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People sitting inside restaurant eating at Bopp & Tone Restauran
Photograph: Anna Kucera

The 21 best restaurants in Sydney for a business lunch

Keep these options up your sleeve for when you mean business

Matty Hirsch
Written by
Matty Hirsch
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By and large, the high-flying days of long, boozy weekday lunches are over. That being said, there's no better way to bond with the team, impress a client, farewell a colleague or seal the deal than sitting down to a nice meal in the middle of the day. It doesn't have to be flashy, just so long as it's good. Whether it's a leisurely lunch, a quick catch-up or a matter best settled over a few beverages, this is Time Out's guide to the best restaurants for business lunches in Sydney. If all goes well, carry on bending the elbow at one of our picks for Sydney's best bars in the CBD.

Dinner more like it? Have a look at the 50 best restaurants in Sydney.  

Keen to impress but spend a bit less? Check out our list of Sydney's best cheap eats.

Sydney's best business lunch spots

Rockpool Bar & Grill
  • Restaurants
  • Sydney
  • price 3 of 4

Best for: Going all out in decadent surrounds
If there's one restaurant in Sydney that's pretty much purpose-built for paying with the company card, Rockpool Bar & Grill has to be it. This is the perfect stage for wheeling and dealing Mad Men-style over Martinis, big steaks and even bigger red wines, and you can do so in plain view of everyone else or in one of the private dining areas. Prefer to keep it a bit more casual? Grab a seat at the bar and rip in to an epic Blackmore Wagyu burger.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Best for: Top-notch dim sum
It's one of the city's most dramatic dining rooms, and the one major advantage of hitting it up during the day is the extensive choice of dynamite dumplings. There are plenty of yum cha trolley classics, like prawn and scallop shumai and barbecue pork buns, but the kitchen also luxes things up with the likes of foie gras prawn toast and king crab crystal dumplings with golden soup. If you really mean business, live seafood from the tank awaits, and so does glistening whole roasted duck. 

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Bentley Restaurant and Bar
  • Restaurants
  • Australian
  • Sydney
  • price 3 of 4

Best for: Fine-dining fare with edge
If the boss or the client cares more about the food than most, Bentley's got to be the pick. Brent Savage's technique-driven, intricate approach in the kitchen comes through loud and clear in dishes such as scallop tartare surrounded by slivers of compressed pear and showered with slivered almonds and finger lime. For all the fuss on the plate, lunch sets you back just $75 for three courses, which – at a place of this calibre, in the centre of the city – is a bargain.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Sydney

Best for: Classy carnivores
At dinner time, staff will confiscate your mobile phone at the door, but you can happily hand it over to them at lunch if you'd like so you can stay on task at this underground bovine shrine. Why deal with constant pings while you chow down on a medium-rare Tuscan-style T-bone steak if you don't have to? 

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Hubert
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Sydney
  • price 3 of 4

Best for: Friday lunch when you're not going back to work
You lose all track of time every time you descend the spiral staircase and stumble into the raucous, subterranean Belle Époque salon that is Restaurant Hubert. Set your out-of-office reply and welcome the weekend with a feast of France's greatest hits, from duck liver parfait to chicken fricassée with a side of pommes Anna. Portions aren't small, so bring a crew, and bring a thirsty one – the wine list is well worth getting stuck into. 

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Best for: Proper British pub grub
Saunter down the cobblestone laneway off Clarence Street and sidle into this 18th century-style tavern for righteous fish and chips, gammon steak, roast with all the trimmings or a good ol’ ploughman’s platter. Have a genuine cask ale while you’re at it – the boss probably won’t find you hiding out here. 

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Cirrus
  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Barangaroo
  • price 3 of 4

Best for: Seafood, seaside
While everybody else is getting their fast-casual fix along Barangaroo's Wulugul Walk, you can be at Cirrus, just metres away, picking at an epic seafood platter piled with oysters, pickled clams, poached king prawns, crumbed mussels and honey bugs, swilling a goblet of Chablis and gossiping about everyone back at the office. That's considered "business", right?

Bopp and Tone
  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Best for: Something quick that's still a bit swanky
If the top dog isn't picking up the bill, then maybe it's best to skip the table service and the $86 slow-roasted beef short rib at this glamorous, old-timey Med-leaning mod-Oz restaurant and order at the bar. The 'Quick Smart Lunch' is designed to be exactly that – a rotating choice of five quality plates between $19-$35, from buffalo mozzarella and broad beans to burgers, steak frites and fish and chips. 

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Continental Deli Bar Bistro CBD
  • Restaurants
  • European
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Best for: Cured meats, cheeses and canned cocktails
There's more glitz and glamour at the much-loved Newtown institution's CBD outpost, along with a broader pasta menu and some super-quality sambos (a $26 French dip among them). Thankfully, the stellar selection of cured meats, cheeses and tinned seafood remains solid as ever, so settle in, pile the table high and graze to your heart's content on a picnic-style spread perfect for a brainstorming session.

