A foodie's guide to dining and drinking in Sydney
The Sydney restaurant hit list
Unless you have the metabolism of a nine-year-old and the finances of a Kardashian, you never stand a chance against Sydney's ferocious dining machine. The openings just don't stop – and ain't nobody got time to keep on top of what's what. Except us, of course. Behold: our eat-and-destroy list, a guide featuring some of the best new restaurants you need to try, along with some old standbys still doing things right. Go forth – and eat all the things!
The 27 most Australian dishes in Sydney
No matter how you feel about nationalism, there's one thing all Australians can agree on. We make pretty epic food. We thought we’d celebrate our country with some of Sydney’s finest fare. We’ve found the 27 most Australian dishes that Sydney has to offer. From the best pad Thai to our raddest lamington and most delicious native plant stir-fry. Here is our list, in no particular order, of Sydney's best takes on Australiana:
The best cheap eats in Sydney
In a perfect world, we'd spend every night enjoying fine cuisine at Sydney's most indulgent restaurants. We'd be at Quay, Sepia, Rockpool Bar & Grill... anywhere, really, that requires half (or all, or far more than) what's currently in your bank account for a shared plate. But we do not live in a perfect world – sometimes the stove is broken, the thought of checking your balance makes you break out in hives and skipping meals seems a viable option. But you don't have to do that! There's a host of restaurants all around our fair town serving up tasty food at prices that won't leave your wallet empty.
The best bars in Sydney
This has been the year Sydney’s bar scene got classy. People who not so long ago wouldn’t have touched a straight liquor cocktail with a bargepole are now ordering up Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs without a second thought, and they’re loving it. Sure, the lockout laws continue to dampen the late-night hijinks, but that just means our party starters have had to get creative. New bars are still popping up in any underground space, hidden enclave and lofty spot that becomes available, and the yardstick for bar snacks has been set at an all-time high. The old guard have applied fresh vigour to the cocktail craft in the last 12 months. New additions have reminded us that the best drinks aren’t always the booziest; orange wines are everywhere we look; and this year heralded the rise of locally distilled spirits. Way to level-up, Sydney.
The best pubs in Sydney
Charge your glasses, friends, and join us in a toast to Sydney’s pubs. To the fusty watering holes that champion the old ways: they’ve still got a pie warmer behind the counter, the footy is on the TV and their Reschs is cold and clean. And to the young guns swinging open the saloon doors to local breweries fermenting up a flavour storm in all corners of the city. Great evenings have been built on a foundation of schnitzel and steak, but we’re also showcasing the local pubs getting creative with counter meals and ensuring the tucker is top-notch. All up it’s been a ripper year for the Sydney pub scene: this guide is where we get to sing the praises of the best in the business.
The best things to do in Sydney
The best art galleries in Sydney
Sydney is busting at the seams with great art – from major institutions like the Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art, to incredible privately-owned but publically accessible (and free!) galleries like White Rabbit, and right down to a thriving scene of independent and artist-run initiatives. Below are some of our favourites.
The best walks in Sydney
Coastal walks, bush walks, historical walks and inner city ambles: there are many routes to choose from to discover Sydney from a new angle. See our list of ten favourite places to wander and remember to pack a camera – these walks offer some of the best vantage points for snapping our city at its best.
Indigenous tours in Sydney
From tours that take you to previously restricted bushland to self-guided, inner city augmented reality apps that show you what life was like before European settlement in Australia – these Aboriginal led and operated businesses share knowledge and history that dates back thousands of years. Find more walks in Sydney or explore our harbour islands.
Free things to do in Sydney today
Sydney may have been voted the second most expensive city in the world to live in, but if you look closely you will find cheap and free things to do on any day of the year. Want LOLs without the price tag? Here's where to find free comedy nights in Sydney. Or a cheap date idea? See these venues for free live music on any night of the week.
