15 Cool Sydney Restaurants, According To A Local

You haven't truly been to Sydney until you've visited these restaurants.

Image Credit: Hamilton Lund

Sydney restaurants – Something many residents of Sydney experience is getting bored with the best restaurants they frequently visit. But it can be equally frustrating trying to find a new restaurant to enjoy a delicious meal. 

This is because it’s always a risk going to a restaurant you’ve never been to before; the atmosphere could be off, the service might be really poor, and the food could taste awful but be expensive.

These risks are also faced by people just visiting Sydney; people who simply want a decent dinner from one of the city’s fanciest, or coolest restaurants, but one that’s not an overhyped tourist attraction.

Never fear, we’ve taken those risks for you. So, if you’re looking for a restaurant in Sydney to visit on your next night out on the town, these are the ones you need to go to.

This guide to the best restaurants in Sydney caters to all budgets, cuisines, and atmospheres; so, whether you want a pleasurable dinner with friends, or really want to impress a date, you’ll find a place perfectly suited to your dining needs below. And it goes without saying, but all of these restaurants have the best food.

How do we know? We’ve eaten at every single one.

Totti’s

The best Italian restaurant in Bondi… and Sydney

283 Bondi Rd, Bondi – $$

Totti's
Totti’s

While some may think the only top-notch place to eat in Bondi is Icebergs (and don’t get us wrong, it is a great place to go) Totti’s is somewhat of a hidden gem that is slowly getting the hype it deserves. With a sandstone courtyard filled with olive trees and flowering bougainvilleas, you’ll feel like you’ve actually flown to Italy for the night; plus, the Italian eatery has one of the most competent wood-fire chefs in the country. 

With delicious antipasti, pasta, steak, schnitzel, and more on offer, we highly recommend getting a few dishes and sharing them, so everyone can taste the various mouth-watering Italian dishes Totti’s have to offer.

“The food was exceptional as was the personal service! Having been in the Industry for many years the team here have all bases covered!”

Lushas_Long (TripAdvisor)

Firedoor

The best ‘cooked over charcoal’ restaurant

23-33 Mary St, Surry Hills – $$$$

Firedoor

With a name like Firedoor, it’s no surprise that chefs at this restaurant work exclusively with fire in all its forms. The kitchen uses no gas or electricity, instead, opting to use two wood-fired ovens, three grills, and a wood-burning hearth. Plus, the kitchen is open to allow guests a clear view of the action that unfolds in the fiery kitchen.

Using seasonal Australian ingredients, Firedoor’s menu is ever-changing but always delicious. An amazing Sydney dining experience.

“By far the best fine dining experience I have had in Australia! The food and cocktails were amazing!”

cell101010 (TripAdvisor)

Fred’s

380 Oxford St, Paddington – $$$$

Fred’s

Warm and welcoming, Fred’s in Sydney offers farm-to-table cooking, so naturally, the decor has been set up to make you feel like you’ve stepped into a friend’s rustic country home. All of Fred’s meat and seafood sources have been sustainably farmed and fished, the pasta is made from organic local wheat and semolina flours, and the Crème Fraiche is house-made using organic local cream.

If you’re after a dinner that’ll make you feel cosy and appreciate life’s simple luxuries, Fred’s is the restaurant for you.

“If you only had one meal left this is the place where you would go. Dear as poison, but worth every cent.”

David C

Bennelong

Bennelong Point, Sydney Opera House, Sydney – $$$$

Bennelong

Wanting to celebrate the iconic Sydney Opera House and its extraordinary architecture? Then Bennelong should be on your list. It allows Australian produce and wine to take centre stage, with a three-course à la carte menu offered across all three dining levels of the restaurant.

A rarity for a fine dining venue, the cooking is not overly technical and tricky – it’s robust and direct – allowing the pure flavours of the ingredients to sing; meaning the food is always impeccably delicious. Considering it’s situated inside the Sydney Opera House, Bennelong is an absolute must-visit for tourists.

