The 50 best restaurants in Sydney right now
January 2020: Lankan Filling Station was the big winner at our annual Time Out Food Awards last year. The all-day Sri Lankan eatery took home the prize for both Restaurant of the Year and Best Casual Dining Restaurant, which makes it our undisputed top pick for where you should be heading right now – for hoppers that are equal parts spongy and lacy, dynamite curries and a weekend brunch menu that you won't be able to stop thinking about long after you've paid the bill. Sydney's long-standing love affair with Italian cuisine also shows no signs of slowing down, which is why you'll find newcomers like Totti's, Alberto's Lounge and our Best New Restaurant, Bella Brutta, on the list, alongside old favourites like Fratelli Paradiso. This is the Time Out EAT List, our handpicked choices for the best places to eat in this city right now: from hot newcomers to time-honoured institutions – all memorable, all at the top of their game – ranked by our expert local editors. Whether it's a neighbourhood pizzeria or a degustation-only Caribbean restaurant in a casino, this roll call has all price points and appetites covered. Bon appétit! Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList. You can also find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews restaurants here.
The 16 best Indonesian restaurants in Sydney
Ask the average Sydneysider about Indonesian cuisine and you’ll probably hear something about nasi goreng, rendang, sate and maybe gado gado or ayam goreng. Understandable. For a long time, that’s mostly what was available – but not anymore. While it was once almost exclusively home to the sweeter-style Javanese cuisine, Sydney now boasts region-specific restaurants serving up spicier and more nuanced recipes from Padang, Medan, Bandung and Bali. Today, Sydney’s best Indonesian restaurants are on par with what you’d find on the streets or in the humble warungs of the world’s largest island nation. Some still offer the same sate and nasi goreng combo but others are more focused, specialising in pressure-cooked soft-bone fried chicken, jackfruit curry, crunchy roti packages stuffed with spiced meat or simple bowls of pork-topped egg noodles. Whether you crave the basics or want to try something new, these are the best of the best when it comes to Indonesian eats in Sydney. Need to clear the spice away? Grab a scoop or three of Sydney's best gelato and ice cream. Still sweating? Take a dip in one of the best ocean pools in Sydney.
Sydney's best Korean fried chicken restaurants
First, a quick bit of history. Korean fried chicken, the crunchy-battered and often saucy kind we know and love, doesn’t have a long history in Korea. It wasn’t really a thing until Americans introduced the idea during the '50s and '60s and didn’t take off until 1977, when Lims Chicken started frying individually portioned bits of bird. Then came the '80s, which ushered in the arrival of KFC and several other local chains. Korean fried chicken is essentially American-style fried chicken with a second swim in the deep fryer that’s been Koreanised with garlic-heavy sauces, experimental flavours and chilli. In Korea, it’s seen as the perfect unglamorous fast food, best consumed with beer, maybe a few pickles, and more beer. Koreans call the combo ‘chimaek’, literally a blend of the words ‘maekju’ (beer) and ‘chikin’ (fried chicken). That’s how you should approach it here in Sydney. These Korean fried chicken restaurants might not have the best side dishes, chicken alternatives or service, but what they do offer – crunchy-battered, on-the-bone hunks of the juiciest chicken lathered in whatever spicy, garlicky or even cheesy sauces you can imagine, plus the addition of beer and pickles – is such a fundamentally enjoyable experience, nothing else seems to matter. Feel like a sweet finish? Grab a scoop of Sydney's best gelato and ice cream. On the hunt for other top cheap eats? Here are our picks for the 50 best cheap eats in Sydney.
