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View of sydney harbour at Quay
Photograph: Anna Kucera

The best private dining rooms in Sydney

Need to gather your favourites for a group booking away from the masses? Here’s where to do it

By Lara Picone and Tamar Cranswick

There are times when dining among strangers in the atmospheric clatter of a restaurant is just what you’re after. Then there are times when that simply won’t do, and what you’d really like is a private room with your people. Ideally that room isn't in your own house, eiither –  it's in one of Sydney’s best restaurants, where a team of trained professionals does the heavy lifting. Happily, that is entirely achievable. From the laidback saltwater vibes of the Bathers’ Pavilion to the perfected polish of Quay to the rollicking good times at Hubert, here’s a handy list of the best private dining rooms in Sydney. Book one for your next office function, big celebration – or when you just don’t feel like doing the dishes.

Need to seal a daytime deal in a dining room? Check out our picks for Sydney's best business lunches.

Prefer doing it yourself in the great outdoors? Have a look at the best places for a picnic in Sydney.

Sydney's top private dining spaces

Wine racks at Hubert
Photograph: Anna Kucera

1. Hubert

Restaurants French Sydney

Wind your way down the stairs into the cavernous glory that is Hubert – home to good times and the much-worshipped chicken fricassée. Take a right at the bottom, and you’ll come to the two intimate private dining rooms, which are a world of their own. The first fits ten and the second just eight, so you might have to be brutal with the invite list. Groups can choose from two menus, which feature a roll call of Hubert's takes on French classics, at $98pp or $148pp, depending on appetites. The Swillhouse team (Baxter Inn, Shady Pines, Frankie’s and Alberto’s) know their way around a bar, and the cocktail and wine choices impress just as much as the food. There’s no minimum spend, but a service fee of ten per cent applies. Get your people together, grab a room, and toast to one of Sydney’s grandest dining destinations.

Pilu dining room
Photograph: Supplied

2. Pilu at Freshwater

Restaurants Freshwater

Book the Balcony Room at Pilu, and you and your group will be rewarded with Insta-worthy, uninterrupted views of Freshwater Beach. The space, which stretches along the side of the weatherboard building, can fit up to 10 and has its own private balcony where you can watch the waves while sipping an aperitivo. Come for a long lunch or admire the sunset with your pals before sitting down to dinner. Set menus all feature the gorgeous Sardinian fare that defines this placer. If there’s anything in particular your people desire, the kitchen is happy to work on a special menu – with a price tag to match. Water views in Sydney don’t come cheap, so be aware there’s a minimum spend of $2,000.

Waygu leg steak served with aa wedge of lemon
Photograph: Anna Kucera

3. Rockpool Bar & Grill

Restaurants Sydney

Dark woods and moody, clubby tones characterise the five elegantly appointed private dining spaces at Neil Perry’s steak-focused Art Deco stalwart. It should come as no surprise that this is one of the city’s business lunch hubs, so the secluded spaces set the scene for discreet negotiation and closing big deals. The big win here is that if your booking is for fewer than 12 people, you’re not forced to go on a set menu – the warm-hued Boardroom with a capacity for eight is an ideal spot to sign on the dotted line. The Hunter (up to 30 guests) and the Bligh (up to 20) are solid bets for bigger groups, with two- and three-course menus available from a respectable $110pp.

Inside At Bondi Icebergs Dining
Photograph: Anna Kucera

4. Icebergs Dining Room and Bar

Restaurants Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach is about as dramatic a backdrop as you could possibly ask for, and that’s the one you get in the private room at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. Maurice Terzini’s endlessly schmick establishment is always wall-to-wall with the East’s most fashionable crowd, but this elegant room lets you sidestep the models and bigwigs and just enjoy the Italian-accented fare and stunning views with 18 seated mates or 30 standing. This is the place to celebrate that well-deserved promotion, long-awaited engagement or that big-number birthday, so keep the bubbles flowing.

The wool lift at Otto
Photograph: Supplied/Nikki To

5. Otto Ristorante Sydney

Restaurants Italian Woolloomooloo

Fancy dining in a 100-year-old wool lift? Easily sorted. Otto’s location on Woolloomooloo’s historic Finger Wharf offers front-row seats to the city skyline and some fairly sexy boat watching, but the reliable, tip-top Italian fare and intuitive service are what’s kept this Sydney institution front of mind for private diners. There are a few options for bigger events here, but our eye is on the intimate Wool Lift room, which seats just 14. Technically, this elevated space is only semi-private, but when it’s this one-of-a-kind, it doesn’t matter. There’s a minimum spend of $1,250 (or $1,500 on Friday and Saturday) for the space, which works out at about $90 per head, but we wager it’s fairly easy to manage that when you start popping bottles from the killer wine list.