“What an experience- the moment you walk up to the steps of the Opera House and enter this seamless restaurant under the iconic sails you are greeted with warmth and professionalism”

PhotoHutt (TripAdvisor)

Restaurant Hubert

The best French restaurant in Sydney

15 Bligh St, Sydney – $$$

Restaurant Hubert

Restaurant Hubert in Sydney is “a restaurant for people who love restaurants”. The menu reflects a passion for Paris with exquisite French cuisine. The decor present throughout the venue – which includes three bars, a large central dining room, a pair of intimate private dining rooms, and the Theatre Royale (an art-house cinema) – give Hubert an unmistakable French bistro vibe; one that is extremely pleasurable.

It can be tricky to get a booking at Restaurant Hubert, but if you do manage to snag one, you’ll dine at what is often regarded as one of the most exclusive restaurants in Sydney.

“After a long wait to get in (booked months in advance) it was so worth it. The food was on point, but its the overall vibe and attention to detail that really sets this french with spice restaurant apart.”

mytravelromance (TripAdvisor)

Nomad

The best Australian cuisine in Sydney

16 Foster St, Surry Hills – $$$

Nomad

Nomad offers fine dining in one of the best restaurant venues we’ve come across in Sydney. Effortlessly cool and fresh-looking, the venue is one you’ll want to spend considerable time in. The food on offer is inspired by the team’s travels through Spain, Morocco, and the Middle East, and is cooked with fire and smoke. Plus, the wine list has been curated to highlight the very best of Australian wine, all of which pair beautifully with Nomad’s delicious dishes.

“Unmissable experience! excellent food perfectly prepared and impeccably presented. nice cozy atmosphere and great service.”

Y2299WUrobertot (TripAdvisor)

Mr Wong

The best Chinese food

3 Bridge Ln, Sydney – $$$

Mr Wong

Despite being spread over two levels, Mr Wong feels intimate with many nooks for two to share a table, with dim lighting and moody jazz being spread all around. With an extensive menu and over 80 Cantonese-style dishes, you’ll be spoilt for choice when you visit Mr Wong. A favourite crowd-pleaser at one of the best Chinese restaurants in Sydney is the barbecue duck, which is simply mouth-watering.

“Mr Wong never fails to deliver brilliant food, wine, cocktails, and the staff are always professional and efficient. A true gem.”

soniapG9500DO (TripAdvisor)

Mercado

4 Ash St, Sydney – $$$

Mercado

If you’re after a casual yet elegant dining experience in Sydney you have to try Mercado. This is because Mercado offers a share-style menu inspired by the Mediterranean, with Spanish cuisine being a particular focus.

If you’re a meat lover, you’ll be impressed with Mercado’s use of traditional kitchen techniques: whole animal butchery, inhouse meat curing, and dry-aging of premium cuts of beef. These techniques really enhance the flavour of Mercado’s already fine food.

“The service was efficient and friendly, with our server offering us food and wine recommendations that we enjoyed. We would go back again.”

juliethatcher (TripAdvisor)

Bistecca

The best Florentine steak in Sydney

3 Dalley St, Sydney – $$$

Bistecca

Dedicated to (and even named after) Tuscany’s revered cut of steak, bistecca alla Fiorentina, Bistecca is the best restaurant in Sydney for, you guessed it, Florentine steak. The steak, after which the restaurant is named, is cut and weighed, then presented to diners before being cooked fireside over charcoal to a perfect medium-rare.

This paired with the ambience of Bistecca, which is unashamedly Italian, makes for one of the coolest dining experiences you’ll find in the city.

“Bistecca is the dinner experience of a lifetime – we had so much fun as a group. Watching the steak being cut in front of you to selecting the sides and having them confiscate your phone is all part of the experience.”

carlym757 (TripAdvisor)

The Apollo

The best Greek restaurant

44 MacLeay St, Potts Point – $$

The Apollo

The Apollo is one of Sydney’s best Greek restaurants. It’s no wonder, this beloved contemporary Greek taverna serves memorable food for modern tastes, and you go to experience the elegant, spirited atmosphere and stay for the top-notch Mediterranean food.

Oh, and the classic Greek wine list. Inspired by the pleasures of eating together, The Apollo’s dishes are designed for sharing so everyone can enjoy the various scrumptious meals.

