It’s finally time to put down the kitchen tools and venture out to eat again. Though you might’ve perfected the art of the ‘everything omelette’, it never belonged on the dinner table, and deep down you knew that. As restrictions lift, do your tastebuds a solid while supporting some great local eateries as they get back on their feet. Where to dine? Here are some of our top picks across Sydney.
First, whether you’re a north shore local or just looking to venture over the bridge for a bite, Pasture of Balmoral on the waterfront of its namesake beach is your casual, scenic spot. Open for breakfast and lunch every day and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays with a menu that champions local fresh produce and farmers, it’s loved by locals and visitors alike.
In Cremorne, Restaurant Plage absolutely nails the Japanese-fusion-meets-French-influence brief. Headed by famed chef Tomoyuki Usui, bring a bottle from the cellar or choose one from their extensive wine list that pairs best with the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio or Grilled Scampi. Meanwhile, if you find yourself wandering the alleyways of Lane Cove, make sure you pay a visit to Little Red Robin, a sleek and sophisticated wine bar and restaurant in an unassuming location serving some of the best modern Australian food in Sydney.
Over the bridge in the Eastern Suburbs, book a table at ex ACME chef Mitch Orr and Icebergs’ Maurice Terzini’s latest Italian-inspired endeavour, the super chic and always pumping CicciaBella in Bondi. Every pasta is worth ordering, but the woodfired garlic bread is what you’ll dream about at night. Speaking of woodfired wonders, if you’re in the mood for the perfect pizza, some unique natural wine, and a carefully curated playlist, head to Dimitri’s right on the border of Darlinghurst and Paddington.
Not too far up the road, Potts Point is bustling with options. If you want to try the best, most refined Greek food of your life, make a reservation at the industrial-chic Apollo, or prepare to wait hours in the line. Either way, the saganaki cheese with honey and oregano is worth whatever you have to do to get a table.
If you’re looking to eat out closer to the CBD, relatively new contender Ragazzi Wine and Pasta serves up one hell of a spaghetti cacio e pepe, which you’d expect from the same team behind Dear Sainte Éloise and Love, Tilly Devine. Over in Surry Hills, Ester’s Mat Lindsay steals the show at his second restaurant, Poly, a cool and casual affair serving incredibly innovative food like pastrami beef short tib in oxtail broth and sticky date donuts. You can’t really talk about the food scene in Surry Hills without mentioning Firedoor, Australia’s only fully wood-fueled restaurant set inside a rustic heritage venue. Pull up a chair at the bar and witness first-hand why Lennox Hastie scored his own Chef’s Table episode.
Venturing west of the city, the perpetual traffic clogging Newtown’s King Street starts to make sense when you sample the restaurants in its vicinity. The sticky port ribs at Bloodwood Restaurant & Bar are hard to beat, while La Favola just down the road serves up incredible Italian dishes in a relaxed, exposed brick setting. Venture down Australia St and take a seat at Continental Deli, Sydney’s charcuterie champions. Owned by the same team behind Porteno, expect cold cut meats, fancy cheeses, and modern seafood dishes, and don’t skimp on ordering one of their famed Mar-tinny’s, either. Finally, fork right onto Enmore Rd to experience authentic Egyptian street food at Cairo Takeaway. Despite its name, you’re welcome to dine in and feast on an incredible lamb or chicken meat plate (cooked on the coals), or the inner west’s best falafel pocket.
Heading deeper west, post up at the old Summer Hill Post Office for a meal at One Penny Red. With an ever-changing menu made up of fresh produce from their own garden, it’s recommended you ‘trust the chef’ with your order so you can sample the best bites. Meanwhile, in Parramatta, get your Wagyu fillet fix at The Meat & Wine Co, a classic steakhouse offering a range of grass-fed cuts with an impressive wine list to match. Once an acclaimed CBD establishment, Western Sydney locals hit the jackpot when it relocated a few years ago.
Finally, head south to the shire if you’re in the mood for fresh seafood platters and bright, modern Thai. For a feast of Sydney rock oysters, blue swimmer crab, Balmain bugs and Lobster Mornay, Cronulla institution Sealevel is your glass-walled go-to. The neighbouring Alphabet Street Thai boasts a trendy modern aesthetic with equally appetising food, best known for its tapioca dumplings and jungle curry. Meanwhile, over in Menai, Rocksalt Restaurant takes the crown for most-Merivale inspired digs, with a sleek and modern aesthetic unlike anywhere else in the area. Come for a cocktail, stay for dessert.