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

Best for: Meze on the roof
Whatever you do, don’t walk the client through the trappings of the Westfield on a weekday afternoon. Grab the express escalator from Pitt Street Mall that shoots you straight up to level seven and spits you out into this slick and sprawling Middle Eastern eatery with plenty of booths, quiet corners, big group tables, private rooms and space on the terrace for close 300 punters. 

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Spice Temple
  • Restaurants
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Best for: Haute Chinese (with a bargain bar menu)
It'll take your eyes some time to adjust to how dark it is down here, but it ends up working in your favour, because some of your competitors might be sat just metres away and you'd have absolutely no idea. And what's more, when the sky-high spice levels start to kick in, you'll be able to hide the tears in your eyes. Down to spend less than $20 instead? The $15 noodles at the bar are just the ticket. 

  • Restaurants
  • Sydney
  • price 1 of 4

Best for: Vegan yum cha, al fresco
Bodhi's been around for more than 30 years, and it has attracted a loyal following for its Buddhist-inspired vegan cooking. Lunch here means yum cha, brought out in small batches on trays, full of flavour and free of both animal byproducts and the frenzy of a Haymarket banquet hall. On a warm clear day, a table outside beneath the old Moreton Bay fig trees is paradise found.

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  • Restaurants
  • Sydney

Best for: Old-school kicks in the Strand Arcade
First, the Champagne trolley will come around. The bread trolley will follow. And after the meticulously handmade pasta disappears from your plate and you order dessert, another trolley with digestifs shows up. Regulars have flocked here for over a decade, and with service this suave it's no mystery why.

Chin Chin
  • Restaurants
  • Surry Hills

Best for: Big, buzzy group bookings
Competing with the noise level might pose a bit of a challenge, but if your colleagues like to talk big game at big volumes, your crew will be right at home at this perennially packed Surry Hills modern Thai that's thankfully less busy than the Melbourne OG. The set menus here ply you with food, so there's no way anyone's going back to work hungry.

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Otto Ristorante Sydney
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Woolloomooloo
  • price 3 of 4

Best for: Splurging on splashy Italian
If you're looking to make a big impression, a long lunch on Woolloomooloo Wharf usually does the trick, and so do the housemade pastas at this waterside veteran. The kitchen stays open from noon until night on weekdays, so you can schedule that meeting on the later side if need be and stick around for a couple more rounds without a worry. 

  • Restaurants
  • Sydney
  • price 3 of 4

Best for: Signing off on a record-breaking deal 
If you can afford to make time in your work day for lunch at this harbourside showstopper (and pay for it), you must be doing something right. Two courses start at $85, but you can’t really put a price on the neck-stretching panoramic views from the squeaky clean floor-to-ceiling windows, or the equally polished service that comes along with them.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Sydney

Best for: A pizza party
Orazio D'Elia is one of the city's best pizzaioli, so who better to trust if an afternoon carb-load is what's on the cards? There's no guaranteeing you won't stoop into a slumber back at your desk after conquering one of these wood-fired Neapolitan-style beauties, but that's future you's problem. Staff unlock the doors at 8am Monday through Friday and stay open all the way through, so a quick feed in the spacious front bar is a solid anytime option.

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

Best for: Canteen comfort food at its finest
Mike McEnearney is the master of simple, honest cooking that gets you closer to your two-and-five without burning a hole in your wallet. If healthy, wholesome eats are the order of the day, this is where to take the team, and the high-turnover, communal tables are the perfect excuse to keep things brief if you need one. 

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Bacco Osteria e Espresso
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Best for: Keeping a low profile over pasta
Head to this intimate little osteria for a slice of Milan smack bang in the centre of the city. Some salumi, a bowl of fresh pappardelle with lamb ragù and a glass of red make for primo conversation fodder, but hit up the espresso bar next door for a panino and a macchiato if all you need to do is proofread a couple of emails.

Bar Luca
  • Bars
  • Sydney
  • price 1 of 4

Best for: A burger and a beer
Take off your jacket, roll up your sleeves and wrap your mitts around one of Bar Luca’s burgers if a handheld lunch is your preferred way to talk shop. Note: the subject might very quickly shift to the merits of maple syrup between buns if you order the signature Blame Canada. 

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Glenmore Hotel
  • Bars
  • The Rocks
  • price 1 of 4

Best for: A good ol' pub lunch with a killer view
A lot of fuss gets made over the Glenmore’s unbelievable rooftop, taking in the majesty of the Harbour Bridge and hooking around past the Opera House sails to the glittering CBD. It’s an easy sell, especially because it proves you don’t need to fork out for a top-tier restaurant for the kind of Sydney vista that belongs on a postcard. If the rooftop is packed out, the lower levels also do good counter meals and you can reserve tables. 

Need a private dining room?

The best private dining rooms in Sydney
  • Restaurants
There’s a heap of restaurants in Sydney with private dining rooms, and we’ve put together a list of the best for you. From the moody, underground vibes of Spice Temple in the CBD, to waterfront views at Freshwater’s Pilu, outsourcing is the smart way to entertain. So gather your people together, choose your spot, and worry only about the serious business of eating and merriment. And the best part? You don’t have to do the dishes.
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