“Well, this place is definitely a MUST experience. Nice atmosphere and decoration. Friendly and knowledgeable staff that really know what they are doing. The chic-casual style combined with excellent food brings s brilliant match.”

wherethaylostherboot (TripAdvisor)

Saint Peter

362 Oxford St, Paddington, 2021 – $$$$

Saint Peter

Following a makeover during its shutdown during the Covid period, fish restaurant Saint Peter is back with a whole new look and a whole new way to dine. The restaurant now seats fewer people, at 22, but those diners now get a more intimate dining experience thanks to a huge new open cooking area, allowing them to see the chefs in action up close.

What remains the same, however, is Saint Peter’s commitment to cooking sustainably-sourced fish, so much so, it even lists where the fish was caught and who it was caught by. It’s not the most affordable restaurant on this list, we’ll admit, but if you love seafood, and seafood cooked exceptionally well at that, Saint Peter is easily one of the best restaurants in Sydney to oblige. Just note, there can be a long waitlist for a table, so get your booking in early!

“Saint Peter had truly delivered on my expecttations, which takes you on a journey of discovering under the sea. Head Chef Josh, has truly revolutionised the concept of seafood cuisine, taking all parts to create delicious food with no wastage.”

ciaramay_food_travel (TripAdvisor)

Arthur

544 Bourke St, Surry Hills, 2010 – $$-$$$

Arthur

If you don’t like making a choice when you go to a new restaurant, then you’ll probably like Arthur in Surry Hills. Working on a set-menu-only model, Arthur delivers dishes to your table that reflect the best the current season has to offer. Not only does this mean the freshest ingredients, but also a menu that changes regularly, meaning there’s plenty of reason for you to make this a must-visit restaurant in Sydney several times a year.

Don’t be intimidated into thinking this is a high-end dining experience either, as Arthur’s atmosphere is decidedly casual. We’d still recommend you wear a button-down and a good pair of jeans, of course, but you don’t need to throw on your fanciest suit.

“Had a lovely Sunday lunch, beautiful little restaurant, it was so nice to be in relaxing, quite place. Beautiful food, great friendly service. Excellent wine, all Australian which I absolutely love.”

Hadleethecat (TripAdvisor)

Margaret

30-36 Bay St, Double Bay, 2028 – $$$$

Margaret

Only opened in 2021 by notorious Sydney chef Neil Perry (former Rockpool chef Richard Purdue assumes the head chef role), Maragaret has quickly become one of Sydney’s best restaurants for those who love both seafood and meat. The best dishes to come out of the kitchen are cooked on a wood fire grill, and include everything from swordfish to flathead and beef fillet to Wagyu Scotch fillet.

All produce, including the spirits for the cocktails, are sourced as locally as possible, making Margaret one of the finest showcases of modern Australian cuisine.

Franca Brasserie

Shop 2/81 MacLeay St, Potts Point, 2011 – $$-$$$

Franca Brasserie

Occuyping the space where Fratelli Fresh once stood, Franca Brasserie offer Sydneysiders the chance to experience some of the finest French and Mediterranean cuisine in the city. With pasta dishes, seafood and meat-based dishes all adorning the menu, there’s certainly something for everyone.

The restaurant itself is an incredibly open space, and you’ll be seated in velvet chairs whilst tucking in to your meal. Franca Brasserie ultimately offers diners a welcome atmosphere with a laidback vibe, making is a must-visit Sydney restaurant.

“The food was delicious. Great cocktail and wine list. The atmosphere in the restaurant was vibrant. Highly recommended for your special occasion.”

HellyHK (TripAdvisor)

The Butler

123 Victoria St, Potts Point, 2011 – $$-$$$

The Butler

Moving away from the fancy, high-end décor and into more tropical surroundings this time with The Butler. Numerous plants adorn the outside terrace, which also gives diners some incredible views of the Sydney skyline. But, onto the food, which takes inspiration from Ibero-America cuisine. One word: incredible.

Expect to find some classic dishes given a Latino overhaul, such as roasted barramundi fillet with mole verde or potato gnocchi with chorizo ragù. The Butler can get busy, however (it’s an Instagram dream) so make sure you get your booking in early.

“5 star experience. Beautiful location, delicious food. Wonderful staff. Very enjoyable view. Well priced. So much fun. Perfect for larger groups.”

RosieTB (TripAdvisor)

There you have it, the must-try Sydney restaurants to experience this year.

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