Most popular events in Sydney
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Leaf Supply is launching nationwide delivery
Sydney-based online plant boutique Leaf Supply has just launched nationwide shipping, along with a new range of botanical-themed pots, accessories and plant seeds. The small business, founded by florist Sophia Kaplan and plant and design store owner Lauren Camilleri, has made the green-gift giving game a little more interesting, with three pretty evergreen plants selected every month available to send your loved ones. The live plants are still only available for those in the Sydney metropolitan area, but they’ve stocked their website with a collection of goods available to be sent all over the country, like secateurs, watering cans, plant food, stands, and plant magazines. They’ve also curated a few special pieces that will certainly elevate your gardening interests like handmade ceramic pots, a bronze water mister, and candles. All products get a seasonal upgrade, so it’s definitely worth coming back to see what’s new. Want to start from the seed up? Co-founder Kaplan has put together special seed packs that are perfect to gift someone who’s just starting out in the gardening game. The packs are also beautifully illustrated, thanks to designs by Edith Rewa. With expertise and care guides provided for each plant they sell, even those with the blackest thumbs can’t get it wrong.
English Baroque with Circa
The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Brisbane-based performance company Circa are back to deliver a collaboration which mixes 16th and 17th-century music with acrobatics and contemporary circus. English Baroque with Circa is the third installment from the two companies, who previously teamed up to create the Helpmann award-winning performance French Baroque in 2015 and again in 2017 with Spanish Baroque to a sell-out crowd. The dazzling combination of contemporary movement with 500-year-old English masque and theatre music will premiere at the Canberra International Music Festival before heading on to Sydney's City Recital Hall, arguably one of the only concert spaces in the city with acoustics superb enough to match the tumbling commotion on stage. Artistic director Paul Dyer of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Yaron Lifschitz of Circa have created an inspired pasticcio with works from English composers Henry Purcell, John Playford and John Dowland woven together into one piece. Celebrated soprano Jane Sheldon, who starred in The Howling Girls with the Sydney Chamber Orchestra in 2018, will be sharing the stage with Circa acrobats and the Brandenburg musicians. Tickets start from $30, with $41 seats for under 30's. The Sydney season is only running for six shows before moving on around the country. If this performance is anything like the previous offerings from the duo, this daring collaboration will enchant from start to finish.
Hop down to Shangri-La Hotel for Easter high tea and garden cocktails
A fantastical Easter garden will pop-up in Shangri-La Sydney's Lobby Lounge throughout April with executive pastry chef Anna Polyviou. And what could be better than to fill said garden with delightful treats and heavenly cocktails? If you have always wanted to savour Polyviou’s signature desserts, Easter Garden High Tea will feature her cracked egg tart, indulgent chocolate pots, sticky hot cross buns and an elevated version of the old-school soft serve in a waffle cone. Accompanying these morsels, you’ll be able to drink a popcorn caramel Martini or a Spritz. Flutes of Chandon and Veuve Clicquot will also be on offer if you prefer bubbles. This special afternoon out costs from $75 per person or $55 for kids. If you’re looking for a more grown-up affair, experience the Cocktails in the Garden. Starting from $55 per person, you’ll be handed a picnic basket full of savoury bites, as well as a Belvedere Spritz, a flute of Chandon or a popcorn caramel Martini. Inside the basket, there will be cured meats, Australian cheeses, olives, fluffy quiches and fruit to accompany your refreshing cocktail. Want something a little fancier? For $85 per couple, there’s the option to drink a flute of Veuve Clicquot or Chandon. If you’re going all out, $115 shared between two will keep the cocktails or sparkling free-flowing for 90 minutes. Easter Garden High Tea is available in three sessions throughout the day starting at 11am, 1pm and 3.15 from April 1 to April 29, and cocktails in the gar
Mark Watson: The Infinite Show
Following a show which took last year’s Edinburgh Fringe by storm, British comedian Mark Watson returns to his adopted homeland and makes his long-awaited return to Sydney with a show about empathy. The Infinite Show is about the sorry state of the world and the comedian offers some suggestions for what we can do about it. The former Edinburgh Comedy Award Panel Prize winner brings his trademark twitchy charm and witticisms to answer the big question — if other people make up 99 per cent of the world, why can’t we understand them? He does this by asking audiences to write down something they find hard to empathise with on cards which come into play later in the show. If you’ve managed to catch Watson at one of a string of previous sold-out festival performances or spied him on telly in many UK panel appearances you’ll be familiar with his improv and high-joke rate. Watson's success in Australia goes way back to 2006 when he won a Barry Award for best show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, with his last Sydney Comedy Festival appearance in 2012 for the Information Show. He’s also published eight novels, so you can enjoy more Watson well after you’ve left the theatre laughing. Catch the show fresh from Melbourne on April 23-24 during this year's Sydney Comedy Festival.