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Photograph: Anna Kucera

The best long lunch spots in Sydney

For those days when good food and wine is the only thing on the agenda

Written by
Time Out editors
&
Elizabeth McDonald
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In a city like Sydney, with its kilometres of waterfront, truly great restaurants and consistenly gorgeous weather, long lunches should be on your regular to-do list. Whether you're overlooking the Harbour, sitting by the beach or in the depths of the city, here's our list of where to spend lazy, sunny days sipping, eating and lounging around in good company. 

Is it ticking over to dinner time already? Check out one of Sydney's best restaurants with a view.

Thirsty for more? Check out our pick of the absolute best bars in Sydney right now.

The best places for a Sydney long lunch

  • Restaurants
  • Double Bay

Neil Perry's swansong restaurant is likely his most personal venture to date. It feels very much like a family affair. Step inside and Perry’s daughter, manager Josephine Perry Clift, might be the first to greet you. Look towards the open kitchen, and you’ll spot executive chef Richard Purdue on the pass, who began working alongside Perry nearly 30 years ago as an apprentice at Rockpool. The menu is pure Perry: Mediterranean and Asian flavours refracted through a contemporary Australian lens, bolstered by namechecked produce that’s some of the finest in the land.

Pro tip: Scan the cocktail list, and you’ll discover the perfect Martini was “quintessential” to Margaret, Perry’s late mother, after whom the restaurant is named. Seems only fitting, then, to start with one.

  • Restaurants
  • Bondi Beach
  • price 3 of 4

This little beachfront restaurant looks like a coastal café but has the heart of a fine diner, and for over 25 years it has been setting the standard for thoughtful modern Australian cooking. These guys were all about the local produce long before it was cool, and with views out over Bondi Beach it's the best place to spend a chunk of your weekend on memorable food and great wine.

Pro tip: Right now they're doing a three-course set menu with two choice per course, bred and appetisers for $100 a head.

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  • Restaurants
  • Darling Harbour
  • price 3 of 4

Because of its positioning and extensive glass walls, it feels as if you’re almost floating on the harbour, surrounded as you are by water. The design of the space is mid-century-Italian-mod – lime green and purple textiles versus timber and concrete furnishings, and the food is a similar fusion of ideas, most simply described as Italian-Japanese.

Pro tip: If you can't make a lunch opt for the late sitting to fully luxuriate in the tasting menu here.

  • Restaurants
  • Freshwater
  • price 2 of 4

It can be easy to overlook the old guard in favour of the new, but we can't think of many better wasy to spend an afternoon than gazing at Freshwater Beach, pretendign you're in Sardinia and eating Giovanni Pilu's superlative Italian food.

Pro tip: Freshwater is a short Uber from Manly, which means you can add a ferry trip to double down on waterfront views. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Paddington
  • price 2 of 4

When you sit down at the beautiful marble topped counter that runs the length of the new-look Paddington eatery it’s not a simple matter of ‘what do you want to eat?’, but rather, ‘what can you not afford to miss?’ at the restaurant that has transformed expectations of seafood dining in Sydney.

Pro tip: Go hard on the starters – the seafood charcuterie is unlike anything else you can eat in Sydney, maybe Australia.

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Newport
  • price 2 of 4

The Northern Beaches is a clear pick for a long and lazy lunch by the sea and the Newport is an outstanding choice for families and friends alike. Plenty of restaurants to choose from, stunning views and club price drinks, settle in and really make a day of it.

Pro tip: There's an exciting kids area to keep the littlies entertained while you grab that extra glass of bubbles.

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  • Restaurants
  • Newtown
  • price 2 of 4

If you were going to spend the rest of your life at one bar and restaurant you’d need it to be the complete package. We’re talking amazing drinks, great service and cheese enough to kill a man. An ace steak wouldn’t hurt and if they could also have an impressive canned goods store that would last you through an apocalypse, that’d cap it off. In short, at Continental you’re looking at your future life partner, in venue form.

Pro tip: One of Continental's most popular signatures is its canned cocktails. Order one for the puns (will it a Can-hatten or a Mar-tin-i to start?), order several more for the flavour.

  • Restaurants
  • Sri Lankan
  • Darlinghurst
  • price 2 of 4

It only happens once a month, so plan ahead and book early for the monthly crab curries at Lankan Filling Station. It's a Sunday set menu where your tiny table is so laden with flavours, spices and colours that it’s like dining inside a kaleidoscope.

Pro tip: Buy some of the house-made curry powders and sambols to take home and tide you over until next month's lunch.

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  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • Coogee
  • price 3 of 4

Mimi's is something of a chip off the old block (Merivale's Bert's did fancy coastal bistro first), but it's also its own fancy beast and with prime position right on Coogee Beach it's worth making it a day trip for the views out those huge, arched windows. Dress for the occasion and make the most of it – if there was ever a time to order bumps of caviar and vodka, it's now.

