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Pepito's Marrickville1/4
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan
Bistro 9162/4
Photograph: Daniel Boud
Bistro 9163/4
Photograph: Daniel Boud
Westwood Pizza4/4
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

The best new restaurants in Sydney

Switch up your routine with these notable newcomers

By Divya Venkataraman and Time Out editors

The chaos of the last year has had an undeniable impact on Sydney's hospitality scene, but there's no stopping these bold newcomers. We've got big names with long-awaited new openings, multi-venue blockbusters, and poky, under-the-radar joints that are causing quite a stir. Here are our top picks of Sydney's recent arrivals. 

Recommended: Sydney's best late-night eats

Pepito's Marrickville
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan


Restaurants Peruvian Marrickville

Marrickville newcomer Pepito’s is 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). There's no leaving here without a Pisco Sour.


Greek Pastry at Alpha
Photograph: Anna Kucera


Restaurants Sydney

Much-loved CBD Greek eatery Alpha looks a little different these days. At its helm is still head chef Peter Conistis, but it has undergone a multimillion-dollar transformation that promises a new look, new feel and an almost entirely new menu. Most of Alpha's old dishes have cleared out in order to make room for the new. A few stalwarts remain: the moussaka with scallops, a slow-roasted lamb, and Conistis's famous spanakopita, with its tissue-paper-light pastry holding the weight of a salty mix of fetta and spinach. But it's the newbies that'll get you excited. 

Tokyo Lamington Newtown, Black Star Pastry, food overview, lamin
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Tokyo Lamington

Restaurants Newtown

Stale shreds of dessicated coconut and sickly-sweet jam lining, no more: the resemblance between the school canteen lamingtons of yore and the ones perched on individual wood shelves on the walls of Tokyo Lamington is mostly only in name.These lamingtons, made out the back of a light-filled store on Newtown's Australia Street, come in six flavours, with more on the way. Grab a Single O coffee to cut through the sweetness (and justify a lammy for breakfast).


Bistro 916, interior overview
Photograph: Daniel Boud

Bistrot 916

Restaurants French Potts Point

Dan Pepperell's latest venture is not your everyday neighbourhood bistro. It's in Potts Point, you'll find pale pink tabecloths, lobster frites for an eye-watering ‘market price’ and young fashionistas rubbing elbows with the local sweater-over-the-shoulders set. The former Lotus space now feels like a basement brasserie seen through the eyes of Wes Anderson (even though it's on street level), rendered eternally dark by an all-encompassing coat of black paint. It's also worth checking out the immaculately styled, Tokyo-inspired record bar lurking in the very back of the restaurant.

Pizza in a clay pizza oven
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

Westwood Pizza

Restaurants Newtown

This tiny Inner West pizzeria has made a lot of noise since it opened up, even in a pizza scene as crowded with competition as Sydney's. Getting your hands on a Westwood pizza for dinner requires the meticulous planning and precision of a Swiss military operation. To get your hands on these thin, charry, chewy crust bases that have been fermented for three days, make sure you go early – and grab some some chilli XO to dip your crusts in. 

Crab curry
Photograph: Supplied/Foreign Return

Foreign Return

Restaurants Surry Hills

Behind a gold pigeon embossed on a Surry Hills glass shopfront is this Indian eatery, named affectionately for expats who leave India and come back home. It's nixing the idea that Indian food is all creamy sauces, soft breads, and two-note spice blends, and putting 'lost' recipes back onto leather-bound menus. Old telephones with actual dials hark back to India’s colonial era, but there’s no misty-eyed colonial idolisation of the British Raj. The kitchen, helmed by Siddharth Kalyanaraman, is all about shining the oil lamp on dishes from different corners of the subcontinent – without minimising their spicy multitudes or whitewashing their names to suit a Western palate.

Sign saying Itacate
Photograph: Sanjana Mistry


Restaurants Redfern

No travel? No problem. Sydney’s latest foodie destination by Rosa Cienfuegos – who has won fans citywide with her cult Mexican dishes at La Tamaleria in Dulwich Hill – is a bright, vibrant all-day eatery in Redfern called Itacate. Itacate is an Aztec word, meaning 'takeaway food'. The deli-eatery is all about translating the homeliness and warmth of casual, family diners across Mexico and bringing them into the heart of Redfern.