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Lucio's whole menu is available for take-away at a huge discount
Lucio’s, the beloved Paddington Italian institution, is definitely one of the city’s most cherished spots for a special night out, brought to life by old-school hospitality and an enviable Australian art collection. The restaurant is still open for business with severely reduced capacity, but it is now offering the entire menu for pick-up with a whopping 25 per cent discount. Make no mistake, we’re still very much talking the pointy end of the scale here, but this is some of Sydney’s best Italian food, and social distancing or self-isolation doesn’t have to mean destitution. Set the table properly, put on some Louis Armstrong and treat yourself to a whole burrata stuffed with basil oil, before moving on to a classic veal scallopine, balsamic roasted half duck or the signature tagliolini alla granseola – the squiggly silverbeet noodles flecked with blue swimmer crab in a light tomato sauce that has graced the menu since 1983. Orders can be placed by phone or email from noon up until 8pm, with pick-up beginning at 5.30pm each evening. The menu can be viewed here. The restaurant is in the process of determining the logistics for a possible home delivery service in the Paddington/Woollahra area, operated by casual staff, which could take flight by the weekend. Stay tuned. Lucio’s, 47 Windsor St, Paddington 2021. 02 9380 5996. lucios.com.au Tue-Sat noon-2.45pm & 6-10.15pm. Keep up to date with our ongoing coronavirus news, advice and travel information here.
Hospo workers can get a free $25 meal
If you’re a hospitality worker impacted by the unfolding Covid-19 crisis – and we know that thousands of you are – here’s a tiny bright spot of good news. From 12 noon today (Friday March 27), meal vouchers worth $25 are being made available to affected hospo staff over 18 years of age in Victoria, NSW and Queensland. Four thousand vouchers courtesy of Pernod Ricard (makers of wine and spirit brands like Absolut Vodka, Jameson Whiskey and Jacobs Creek) will be made available via Deliveroo. On the one hand, the vouchers will provide a free, quality feed for workers in tough times; and on the other, they'll help keep takeaway businesses operating. To get your hands on a Meals for Mates voucher code, just email MealsForMates@pernod-ricard.com along with a photo of your RSA card or other proof of working in the hospitality industry. It’s a first-come, first-served offer, but the voucher itself is valid for three months. The offer applies to anyone in the broad spectrum of hospitality, from bar workers, chefs, kitchen hands, sommeliers and front-of-house to sales reps. Full terms and conditions are here. The $100,000 worth of vouchers may admittedly only be a very small candle of hope in a whole lot of darkness, but it’s not the only candle. Venues and businesses are doing everything they can to help their employees and the sector generally, and Sydneysiders under lockdown are doing their bit too. Whether or not you are in the hospo industry you can lend a helping hand at this d
Chin Chin is offering takeaway for the first time ever
Due to the increasing number of government restrictions put in place to slow the spread of Covid-19 in Australia, restaurants, cafes and bars across the country have been forced to close. But many have also turned to new opportunities in order to make ends meet at this turbulent time. Now that all bets are off, renowned Melbourne-born eatery Chin Chin, along with its Sydney outpost, are taking takeaway orders in both cities during the shutdown, for the very first time. They introduced bookings – another first for Chin Chin – earlier in March, before restaurants were forced to close their physical doors to diners, but this latest move is a real game-changer. Think crisp soft-shell crab, glistening kingfish sashimi, ped seuw with braised wagyu beef, and that delicious spiced pineapple and egg fried rice, ready for you to pick up and take home to the comfort of your couch. Paired with a chilled red? Yes, please. Ring them on Wednesday to Sunday, anytime between 4pm to 9pm. Order directly through the Sydney or Melbourne sites for your choice of fancy, flavoursome eats. If you've ever been burned by the long Chin Chin waits, this is your time to shine. Support an Aussie institution during what is a brutal time for the hospitality industry. Looking for a tipple to go along with dinner? Check out the bottle-shops which do home delivery.
The best delis in Sydney
If the mark of a good fruit and veg shop is just-picked freshness, then the mark of an excellent deli is almost the opposite. These places are all about preserving, salting, brining, pickling, fermenting, curing and drying some of nature’s most interesting offerings, and celebrating the world’s most complex and compelling flavours. That means funky blue cheeses, slices of fatty porchetta, briny green olives, bobbing blobs of burrata, rich oils and astringent vinegars, along with everything else you never knew you needed. Delis preserve more than just food – they’re cultural snapshots, community hubs and flag bearers for age-old traditions. They’re also just darn good places to pop in for a look around, a bargain continental sandwich, or to assemble a winning snack platter. However you slice it, Sydney’s got a host of delis overflowing with delicious goods. We’ve searched the city far and wide, and this is our guide to some of the best (and what to look out for). Down for more food adventures? Take one of Sydney's five best food tours.