If you love food and live in Sydney, your 'must-try' list of new restaurants, cafés and bars probably takes up your iPhone's entire storage capacity by now. Still, we must persevere. For a tightly curated guide to dining in Sydney, we suggest you visit our guide to the 50 best restaurants, but for the newest of the new, check out the latest reviews, hot off the press.
The best new restaurants Sydney has to offer
If your only experience with Brazilian cuisine to date is churrasco, be grateful for the warm patience that the staff possess at King Cross’ subterranean Brazilian restaurant, Ovo Boteco. Your friendly snack guide is here to translate coxinha (chicken croquettes), farofa (imagine tasty, dry stuffing mixture) or batatinhas (French fries to us). You are here for something out of the ordinary for dinner, and a tropical cocktail while you’re at it.
Never had banh cuon? You need to. These silky rice noodle rolls are a traditional Vietnamese breakfast staple, usually cooked at little roadside stalls as swarms of scooters zoom past. The newly opened Banh Cuon Ba Oanh is about as close as Sydneysiders can get to the real deal. That includes a tiny kitchen cloaked in clouds of steam and squishy tables with ankle-high stools (no joke) that will test your flexibility.
It’s time to ask yourself the big questions. Will you be having slices of tender lamb shoulder, slow cooked in the woodfired oven and served with olive tapenade, pan juices and parsnip? Or are the sumac-rubbed roast chook segments calling your name? There’s no wrong choice at Kitchen by Mike in the CBD. Lunch optimisation is in the eye of the eater at this modern answer to the canteen lunch.
Imagine if there was a place where vegans and carnivores could eat side-by-side, in digestive harmony; in one plastic basket a classic Mary’s burger with fries, and next to it, an identical burger, only this free from any animal products? This dietary utopia is a reality now thanks to the new Mary’s CQ, the ground floor burger bar that has opened as stage one of the great Basement regeneration in Circular Quay.
Trisha Greentree is the freshly minted head chef of Paddington’s beloved Italian wine bar 10 William Street. It wouldn’t be 10 William Street if it didn’t have the pretzel and whipped bottarga on the menu, three pastas and the tiramisù, which possesses more airy lift than a helium balloon. But Greentree is heavily into natural wine, and is bringing a new perspective to classic wine bar dining.
The second outing for Darryl Martin and Andrew Jordanou’s thoroughly modern riff on the hummus-loving region is aimed squarely at the occasion dinner set. Not once-in-a-lifetime graduation event (though it could certainly fulfil the brief), but rather a nicer than average double date, a meet-the-parents, or a birthday shindig. They're serving the food from Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, which means you should prime your palate for a high-definition menu punctuated by intense treble pops from preserved lemon, garlic, sumac and harissa.
Barbetta is a slice of the sweet life in the backstreets of Paddington. Fluffy eggs is not the aim of a carbonara, unless that shepherd’s staple supper has been reincarnated as a classic café breakfast of peppery scrambled eggs on toast with bacon and a crunchy pecorino crisp on the side. Seems much fancier when it’s called carbonara Australiana.
The very French café and restaurant that has taken up residence in a beautifully restored heritage building along the Glebe foreshore has a pro-butter agenda. Nutritional value is not the reason you order butter preserved lemon spanner crab over golden scrambled eggs, served atop a brioche with maple bacon and watercress, nor is it the motivation behind a dessert-for-breakfast order of paper-thin crêpes perfumed with orange zest and folded Marie Kondo-style into wedges to be served with a housemade mango jam and yet more butter.
Whole suckling pigs are awesome but how often do you have twenty mates over for dinner? That’s why Sydney Cebu Lechon’s recently opened Newtown restaurant has been such a hit. Originally starting as a catering business in 1991, this family-run business is now serving up lechon by the plate. And local punters (and homesick Filos) can’t get enough of it.
The Rocks is not the first (or even tenth) place you think of when considering a quick takeaway lunch in the city, especially one without chips and gravy. And yet here in the Nurses Walk you can find one of the better falafel pita pockets in the CBD. Tayim Deli is the casual, daytime offshoot of the ritzier Tayim, a modern Middle Eastern restaurant helmed by chef Ran Kimelfeld (ex-Nour in Surry Hills).
What’s waiting for you at Matteo’s Downtown is a precise study of pan-Italian popularity for the after-work set. Corporate dining is like negotiating a corkscrew. You need somewhere big enough to take a group, you need somewhere with prices that don't make those on lower award rates blanch, and somewhere that also serves booze, because socialising is easier with a Spritz on hand. And if you've ever tried to corral a group of diners with no more in common than their access cards you'll know the one cuisine everyone can (mostly) agree on is Italian.