The private dining room at Chiswick
Photograph: Supplied

6. Chiswick

Restaurants Woollahra

This postcard-pretty restaurant set beyond an always lush-looking lawn conjures images of very proper garden parties. But although you can't set yourself up on the green with a Pimm’s and a game of croquet, you can make use of this Woollahra institution’s exceedingly elegant private dining room. Up to 30 guests can come together for a soirée here, where they’ll be treated not only to Matt Moran’s produce-driven modern Australian fare (and that epic Moran family lamb shoulder), but also to uninterrupted views of the kitchen garden from large conservatory-style bi-fold doors. The graceful space comes with a hefty minimum spend of $4,000, but with the kind of food and drink on offer, we all know that won’t be a problem.

The private dining room at Nour
Photograph: Supplied

7. Nour

Restaurants Middle Eastern Surry Hills

With views out onto the deck shaded by lush greenery, Nour’s light-filled private room is the perfect spot for you and 15 friends to enjoy chef Ben Williamson’s beautifully reworked Middle Eastern dishes. Although it’s separated by a wooden screen through which you can glimpse the main restaurant, the room still feels mostly private. An unlimited seating time means you may linger over that incredible shawarma and handmade shanklish, while your drinks are merrily topped up by your dedicated staff. Groups of seven or more need to choose a banquet menu of $69pp or $79pp, and there is a minimum spend for the room, which starts at $2,000 for weekdays and is $2500 for weekends. 

Inside restaurant at Quay
Photograph: Anna Kucera

8. Quay

Restaurants Australian The Rocks

Is there a dreamier space to celebrate a milestone than this, overlooking the Bridge and the House from the vantage point of Quay’s Upper Tower? If the name makes it sound like it’s a little out of reach, that’s because it very well might be: minimum spends vary between $4,000 and $7,500 for lunch and dinner for 10 people. Better make sure they're your closest pals, so you can all marvel at the peerless panoramas from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the harbour’s ultimate dress circle seats. 

Spice Temple dining room
Photograph: supplied

9. Spice Temple

Restaurants Sydney

Step underground into your own secluded haven at Spice Temple. Set away from the hubbub of the main restaurant behind a beaded curtain, the chic room can accommodate up to 12 people in style and has lighting that can be adjusted to levels that are brighter than the pitch-black dining room. Dine à la carte or indulge in one of two banquet menus showcasing regional Chinese flavours – $89pp or $119pp. Cocktails inspired by the Chinese zodiac will help add some pep to the party, but for those on the straight and narrow, there’s also an extensive list of teas. Few cuisines are as geared for sharing as Chinese, and few restaurants do it as glamorously as Spice Temple – get the squad, get dressed up and get here.

The Good Room at the Bathers' Pavilion
Photograph: Supplied

10. The Bathers' Pavilion

Restaurants Modern Australian Mosman

Long loved for laidback beachside dining on the northside, the Bathers’ has two excellent dining rooms for get-togethers. If you’re after a more casual, kid-friendly vibe, slip on your linen shirt, dust the sand off your loafers and saunter into the Sunroom on the bistro side of things. Here, you can host a party of 20 (seated) for $79pp. If your gathering is a little more formal, don your bejewelled caftan and book the Good Room in the restaurant, where you can dine with up to 20 people for $110pp. Both rooms are handily wheelchair accessible.

Food at Bentley Restaurant
Photograph: Anna Kucera

11. Bentley Restaurant and Bar

Restaurants Australian Sydney

Trust one of the swishest restaurants in the CBD to make sure each and every single one of your needs is looked after. The beautiful private dining room here is not only entirely separate from the restaurant and caters for up to 70 standing guests (with the seated option of 22 at a single table or 40 across two separate tables), but is also kitted out with an AV system and a digital projector so that you can knock those overseas clients dead with a dazzling presentation before sitting down three courses of Brent Savage’s immaculate cooking. 

The private dining room at Aria
Photograph: Supplied

12. Aria

Restaurants Sydney

When it comes to the pinnacle of harbourside greats, few compare to Aria. This is ultra-refined dining with all the shiny bells and whistles. So if you’re out to impress with a special event for a bigger group, look to Aria’s Harbour the whole dining room, the former seating 30 and the latter 60. This is a land of polished timber and starched linens, with the kind of discreet and professional service you come to expect at a place of this calibre. Exact prices are slippery to pin down, as they vary between lunch and dinner, time of year, day, and number of heads. But you’re here to celebrate, so don't sweat the bill.

