The doors of Sydney's restaurants, cafés and bars were shuttered for dine-in services on March 23, when the federal government announced a nation-wide shutdown. Despite this harsh blow for the industry, many Australian establishments responded with gusto, pivoting to offer takeaway and delivery, packaged hampers, and even virtual cooking classes.
Now, dining establishments around Sydney have been given the green light to start operations again – though within strict physical distancing parameters. As of June 1, patrons can serve up to 50 people at a time, with a minimum of four metres squared allocated for each patron.
We've collated a rolling list of the Sydney restaurants and cafés which have restarted dine-in operations. It's by no means an exhaustive list of the venues taking action right now; rules and restrictions are changing quickly and everyone is doing their best to keep up. We recommend checking the social media accounts of your favourite venues for the most up-to-date information.
If you'd like to contact us to add your venue to the list, please email details of your offering to Sydney editor Maxim Boon (email@example.com).
Note that with the number of patrons capped at ten people, bookings are essential for all venues on this list, unless otherwise stated.
Where to eat, wherever you are
This restaurant hasn't opened its doors yet – but you can put your name down on the waitlist for a slot beginning July 1 (don't worry, those pastas are worth the wait).
Rent out the laneway bar and cafe for private functions, putting your $1000 tab towards drinks and pizzas for you and nine mates.
This trendy Paddington restaurant is back serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bookings are essential for dinner only – at other times of the day, you can just walk in.
This one's only open for walk-ins at this stage – what lengths will you go to for puffy wood-fired bread? Otherwise, both the CBD and the OG Totti's on Bondi Road are still slinging takeaway.
Sit down dining at Darlo's hip Indian diner is back from Tuesday, May 19 so you can get your roti taco fix once more.
Buffalo Dining Club
There are two seatings available on Fridays and Saturdays at this tiny Italian restaurant-bar in Darlinghurst (and Time Out Award winner), but you'll need a full group of ten to book.
Bulletin Place has reopened exclusively for private hire for up to 10 people, and bartenders will design a bespoke cocktail list for each party based on a questionnaire. There's a minimum spend requirement of $1000 (+10% discretionary surcharge), but you can stay all night.
You can stop by this Redfern local for Australiana-inspired tucker from Friday onwards.
The cured meats-focused bar in Potts Point is taking reservations for the first time ever. Book in for the $50 set menu Thursday through Saturday, up to two weeks in advance.
You can book in for a 90-minute spot for lunch or dinner, Wednesday through Saturday.
Dear Sainte Éloise
The Potts Point laneway bar (and Time Out Award winner for Best Wine Bar 2018) is taking bookings Thursdays through Saturdays with a $65 set menu.
This mozzarella-focussed Italian restaurant is opening its doors again – before, you couldn’t make a booking if you wanted to, but now, bookings are essential.
Don't Tell Aunty
Surry Hills' proudly non-traditional mod Indian diner is open for lunch and dinner once more, with plenty of vegan options on the menu.
Fix Wine Bar and Restaurant
The CBD institution that pioneered European-style wine bars in Sydney is back and popular as ever, especially with oenophiles who can't wait to flip through the tome of a wine list.
The swish Potts Point brasserie is offering a Chef's Table private dining experience for groups of ten, available for lunch and dinner.
The Walsh Bay fine diner is open for lunch and dinner Fridays through Sundays, offering a four-course set menu for $99 per person.
The views are as good as you remember from the top floor of the Hotel Palisade in Miller's Point. However, the kitchen is now under the purview of Cian Mulholland, formerly the sous chef at Momofuku Seiobo, who is rattling the pans for lunch and dinner, Friday through Sunday.
Slurp down a bowl of noodles at one of the outdoor tables of this Haymarket noodle shop –the first in the city dedicated entirely to the saucy, brothless ramen style known as mazesoba.
This Merivale joint opened up before lockdown, but didn't have time to stretch its wings. Now, it's back and slinging takeaway meze, falafel and charcoal grills.
Dieu merci! Surry Hills' southern French favourite Loluk Bistro is reopening for lunch and dinner, so you can enjoy that Riviera-inspired dining room once more.
Curb your curry cravings, Long Chim in Sydney’s CBD is opening back up again to serve you Bangkok specialties.
Famed Potts Point eatery Lotus 2.0 is back and serving chef Dan Hong’s Lotus cheeseburger – but it's walk-ins only at this stage.
Love, Tilly Devine
The Darlinghurst laneway bar is offering a $50 set menu, and considering it won the 2019 Time Out Award for best bar food, you can trust that you're in good hands.
The steak and seafood stalwart on Woolloomooloo's Cowper Wharf is offering lunch bookings for groups of ten. The three-hour package costs $125 per person and includes three courses, wine and beer.
Mark and Vinny’s
Don’t be upsetti, Surry Hills vegan restaurant Mark and Vinny’s are back and ready to serve some mean spaghetti.
This Pitt Street-based Mexican is reopening from May 15 on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays, with two seatings at 6pm and 8.15pm, plus two additional lunch sittings at 12.30pm and 3.30pm on Saturdays. The menu is a set ‘feast’ nine-course degustation, priced at $95pp, which includes a classic Margarita on arrival.
This Merivale-run Cantonese favourite is back, with bookings available online. A minimum spend of $150 per person applies.
This Surry Hills pasta bar is re-opening with a bang, offering your favourite MV starters and mains, a new range of 'create your own' pasta, as well as cocktails galore.
NOLA Smokehouse and Bar
Barangaroo's Southern BBQ joint is serving dinner on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with seatings at 6pm and 8pm for groups of eight to ten people only.
O Bar and Dining
Grab a drink with a rotating view of our glorious CBD at O Bar – and you can choose from an a la carte menu or a five course tasting menu.
