Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Sydney icon-chevron-right The best restaurants in Circular Quay

The best restaurants in Circular Quay

Wander back from the ferry wharves of this harbourside hub and you'll find some excellent dining spots

By Time Out editors |
Advertising
Bennelong--interior-stairs-staff.jpg

It's one of the first places you'll visit as a tourist, a pre-theatre go-to and has some of the most iconic views in the world – but being a tourist hotspot means Circular Quay not without its pitfalls. Skip the over-priced traveller's traps and check out these restaurants that'll ensure the food is as good as the view. 

While you're here, give one of the city's best ferry trips a whirl.

After city restaurants? Check out our guide to the best restaurants in the CBD.

In need of a drink? Here is our guide to the best bars in the CBD

The best restaurants in Circular Quay

1
tofa-yabbies-bennelong.jpg
Restaurants

Bennelong

Sydney

“By God, this is a beautiful place to eat a meal.” The thought is almost certain to strike at some point as you dine under the dominating, post-Brutalist arches of executive chef Peter Gilmore's new restaurant inside the Opera House sails. And that’ll be before you even see the food. There are four ways to eat here: the restaurant downstairs; the cured and cultured section up a floor; the bar at the top, and if you’re in for a clean $650 per head, the chef’s table situated within the stunning, custom-designed kitchen.

2
Anna_Kucera_Aria-25.jpg
Restaurants

Aria

Sydney

There are stories. Mysteries. Legends. And they’re all surrounding the window seats at this stunning Quayside locale. We’ve heard of people talking up terminal fatal illness to nab one. Others try the old ‘I’m a very important friend of owners Matt Moran and Pete Sullivan’. Some just happen to get very lucky when they book. So would you fake a serious (though presumably non-contagious) illness to get prime position here? Maybe if you’d seen the backdrop of Sydney Harbour, the Bridge and the Opera House.

Advertising
3
A shot of the crab at Mr Wong covered in XO sauce
Restaurants, Chinese

Mr Wong

Sydney

They’ll tell you to go for the Peking duck. They’ll tell you it’s a juicy bird with crisp skin and sweet meat. And they’d be right. It is. This is just one of the many roast delights at Mr Wong – a two-level Canto-extravaganza offering everything from fancy dim sum to green beans stir-fried with pork mince and house-made XO sauce. Chefs Dan Hong and Jowett Yu have left the day-to-day running of Potts Point pop-Asian diner Ms G’s to take the reins here, alongside head dim sum chef Eric Koh, fresh from London’s Hakkasan – luxurious dumpling den to the stars. 

4
Neon sign 'Come as you are' at Kid Kyoto Sydney
Restaurants, Bars

Kid Kyoto

Sydney

This neon-lit Bridge Lane bar is all about smashing together rock'n'roll aesthetics with Japanese food. Kid Kyoto – the third venue from Sam Prince, who is also behind the nearby Indu and Mejico – has taken inspiration from Nirvana lyrics and (there's a giant sign fluorescent sign bearing 'Come As You Are') and is dishing out an Izakaya-style menu. 

Advertising
5
Opera House at Opera Bar
Bars, Cocktail bars

Opera Bar

Sydney

Beauty and convenience don’t always go hand in hand, but Opera Bar is a glam exception to the rule. It manages to be both one of the most enviably located bars in the city as well as its most advantageous spot for a pre-show drink or snack. On the day you snag a seat facing the Harbour Bridge up on the raised promenade you should go buy a lottery ticket, because lady luck has smiled on you. 

6
Gateway Food Court Circular Quay
Restaurants, Cafés

Gateway

Circular Quay

The mega food court is home to over 25 different cafés and takeaway joints. You'll find Neil Perry's Burger Project, cheap Thai maestroes Chat Thai, Indian street food by Bilu's, sweet treats from Zumbo, crumbed goodness from Schnitz, warming laska from Jimmy's Recipe and much more in the Circular Quay compound. 

Advertising
7
Tacos and detail at Bar Patron by Rockpool
Restaurants, Mexican

Bar Patrón

Circular Quay

Circular Quay now has a restaurant bar serving up swanky Margaritas and red hot modern Mexican eats. Neil Perry and head chef Pamela Valdes (who learned to cook from her grandma growing up in Xalapa, Mexico) have created a menu that's focused around freshly pressed corn tortillas and fiery salsas. You'll also be able to order up soups and small plates, enmolada con pollo (mole chicken enchilladas) and taco platters to share. The flouncy interiors of the former Café Ananas are no where to be seen and in its place you'll find a fit out inspired by grand Mexican haciendas, complemented by views of Circular Quay and the Harbour Bridge. As the name gives away the drinks will be focused around Patrón, with limited and rare bottles available. 

8
Sopra-Bridge-Street-028.jpg
Restaurants

Fratelli Fresh Bridge St

Sydney

Upgrade your supermarket sushi and throw away that sloppy pad Thai. Lunchtime just took on a brand new meaning with the opening of Fratelli Fresh in the CBD. It’s just like the other venues in Walsh Bay, Waterloo and Potts Point, in that it’s one part fruit and vegetorium and part casual restaurant/trattoria. But that’s where the similarities end. Bridge Street has its own mozzarella bar where you can try the likes of fresh buffalo mozzarella with shavings of prosciutto or smoked mozzarella with fine shavings of pickled radish.

Advertising
9
Cafe Sydney
Restaurants

Cafe Sydney

Circular Quay

These are some of the best views in the city. The huge balcony juts straight over Circular Quay with a bird's-eye view of the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Sydney ferries choofing their way across the sparkling blue water. If you're in full impress-your-mates mode, order a seafood platter with a selection of yabbies, bugs, crab, marron and prawns. Visit on a Sunday for live jazz and cocktails.

After a dining hit list?

You may also like

    Advertising