Cocktail at Scout Bar
Photograph: Anna Kucera


Bars Cocktail bars Eveleigh

OK, so this one might be more of a bar rather than a restaurant – but it's definitely a noteworthy newcomer. For the opening of Re-, a sustainability-focused cocktail bar in the up-and-coming South Eveleigh precinct, Matt Whiley has joined forces with Maurice Terzini. It's set to be the first permanent waste-free bar in the world, with a through-line of ethical consumption threaded through the entire venue: from its drinks to its décor to its upcycled interiors; from the reclaimed Maison Balzac glasses to the packaging of stock to the reupholstered furniture. Icebergs' Alex Prichard is on snacks. 

Hand grilling steak
Photograph: Supplied/Leigh Griffiths

Kaiza Izakaya

Restaurants Newtown

Izakaya food is, at its core, drinking food. Kaiza Izakaya runs with the informality and snack-ready portions at the heart of this Japanese form of dining – but makes a decisive call on forgoing some of its other traditional elements. For instance, it's not sticking to only Japanese flavours. The chef at its helm, Jason Nguyen, is combining a childhood watching his Vietnamese father cook for the family with his culinary education in Tokyo for a menu that melds Japanese technical acuity with the flavours drawing from the five elements of Vietnamese cooking: salt, sweet, bitter, spice and sour. 

Plates of food
Photograph: Supplied/Ria Pizza and Wine

Ria Pizza and Wine

Restaurants Potts Point

Hidden behind a half-wall of cane in the bustling, culinary hub of Macleay Street, Ria Pizza and Wine has extremely large, fairly fancy shoes to fill (Monopole departed the scene in late 2020). 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 eye-wateringly long, while the pizza selection is to the point. The crusts are the star here – they're dense, chewy and with the requisite fermented sour note. You’d be silly not to make the most of them but ordering a ‘crust dip’ or two.

Plates of fish
Photograph: Supplied/Fish Shop

Fish Shop

Restaurants Bondi Beach

From the team behind the Fishbowl empire comes Fish Shop, a high-casual eatery that combines the takeaway ease and comfort of their first venture with a touch of understated, North Bondi elegance. In its basic structure, Fish Shop is just like your seaside local – you pick a main from snapper, ocean trout, barramundi or King Ora salmon, as well as a market fish, then add a condiment and tack on a side – but after that, it goes off-script. Add on sugo with capers, salsa verde or tangy ladelomono, a Greek-style vinaigrette of lemon and oil. 

Plate of food with dips and pickles on a white tablecloth
Photograph: Supplied/Avi's Kantini

Avi's Kantini

Restaurants Middle Eastern Newtown

Since lockouts were rolled back in Sydney and a swathe of red-tape-cutting legislation was passed last year – not to mention the return of dancefloors – there's been a lot of talk about the revival of the city's late-night scene. But to be able to dance all night, you need all-night sustenance. And that kind of sustenance is best delivered in pita form. This funky, Middle Eastern-inspired eatery has popped up above the Bank Hotel in Newtown, so you won't have to wander far when you're looking to keep the party going on King Street.

Chillis in a dish
Photograph: Supplied/Nikki To

Café Freda's

Restaurants Darlinghurst

There’s something distinctly European in spirit about the scattering of tables filling the footpath outside Café Freda’s. The Taylor Square cafè is a far cry from the thumping dancefloor that used to bear Freda's name, but it's still inviting, warm, and tactile, with art and design at the core of the approach – just a little adjusted for a new life stage. Shepherding a menu that's like free verse for food is head chef Xinyi Lin. Come for food that is delicious, local and unpredictable; drinks as varied as a house party chilly bin and a default setting of inclusion, right down to the First Nations place names on the wine list.

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One bite canapes at Mimi's
Photograph: Daniel Boud

The best restaurants in Sydney right now


This is the Time Out EAT list, our picks for the best places to dine in Sydney right now, from hot newcomers to time-honoured institutions, ranked by our expert local editors. We’re looking for fun, flavour, creativity and value for money at every price point. So yes, of course, you’ll find a fine diner inside the Opera House here, but you’ll find neighbourhood pizza, hole-in-the-wall Thai and lunch-only ramen, too – and that’s what makes our city such an awesome place to get watered and fed. Bon appétit!



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