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The Gidley interior booths
Photograph: The Gidley/Dominic Loneragan

Sydney restaurants that are now taking post-lockdown bookings

Your first seated dining reservation in more than three months is just a few clicks away

Maxim Boon
Elizabeth McDonald
Written by
Maxim Boon
&
Elizabeth McDonald
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State authorities have announced a three-phase plan to direct Sydneysiders out of lockdown and barring any major setbacks, venues will be free to re-open to fully vaccinated punters from October 11. With the light finally shining at the end of the tunnel, eateries and drinking dens across the city, from mom and pop outfits to Sydney’s starriest fine diners, are once again taking IRL, sat-at-a-table, ‘may I take your order please?’ bookings, and you best believe that after three long months contenting ourselves with takeaways, Sydneysiders are chomping at the bit to get chomping through these menus.

We've compiled a rolling lineup of the restaurants where you can make a reservation right now, provided you’re fully vaccinated. Please note that some of these opening dates may be subject to change.

If you own a venue and you’re taking bookings now, let us know! Email details to Time Out Sydney’s food and drink editor Elizabeth McDonald: elizabeth.mcdonald@timeout.com

Wondering how Sydney's vaccination passport will work? We spoke to one of Australia's top cybersecurity experts to find out.

North

  • Restaurants
  • Bistros
  • Newport

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 13

One of Merivale's most handsome dining rooms, with a Euro-influenced menu heroing seafood in its most gourmet form, makes for a sublime long lunch with ocean views to match.

The Botanist
  • Restaurants
  • Kirribilli

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18

This quaint bar and restaurant from the team at Applejack (SoCal, Bondi Hardware) is one of Kirribilli's finest. The cocktail list goes hard on fruity blends that look innocent but pack plenty of punch. Beer-wise, they’ve always got Endeavour pale ale on tap, plus a rotating ‘Tap of the Month’ – it was Holgate’s pilsener when we drop by. The food here is meant to be shared. Sliders, pizza and tacos all feature – obvious and perhaps off-brand, but they have long-standing experience as user-friendly bar snacks, so they get the job.

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  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Collaroy
  • price 1 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 11.

This easy, breezy, beachy dining room is just far away enough from the city that it feels like a getaway. The air is salty, the sand is orange, you may spot a migrating whale if you're lucky and the endless blue ocean vista makes it feel like a little slice of an endless summer. Add to that a creative menu, where seafood takes pride of place, and you know you're onto a winner.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • Lane Cove
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Thursday October 21

Owners Alessandro Nelli & Michelle Warren have clearly poured a lot of passion into this project, the relatively small space an opportunity to focus on the tiny details. Beautiful glassware and crockery adorn their positions in military alignment and the comfortable cushioned seating seems to absorb sound. Well, it’s either that, or the chefs have figured out a secret to working in near-silence. It’s a cool and calm ambience, and whilst any venue can fork out for some classy interior design, it’s the unseen factors that make you feel relaxed and charmed. A wine list over 100 bottles long sweetens the deal residents of this leafy pocket of the north shore.

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  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Newport
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 11.

Tucked away on the innermost edge of the Northern Beaches peninsula is arguable one of Sydney's most striking pubs. This is a place to sip a crisp, dry, perfectly chilled rosé as you gaze out over Pittwater and knock back some freshly shucked Sydney rock oysters. It's bougie as hell, and we're perfectly fine with that.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Mosman
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Friday, October 22.

This top-flight Italian seafood restaurant is inspired by the cuisine unique to the southern Italian region of Puglia (the heel of the boot). Expect traditional Italian recipes and techniques with local produce, such as the undisputed star of the menu – a yellowfin tuna cottoletto.

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  • Restaurants
  • Freshwater
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18

Lunch at Pilu is like stepping through the looking glass into a Mediterranean island holiday – one that's conveniently accessible in under two hours from the Sydney CBD. This renowned fine diner in a weatherboard house overlooking Freshwater Beach has one of the most stunning views of any dining room in town.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Manly
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 13.

If luxe Cantonese dining in opulent yet whimsical surrounds is your idea of a dream dinner, this Manly outpost of the Marivale mini-chain sweetens the deal with stunning, uninterrupted views of the Big Blue.

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SoCal
  • Bars
  • Neutral Bay

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18

Sunny surf energy, Californian food and a touch of fiesta have all found their way to a private deck on Young Street, giving Neutral Bay’s newest rooftop bar a charming holiday narrative. And though there isn’t a body of water in sight, that hasn’t stopped Applejack Hospitality (the team behind Bondi Hardware and the Botanist) going full seaside on the SoCal fit-out. Palm trees and hanging plants, a coastal paint palette and coloured festoon lighting channel cool, carefree Venice Beach vibes.  

