Wheelchair access isn't just a matter of finding venues without stairs: the venue also has to have circulation space, appropriate table height, and accessible bathrooms, among other things. Dignity of access is also a concern, since lots of nominally accessible venues require you to navigate through grungy back entrances, service corridors, goods and services elevators, or hydraulic stair lifts prone to breaking down.
All of the restaurants on this list have accessible bathrooms, and all of them are accessible via the front door. Whether you’re sightseeing or a Sydney local, this list of ten wheelchair accessible restaurants has something for everyone.
Bring your own bottle of fun to dinner with this list of the best BYO restaurants in Sydney, or check out these cheap hacks for fancy restaurants for when you want to dine high-end on a low budget.
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Wheelchair accessible restaurants in Sydney
Newtown is overflowing with excellent Thai restaurants, and Thai Pothong is indisputably one of the best. Alongside a mixture of traditional and contemporary Thai dishes, they have sizeable gluten-free and vegan menus and an impressively colourful cocktail menu. You can even pick up a souvenir from their gift shop, which also displays a range of huge, eccentric scrap metal replicas of Stormtroopers, Transformers, Aliens and Predators welded from recycled car parts.
Modelled after the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon, this extravagant restaurant is a fitting homage to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Take the lift up to the rooftop of Westfield Sydney and you’ll find an opulent space lavishly decorated with hanging greenery, marble fixtures, silk and velvet upholstery, and warm lighting. The halal Levantine menu is inspired by head chef Arman Uz’s youth growing up in Turkey, and the venue has an 800 person capacity.
Leichhardt’s days as the vibrant heart of Italian culture in Sydney are dwindling, but the authentic wood-fired pizzas of Café Gioia (“joy”) are a testament to the suburb’s strong Italian roots. Alongside traditional pizzas like the capricciosa and marinara, they also have dishes with a Sydney twist, including the Leichhardt Special and a pizza named after Norton Street. On Fridays and Saturdays they have live music from 6pm until late.
This teahouse nestled in the Chinese Garden of Friendship is a real hidden gem. Swing by for dim sum, dumplings and a selection of teas during the day, and a Sichuan dinner menu at night. The teahouse is heritage listed and recently refurbished, and the view over the gardens provides a blissfully tranquil retreat from the clamour of the city. Keep an eye out for the water dragons sunning themselves by the decorative pond.
You’ll want to get in early to eat at Mamak, because this bustling Haymarket restaurant is so popular that the queue usually stretches around the block. They serve up delicious Malaysian hawker food styled after the Indian Malay street food of Kuala Lumpur. Mamak started out as a humble market stall at Sydney’s Chinatown Night Markets, and gained such a loyal cult following that they now have multiple branches in Sydney CBD, Chatswood and Melbourne.
The Grounds of Alexandria is an inner-city hipster dream: a former industrial warehouse filled with pot plants, rustic furniture, fairy lights, and even a petting zoo. They’re famous for their eponymous coffee, but apart from being a perfect brunch spot they’re also a great location for a date night or group outing. The closest accessible train station is Green Square, but there’s also plenty of on-site parking.
Named for the coastal region of Kerala, this award-winning Darlinghurst restaurant prides itself on its fusion of traditional and modern South Indian cuisine made with handpicked ingredients. Owner and head chef Mohammed Sali says he draws on “thousands of years of Indian wisdom” with his cooking, which includes a vegan menu, banquet options and mouth-watering dessert menu. Don’t miss the Persian saffron tea with rose petals and saffron infused rock candy.
El Jannah (“heaven”) is a family run Lebanese restaurant that’s been operating in Granville for over twenty years, now with five other locations scattered around Western Sydney. Here you’ll find simple but delicious charcoal chicken, falafel rolls, chips, dips, pickles and salad, as well as their famously tasty garlic sauce. The serving sizes are huge and the prices are low – their family meal of two whole chickens, four drinks, chips, sauce, bread, and sides comes out to less than fifty bucks.
This sparkling William Street café and wine bar is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. In the mornings you’ll find cold drip coffee and black truffle scrambled eggs, and in the evenings they switch to home-made pasta and gnocchi and a selection of decadent antipasti. Their menu has plenty of vegetarian options, starting with a twice-cooked eggplant parmigiana. They have an unbelievably extensive beverage list including a number of signature cocktails and dessert wines.
Perched on the bank of the Parramatta River, Port Bar’s sunny riverside restaurant is a casual yet chic venue with a breezy Mediterranean and modern Australian menu. Port Bar is right next to the ferry terminal and they have two accessible parking spaces immediately next to the alfresco dining area. There’s no lift access to their private upstairs bar, but their main restaurant area has plenty of space for private functions.