1. Mussels and wine at Whalebridge
    Photograph: Steven Woodburn
  2. Fish sambo at Whalebridge
    Photograph: Steven Woodburn
  3. An outdoor restaurant on the harbour.
    Photograph: Alice Ellis for Time Out | Whalebridge
  4. Dishes and drinks at Whalebridge
    Photograph: Steven Woodburn
  5. The view from Whalebridge
    Photograph: Steven Woodburn
  6. An outdoor restaurant on the harbour.
    Photograph: Alice Ellis for Time Out | Whalebridge
  7. A hamburger and fries on a plate.
    Photograph: Alice Ellis for Time Out | Whalebridge
  8. French onion soup at wine at Whalebridge
    Photograph: Steven Woodburn
  • Restaurants | French
  • Sydney


If you’re after somewhere to direct out-of-towners, Whalebridge is a great bet (as long as Sydney is showing off with nice weather)

Alice Ellis

Time Out says

Park your butt on an outdoor seat at the completely alfresco Whalebridge at sunset and, as you look over towards the Harbour Bridge and Luna Park beyond it, it’s impossible not to understand why Sydney’s harbour is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. Watch the ferries pull into Circular Quay's wharves, the sparkle of the last rays of sun reflecting off the water, the sky change colour, as people behind you wander over to the Opera House for an evening show. It’s a very Sydney experience. 

What’s also very Sydney is ordering up a plate of Sydney rock oysters. We pair them with a glass of prosecco and Whalebridge's Piquant Margarita, made with white tequila, agave, lime, and some Ancho Reyes Verde liqueur that brings a touch of chilli. Then we have a think about what else to order once we can flag down the waitstaff, who were very responsive to start with but become a little harder to get the attention of once the place gets busier. 

We’d love to spend hours exploring the French menu (classics like French onion soup with gruyère croutons; twice-baked soufflé with 18-month comté cheese; mussels with a cream, white wine and garlic sauce; the lobster with mustard and gruyere; and, of course, the steak frites). But, like many others, we’re here for a light dinner before an Opera House show, so we decide to stick with sharing a starter and a couple of light meals. 

A lobster roll to start. The chunky portion of lobster meat is lightly battered and served with a mild curry sauce and shredded lettuce on a lightly toasted, pillowy white roll. It’s a yummy, comfort-foody snack that pairs nicely with a glass of prosecco. 

We order the burger, with an Angus patty, gruyère, French onion mayo and dill pickle on a seeded roll. My dining mate says the burger patty is too-well-done for her liking, but I actually like a cooked-through burger. It has nice, charry flavour, and the melted gruyère and tasty mayo bring creaminess. The French fries have that ‘we still resemble potato’ rather than ‘factory-cut perfect’ look, and they’re yum dipped in the tom sauce served in a ramekin on the side.

For freshness to complement the burger, we go for a salmon salad. It’s simple but comes with a generous amount of crumbled hot smoked salmon and big slices of avocado, as well as crisp radish and a base of butter lettuce, all topped with generous dollops of creamy buttermilk dressing. 

We wouldn’t say the food is world-beating – but the view and the vibe certainly is. We'd happily continue to sit here for the very Sydney experience of watching Circular Quay's show unfurl around us, but we've got another performance to get to. We'd happily return on a sunny day.

Want more?

These are the best restaurants and bars in Circular Quay. 

Here's our guide to The Rocks.

Got time to chill? Here's our itinerary for an all-day pub crawl of The Rocks.


Eastern Pontoon, Circular Quay
Opening hours:
Mon-Sun midday-late (weather permitting)
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