Because Sydney’s food goes way beyond “throw another shrimp on the barbie!”
Sydney’s thriving dining scene is well known around the world. It’s particularly acclaimed for Modern Australian food, which famously takes inspiration from countries all over the world – such is the integral multicultural nature of Australia. There’s a fair amount of influence from South East Asian cuisines as well as Italian home cooking and American fast food.
There’s a whole spectrum of dining options in Sydney, from high-end fine dining to great value cheap eats. And there are also some great International offerings.
Although to really see the city, you might want to eat in a restaurant with a breath-taking harbour view. Here’s our pick of the top eateries in all of four of those categories: fine dining, cheap eats, restaurants with a view and International.
Quay, The Rocks
As this is Australia’s most awarded restaurant, Quay is well worth a visit if you’ve got a bit of cash to splash. It’s got stunning harbour views right over the Sydney Opera House and you can be sure as heck that you’ll be blown away by the exquisitely presented food.
Nomad, Surry Hills
The food draws influence from the flavours of the Mediterranean but uses local Australian ingredients, which results in a unique and seasonally driven menu. Located in a cellar door, the wine is just as good as the food. And the exposed brick walls and artisanal décor create the perfect ambience.
Sepia, Darling Park
Situated in the prestigious Darling Park precinct, Sepia won Restaurant of the Year 2014. The food is contemporary and draws influence from Japan. Diners can get either enjoy a four-course or degustation menu, which allows the chefs to fully flex their culinary muscles.
Marque, Surry Hills
Known as one of Australia’s best restaurants, Marque delivers impressive dishes using new-age techniques. Although modern in its approach, a French influence is central. The dishes are just as much works of art as they are delicious examples of culinary greatness.
As soon as Mamak opened there were queues down the street as hungry diners eagerly anticipated their Malaysian street food fix. The menu is simple and the dishes inexpensive, but good, hearty Malaysian favorites are real crowd pleasers. Think roti with flavor-packed curry sauce, satays and noodles.
Bodega, Surry Hills
The tapas at Bodega channels the Argentinean way of life, but with a modern twist. And diners can see the dishes being cooked and assembled right in front of their eyes through the open kitchen. Classic Bodega favorites are the fish fingers, and banana split.
Cipro Pizza al Taglio, Alexandria
It goes without saying that Cipro Pizza al Taglio is an Italian restaurant. What make it apart are the well-made, delicious-ingredient-loaded pizzas. And, by the way, the pizzas are cut into squares instead of triangles and you order by the square, which is great because you’re then able to sample a variety of the offerings.
Paul’s Famous Hamburgers, Sylvania
This place doesn’t use the word ‘famous’ unjustly – it’s been around for over 50 years and has been getting great reviews from Sydney’s burger fans for the duration. Their burger recipe dates back to 1957, which means that those who fell in love with the burgers back then can still get that same flavor fix today.
Restaurants With a View
ARIA, Circular Quay
Sitting in the ARIA dining room you’re offered expansive views of both the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House owing to the curved glass frontage. Acclaimed Chef Matt Moran serves up gorgeous modern cuisine that looks beautiful on the plate and is even more impressive on the palate. The top-notch food, stunning view and exceptional service attracts foodies and celebrities to ARIA on a regular basis.
AQUA Dining, Milsons Point
Sitting above the North Sydney Olympic Pool, AQUA Dining is known for having some of the most impressive views over Sydney’s cityscape. The modern and clean interior with large windows, allows the view to really shine. Food wise, there’s a refined, modern Australian theme to the menu.
Cafe Sydney, Circular Quay
One of the greatest selling points of Cafe Sydney is the view, which offers a sweeping outlook over Sydney Harbour Bridge and the water, but not from above – at eye level. Famous for its seafood, Cafe Sydney is modern contemporary Australian through and through. Expect to see lots of fresh and local products, in particular seafood.
Sails on Lavender Bay, McMahons Point
With views over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, this is another spot for post card-worthy views. The difference here, however, is that it’s on the northern shores of the harbour, which you access by ferry, private boat or car. The menu focuses on fresh, local produce, served in a refined and modern way with a focus on fresh seafood.
Indian – Zaaffran, Darling Harbour
This is a fine dining Indian restaurant at its best. Don’t expect to receive bowls of curry accompanied by bowls of rice as per a normal Indian restaurant – here the food is artfully presented to emulate modern Western cooking. And to top it off, the restaurant is located on the Darling Harbour waterfront so diners get great views of the boats and water below.
Thai – Home Thai, Chinatown
You know that a Thai restaurant is good when there are hoards of Thai people lining up to get in, and that’s what it’s like at Home Thai. Located in Chinatown, this authentic Thai eatery is particularly famous for its pad Thai, pad pik khing and lab ped.
Italian – A Tavoli, Bondi
Known by many as one of the best places to get freshly made pasta in Sydney, A Tavoli covers all the Italian classics but creates them with finesse. The seaside location is reflected in the menu as you see a lot of fresh seafood dishes (they also have a second location in Darlinghurst). The pasta is made by hand, the pizza cooked the Napolitano way in a wood-fired oven and the meats and cheeses kept in a traditional salumeria.
Chinese – Old Town Hong Kong Cuisine, Chinatown
Although particularly famed for their steamed pocket buns filled with either Peking duck or roasted or barbecued pork, this Chinese eatery has all the favorites. There are dumplings – the xiao long bao dumplings in particular are worth a mention – Peking duck in pancakes, and so much more.