Private dining room at Sake Manly
Photograph: Supplied

13. Sake Restaurant and Bar - Manly

Restaurants Japanese Manly

Tsuchi, Mizu, Nami and Kaze are the names of four beautifully minimal private dining rooms at Sake’s beachside location. The rooms, divided by traditional circular moon gates, can hold up to nine guests each, but they can also be joined together if need be. Kaze’s the pick if you want an absorbing view of Manly Cove, and there’s also a fifth room, Sora, for a full-blown Japanese feast featuring traditional dishes as well as reimagined classics.

Golden Century food overview
Photograph: Anna Kucera

14. Golden Century

Restaurants Haymarket

This is a Sydney institution like no other, loved by everyone from top chefs to taxi drivers, business types and late-night groups of Tsingtao-swilling mates. There are rooms available here for groups of all shapes and sizes, which allow you to take shelter from the bright lights, live tanks, function-hall feel and frenetic pace that never seems to have an off switch. For a gathering of 20 people, the minimum spend required is $100 per head – don’t worry, though – once you order the pippies in XO sauce and two courses of Peking duck, you’ll find that’s easily attainable.

One Penny Red dining room
Photograph: Supplied

15. One Penny Red

Restaurants Summer Hill

Bring your posse along to One Penny Red, Summer Hill’s former post office that gives Inner Westies yet another reason to keep it local. Head up the stairs and you’ll find the private dining area, fit for ten. The cosy room, adjacent to Vernon’s Bar, opens out onto the first floor balcony and is adorned with framed First Day Covers – a homage to the building’s original purpose.The menu offers the kind of moreish, rustic food that chef RJ Lines has built his name on. There’s no room hire cost and no minimum spend, which is a good deal in anyone’s book. Service is always on point, and the kitchen nails the ‘unpretentious food done well’ brief that makes every occasion a special occasion.

Private dining room at Lotus the Galeries
Photograph: Supplied

16. Lotus - The Galeries

Restaurants Chinese Sydney

With five private dining room options, Lotus’s outpost on level one of the Galeries seems quite eager to entertain you and your group. The Lotus menu is a greatest hits album of Shanghainese and Cantonese dishes, aided by the use of fresh Australian ingredients. For private dining events, expect the same prettily presented, upmarket Chinese fare in chic, styled rooms, such as the Fish Bowl, which seats eight people, all the way up to the Blue Lady, which seats 40. There are minimum spends per room, which range from $500 to $2,200. 

The Paddington dining room
Photograph: Supplied

17. The Paddington

Bars Pubs Paddington

Though the crowds have quietened down somewhat since its opening, the Paddington is still perpetually busy. All the more reason to nab the mostly private dining space here. Situated on the second floor and with enough room for 12, the area has an open archway facing out to the cocktail bar. Groups of ten or more dine from a generous $50pp set menu, which includes dessert. And never fear, Ben Greeno’s famed rotisserie chicken is included. The only problem is you’re going to have to share it.

The private dining room at Pendolino
Photograph: Supplied

18. Pendolino

Restaurants Sydney

Effortless sophistication is what this classic Italian fine diner in the Strand Arcade is all about. The atmosphere’s always dialled up to 11 thanks to the tightly drawn Venetian blinds and dramatic lighting, which casts quite a spell. Custom-made olive oils are designed to match particular dishes from Nino Zoccali’s pasta-centric menu, and the olive oil library itself doubles as the restaurant’s private dining room. The shape-shifting space features wheeled walls that can alter the room to hold anywhere from eight up to 30 guests.

Interior at Bibo Wine Bar
Photograph: Anna Kucera

19. Bibo Wine Bar

Bars Wine bars Double Bay

With head chef Jose Silva (ex-Guillaume at Bennelong) and former Rockpool Bar and Grill sommelier Louella Mathews on deck, this Double Bay stalwart has things all stitched up. The Upstairs Dining Room and the Courtyard Space are available to book. Dark wood panelling and tables match the sophisticated, unfussy vibe. You and your coterie can dine from the $68pp set menu, which is designed to share. Given Silva’s Portuguese background, it should come as no surprise that the menu leans Mediterranean. For a little extra dosh you can go all out and order the Portuguese Tart 'Croquembouche' – a tower of tarts encased in spun sugar. Yes, it’s as epic as it sounds. The wine list is well worth exploring, so bring a crew that’s eager to work through it. A minimum spend applies only on Friday and Saturday nights and is adjustable for smaller groups.