CBD and East

  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • Elizabeth Bay
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday October 18

We’ve eaten the whole menu at this upmarket Greek eatery in Potts Point. And here are the things we can tell you: don’t order everything, as much as you’ll want to. You will leave Apollo uncomfortably full. Instead, do the Full Greek for just $60 a person – it’s all the stuff you’ll want to order off the menu and exactly the right amount to eat. Start with the taramasalata – a dip of mullet roe and yoghurt – with house-made pita bread points served warm in a little pizza box. There’ll be pickles and olives and then out comes the Greek salad with a big slice of fetta laid over the top of chunks of cucumber, tomato, red onion and finely chopped oregano. And then there’s the crowning glory – the big bowl of sticky roast lamb ribs with a side of lemony roast potatoes.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Sydney
  • price 3 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18

If you're feeling a little bruised by lockdown, dining at Aria will make you fall back in love with Sydney. Sure, she may have wronged you in the past (house prices, transport woes, and oh, that massive second wave outbreak) but in the warm light of this famous dining room you take back every bad word you’ve ever said about her as you are transported by six sublime courses.

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  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • Surry Hills

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18.

This Surry Hills establishment is a FOMO-free zone. The table next to you will never receive an amazing-looking dish that immediately makes you question your choices and fills your heart with regret and envy. Everyone at Arthur is eating the exact same thing, because the premise here is that you lay down your dollars and let chef Tristan Rosier take the wheel.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Middle Eastern
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: The bar from Monday October 11, the restaurants from Tuesday October 12

Dining on the rooftop of a Westfield may not be the most glamourous proposal – yet Babylon manages to transport you far away instantly and with such ease that you almost forget you’re dining above a mall. Hop on to the express escalator, then up again, and you’ll be greeted by one of the better looking rooftop bars we’ve come across in this city. Even on a cool night, the open-air digs feel summer-ready, and we predict this will be a popular happy hour haunt in warmer months.

 

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  • Bars
  • Darling Harbour
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday October 11

The vibe is all things for allcomers from the bottom to the top, and the journey begins on the ground level at House Bar. It's a posh take on a pub, for all intents and purposes, with marble benchtops, curvy leather banquettes and places to park your bum both indoors and out. You know the drill down here: beers, burgers and all the rest of it.

  • Restaurants
  • Sydney
  • price 3 of 4

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 27

Who needs to climb the Bridge when you can gaze upon this feat of engineering, within one of the iconic scallop shells of the Sydney Opera House, while eating a perfect Moreton Bay bug tail that has swapped its hard shell for a crown of edible flowers?

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  • Bars
  • Surry Hills
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 12.

The biggest, bougiest boozer in Surry Hills is many things to many people. To some, it's a spacious, nicely decked out gastropub that does an excellent pizza if you're in the mood for a mid-week fuss-free feed. To others, it's a portal to a raging Monday morning hangover after you've whiled away a Sunday that's spilled carelessly into a late-night boogie in the club upstairs. Either way, we're happy to see it welcoming back punters.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Sydney

 Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 12

Here are some fun facts about Bistecca, the basement restaurant devoted to Florence’s famous T-bone steaks. First, they ask you to lock your phone in a little drawer. We’re told that 60 per cent of people oblige, and the other 40 per cent have reactions that range from ‘unsure’ to ‘abusive’. They also go through a lot of meat. They recommend 600g as the minimum cut to achieve the full bistecca Fiorentina experience (anything less is getting to minute steak territory), but 800g is optimal, which means they’re slicing up well over 250kg of grass-fed beef from the Riverina in South Western NSW every week.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 20

Raw kingfish, fried cauliflower, wood-grilled eggplant, king prawns and lamb shoulder are to the Sydney diner of the here and now what the sound of the bell must have been like for Pavlov’s dog. They’re the buzzwords that make ears perk up, eyes open and mouths water – and they’re all on the menu at Bopp and Tone. 

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Bondi Beach

Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 12

There's a natural affinity between Bondi and the tiny, cove-like beaches of Mexico's Baja Peninsula: beautiful people, breezy dispositions, weather more amenable to tidbit snacking than multiple-course dining. Headed up by the team behind Potts Point's Sonora, Bondi's Carbon, and nearby Taquiza, Calita is a marisqueria, or seafood restaurant, inspired by the region – but with a little Bondi flavour thrown in.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Bondi
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 12

This Mexican spot on Bondi Road is grilling up tortillas, seafood and slow-cooked meats on a wood fire barbecue. It's the second restaurant from owners and chefs Pablo Galindo Vargas (who hails from Mexico City) and Liber Osorio (they are also behind Bondi's own tiny taco stop, Taquiza) and now they've extra space they've expanded out the menu to include 10 different kinds of tacos. Carbòn's (which means charcoal in Spanish) signature dish will be DIY shareable tacos, which include the likes of roasted chipotle lamb shoulder, market fish, octopus and suckling pig with abodo. 

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China Diner
  • Restaurants
  • Bondi Beach
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 19

What’s remarkable about this Bondi Asian eatery isn’t so much what’s on the plate as is what’s in the glass. Bartender Quynh Nguyen is at the cans here, offering fun cocktails like the Good Morning Vietnam. The ultimate kick-on drink, it’s a strong coffee, lengthened with condensed milk and spiked with bourbon. Even without the slug of booze it’s a heart-starter. Think mixed drinks are for sissies? Take a run at the staggering spirits selection.

Chiswick
  • Restaurants
  • Woollahra
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 19.

There are two parts to the Chiswick. There’s the bar, which doesn’t take reservations (you can still order the whole menu from here, though) and the long, white dining room where tables crowd around open windows soaking up the last of the warm spring breeze. It's not so much that this venue was made for long lunches. It's more like long lunches were made for the Chiswick.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Barangaroo
  • price 3 of 4

Taking reservations from: Thursday, October 14

Cirrus is the fourth venue from culinary kingpins Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt. To deprive yourself of the roasted tiger prawns here would be cruel and unusual punishment for any crustacean fan. The heat draws that savoury bisque flavour out of the shells and then they match it hit for hit with a miso mustard and a mayo spiked with pickled and roasted Padrón peppers. 

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Coogee
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 19.

The 400-strong label wine list navigates much of Europe and Australia, and the seaside location just up from the beach on Coogee Bay Road means you can drop in for a bone-dry rosé or an elegant nebbiolo with sand between your toes before the sun goes down. But don't leave without a bite or two. You can keep it classic with cheese and charcuterie if you're down for simple snacking, or go hard and follow some freshly shucked rock oysters with pork cheek and cavolo nero sliders.

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  • Bars
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 19

DeVine has long been hailed for its totally overwhelming encyclopedia of bloody brilliant wine. It’s just around the corner from the QVB bus stops and the crowd is thick with office workers. But like a real-deal European tavern, DeVine is warm and full of life inside. Candlelight brightens up richly stained wooden tables and exposed brick walls as big groups go for reds and whites and bubbly with duck liver pâté, braised octopus salads, piles of juicy olives and other familiar tapas.

Drake Eatery
  • Restaurants
  • Bondi Beach

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18

Add the Drake Eatery to the list of buzzy Bondi food establishments you need to scope out. Seasonal, fresh, locally sourced produce is at the heart of this spot, the first restaurant from award-winning Sydney chef Ian Oakes, formerly seen rattling pans at the Grand National in Paddington. The plates range from side-order-portion small to eating-for-an-army large. Snack on sides of roast pumpkin, streaky bacon and Brussels sprouts, or enjoy a healthy dose of spiced grains, almonds, labne and pomegranate. Up the ante with dishes of pan-seared thyme gnocchi with golden raisins, hazelnuts and Pecora blue cheese, or go all in and tackle the roasted half Thirlmere duck with cipollini onion, carrot and gingerbread or pan-roasted blue eye cod with celeriac, walnuts and faro.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • European
  • Potts Point
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18

Potts Point certainly has no shortage of swish spots to get watered and fed, but Franca might just be the swishest of them all. The former Fratelli Fresh site above the Woolies on Macleay Street has been transformed into a multimillion-dollar melange of velvet, marble, brass and parquetry modelled after majestic French brasseries and its dishing up equally elegant Med-inspired fare to match.

  • Restaurants
  • Sydney

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 11.

If you're a bit of a restaurant nerd, you might already know that Felix takes some of its cues from New York brasserie to the stars, Balthazar, itself an homage to the classic Parisian bistro. And if you're not, who cares? It's all about the atmosphere and Felix has captured it perfectly, from the floor-to-ceiling tile work (including some saucy frescoes, if you look up) to the bentwood chairs and polished brass.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Australian
  • Surry Hills
  • price 3 of 4

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 27.

Don’t like smoky food? Move along, friend. This is not the venue for you. Not into a visceral presentation of meat and fish? Keep on walking. Firedoor is a place that appeals to the primal. On one side of the open kitchen you’ve got blue-eye trevalla strung up for smoking, cut lengthways so that they resemble an anatomical chart. On the other a huge hunk of dry-aged beef waits for a date with the butcher’s saw when someone orders the 184-day dry-aged steak that today clocks in at $176 and sits high on most Sydneysiders’ ‘if I were a millionaire…’ hit list.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Surry Hills

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18

The Forresters is one of those mainstays of Surry Hills pubdom that no matter how hard anyone tried to upgrade it, it remained a staunchly loveable local watering hole. The latest facelift has come care of the Applejack Hospitality group, who run the Butler, the Botanist in Kirribilli and SoCal. They've applied a little magic pixie dust, but not too much, to the bones of this corner hotel, giving the dining room a botanical facelift, and the public bar a spit and polish, revealing its best self without wiping out its unkempt charms.

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  • Restaurants
  • Steak house
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 12

One minute you’re standing outside an unmarked charcoal-grey door in the CBD with King Street traffic rushing behind you, next minute you’re buzzed into the kind of stately home you’d expect to find in the Southern Highlands, or hunting country in the UK. At the Gidley, the second steak restaurant from the Liquor and Larder group who also own Bistecca, Grandma’s and the Wild Rover, a friendly host takes your jacket, walks you past the galley bar and into a velvet-lined booth, complete with curtains.

Gowings Bar and Grill
  • Restaurants
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18

The building's history has been brought back to life with the Gowings Bar and Grill, a European style brasserie inside the QT hotel serving up seafood, steaks, wood-fired meats and rotisserie fowl. Time your visit for Friday at lunch so you can enjoy the pinot and suckling pig special. Meet for pre-dinner cocktails at Gilt Lounge.

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  • Restaurants
  • Middle Eastern
  • Surry Hills

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18.

Crown Street is now home to a Lebanese charcoal chicken shop but they've made it a little bit fancy. Henrietta is a casual offering from the team behind schmick Middle Eastern diner Nour, serving up Middle Eastern-style birds with the bronzed, blistered skin known to bring siblings to blows, plus bread, dips, pickles and salads.

  • Restaurants
  • Sydney

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 20

With its polished, pink-washed decor and woven cane seating, Hester’s is a café you’d want to take your mother to. Given that it’s in fact named after the co-owner Hamish Watts’ grandmother, that’d be about right. This cutie of a café is tucked away under a usually bustling office building in Wynyard, and is serving up casual, light breakfasts and prettily plated-up dishes to linger over later on in the day. Hester’s is the third jewel in Applejack Hospitality’s crown in the Wynyard area, sitting alongside tiny coffee hole-in-the-wall June’s Shoppe, and lavish dinner and bottomless brunch hangout Bopp and Tone.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bondi Beach
  • price 3 of 4

Taking reservations from: Friday, October 15

Dining fashions may come and go, but drinking Spritzes with ocean views and a corps of Sydney’s most beautiful people at neighbouring tables will never go out of style. Icebergs Dining Room and Bar has one of Sydney's most iconic views, overlooking Bondi Beach and its famous salt water pool, allegedly the most photograph swimming spot in country.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Lebanese
  • Sydney

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 11.

Jimmy’s Falafel is ready for Sydney to become a 24-hour city again – which we're hoping isn't too long after we emerge from lockdown. Whether it's catering to hungry white-collar workers at lunch or late-night revellers pouring out of the Ivy next door, everyone walks away satisfied. The key to the falafel here is contrast – a soft interior lightened with fresh coriander, parsley and mint, with a properly crunchy shell. 

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June's Shoppe
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Sydney

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 20

This bright canary-coloured hole-in-the-wall cafe is a cheerful spot to pick up your pre-work coffee and some creative take-away brekky. The menu, like the venue, is small. June’s Shoppe is open for both breakfast and lunch and serves up simple eats: think pastries, salads and ‘toast and toppers.’ If you’re going for breakfast they’ve got the predictable Sydney stable: salmon and cream cheese; bacon and egg, or avo on toast, but sexed-up with thick cuts of buffalo mozzarella, a smoky tomato dressing, crunchy pepitas, and basil.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Redfern

Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 12

Occupying the same sunny corner that used to belong to the disconcertingly named Strangers with Candy, Kepos Street Kitchen is all slick lines and smooth paint compared to its predecessor’s chipped, tatty appeal. This is a two-beverage sort of place. Get your game face on with a coffee from the Grounds roasters. Once you’re fully awake you’ll notice the steady stream of bright plum-coloured drinks being delivered to nearly every table in the place. Somewhere between a non-alcoholic cocktail and an iced tea, the lime-heavy, pomegranate virgin Mojito is like a spring clean for your soul.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Sydney
  • price 3 of 4

Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 12.

