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Photograph: Steven Woodburn

The best new restaurants in Sydney right now

Add these box-fresh diners to the top of your to-do lists

Written by
Time Out editors
,
Maxim Boon
&
Elizabeth McDonald
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There is a lot to get excited about on the streets of Sydney at the moment. The calibre of restaurants making their grand debuts is nothing short of awe-inspiring. While there are myriad restaurants to choose from in our fair city, we've picked our brains and put together a short-list of the ones we think should be top of your hit list. 

We hope you're hungry Sydney.

Looking for something to wash it all down with? These are the best bars in Sydney right now.

Will one of these be your new fave go-to?

  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Haymarket

Honey is the new dining hot-spot bringing the flavours and ebullient energy of Korea to the coveted precinct of Darling Square. The restaurant’s interior is fabulously on-theme; bathed in neon lights and a soundtrack of bubbly K-pop that’s guaranteed to keep the energy riding high.

  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Paddington

The team behind Maybe Sammy has joined forces with the newly minted Public Hospitality group to launch an ambitious and exciting Mexican-inspired bar on the ground floor of Paddington's the Rose Hotel in December.

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  • Restaurants
  • Castlecrag

Two former Merivale chefs have opened a high-end yet approachable diner in Castlecrag, serving up raw scallop crudo, lobster pasta, and Siberian caviar with all the trimmings. "Big" Sam Young and partner Grace Chen are the pair behind venue, where the emphasis is on luxury.

Think oysters, truffles, wagyu beef, live lobsters and salted duck egg yolks, all complete with sexy low lighting and linen napkins, in one of the most unexpected locations.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • The Rocks

The beautifully preserved Campbell's Cove in the Rocks has a new kid on the block: contemporary Asian premium dining experience, Luna Lu. Heading up the kitchen is chef Lucas Doan (Mr Wong) who has created a menu inspired by the flavours and favourite dishes of his own Chinese and Vietnamese heritage. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • The Rocks

Chi Chi, a pan-Asian bar and dining venue is an exciting addition to the historic Grosvenor Place building on George Street. Open for breakfast and your early morning caffeine fix, Chi Chi transforms later in the day into a buzzing bar and restaurant for a relaxed lunch and dinner.

  • Restaurants
  • Turkish
  • Barangaroo

The 45-seater kebab joint by the Efendy group is serving up Istanbul-style street food including the restaurant's namesake: light-as-a-feather wood-fired tombik bread. They draw inspiration from cosy bars dotted around Taksim in Turkey, as well as traditional donner kebabs with some seriously elevated ingredients.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Macquarie Park

Sydney has yet another stunning Cantonese offer for when the mood strikes which, to be fair, could be breakfast, lunch or dinner any day of the week. The latest addition to the killer Asian dining scene is Jinja in Macquarie Park. Jinja is named for owner and entrepreneur, local Sydney legend Jinghua (more often dubbed “Jinja” due to her obsession with ginger spice), the muse of Sydney-based artist Ronnie Samuels, whose paintings pepper the restaurant space. 

  • Restaurants
  • Turkish
  • Potts Point

Izgara is a luxe new ocakbasi-style eatery in Potts Point. Ocakbasi, which roughly stranslates to "stand by the grill" leaves little to the imagination, with everything getting a lick from the massive grills that dominate the kitchen, from which guests are served directly by the chefs. The meat-heavy menu will have diners chomping down on thinly sliced lamb belly on smoked egglants, and a yoghurt based kebab with shredded lamb shoulder and foamy butter known as Iskender.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Glebe

For years, the space at 134 Glebe Point road was occupied by Darling Mills, an early pioneer in Sydney's farm-to-plate movement, and nowadays, it's home to Beckett's. Chef Jeff Schroeter (Bayswater Brasserie, Bistro Moncur) has teamed up with playwright and director Wendy Beckett to create an all-class French brasserie with all the design and flair of a mid-century Paris or New York bistro.