The private dining room at Buon Ricordo
Photograph: Supplied

20. Buon Ricordo

Restaurants Paddington

Buon Ricordo has the ability to make you feel like an extra on an Italian film set – especially if you and the gang reserve the intimate wine cellar, with room for up to ten. You’ll feel like the ultimate VIP while other diners look through the glass wall with envy at you enjoying bottles of Grange and the unforgettable fettuccine al tartufovo in your own little oenophile’s paradise. Fret not if you’ve got five or six times that number of people in tow – the atmospheric upstairs dining room (complete with a reflective copper ceiling) fits up to 60 on round tables and offers plenty of room to enjoy the set menus with your choice of two to five courses.

The private dining room at dusk at O Bar and Dining
Photograph: Supplied

21. O Bar and Dining

Restaurants Modern Australian Sydney

This might just be one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets. Think of O Bar and Dining’s ‘Salon Privé’ as a lazy Susan that spins to offer up 360-degree views of our fair city, at the service of 28 of your nearest and dearest. Whether you’re here for lunch ($125pp), dinner ($190pp), or canapés ($85pp), you’ll be dazzled by Sydney’s beauty in this super-luxe, silver-walled enclave that’s ready for its close-up. The team here understand that this is special-event territory and will make you feel entirely VIP from the minute you walk in by handing you a glass of complimentary Louis Roederer Champagne. Sometimes it pays to feel like a well-heeled tourist in your very own town.

Food at Tetsuya's
Photograph: Luke Powell

22. Tetsuya's

Restaurants Sydney

When you know a dinner out is going to be an all-consuming experience, it’s important to have a little privacy to give the meal the gravity it deserves. Even if it’s just so you can make When Harry Met Sally noises (you know the scene) without igniting the ire of fellow diners. This is why the epic degustation at Tetsuya’s really needs to be enjoyed in a private dining room. You’re already paying $240 per person (without wine), so you might as well do the whole thing right and request a private enclave when you book. There isn’t a minimum spend, but you do need at least ten people to qualify for a room. With five private rooms accommodating anywhere from ten to 60 people, there are options aplenty to savour the signature ocean trout in peace and quiet. 

The Poker Room at the Roosevelt
Photograph: Supplied

23. The Roosevelt

Bars Cocktail bars Potts Point

Step into the sexily lit and unashamedly sassy Roosevelt, and you can’t help but slip into an alter ego. This is New York circa 1950, and perhaps you’ve assumed the character of a sultry pin-up or a devious movie mogul? Whatever fantasy you’ve conjured, you can play it out in the hidden Poker Room, which seats an entourage of up to 12. You can really play poker in this private dining den, all the while being unobtrusively served a $50pp finger food menu, or enjoy a whisky masterclass for $65pp. Otherwise, you can do your own thing either in the Poker Room or the larger Monroe (of course) Room, and choose from a selection of appropriately named set menus: the Bardot ($55pp), the Elvis ($69pp), the John Wayne ($98pp) and the Bogart ($179pp).

Upstairs at Osteria di Russo and Russo
Photograph: Supplied

24. Osteria di Russo and Russo

Restaurants Enmore

This is the neighbourhood Italian eatery every suburb wishes for, but Enmore was lucky enough to nab it first. It’s the kind of place you want to lock in with a few of your favourites and indulge in never-ending bottles of Chianti. Thankfully, you and anywhere from 15 frieds can do that in the upstairs dining room. If you’re on the smaller end of that scale, you will need to satisfy a minimum spend to book out the space exclusively, but if you’re not after a Friday or Saturday dinner, the cost is entirely achievable. 

Indu dining room
Photograph: Supplied

25. Indu

Restaurants Indian Sydney

Put a Subcontinental and subterranean spin on your party at Indu, the modern Indian and Sri Lankan hotspot beneath the hustle of George Street. Two dining alcoves come off the main dining area, each fitting up to 15 people. Carved into the side of the heritage-listed building, the tunnel-like rooms feature exposed brick walls and intricate floor tiling. The long table set-up encourages you to play musical chairs throughout your meal, and a curtain can be draped across the entrance for more privacy if you want it. The $65pp set menu will take your taste buds on a trip, starting with dosa and working up to more sizeable dishes like Goan pork belly curry. Bump it up to $80pp and the menu includes Indu’s signature lamb raan: lamb leg marinated in yoghurt and spices and cooked over two days. The minimum spend for groups is $1,000 – easily done here, we reckon.

Now that you've blown out that minimum spend...

Bowl of food at Spice I am
Bowl of food at Spice I am
Photograph: Anna Kucera

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