageous spot for a pre-show drink.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 1 out of 5 stars
Bennelong
Restaurants

Bennelong

Claim one of the four seats at the gleaming brass bar at Bennelong and you’ll feel like a monarch of the arts. When you’ve frocked up for a little high culture, you want an experience that matches the majesty of your surrounds. 

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars

Under 15 minutes walk

The Bridge Room
Restaurants

The Bridge Room

This fmaous SYdney institution runs a pre-theatre special from 6pm.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Bulletin Place
Bars

Bulletin Place

Five-star cocktails and a cheese plate before the performance.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Cafe Ananas
Restaurants

Cafe Ananas

A fun and fresh spot for light and casual French fare down near the Quay.

Cafe Sydney
Restaurants

Cafe Sydney

If you really want to make it an upmarket evening, book a table with incredible views.

Grain Bar
Bars

Grain Bar

Stop in for a cocktail, a round of single malts or a tender minute steak before you head to the House.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Harts Pub
Bars

Harts Pub

Hearty pub fare that will sustain you through a marathon performance.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Hubert
Restaurants

Hubert

The hottest ticket in town is a table at this underground bistro, and even the bar seats are in demand.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room
Restaurants

The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room

This is the spot for a quick seafood supper before a little high culture under the sails.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
MCA Café and Sculpture Terrace
Restaurants

MCA Café and Sculpture Terrace

Pop in for food and drink with incredible views of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. 

Sailors Thai Canteen and Restaurant
Restaurants

Sailors Thai Canteen and Restaurant

This is the spot for some super spicy Thai food to get your culture engines firing on all cylinders.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 1 out of 5 stars
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Further afield

Sushi Tei
Restaurants

Sushi Tei

Built right under the ANZ bank on Elizabeth Street in the CBD, this minimalist Japanese restaurant is just the ticket for a light dinner on your way down to Bennelong Point.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Mr Wong
Restaurants

Mr Wong

Got time for a sneaky round of dumplings or even a whole crab? Try and factor in some time for high-end Cantonese fare at Mr Wong.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Bentley Restaurant and Bar
Restaurants

Bentley Restaurant and Bar

This seriously schmick wine bar and restaurant housed in the original Fairfax building in the heart of the CBD is great for the full sit-down dining experience, but also rocks a serious bar snack menu for something quick.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Sake - The Rocks
Restaurants

Sake - The Rocks

In an area more known for its beer swilling than cocktail drinking, Saké stands out. And it should – there’s some excitement to be found in this Japanese restaurant and bar. Bar snacks are bite-sized and pack a tasty punch. Salty and often deep-fried, they are perfect accompaniments to the long and potent drink’s list. A hungry group should make a bee-line for the chicken karaage (crunchy crisp-fried pieces of chicken) or the renkon chips – lotus roots that have been lightly fried, sprinkled with coarse rock salt and served with edamame dip. If you’re rolling two deep, opt for the melt-in-your-mouth teriyaki burger balls. Saké’s ambiance is Sydney CBD-meets-Tokyo’s Shibuya, while the décor is Kyoto via Stockholm – with blonde-coloured timber, generous-sized bar tables and a very zen-like sliding screen door that leads into the unisex bathroom. The drinks menu is extensive. Hand-made premium sake and shochu (which unlike sake is distilled) sits alongside the venue’s most fun drink: the Saké bomb. “Best consumed after dinner,” or so the menu says, it’s draught Steigi with a shot of sake. And with names like Wax-on Wax-Off, the cocktail list could be style over substance. Lucky for us, it’s not.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Palmer and Co
Bars

Palmer and Co

God damn Palmer and Co smells good! It’s a potent combo of melted cheese and salty meats, the main culprits being the mac ’n’ cheese, meatballs and a malty cheese and ale fondue that comes with a warm pretzel at this underground cocktail bar.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
The Cut Bar and Grill
Bars

The Cut Bar and Grill

There are times in your life when all you want is a steak. And that is when you’ll want the Cut – the best steak restaurant in the Rocks. Just like other grill houses in Sydney, it’s all about the meat. Head chef James Privett (he used to be at Bistro CBD) is firing up the grills, here. His menu is a straight-shooting list of steaks (grass, grain and Sher F1 wagyu), with quite the burger on there too. The steak is hero here. It comes garnished with nothing except a cheek of lemon. That means you’ll need to order your meat then decide on some sides. Go classic with fries or pommes puree (that’s fancy for mash) or go a little mod with the likes of crisp fried cauliflower florets with currents, chickpeas, celery hear and almonds. Broccoli with anchovy butter isn’t quite as exciting as we hoped but we’ll definitely be going back for the jamon, poached egg and two types of cabbage. The burger, by the by, is a bit of a monster, replete with its own enormous onion ring the size of a wrist band and a big pile of skinny French fries. Mercy. Take a look at the High Steaks Lunch, if you’re after something straightforward - $45 will get you a Tasmanian Wilderness grass fed sirloin (plus a side) and a beer or wine, Monday to Friday. There’s a good bar off to the side of the restaurant offering up Sazeracs, Old Fashioneds, Mai Tais and Steigl beer on tap. Plus, of course, a wine list featuring a fairly decent selection of Burgundy and Bordeaux as well as plenty of Aussie and NZ drops. T

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars

Drinks and a debrief

Frankie's Pizza by the Slice
Bars

Frankie's Pizza by the Slice

After gig pizza, beers and whisky are on the cards at this rock'n'roll hideout.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Rockpool Bar & Grill
Restaurants

Rockpool Bar & Grill

Mull over the msyteries of the arts world with a Rockpool burger and some fine wine.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Supper Club
Bars

Supper Club

What was originally reserved as a club bar for guests has been opened up to the public after 9pm, Wednesdays through Saturdays, which means you can book a seat for incredible views and high-altitude cocktails on the 31st floor. 

Taylor's Rooftop Bar
Bars

Taylor's Rooftop Bar

Taylor’s is the name of the third floor bar that’s open to the heavens above the Republic Hotel, and it's the place to order up chilled glass tankards of Asahi, frosty Peronis or a glass of rosé.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars