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Sean's Panaroma
Photograph: Anna Kucera

The best BYO restaurants in Sydney

Here's where to go and what they charge

By Time Out editors
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Whether you want to save some dosh and bring your favourite bargain bin pinot from the local bottle-o, splurge on a bottle of natural wine or dust off something extra special from your cellar, these are the best BYO restaurants in Sydney.

Feel like hitting a wine bar instead? These are the best wine bars in Sydney.

Restaurants with BYO in Sydney

1. Chinese Noodle Restaurant

Restaurants Haymarket

Corkage: Free
This place is so popular, the line snakes out the door most nights, but don't worry, you'll be in before you can decide whether you want your dumplings pan-fried or steamed. 

2. Emma's Snack Bar

Restaurants Enmore

Corkage: $4 per person
It's always packed here. All it takes is one swipe of pita through the ferocious garlic dip, an order of the ladies fingers with pomegranate molasses and a big bite of the juicy moorish chicken, and you'll understand why. 

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Females prepearing meals at Chat Thai
Photograph: Daniel Boud

3. Chat Thai

Restaurants Haymarket

Corkage: $3 per person
Bring an aromatic white like riesling or pinot gris. You'll need it to tame the heat in dishes like the signature green papaya salad. And keep this one up your sleeve for when hunger strikes late – it's open until 2am all week long, and usually busy till the bitter end.

4. Vacanza - Surry Hills

Restaurants Surry Hills

Corkage: $8 per bottle 
The beloved Bronte Road pizzeria has branched out, bringing their truly excellent pizza to Surry Hills, along with a mozzarella bar if that's your thing.

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5. Two Chaps

Restaurants Marrickville

Corkage: $10 per person
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, this veg-friendly Marrickville café opens the doors for dinner. Come for the cosy vibe and communal seating; stay for a simple, shared three-course vegetarian menu that changes every fortnight, starring very good housemade pasta dishes.

6. Cairo Takeaway

Restaurants Middle Eastern Newtown

Corkage: Free
Consider the free corkage a bonus. This Enmore Road mainstay boasts some of the best Middle Eastern cooking in the Inner West, with herby falafels that are fried to order, meats cooked over charcoal and wicked garlic dip. Well worth the (often intimidating) queue. 

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7. Mamak

Restaurants Haymarket

Corkage: $3 per person
This a solid late-night option, open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. You'll probably have to brave a queue most of the time, but do it for the spot-on nasi goreng and nasi lemak, cuttlefish in fiery and funky sambal and outrageously good roti.

8. Rosso Pomodoro

Restaurants Balmain

Corkage: Free
This is a real local’s haunt. Inner Westies wander in and out for takeaway or load in for a table, grabbing bottles of red from the bottle-o next door. Make sure you order up Rosso Pomodoro’s pizza bianco – potato, Italian sausage and rosemary.

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9. Golden Century

Restaurants Haymarket

Corkage: $8 per person
A late-night feast at GC is a Sydney rite of passage if ever there was one. Go all-out here on the signature pipis in XO sauce, two-course Peking duck and all manner of Cantonese classics from the giant menu. You've got till 4am, all seven days of the week.

10. Xage

Restaurants Surry Hills

Corkage: $3.50 per person, Sun-Thu; $4 on Fri, Sat
Spot a mob gathering outside a non-descript restaurant on Crown Street in Surry Hills? They're probably waiting for a table at Xage. Expertly executed Vietnamese classics keep the crowds coming back, and an inexpensive corkage fee doesn't hurt, either.

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11. Chaco Bar

Restaurants Japanese Darlinghurst

Corkage: $15 per bottle
Yakitori is what's up here. Meats are grilled over charcoal and served on piles of roughly chopped raw white cabbage. By the time you’re done with your juicy, salty chicken thigh or crisp folds of strangely sweet chicken skin, that cabbage will have turned into a well-seasoned side of its own.

12. Fatima's

Restaurants Lebanese Surry Hills

Corkage: Free
Order up kofte, tabbouleh, lady fingers (make sure you ask for them to be grilled), loads of hummus and falafels; bring your own bottle of red, and you'll see why Fatima's has been around for so long.