  • Restaurants
  • Potts Point

Fortuna Drink and Eat is a fresh Italian eatery with a twist. Located right in the centre of Darlinghurst's Victoria Street, this all-day Italian diner serves breakfast from 7am everyday as a fresh and bright cafe before shapeshifting into a laidback Italian restaurant by night. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Haymarket

As if Edition Roasters couldn't get any cooler, the Darling Square coffee shop has gone and opened a sick new izakaya four nights a week. Cleverly dubbed Edition Izakaya, the Japanese snack bar will be serving up favourites like fried chicken, prawn udon and kingfish sashimi, as well as a range of yakitori skewers cooked over charcoal. 

  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Woolloomooloo

One of Sydney's most talented chefs, Annita Potter (Long Chim) has taken her wealth of knowledge and knack for Thai flavour and opened up Viand, an exhilarating new restaurant in the very lucky suburb of Woolloomooloo. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Circular Quay

It is hard to imagine that Bar Mammoni, the laneway café and bar from the up-and-coming House Made Hospitality group, will suffer the same fate as all-day diners of the past. There’s the location, for one thing – tucked behind Customs House in the burgeoning Quay Quarter Lanes precinct off Circular Quay. There’s the lure of the operators, too, who made a big splash in 2021 by transforming neighbouring Hinchcliff House into a red-hot, Italian-accented mega-venue. The real hook, though, is neither of those things, but an item on the breakfast menu: a rolled-up slice of slippery LP’s mortadella that’s brushed with feisty salsa verde and laid inside a neat rectangular croissant on piped little clouds of whipped ricotta.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Sydney

Occupying the expansive former Jet Café site, Manon presents focused and sophisticated menu offerings framed by notions of elevated French brasseries – as overseen by French-born head chef Thomas Boisselier, fresh from a stage as head chef at Oscar in Lyon. Prior to that, he worked in Provence with three-Michelin-starred chef, Christophe Bacquie.

  • Restaurants
  • Patisseries
  • Prospect

Picture this: you’re tearing apart a hot-from-the-oven croissant. You’re covered in an explosion of buttery pastry flakes, and everything is pastel. It's a Wes Anderson/Sofia Coppola/Carrie Bradshaw-in-her-Paris-era fever dream. Also, the croissant is stuffed with almond frangipane and poached pear. Is this heaven? No, you’re in Surry Hills. This is Lode.

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  • Restaurants
  • Sydney

A new wave of exceptional restaurants has come to 25 Martin Place, the revamped dining precinct that joins a slew of culinary quarters to hit Sydney. Riding this wave is Aalia, the latest venture from beloved and deservedly celebrated Nour. While Aalia's Surry Hills sister might focus on Lebanese cuisine (as diverse and eclectic as that is), what sets the stunningly plush Aalia apart is that it's a veritable field trip across the whole of the Middle East, including a jaunt across the coast of North Africa.

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Darlinghurst

Just in time for its 100th birthday, historic Darlinghurst pub the Strand has been reborn as a roaring '20s-inspired French bistro (open now), boutique accommodation, and a rooftop cocktail bar set to open in late winter.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bondi Beach
  • price 2 of 4

Much like the original Da Orazio, the interiors are simple, clean and bright. But whereas the space once channeled a nautical spirit, the 2.0 dining room takes its cues from ‘70s Italia. And not in an overly hammy or cliched way – this is retro done right.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Sydney

In the understatement of the century, a global shutdown and border closures can be tough on a new restaurant. Even the best laid plans to create one of the best Italian fine-diners in town like, for instance, enlisting a Michelin starred Italian chef to work in a stunning heritage listed former bank in the beating heart of a major city like Sydney, can get thrown off course. This is exactly what former Wildfire and Ocean Room operator Tonci Farac dared to dream way back in 2017, when the sparks of Seta began to smoulder.