With the four-square meter rule in play, there aren't going to be too many seats up for grabs at this famously petit cocktail lounge. But this table-service-only venue knows how to do a lot of with a little.

  • Restaurants
  • Surry Hills

Taking reservations from: Wednesday October 20

Ever wondered what a kiss from the most beautiful woman in the world would taste like? Andrea, the talented Italian bartender at Maybe Frank, reckons he's nailed it in his crafted cocktail, The Sofia, inspired by Italian screen siren – and all-out hot stuff – Sophia Loren, and featured on the restaurant’s cocktail menu. It’s a light, floral combination of Cocchi Americano Rosa (an Italian aperitif wine), tequila, sherry and geranium.

 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • The Rocks
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Wednesday October 20

The first impressions come hard and fast at the latest outing from the team behind Maybe Frank, tucked away on the fringe of the Rocks. Maybe Sammy is a polished affair bathed in Golden Age glamour — blond wood, white marble, grey-green leather stools, plush rosy banquettes — but there’s plenty of substance to back up the style. Creative director Andrea Gualdi has assembled one of Sydney’s most pedigreed squads of shakers and stirrers, and their commitment to quality is apparent in almost every glass.

 

The Meat & Wine Co
  • Restaurants
  • Steak house
  • Circular Quay
  • price 3 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18

Both the Circular Quay and Barangaroo outposts of the Meat & Wine Co are readying to fire up the grill once more. Steak seekers can enjoy prime cuts of hand-selected, locally sourced, grass-fed Australian beef. Wine buffs are equally well catered for, with an impressive list of Australian vintages, with French and South African varietals thrown in for good measure.

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  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • Coogee
  • price 3 of 4

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 13.

Mimi’s is a thing of beauty. It takes up the majority of the second floor in the new era Coogee Pavilion and you will not look out of place if you get your hair done just to eat dinner here. Repurpose a wad of cash from your future travel funds and use it to treat yourself here instead. You won’t be the only one ordering from the live seafood menu that includes market price mud crab and sea urchin.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Redfern

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 13

The Norse god Thor’s mighty hammer Mjølner was his weapon of choice for a little casual mountain crushing, and at the subterranean restaurant in Redfern bearing the mythological hammer’s name, they also favour blunt instruments. This is a place that attacks your hunger with huge chunks of meat, hefty plates of vegetables and drinks that could hold their own in a bar fight.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 20.

Like us, you've probably loved with Potts Point bar for years, but in its latest incarnation – a streamlined, upgraded edition of its former self that is very clear about what lane it occupies in Sydney’s city scene – we're falling for the place all over again. The wine menu is focused on Australian and French wines with many excellent options under $100 a bottle. But don't worry, there are still plenty of showy labels if you’re setting your credit limits to ‘schmooze’. 

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 11.

This two-level Canto-extravaganza in the heart of the CBD offers everything from fancy dim sum to green beans stir-fried with pork mince and house-made XO sauce. Upstairs, you'll get an intimate experience in view of the kitchen; downstairs you'll industrial chic that has rarely ever been bettered in Sydney. What we're trying to say is, there isn't a bad seat in the house.

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  • Restaurants
  • Modern Asian
  • Potts Point
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 12.

Pan-Asian fusion eateries are a dime a dozen in this town, but with 11 years under its belt, the OG creators of the infamous cheeseburger spring rolls still puts all others to shame. The once groundbreaking boozy slushies, unnecessarily packaged in plastic like a mall-bought bubble tea, are like artefacts from an era when Greta Thunberg’s voice wasn’t ringing in our ears, but after the three months we've had, we're sure the planet won't mind if we have one or two.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Haymarket
  • price 1 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18

Japan’s best izakayas are the ones you lose yourself in. The places where your first visit ends hours later, when you stumble out after a long night of highballs and grilled offal feeling like a regular. The team behind two of North Sydney’s cosiest Japanese small bars, Yakitori Yurippi and Tachinomi YP, have nailed that feeling so well at their third project, Nakano Darling, that time and place become vague; the little details transportive enough to make you wonder if you’re still in Darling Square. 