The Strand Arcade’s upscale Italian restaurant and wine bar has relaunched with a six-course degustation featuring plenty of premium olive oil from their retail store, and matching wines of course.
The casual pizzeria in Surry Hills is open for à la carte dinner – however, due to the capacity limits, the famous all-you-can-eat option is on hold for now.
The Surry Hills wine bar is once again taking bookings for 6.30pm and 8.30pm on Friday and Saturday nights, and allowing limited walk-ins from 5pm.
Pizza Fritta 180
Crispy, cheesy fried pizza at this Crown Street joint might just be the perfect post-iso meal. Stop by from Friday onwards.
Prince of York
The good times-focused bar and brasserie in the CBD has a $100 minimum spend per person during the week, and a Dinner & Disco package on weekends that gets your group exclusive use of the venue for $1,000 with the option to bring in your own DJ for a post-iso party.
You can drink your coffee out of a real glass (oh, the joys) at the popular Surry Hills café.
Sáng by Mabasa
Surry Hills' excellent modern Korean diner has a shared set menu for groups of up to four people, with two dinner seatings available Wednesday through Sunday.
The Potts Point taqueria and mezcal bar is once again slinging its wagyu pastrami burritos.
This cosy Woollahra nook is perfect for hunkering down with cheese and a rich red.
The plant-focused Surry Hills spot is open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday through Sunday. If you can't nab a table for the 6.30pm or 8pm seatings, there's an earlybird 5pm dinner slot. Bring grandma.
Balmain's elegant Turkish restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday and weekend lunch, with a special iftar menu available for those observing Ramadan.
This Marrickville favourite is back with soothing Japanese comfort food perfect for the cooling temperatures.
This contemporary Vietnamese outfit in Marrickville is back for private dining only – if you book out the table for ten on a particular night, head chef Cuong Nguyen will create a customised banquet just for you.
It’s a choose your own pasta adventure at this Newtown favourite where you can once again mix and match your preferred noodles and sauce.
Finally you can enjoy one of Mary's legendary burgers within the scuzzy environs of the beloved Newtown bar.
The Newtown tapas joint has a new menu, including an eight-course banquet option, available over two dinner sittings at 6pm and 8pm.
No 5 Restaurant and Bar
Head to the warehouse space in Alexandria to sample the updated menu and cocktails, which includes a Chef's Selection for $65 per person.
Rocks Brewing Co
The Alexandria beerhall is offering four seatings per day starting at noon, for over 18s only (sorry kids!).
Sydney Cebu Lechon
This Filipino eatery in Newtown is back serving its mainstay – a spit-roasted whole suckling pig with crisp crackling and tender flesh.
The Warren View Hotel
The Wazza is back and serving fresh beer and pub classics like burgers and parmies.
Bibo Wine Bar
Post-lockdown, Double Bay date spot Bibo has introduced a new eight-course set menu dining experience, available for $100 per person from Thursday to Sunday night, as well as for Sunday lunch.
The Corner House
For $1,000 your group can have exclusive use of the upstairs bar at this Bondi local, with a solid four hours to work your way through the bar tab.
The Pav is up and running, but it's taking walk-ins only at this stage. Pop by after a swim and see if you can snag one of those wood-fired pizzas.
Coogee Wine Room
The Mediterranean-leaning neighbourhood wine bar is offering multiple seatings per day, with a limited food menu but a broad-as-ever drinks list.
Bondi's izakaya-inspired Isabel will reopen to serve ten patrons at a time with four courses ($70) or six courses ($90) of cocktails and matched food. Call 1800 411 774 to make your booking.
You and up to nine friends can rent the upstairs dining room of this Woollahra eatery for $1,000. The flat fee covers a three-course Italian meal, a $500 bar tab and total control of the playlist.
Bondi's Caribbean-inflected rum bar is open for private bookings for ten – and they’re doing bottomless brunch for $105 per person with unlimited tacos, margarita, wine and beer.
Matteo’s Double Bay location is reopening, slinging your favourite pizzas and pastas from Friday.
Vegans rejoice! Bondi's purveyor of delectable animal-free pasta is offering a $65 set menu, which includes a glass of wine, across two dinner seatings Wednesday through Sunday.
The creative South East Asian eatery in Coogee is offering a limited menu and set seating times.
The high-end eatery in Milson’s Point is taking bookings once more for poolside a la carte dining with views of the Harbour Bridge.
Celsius Coffee Co
This little cafe at Kirribilli Wharf is open for dine-in breakfast and lunch once more, with a ten percent discount for locals as a thank you for supporting them through the shutdown.
Devon Cafe North Sydney
Fine-dining meets cafe fare at this top North Sydney breakfast spot, which is again receiving guests.
Kazzi Beach Greek
They've been keeping you fed with meat and seafood platters by the kilo, but the Mosman beachside institution is ready to serve on-site again.
Pilu at Freshwater
The Northern Beaches gem has launched a weekend pop up called Pilu Esclusivo, with a seven-course set menu and matching wines for $250 per person. The prix fixe is available for Friday and Saturday dinner as well as Sunday lunch, with guaranteed window seating overlooking those incredible ocean vistas.
Cosy café-cum-bar Sketch in Manly is opening its doors again, seating six people inside and four people outside so you'll be able to catch some sun while sipping a craft beer.
Time for a slice of mortadella or a hunk of mozzarella?
There's something a little special about winter evenings spent picking at oily, fragrant Italian antipasti over a glass of red and some good conversation. Whether you’re after Neapolitan pastries, milky buffalo mozzarella, killer cured meats or just a bottle of top-notch olive oil from Italy’s ancient groves, these delis, bakeries, shops and providores are where you’ll find the best Italian produce in Sydney.