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13. Pastizzi Cafe

Restaurants Newtown

Corkage: $3 per person
The namesake diamond-shaped flaky Maltese pastries are exceptionally tasty, but try not to fill up on them – you'll need room for the colossal bowls of pasta that this no-nonsense eatery has become equally famous for. 

Exterior of Kyo-to at Spice Alley
Photograph: Anna Kucera

14. Spice Alley

Restaurants Chippendale

Corkage: Free
Tucked behind the Kensington Street laneway in Chippendale, this open-air courtyard is serving up hawker-style dishes from every corner of Asia. 

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15. Sean's Panaroma

Restaurants Bondi Beach

Corkage: $25 per bottle
If you can't afford to have a top chef come to your home and cook the kind of aspirationally fresh, local and elegant fare you normally see on cooking shows, the next best thing is going out for dinner at Sean's Panaroma. 

Bruscetta at Il Baretto
Photograph: Il Baretto

16. Il Baretto

Restaurants Surry Hills

Corkage: $3 per person
Make sure you try the homemade gnocchi at this cash-only veteran, but there's killer spaghetti alle vongole and seriously good pappardelle with duck ragù, too.

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17. Spice I Am

Restaurants Surry Hills

Corkage: Free
Order the nam khao tod – a crisp rice salad heady with the scent and taste of makrut lime, which comes tossed with crumbled Thai pork sausage, a good dose of chilli and ground peanuts. Break off leaves from the iceberg wedge served on the side, and scoop it up like a Thai-style san choi bau.

Hand pressed pasta shapes
Photograph: Supplied

18. La Favola

Restaurants Italian Newtown

Corkage: $12 per bottle
Six different pasta shapes. Six different sauces. Choice anxiety is real here, but the honest truth is you really can't go wrong. All the pasta is made fresh on the premises, so pick your favourite, and don't be afraid to pull the trigger on the decadent four cheese option – a blend of pecorino, goat, parmesan and Gorgonzola.

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19. Glebe Point Diner

Restaurants Glebe

Corkage: $15 per bottle, Tue-Thu only
Glebe Point Diner is exactly the kind of restaurant you visit when you want a comforting midweek meal that's just a little bit special. Go the extra mile, and bring a bottle of something worthy that you've stashed away for a while.

Pizza oven at The Dolphin Hotel
Photograph: Anna Kucera

20. Rosso Antico

Restaurants Italian Newtown

Corkage: $5.50 per bottle
They treat the pizza dough here with care, resting it for 36 hours. They honour it by deploying simple, fresh toppings and letting the ingredients speak for themselves. The result? A constantly buzzy neighbourhood pizzeria, crammed with regulars almost every night of the week.

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21. Bangkok Bites

Restaurants Thai Bondi Beach

Corkage: $2 per person
When you walk into this Hall Street staple you can instantly smell fragrant Thai basil and hear the sounds of woks clanging. They do seriously big serves (one serve will satisfy two) of grilled meats, super rich curries and wok-fried favourites. 

22. Via Napoli Pizzeria - Lane Cove

Restaurants Lane Cove

Corkage: $10 per bottle
A perennial favourite for wood-fired Neapolitan-style pies. It's worth noting that BYO is only available for groups of eight or fewer, but that shouldn't stop you and your nearest and dearest from attempting to conquer one of the famous metre-long pizzas. 

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23. Jugemu and Shimbashi

Restaurants Neutral Bay

Corkage: $4 per person
One restaurant, two specialities: teppanyaki and soba noodles. It's choose your own adventure at this long-running Japanese eatery. Bring a bottle that covers all the bases, and you'll be just fine. 

24. Pompei's

Restaurants Bondi Beach

Corkage: $8 per bottle
Play it straight with a margherita, or try the broccoli number topped with mozzarella and ripped up chunks of pork sausage. They also make an excellent pizza bianca (sans tomato) with thin slices of potato, sea salt and rosemary.

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