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Surry Hills
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 11

Nomad is good fun. Especially if you start with a Trinidad Sour, that bracing classic cocktail of a whole shot of Angostura bitters shaken with whisky, sweet syrup and lemon juice. Or just go straight to the wine. The list is a smart combination of approachable and challenging. It’s a really nicely designed room, too, all open plan and sunlit with its Danish-style furniture and decorative jars of pickles by the bar-style seating. It can feel a little empty if you’re eating on the early side, but once the attached bottle shop is up and running, there’ll no doubt be a little more foot traffic to scuff up the place.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Barangaroo
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Friday, October 22

This New Orleans-inspired bar and eatery sits within Barangaroo's Tower One and it's got water views and a Southern accent. You'll find more than 500 whiskies on offer, which you can have neat or in a smoky Sazerac. The menu draws on the rich history of its namesake hometown, which is a melting put of cuisines including French, Spanish, Mexican and South American. In the kitchen two large smokers are firing up brisket (dry-rubbed and smoked for 14 hours) and organic chooks (tea-brined and blackened). You'll also find lamb spit-roasted over coals and pulled pork. All these meats are complemented by house-made sauces including their own take on a chermoula and chimichurri blend and Lexington style barbecue ketchup; and sides including spiced garlic corn, mac and cheese and house pickles.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bondi North
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 11

Given it’s prime NoBo position, this bright and breezy seafood palace has been the spot for many long lunches since it opened back in 2013 by Matt Moran. The menu reads like the Bubba Gump guide on how-to-cook-seafood: it comes barbecued, raw, ceviche, shucked, steamed, curried, baked, battered and fried. Oysters are the requisite first port of call on this journey into the fruits of the sea, arriving briny and fresh on a bed of rock salt. Scallops here are a party in their own right. They come served on fanned shells, bathed in a kombu butter – eat it like an oyster to maximise the salty umami butter in each mouthful.

  • Restaurants
  • Middle Eastern
  • Surry Hills
  • price 3 of 4

Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 19.

There’s a fantastical, cinematic element to Nour which starts charming you the moment you step off Crown Street and into the ballroom of pastel pink, soft-toned wood, splashes of light and a grand mirror that plays out a dramatic scene of open flames and acrobatic frypans from the kitchen opposite. Middle Eastern fare gets a gourmet reinvention that makes it at once the most essential expression of its culture and yet bold, reinvented, and completely revelatory.

 

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Palmer and Co
  • Bars
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 13.

You might not be able to go back in time (although given the last 20 months, who would want to), but you can spend your nights drinking cocktails, listening to jazz and eating things with varying levels of melted cheese on them, which isn’t a bad consolation prize for the 21st century. At Palmer and Co the staff are dressed as flappers, there’s a live band and everything smells amazing because they’re cooking mac’n’cheese and pretzels with a cheese fondue dipping sauce in the open kitchen. Need we say more?

 

  • Restaurants
  • Potts Point

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 20

The buzzy, casual eatery took Monopole’s place in late 2020, after it flew the neighbourhood to alight in a fresh, airy new CBD space on Hunter Street. Like Monopole, Ria Pizza and Wine is also a venue from chef Brent Savage and sommelier Nick Hildebrandt of the Bentley Group, but it’s a more casual iteration of the space. As it says on the (cardboard) box, Ria Pizza and Wine is all about, well – exactly that. But unlike your neighbourhood pizza joint, it inverts the proportions of each element: instead of an unwieldy range of pizzas and your pick of two house pours, Ria’s wine list is deliciously long, while the pizza selection is to the point: pick from four pies with a tomato base, three on a white base and one with pesto. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Australian
  • The Rocks
  • price 4 of 4

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 27.

Fine dining no longer ascribes to the idea that indulgence requires being fed into a stupor, which is why you can safely opt for an elegant six courses at executive chef Peter Gilmore’s world-famous restaurant. Of course, if you’re here for a little excess, there’s always ten, which adds marron, truffles, and extra desserts to the mix. 

 

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Sydney

Taking reservations from: Monday October 18

Set in a historic building at the corner of King and York Streets in Sydney's CBD, Sammy Junior is the coffee-loving offshoot of lauded cocktail bar Maybe Sammy. But unlike its nightowl older brother, Junior is set to be an all-day venue, transitioning from coffee hall to cocktail den. 

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  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • The Rocks
  • price 1 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday October 11

The Sydney James Squires location is the brewery's seventh in Australia, and is not only be a beer hall – the venue is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner too. The Squire's Landing has some of the best views in Sydney so you can cap off the summer with some harbourside sundowner beers.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Bondi
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 11.

This Italian restaurant is tucked inside an old pub like some sort of dining hermit crab, with a sunny, white courtyard, beneath the skinny branches of two olive trees. It's also where Bondi’s most stylish gather for long lunches. And if you're still not sold, just wait until you taste its famously puffy flatbread.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • European
  • Coogee
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 13.