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  • Restaurants
  • Czech
  • Surry Hills

Now that the weather is closing in, the sun is setting just a bit earlier and it's nearly sweater weather, our minds are turning to hearty fare and cosy corners. The silver lining of this impending gloom of winter is Beast and Co.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Newtown

If you walked straight past Ante on the first attempt, you probably wouldn't be the only one. Double back and look for an understated, chic façade. The words SAKE & SOUNDS adorn the glass in gold lettering and while that’s the general premise, there’s plenty more to discover behind the door.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Manly

Celebrating the relaunch of a new look Wharf Bar, Manly has welcomed a new seaside venture, the Tropic. After reopening back in November 2021, the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and bar is led by executive chef, Francois Poulard and owner, Ben May of May Hotels.

  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Sydney

Old New York-style stage lights point the way up an industrial, wooden staircase to the recently reborn Gowings by QT. Though it takes its inspiration from Little Italy and the state-side steakhouse scene, Gowings 2.0 is a thoroughly new era, an utterly fresh reimagining under the direction of acclaimed British chef and genuinely good geezer, Sean Connolly (the Morrison Bar and Oyster Room).

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  • Bars
  • Surry Hills
  • price 2 of 4

Some things never change, and for that we are grateful. However, sometimes a change is just as good as a holiday, case in point; The Rover. Toasting goodbye to its wilder days of foot-stomping shenanigans, whisky-centric speakeasy the Wild Rover is full grown and sexy, reflecting the maturing drinking and dining scene of our town.

  • Restaurants
  • Fusion
  • Circular Quay

This Italian-ish up-market osteria heroing seasonal seafood with low-waste principles is the jewel in the crown of the new hospo mega-venue Hinchcliffe House. Seasonality is key at Lana, and head chef Alex Wong’s menu is constantly shifting, leaning on the best available local produce. So, even though the venue’s soul is Italian, you’ll find plenty of Antipodean and Asian flourishes. On paper, this is a set four-course menu for $79 but the reality gives you far more bang for your buck, with additional snacks, palate cleansers and aperitifs into the bargain.

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  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • Sydney

In a space that could rely heavily on geography, pomp, and circumstance alone, with easy access to the CBD crowd, luxurious staging and top-notch service (a triumph in and of itself at the moment), Botswana Butchery could easily rest on its laurels. Pleasingly though, this luxe diner breaks the mould of bringing together all the elements that take a restaurant from good, to great. 

  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • Elizabeth Bay

Andrew Becher, owner and operator of French brasserie Franca, has opened an exciting Catalan-inspired sip-and-snackbar in the heart of Potts Point. Located right next door to Franca in the heart of Potts Point, the 55-seat Parlar (meaning "to speak" in Catalan) is an ode to Becher’s love for Barcelona and the French coastline.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Circular Quay

In a microcosm where finesse is everything (with a price tag to match) Joel Best starts each day with a visit to the fish market to make sure every element is, well, the best it can be. At Besuto, the former Bondi’s Best’s new omakase-style venture, fish with finesse is the name of the game.

  • Restaurants
  • Ramen
  • Rushcutters Bay

Life is slowly returning to the once thriving red light district of Kings Cross and Potts Point. Nearly a decade after reactionary lockout laws ravaged Sydney's night life, changing the party suburb into a ghost town of apartments and shuttered pubs, glimmers of hope have held steadfast through thick and, often, thin. One of those little-restaurants-that-could is Michael Mu Sung's pint sized Farmhouse, and now, directly across the road from the big sister comes Bones Ramen.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Dawes Point

Elegantly crafted bites like sake-steamed Murray cod, thinly sliced rare Wagyu, cooked sukiyaki-style (slowly cooked, tableside) with onions, raw egg yolk and sea urchin, grilled fillet of imperadore, lightly marinated in soy and citrus, and ankake chawan-mushi (savoury egg custard) with banana prawns. These are just some of the omakase style (chef's selection) bites on offer at Bay Nine Omakase, where a 10-seat counter puts the chef in total control of every diner's journey.

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