The best long lunches in Sydney
When it comes to a long lunch, location is everything. While the CBD is a prime location for a weekday lunch, there are also a bunch of places rocking the suburbs for a midday meal, and top of the list in the Inner West is the Acre, the restaurant set up inside an urban farm where the Camperdown Bowling Club used to be. Someone has tilled the earth where the bowling greens once lay and built a spacious, breezy restaurant in the middle.
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's loads of big tables if there's a big group involved.
Cho Cho San has what is quite possibly the most beautiful restaurant interior in Sydney. The work of restaurant designer du jour George Livissianis, it’s all about Nordic cool versus Japanese refinement. Behind the scenes is pretty much Sydney’s dining dream team. Ex-Billy Kwong, Bodega and Rockpool chef Nic Wong heads up the kitchen with help from Jonathan Barthelmess, who co-owns the joint with Sam Christie. You can kick back with a long lunch from noon Friday through to Sunday.
Here at Time Out, the most common request we get is for a seafood restaurant that won’t break the bank, allows you to bring your own wine and has water views. Ormeggio at the Spit’s casual offshoot ticks all the boxes making it Sydney's dining unicorn. Head into the d’Albora Marina, past the display model speed boats worth $50,000 a pop and out towards the water. On your right is the refined, Italian fine diner with Alessandro Pavoni at the helm and well-tailored maître Ds at the door, and to your left is a little 50-seat, open-air restaurant staffed by smiling young wait staff in white tees and striped aprons.
Jonathan Barthelmess has long been one of Time Out’s favourite chefs, but don’t expect him to be wearing pom pom slippers or playing violently enthusiastic bouzouki – he doesn't wear his Greek on their sleeve like that. But do expect family-style dining with big plates of food and whole fish aimed to share around the table. Do the Full Greek for just $55 a person – it’s all the stuff you’ll want to order off the menu and exactly the right amount to eat.
The restaurant from ex-head chef of Ormeggio at the Spit, Federico Zanellato is situated on the wharf opposite the casino, and because of its positioning and extensive glass walls, it feels as if you’re almost floating on the harbour. The design of the space is mid-century-Italian-mod and the food is Italian-Japanese.
Sitting in Surry Hills’ latest too-hot-to-trot eatery, you really don’t feel like you’re in inner Sydney. Everything about the place screams Bondi Beach: the high ceilings strung with long, tassled lighting; the crystal-white tones everywhere you look; the mirrored pizza oven in the corner and most of all, the beautiful people sitting all around. It’s Bondi, in all its glamour and glitz. But it’s all happening in an old pub on Crown Street. It was always going to be this way. The Dolphin Hotel has been taken over by none other than Maurice Terzini, the man behind Icebergs and Da Orazio, and he’s brought everything but the sand with him.
The first thing that hits you when you visit Pilu is the view. This Sardinian restaurant (the only one in Sydney, mind) is built in a huge old weatherboard house looking out over the beach at Freshwater. In winter, catch the whales migrating. In summer, watch as locals take to the sea. Chef Giovanni Pilu is all about celebrating classic Sardinian fare. Make sure to order ahead for the incredible platter of golden, crisp-skinned suckling pig and rosemary potatoes.
Papi Chulo is the restaurant that long lunches were made for. The huge, light-filled room is all Art Deco curves and smoked-glass lampshades, white-washed brick walls and old mirrors framed by rough, earthy linen curtains.
At Black, Head chef Dany Karam smokes your precious of the World's Best Steak for ten minutes over cherry wood before grilling it over ironbark coals. It’s seasoned with Murray River pink salt and glazed with rendered fat that they trim from the meat, and the result is four utterly perfect slices. They come caramelised and salty on the outside and so juicy in the middle that you get a dopamine hit every time you bite down. The flavour is as pure and clean as the NSW pasture the cattle are raised on, and it’ll make you close your eyes, lean back, and groan quietly while pleasure firecrackers explode in your brain.
Dining as a group?
Need to find somewhere to feed the hungry hordes? Planning a get-together with your extended family, a birthday bash or just a booze-up with your buddies? It can be hard to know where to go, but don't worry, we got you.
Want more top restaurants?
This is the definitive, ranked list of where to eat in Sydney right now.