Don’t think of Una Más as a restaurant. Think of it more like you're sitting in the beachside dining room of a rich friend while the help pour drinks and prep dinner. A sea breeze drifts through the arched windows, ceramics fill the shelves, 20th-century portraits and still lifes hang carelessly on the wall. It's intimate yet opulent, chic yet showy. And the menu more than lives up to the decore's high bar.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Barangaroo

Taking reservations from: Tuesday October 12

There's something very appealing about the American sports bar, with its love of beer, wings, possibly nachos in a hat, and big screens showing our modern gladiators going head to head for game and glory. That's the vibe that the new Winghaus by Bavarian is bringing to Barangaroo with the opening of their second venue. You can expect 40 beer taps, 250 seats, 20 large-screen TVs and seven wing dips and nine hot sauces. Plusyou can order your wings in allottments of 10, 20, 50, or 100 pieces. There are also burgers, giant pretzels, and chips and dip (though they're not served in a hat).

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  • Restaurants
  • Potts Point
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 20.

It takes a kind of vision bordering on the mad to see a burnt onion as a dessert, but that is the creative genius we’re dealing with from the team at Yellow. This is so much more than meat-free cooking: it’s abstract expressionism with fruit and veg.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Sydney

Taking reservations from: Monday October 18

This Japanese joint sits right on the water along Wulugul Walk, so if you're after some alfresco sashimi, the open-air dining at Zushi is the ideal spot. The Barangaroo venue is the newest incarnation of this izakaya, which has long kept the salarymen and women of  Darlinghurst and Surry Hills in maki and nigiri.

West

  • Restaurants
  • Newtown

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18

There are five pizzas in total on the menu, including one proudly wearing a soft pink coat of LP’s mortadella, and another featuring the house-made pepperoni – it’s a clever closed-loop system. Young wisps of charred cavolo nero are mined with whole garlic cloves (hot tip: spread them out over your slice like a paste) and the house-fermented chilli that’s big on flavour but keeps the burn to a minimum. Sure, it might look like a salad pizza, but the combination of fior di latte cheese, parmesan, garlic, chilli and bitter greens is nigh on perfect. Still loyal to Margy? An intense umami tomato base with fresh garlic and fresh oregano leaves is even better when you opt-in for cheese for an extra $4, or a whole tin of Don Bocarte anchovies for $18. 

 

 

  • Restaurants
  • European
  • Newtown
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18.

Finnish chef Pasi Petänen brings a level of culinary innovation and dining finesse to King Street in Newtown. Expect plenty of imagination and technique, along with stellar booze and an unstoppable team when you take your seat in Paci's clean-lined, understated dining room.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Bondi Beach
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18 (Bondi), Wednesday, October 20 (Parramatta)

If the mood board on the website is anything to go by, CicciaBella is a place inspired by mortadella and fish scales, tongues and abdominals, seafoam, party frocks, lemon cheeks and butt cheeks. So, just another Italian restaurant in Bondi then. But does your Bondi Italian restaurant swing effortlessly between snacks, pasta and things from the wood oven? Does it pour wine with a natural lean from both here and the Bel Paese? Is it run by one of the city’s most astute hospitality groups, home to a kitchen helmed by one of Sydney’s hottest chefs and a team that combines good sense with good-looking uniforms? Didn’t think so.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Enmore
  • price 1 of 4

Taking reservations from: Tuesday October 19

 

The name may sound low-key, but that certainly doesn’t apply to what’s coming out of Emma's kitchen. A serve of the smoky, feather-light babaganoush is essential, but the spicy humous dressed with a warm chili oil and flecked with fried garlic is a worthy challenger for top dip. You can get the chickpea and tahini in classic form, of course, but there’s also a roast pumpkin variation and a traditional version with lamb mince and pine nuts too. Order them all and host a pulse party. You’re also going to need at least one basket of pillowy soft flatbread triangles – for three dollars it stretches your dips further than you’d think – and a bowl of tabouli.

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  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • Newtown
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18.

Hartsyard, now in its third incarnation, plays a strong snack game. Fried cheese is essentially a mini toast under a flurry of shaved Gruyère and Gouda, shot through with a punchy horseradish sour cream. A baby cuttlefish skewer lays it bare, drenched in inky chermoula, a heady North African spice blend that works beautifully with the mollusc’s fresh mineral quality. Give the gleaming peppers a go, too. Slick with oil, edges pleasingly charred, they’re packed with yoghurt and tangy yuzu kosho, a salty and sour hit in one bite. In other words, trust that every bite in this joint is an adventure through flavour.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Parramatta

Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 19.

