In a city like Sydney, with its excellent waterfront spots, great restaurants and (mostly) beautiful weather, it makes sense that 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 inner city, here's our list of where to spend your lazy days eating.
Want to really make a day of it? Book one of Sydney's best private dining rooms.
The best places for a Sydney long lunch
Ormeggio at the Spit’s casual offshoot ticks all the group dining boxes (waterfront, easy to book and it's BYO) 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.
Pro-tip: They also take bookings for groups of up to 10 here, and if you've got a group of up to 60, you can opt for private tables, or book out the whole restaurant.
Lunch at Bert’s is as close as we can ever get to actually living the jazz age in all its glory. There’s not a dining room in the city that can hold a candle to the soft-focus beauty that Merivale have achieved in the final instalment of the Newport’s renewal, and though we can’t afford the $2 million price tag on a Newport residence, an afternoon of café society luxury can be yours, and it’s not as expensive as you might think to get it.
Pro tip: Parking can be tricky and inspectors are vigilant so consider loading up some podcasts and getting the bus. That extra glass of Champagne will be worth it.
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.
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 boogie.
This is one of the most exciting openings of 2018, because accessible food with fine dining credentials is exactly how Sydney likes to eat right now. Nothing exemplifies the ‘come one, come all’ attitude like broad opening hours, because Sydney is a daytime dining town now and A1 has a licence that kicks off at 10am.
Pro-tip: A weekday lunch affair here will be focused on super salads and sandwiches, but on the weekend they switch things over to sharable plates that are closer to A1's dinner offerings. You can also book for up to 7 people and make enquiries for groups larger than that.
This wharfside dining room is opulent but inviting, the servings are shareable and generous, the service is slick and the tables are big and round. It takes all the good parts from the Chinese diners of your youth and adds some Merivale magic (and their decorating budget). This is the sort of place you want to go with a big group for long lunch, to make the most of some awesome seaside Australian Chinese.
Pro-tip: Like yum cha it's all about sharing here, so it's best to go with friends and family that eat everything.
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 his 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 $65 a person – it’s all the stuff you’ll want to order off the menu and exactly the right amount to eat.
Pro-tip: The semi-private chef's table seats up to 12 people and is partially joined to the kitchen meaning you get to take in all the courtside action.
You’d think going out for a little fancy fish with water views would be an simple request in a harbour-front city, but it typically yields only fish and chips by the beach – good, but low key – or a dire tourist trap that’s over priced and over-boiled. That’s a hard pass. But then Barangaroo came along and brought us good options for lunch in Darling Harbour, like this seafood-focussed diner using native flavours and ingredients.
Pro-tip: They accept bookings online and if you're in a party of eight or more, there are two options set menu options.
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.
Pro-tip: You can book in for groups of up to 10 in the dining room, and if you really want to max out your lunch hours, head up to the public bar or into the wine room after.
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.
Pro-tip: Parties up to nine adults can order from the à la carte menu, and larger than that you'll need to dine on the set menu (which has vegan and veggo offerings).
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, 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 bit from the garden, along with shareable plates of kingfish sashimi, fried spatchcock and barramundi.
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.
The first thing that hits you when you visit Pilu is the view, which is why this is prime lunching material. This Sardinian restaurant 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 while you eat their famous platter of golden, crisp-skinned suckling pig and rosemary potatoes.
Pro tip: Freshwater is a short Uber from Manly, which means you can add a ferry trip to double down on waterfront views.