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Photograph: Anna Kucera

Where to take your parents for dinner in Sydney

Accessible, easy, quiet or cool – here’s where to take your folks out for a meal

Written by
Jordi Kretchmer
Elizabeth McDonald

Ah, dinner with the rents. While a homecooked meal may be easier, sometimes it’s nice to take them for a night out. However, this isn’t always a simple task. The Sydney dining scene has a lot of quirks that can derail the best laid plans (‘You have to wait an hour for a table?!’, ‘Why is this wine orange?’), and dining with your elders brings with it a whole host of comfort and accessibility factors that mean the dark, hip communal-tabled joints are a no-go-zone. Or maybe your folks are just hard to please. That’s why we’ve come up with this handy dining guide for taking your parents out for dinner in Sydney.

Want more dining hot spots? Check out our guides to the best restaurants in Circular Quay, Surry Hills and the CBD

Where to take your parents for dinner in Sydney

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Sydney

Best for: Those who are hard of hearing

Restaurants can be loud and annoying even if your ears have never been subjected to years of face meltingly-loud rock’n’roll gigs. So when you’re looking to take your parents out and you don’t want to spend the evening competing with background noise, head to Hubert. The wooden panelled walls of this subterranean French venue absorb a good chunk of noise, so you can have a conversation without feeling like you’re in a nightclub. And order the fricassee chicken – it’s perfect for sharing.

  • Restaurants
  • Rosebery

Best for: When they need somewhere fully accessible

Let’s face it – while Sydney has some seriously great restaurants, a lot are pretty inaccessible, especially anything in a heritage building or crammed into small quarters. Luckily Da Mario in Rosebery is super accessible – there’s a ramp that’ll take you and the fam up to the wooden deck so that you can dine on some seriously good pizze, and the space is big enough to maneuver around easily.

Pilu at Freshwater
  • Restaurants
  • Freshwater

Best for: When you’re doing a lunch

Dinners aren’t always the best option, so go for a lunch. And we all know lunches need a view so make it a spectacular one down at Freshwater. Pilu is in an old weatherboard house looking out and over Freshwater Beach. Chef Giovanni Pilu is all about celebrating classic Sardinian fare so make sure you order ahead for the incredible platter of golden, crisp-skinned suckling pig and rosemary potatoes. And there’s the zuppa gallurese – a monumental dish of Sardinian crispbread soaked in lamb broth then coated in a layer of melted cheese like a big, fluffy bread-lasagne-soufflé thing.

  • Restaurants
  • Bistros
  • Newport

Best for: When you need to channel some old school glamour

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.

  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Woolloomooloo

Best for: Vegan parents or those with dietary requirements

Whether they’re vegan, vegetarian, GF or just prefer to keep things simple and fresh, the menu at Alibi is wholly veggie based. You’ll find it inside the Ovolo Hotel – and it’s a brave move for a boutique hotel to make its food and beverage offering nut-and-plant-based (or perhaps an indication of how far we’ve come). Whether you’re totally animal-free, lactose intolerant, gluten sensitive or just down to try something different, this restaurant delivers plates that are fun, creative and moreish.

  • Bars
  • Surry Hills

Best for: When you’re paying and payday is far away

You’re a little low on funds at the moment, but you still want to take your folks out for a nice meal. Try the Dolphin Hotel and Dining Room. It’s still a pub – but Maurice Tenzini’s makeover means that it’s just fancy enough that’ll it feel a bit more special than your average pub feed. Plus pizzas are great sharing food and they go for between $18-$26 a pop here.

10 William Street
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Paddington

Best for: When extended family are coming along, too

10 William Street will reserve you a big long table upstairs if you book in advance. It’s Italian food done right, and thanks to Australia’s love affair with the food of Italy, most of it will be familiar enough that no one will baulk at anything on the menu.

  • Restaurants
  • Darling Harbour

Best for: When you need to take the pain out of choosing

There’s no a la carte menu at Lumi, so skip the pain of squabbling over what to order and who pays for what and leave it with the chef. Lumi do an eight-course degustation for $120 (if you go for the five-course lunch it’s $85), and the waterfront location is a parental slam dunk.

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