LilyMu is one of the few venues in Parramatta's shiny new dining precinct which isn't an already-established direct import – but like those other more familiar restaurants, it’s got the benefit of some big names at the helm. The newest brainchild of Ibby Moubadder, the restauranteur behind a hat trick of Surry Hills’ establishments – beloved brunch spot Cuckoo Callay, Middle Eastern fine diner Nour and charcoal chook joint Henrietta  the modern pan-Asian diner represents an inventive departure from the Middle Eastern and Lebanese leaning cuisine of his portfolio of venues.

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  • Restaurants
  • Nigerian
  • Enmore
  • price 1 of 4

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 13.

After moving to Australia in 2016, Adetokunboh Adeniyi couldn’t find the Nigerian food he was craving, so he joined forces with two West African chefs and they began selling jollof rice and stews at markets in 2018. The result is a restaurant that offers a journey into this rich, spice-laden, complex cuisine that will transport you to Nigeria in a matter of mouthfuls. 

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Parramatta
  • price 3 of 4

Taking reservations from: Wednesday, October 13

All it took for Parramatta’s bar scene to go from burgeoning to baller was 270-degree views that stretch from the Blue Mountains on one side to a teeny tiny Harbour Bridge on the other horizon. The first Western Sydney enterprise from the Speakeasy Group (Eau De Vie, Mjolner) is a stunner. You need to seek it out on the 26th floor of the shiny new V by Crown building, which houses Skye Hotel Suites, as well as schmick apartments. This context is important, because Nick and Nora’s gives off swanky hotel bar vibes – which is good and proper, given it functions as one.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Summer Hill
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18.

The restaurant and bar is built inside an old heritage-listed post office and split across two levels. Downstairs, you’ll find high ceilings and a long brushed metal bar that doubles as a dining area. It’s also the best place to sit if you’re going to put a dent in the impressive wine list. Upstairs in the bar you can tear into RJ’s cheeseburger: a nice soft patty (though still with a little chew) on a soft bun, melted cheese, tomato sauce and a side of thick-cut cheddar-flavoured crisps. Think of it as a choose your own adventure venue, depending on if you want a casual or classy evening.

  • Restaurants
  • Peruvian
  • Marrickville

Taking reservations from: Thursday, October 14

Pepito’s, it turns out, is neither restaurant nor bar, but a homage to what Peruvians call a ‘taberna’ – an unpretentious, often century-old, family-run neighbourhood haunt where people from all walks of life cross paths for a drink and a casual bite to eat. Owner José Alkon and his family migrated to Australia when he was eight years old, and this is his way of introducing a slice of everyday life in his native Lima to Illawarra Road (complete with pan flute Smokey Robinson covers that play in the bathroom).

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Pyrmont
  • price 2 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday October 11

Quick Brown Fox adds a breath of fresh air to the Pyrmont café scene. Housed in a handsome heritage corner building, the all-day diner boasts a creative menu created by consultant chef Tomislav Martinovic and sibling co-owners Ben and Emily Calabro.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Newtown

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 18

We need to talk about breakfast ramen. Open for brekky, lunch and dinner, Rising Sun Workshop – half motorcycle workshop and half café – serves up food with a Japanese bent. The breakfast ramen, in particular, is such a good idea that our heads hurt a little from the excitement. It’s a beautiful big bowl of rich, fatty broth made from an infusion of buttered toast, topped with stretchy, firm noodles made exclusively for Rising Sun Workshop to their own recipe. The whole lot is topped with a just-set onsen egg, shards of crisp bacon and a charred tomato – the savoury, umami depth of which is a strike of pure genius.

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  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • Stanmore
  • price 3 of 4

Taking reservations from: Friday, October 22

Sixpenny is a master of understatement but that doesn’t mean they leave off the flourishes. Each course is still presented by the chef who cooks it; service is so warm you wonder if you haven’t met somewhere before; and the vibe in the room is far more relaxed than the degustation price tag suggests. It’s a dining experience ripped from the pages of a glossy design magazine, but it’s not in Tokyo or Norway, it’s in an unlikely pocket of the Inner West we can visit any time we want.

South

Cafe Neptune
  • Restaurants
  • Brighton-Le-Sands
  • price 1 of 4

Taking reservations from: Monday, October 11

Serving Mediterranean-influenced Modern Australian cuisine, this restaurant has an extensive menu. It overlooks the beach and the waters of Botany Bay.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Cronulla

Taking reservations from: Tuesday, October 12

While some Sydney restaurants get flustered over fusion and newfangled cooking techniques, venues like Queen Margherita of Savoy stay steady with the classics. This small Italian joint slings their woodfired pizzas, simple pastas and select antipasto items every night of the week to an adoring crowd of Cronulla locals and wise visitors from the north and west.

 

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