Sydney Restaurants

Sydney's dining scene is as sunny and cosmopolitan as the city itself, and there are diverse and exotic culinary adventures to suit every appetite. Mod Oz (modern-Australian) cooking flourishes, fueled by local produce and guided by Mediterranean and Asian techniques. Look for such innovations as tuna tartare with flying-fish roe and wasabi; emu prosciutto; five-spice duck; shiitake mushroom pie; and sweet turmeric barramundi curry. A meal at Tetsuya's or Rockpool constitutes a crash course in this dazzling culinary language. A visit to the city's fish markets at Pyrmont, five minutes from the city center, will also tell you much about Sydney's diet. Look for rudderfish, barramundi, blue-eye, kingfish, John Dory, ocean perch, and parrot fish, as well as Yamba prawns, Balmain and Moreton Bay bugs (shovel-nose lobsters), sweet Sydney rock oysters, mud crab, spanner crab, yabbies (small freshwater crayfish), and marrons (freshwater lobsters).

There are many expensive and indulgent restaurants in the city center, but the real dining scene is in the inner city, eastern suburbs, and inner-western suburbs of Leichhardt and Balmain. Neighborhoods like Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Paddington, and beachside suburb Bondi are dining destinations in themselves. Plus, you're more likely to find a restaurant that will serve on a Sunday night in one of these places than in the central business district (the city center)—which can become a bit of a ghost town after offices close during the week. Circular Quay and The Rocks are always lively, and the Overseas Passenger Terminal (on the opposite side of the harbor from the Opera House) has several top-notch restaurants with stellar views.

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  • 1. Aria

    $$$$ | Circular Quay

    With windows overlooking the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Aria could easily rest on the laurels of its location. Instead, celebrity chef Matthew Moran creates...Read More

  • 2. Barangaroo House


    Sitting at the edge of newly completed Barangaroo like an elegant stack of wide, plant-filled bowls clad in charred timber, this three-level spaceship has a...Read More

  • 3. Bathers' Pavilion

    $$$ | Balmoral

    Balmoral Beach is blessed. Not only does it have an inviting sandy beach and great water views, but it also has one of the best...Read More

  • 4. Bennelong

    $$$$ | Circular Quay

    One of Australia's most renowned chefs, Peter Gilmore, oversees the kitchen at possibly the most superbly situated dining room in town. Tucked into the side...Read More

  • 5. bills

    $ | Darlinghurst

    Named after celebrity chef and cookbook author Bill Granger, this sunny corner café is so addictive it should come with a health warning. It's a...Read More

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  • 6. Billy Kwong

    $$ | Elizabeth Bay

    Locals rub shoulders while eating no-fuss Chinese food at TV chef Kylie Kwong's trendy restaurant. Kwong prepares the kind of food her family cooks, with...Read More

  • 7. Cirrus


    It's named after a cloud, but with its floor-to-ceiling-windows looking out on Cockle Bay, timber fencing (both on the floor and strung in different lengths...Read More

  • 8. Gelato Messina

    $ | Darlinghurst

    There's a reason why there's always a queue snaking down the street. This is undoubtedly the best gelato in Sydney, with unique flavors that change...Read More

  • 9. Icebergs Dining Room and Bar

    $$$ | Bondi Beach

    The fashionable and famous (including celebrities like Mick Jagger and Paris Hilton) just adore perching like seagulls over the swimming pool at the south end...Read More

  • 10. Longrain

    $$ | Surry Hills

    It's always a fun night at this fashionable post-industrial Thai eatery because you never know who you'll end up meeting at the large communal table....Read More

  • 11. Quay

    $$$$ | The Rocks

    Quay has been Sydney’s top restaurant for 30 years and it's still going strong with chef Peter Gilmore's experimental Mod Oz cuisine created with seasonal,...Read More

  • 12. Rockpool

    $$$$ | City Center

    A meal at Rockpool is a crash course in what Mod Oz cooking is all about, conducted in a glamorous, long dining room with a...Read More

  • 13. Tetsuya's

    $$$$ | City Center

    It's worth getting on the waiting list—there's always a waiting list—to sample the unique blend of Western and Japanese-French flavors crafted by Sydney's most applauded...Read More

  • 14. 12-Micron


    Head chef Justin Wise’s focus here is celebrating the elements of air, land, and sea in a menu that celebrates local farmers and fine Australian...Read More

  • 15. Altitude

    $$$$ | The Rocks

    The lure of this decadent restaurant high above Sydney Harbour on the 36th floor of the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel, is the view through the floor-to-ceiling...Read More

  • 16. Aqua Dining

    $$$$ | Sydney Harbour

    Tucked beneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge with views of the harbor and Sydney Olympic Pool, this is a popular restaurant for both lunch and dinner....Read More

  • 17. Bambini Trust

    $$ | City Center

    It's hidden behind huge black doors in one of the city's historic sandstone buildings, but once you're inside you'd swear you were in Paris. Dark-wood...Read More

  • 18. Barbetta

    $ | Paddington

    The creation of three Italian brothers, this trendy Paddington eatery is a winner at both breakfast or at lunch. The menu has truly unique creations,...Read More

  • 19. BBQ King

    $ | Haymarket

    You can find better basic Chinese food elsewhere in town, but for duck and pork, barbecue-loving Sydneysiders know that this is the place to come....Read More

  • 20. Bennett St Dairy

    $ | Bondi Beach

    Bondi is known for being the health epicenter of Sydney and, unsurprisingly, the cafés are all about packing as much healthy food into a dish...Read More

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