Sydney restaurants for visitors

Author: Maya Kerthyasa
Photography: Anthony Geernaert and Phillip Castleton

Sydney is a city of many virtues: sunny weather, a sparkling coastline and an all-round easy-going vibe. It's no less fortunate in the food and drink department, either, particularly when it comes to breezy beachside eateries, benchmark-setting fine-diners, excellent Asian, superb seafood, brag-worthy breakfasts and winning Australian wine - hey, it's even catching up to Melbourne on the coffee front.

You could spend months, or indeed years, trying to eat your way through Sydney's best breakfasts, lunches and dinners. But if you've only got the luxury of a couple of days, here's our guide to some of the best (and most quintessentially "Sydney") dining experiences the Emerald City has to offer.

Fine-diners with a difference

The Bridge Room
Whatever your business, be it a power lunch, a pre-theatre supper or a special-occasion meal, The Bridge Room is a fine destination for it. The Scandi-inspired room, just up the hill from the harbour in the heart of the CBD, is light-filled and refined - a perfect match to chef Ross Lusted's clean, bright food. Go for the white-cut chicken served in its broth with organic red rice, the Murray cod with black vinegar, pickled bamboo, sprouts and ginger and the charred and smoky offerings from the robata grill. The Bridge Room, 44 Bridge St, Sydney, (02) 9247 7000


Rockpool has been the darling of Sydney's fine-dining world for 25 years. Today, it sings even louder from its new CBD digs on Bridge Street, where head chef Phil Wood weaves his magic through the likes of Moreton Bay bug congee and laurel-smoked eight-treasure quail in a Sichuan broth, with world-class wines and pin-sharp service to boot. Rockpool, 11 Bridge St, Sydney, (02) 9252 1888


Go for Sunday lunch. We can assure you that Dan Puskas and James Parry's modern, produce-driven food (much of which comes from their farm and restaurant garden) will go down smoothly. Take crab with shavings of macadamia and hints of chamomile, for example, or a surprising dessert of pumpkin cooked in mead with caramelised white chocolate and rice ice-cream. Pair it with personable service, interesting wines and an overall chilled-out vibe and you've got the perfect way to wrap up the weekend. Sixpenny, 83 Percival Rd, Stanmore, (02) 9572 6666

Momofuku Seiobo
Don't be thrown by the online bookings system. Sure, it's a little nerve-wracking (countdown timer, we're looking at you) but it's well worth the trouble for a taste of David Chang and Ben Greeno's fun but nonetheless sophisticated food. Can't make it to the dining room? Pay a visit to the bar for winning wines and next-level snacks. Momofuku Seiobo, The Star, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont, no phone

Places to drink Australian wine

Sure, you could happily spend your time in Sydney drinking imported wines, or you could dive head-first into the local gear at Nomad, where the entire list is composed of true-blue Aussie juice. Chef Nathan Sasi's Moorish-accented cuisine adds to the fun, bringing the likes of broccolini with mojama, chilli and garlic, barbecued garfish with fennel and harissa, and house-made charcuterie to the table. Nomad, 16 Foster St, Surry Hills, (02) 9280 3395


There's no better person to point you in the direction of a top Aussie drop than Nick Hildebrandt. His colossal list at Bentley puts the spotlight on some of the nation's most interesting producers, in one of the city's sharpest new rooms. Put Brent Savage's innovative menu, which spans the likes of pea, buttermilk and spanner crab soup, and organic chicken with rye and shimeji mushrooms, into the picture and you have yourself a pretty grand night on the town. Bentley, 27 O'Connell St, Sydney, (02) 8214 0505

Wine Library

For more Australian wines and good times head to Wine Library. The natural and biodynamic-leaning list offers Old World classics cheek by jowl with the latest from up-and-coming local and international appellations, complemented by a wine-friendly all-day grazing menu. Wine Library, 18 Oxford St, Woollahra, (02) 9360 5686

Rockpool Bar & Grill

While it doesn't match the dining room in terms of glamour and grandeur, the bar at Rockpool Bar & Grill is just as exciting in the drinks and snacks department. Get stuck into the Australian wine offerings from their colossal cellar and don't skip the bar burger - it's still one of the finest in town. Rockpool Bar & Grill, 66 Hunter St, Sydney, (02) 8078 1900

Only in Sydney

Porteño's your place for Argentine-accented meat-fuelled fun. The goods from the charcoal grill and the asado pit are the main draw, among them the eight-hour lamb and pork and the equally tasty wagyu skirt. There's rocking talent on the floor, in the kitchen and behind the bar, but be warned: the walk-in policy for groups under five means that lines start brewing early so be prepared for a wait. The proteins will pay off, we promise. Porteño, 358 Cleveland St, Surry Hills, (02) 8399 1440

Café Paci

Pasi Petanen's creative, casual and affordable cooking at Café Paci has been the talk of the town since it popped up in the old Café Pacifico site last year. It's only around until January 2015, though, so make sure you get in quick for a taste of blue swimmer crab with sorrel and plum, Angus tartare with garlic, tomato, parmesan and oregano, and carrot sorbet with yoghurt mousse and liquorice cake. Café Paci, 95 Riley St, Darlinghurst, (02) 9368 7000


Check out our favourite spots for breakfast and coffee in Sydney.

Sydney restaurants with top seafood and killer views.

Gourmet Traveller's list of the best restaurants in Sydney

View Full Site