Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Sydney icon-chevron-right Best Casual Dining Restaurant: Time Out Food Awards 2019

Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.

Food at Lankan Filling Station
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Best Casual Dining Restaurant: Time Out Food Awards 2019

Whether you're familiar with Sri Lankan cooking or not, this Darlo diner offers so many reasons to fall in love with it

By Matty Hirsch
Advertising

Winner: Lankan Filling Station

It's about as narrow as a corridor, and boy is that kitchen tiny, but what Lankan Filling Station lacks in elbow room it makes up for with high-voltage energy and kaleidoscopic flavour. There's been a waiting list since the moment the doors swung, and in just over a year, O Tama Carey's Sri Lankan restaurant has woven itself into the fabric of Sydney's must-visit restaurants.

Take one bite of tender, hot buttered cuttlefish, and it will make sense. The charred edges of mollusc meat make sweet and spicy music with chillis and bullhorn peppers, and the level of heat is so carefully calibrated it almost feels supernatural. It's just one of so many dishes on the choose-your-own-adventure crib sheet we've been unable to get enough of from the snacks (addictive spiced cashews; pickles bright with pineapple and mustard seeds) all the way through to dessert (hello, dangerously good jaggery custard).

Is there a greater thrill than tearing off a corner of a lacy hopper, rife with fermenty tang, and swiping it through a creamy, aromatic fish curry so that the spongy bottom soaks up all the goodness? Maybe. It could be wrapping two hands around the jaffle on the brunch menu, brushed with curry leaf butter and generously stuffed with the curry of the moment. Or maybe it's spooning the colourful sambols over a bowl of heirloom rice with a dizzyingly pleasurable blast of ghee.

The bottom line is, every experience at Lankan Filling Station is a different adventure. What remains the same is the urge to keep exploring this visceral cooking and these vibrant flavours, knowing full well that more than just your stomach will be nourished.

We also love...

10 William Street

Restaurants Italian Paddington

Is there another spot in Sydney that treads the line between wine bar and restaurant with as much swagger as this Italian-ish Paddington institution?

Gaku Robata Grill

Restaurants Japanese Darlinghurst

Ramen-ya by day (with only 40 bowls to go around), buzzy izakaya by night – if that’s not a concept we can all get behind, we’re not sure what is.

Advertising

Saint Peter

Restaurants Seafood Paddington

It makes no difference whether you're here for brunch or dinner, fish and chips or a full-blown feast. What you get, time and again, is the finest the sea has to offer, prepared in ways you've never tasted.

Kimchi at Sang by Mabasa
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

Sáng by Mabasa

Restaurants Korean Surry Hills

There’s so much to love about the Son family’s tiny Korean eatery – the kimchi, the handcrafted tableware – but mostly it’s the overwhelming generosity of spirit.

Recommended

    You may also like

      Advertising