Pro tip: Merivale pretty much specialise in long lunch venues, so take your pick from Bert's, Totti's, or Fred's.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

Roast ducks, whole crabs and seafood centrepieces might hog the limelight at Mr Wong, but smart players know to mke it a lunchtime occasion, because it's only during hte daylight hours that they have their dim sum menu available, and it's some of the fanciest dumpling work in town.

Pro tip: You can still get the big ticket proteins at lunch time so it's a win all round.

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  • Restaurants
  • Potts Point

We might be a city of shifting dining whims, but our love of scampi, split and grilled in their shells, next to a tangle of spaghetti wearing vermillion tomato sugo and chopped parsley like edible couture never falters. That’s why it’s always a roll of the dice for how hard it’s going to be to get a table at Fratelli Paradiso for lunch on a weekend. This simple dining room with a giant chalkboard on one wall stands staunch in its consistency in the face of a dining scene fixated on the hot new trend.

Pro tip: The wines by the glass are a good time, but by the bottle the range opens out to something a whole lot more fun and diverse.

  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Bondi Beach

Mediterranean by the Pacific isn’t exactly groundbreaking for the Bondi dining scene. However, every once in a while, something familiar yet exceptional comes along and changes the script. Enter: Lola's Level 1.

Pro tip: Book a table on the balcony to really soak up that sunshine.

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  • Restaurants
  • Sydney
  • price 3 of 4

If you're treating yourself to lunch at Bennelong in Summer 2021, make it a Sunday when they're running the Live at Bennelong' concert series on a Sunday afternoon. An extra $30 concert fee on top of your set menu will ensure your repast is paired with live ragtime, blues and tango from curator Phillip Johnston (Microscopic Septet, Wordless!) and friends.

Pro tip: A walk around the Botanic Gardens is socially distant, beautiful and a great way to finish your love affair with the city.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Bondi Beach
  • price 2 of 4

Another from Maurice Terzini and the Icebergs family, CicciaBella is launching their own take on a long – or eternal –lunch. The plates at CicciaBella are naturally skewed towards snacking and sharing – think olives, prosciutto, burrata and seafood fregola, the Terzini salad, ripe tomatoes and torn basil. The Pranzo Eterno set menu throws a bottomless component into the mix too, with two hours of wine, beer and a Spritz on arrival for $99.

Pro tip: If you're going rogue and ordering a la carte, make sure to tack on CicciaBella’s famous tiramisu for a sweet finish (it's already included if you opt for the set menu).  

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  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • Sydney

The freshest addition to Sydney's steak scene and the crowning jewel of Martin Place's insane $170 million hospo hub at the foot of the Siedler-designed MLC tower, is New Zealand import Botswana Butchery. The sprawling 300 seat diner comes complete with a rooftop space for 350 atop two full floors of restaurant space. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows glide into tucked-away niches, meaning the whole venue takes full advantage of warm summer nights with a relaxed indoor-outdoor atmosphere. The entire lush fit-out is complete with velvet wingback chairs, making for a very swish experience indeed. 

Pro tip: Given the name, it is unsurprising that the menu at Botswana Butchery is heavy on the meat, so make sure everyone in your party is a card-carrying carnivore. 

  • Restaurants
  • Woollahra

Overlooking Chiswick's lush gardens with a glass of rosé in one hand and a spoonful of delicious food in the other is pretty much Sydney-heaven. Plus there are loads of big tables if there's a big group involved (respecting CovidSafe rules of course), and it's the perfect window to order the famous Moran family lamb.

Pro-tip: If you've got a group of four or more opt for the set four-course menu, which includes plenty of tasty bits from the garden, along with shareable plates of kingfish sashimi, fried spatchcock and barramundi. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Woolloomooloo

This glitzy Woolloomooloo institution is known for being a wharfside runway for stars and a go-to for long lunches. With its postcard-worthy location and crowded tables, Otto isn’t short on buzz and for a modern Italian restaurant to be making one of the best vegan menus in town, they're not short on talent either.

Pro-tip: In tandem with a specialty vegan menu Otto offers a dedicated vegetarian menu, too.

  • Restaurants
  • Bondi Beach
  • price 3 of 4

Dining fashions may come and go, but drinking Spritzes with ocean views and a corps of Sydney’s most beautiful people at neighbouring tables will never go out of style. Even if the water is so cold you can’t feel your face, we still like to be near it, which is what makes Icebergs such a good-times triple threat.

Pro tip: Do the turn by heading through to the bar afterwards for more drinks and maybe even a fashionable (chair) boogie.

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  • Bars
  • Neutral Bay

While we were cocooned away in isolation, this Neutral Bay rooftop got a whole new fitout. Befitting the sun-splashed murals and light, share-plate centric fare, the terrace is adorned with palm trees, dangling outdoor lights and a bright palette of breezy, coastal pastel colours. Settle in for a long lunch fuelled by bottomless rosé and rosé sangria for $69 per person – you'll have more than enough food to go around too, with kingfish tiradito, grilled fish tacos, sweet corn and house-made chorizo quesadillas. If rosé isn't your tipple of choice, no problem. It's just $10 per person to add a beer package to your meal.

Pro tip: Ask for a table outside – rosé just tastes that much better in the sun. 

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