These are the coolest restaurants in Sydney – 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.
In this story you will find:
- Casual cool Italian
- Fine dining at its very best
- The most incredible steaks in Sydney
- Some very unique dining experiences
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 fancy, or cool restaurants, but one that’s not an overhyped tourist attraction.
Why trust us?
- I’ve lived in Sydney for 8 years.
- Becuase we’ve eaten at every single one of these restaurants.
- We love food, especially steak.
Never fear, we’ve taken those risks for you. So, if you’re looking for a cool restaurant in Sydney to visit on your next night out on the town, these are the ones you need to go to.
|Sydney Opera House
|Icebergs Dining Room
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.
The best Italian restaurant in Bondi… and Sydney
283 Bondi Rd, Bondi – $$
While some may think the only top-notch place to eat in Bondi is Icebergs (and don’t get us wrong, it is a great place to go) Totti’s is somewhat of a hidden gem that is slowly getting the hype it deserves. With a sandstone courtyard filled with olive trees and flowering bougainvilleas, you’ll feel like you’ve actually flown to Italy for the night; plus, the Italian eatery has one of the most competent wood-fire chefs in the country.
With delicious antipasti, pasta, steak, schnitzel, and more on offer, we highly recommend getting a few dishes and sharing them, so everyone can taste the various mouth-watering Italian dishes Totti’s have to offer.
What we order: Burrata, prosciutto, bread, lamb ragu, 800g sirloin.
When did we dine here: Tuesday 21st February 2023
The best ‘cooked over charcoal’ restaurant
23-33 Mary St, Surry Hills – $$$$
With a name like Firedoor, it’s no surprise that chefs at this restaurant work exclusively with fire in all its forms. The kitchen uses no gas or electricity, instead, opting to use two wood-fired ovens, three grills, and a wood-burning hearth. Plus, the kitchen is open to allow guests a clear view of the action that unfolds in the fiery kitchen.
Using seasonal Australian ingredients, Firedoor’s menu is ever-changing but always delicious. An amazing Sydney dining experience.
380 Oxford St, Paddington – $$$$
Warm and welcoming, Fred’s in Sydney offers farm-to-table cooking, so naturally, the decor has been set up to make you feel like you’ve stepped into a friend’s rustic country home. All of Fred’s meat and seafood sources have been sustainably farmed and fished, the pasta is made from organic local wheat and semolina flours, and the Crème Fraiche is house-made using organic local cream.
If you’re after a dinner that’ll make you feel cosy and appreciate life’s simple luxuries, Fred’s is the restaurant for you.
When did we dine here: March 2023
Bennelong Point, Sydney Opera House, Sydney – $$$$
Wanting to celebrate the iconic Sydney Opera House and its extraordinary architecture? Then Bennelong should be on your list. It allows Australian produce and wine to take centre stage, with a three-course à la carte menu offered across all three dining levels of the restaurant.
A rarity for a fine dining venue, the cooking is not overly technical and tricky – it’s robust and direct – allowing the pure flavours of the ingredients to sing; meaning the food is always impeccably delicious. Considering it’s situated inside the Sydney Opera House, Bennelong is an absolute must-visit for tourists.
The best French restaurant in Sydney
15 Bligh St, Sydney – $$$
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.
What we order: Lamb shoulder.
When did we dine here: 21st March 2021
The best Australian cuisine in Sydney
16 Foster St, Surry Hills – $$$
Nomad offers fine dining in one of the best restaurant venues we’ve come across in Sydney. Effortlessly cool and fresh-looking, the venue is one you’ll want to spend considerable time in. The food on offer is inspired by the team’s travels through Spain, Morocco, and the Middle East, and is cooked with fire and smoke. Plus, the wine list has been curated to highlight the very best of Australian wine, all of which pair beautifully with Nomad’s delicious dishes.
The best Chinese food
3 Bridge Ln, Sydney – $$$
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.
4 Ash St, Sydney – $$$
If you’re after a casual yet elegant dining experience in Sydney you have to try Mercado. This is because Mercado offers a share-style menu inspired by the Mediterranean, with Spanish cuisine being a particular focus.
If you’re a meat lover, you’ll be impressed with Mercado’s use of traditional kitchen techniques: whole animal butchery, inhouse meat curing, and dry-aging of premium cuts of beef. These techniques really enhance the flavour of Mercado’s already fine food.
The best Florentine steak in Sydney
3 Dalley St, Sydney – $$$
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.
What we order: Steak, the bigger the better and their candle wax bread.
When did we dine here: 15th December 2021 (DMARGE Xmas lunch)
The Best Greek restaurant
44 MacLeay St, Potts Point – $$
The Apollo is one of Sydney’s best Greek restaurants. It’s no wonder, this beloved contemporary Greek taverna serves memorable food for modern tastes, and you go to experience the elegant, spirited atmosphere and stay for the top-notch Mediterranean food.
Oh, and the classic Greek wine list. Inspired by the pleasures of eating together, The Apollo’s dishes are designed for sharing so everyone can enjoy the various scrumptious meals.
What we order: Sagganki, lamb and iceberg lettuce.
When did we dine here: 10th December, 2015
362 Oxford St, Paddington, 2021 – $$$$
Following a makeover during its shutdown during the Covid period, fish restaurant Saint Peter is back with a whole new look and a whole new way to dine. The restaurant now seats fewer people, at 22, but those diners now get a more intimate dining experience thanks to a huge new open cooking area, allowing them to see the chefs in action up close.
What remains the same, however, is Saint Peter’s commitment to cooking sustainably-sourced fish, so much so, it even lists where the fish was caught and who it was caught by. It’s not the most affordable restaurant on this list, we’ll admit, but if you love seafood, and seafood cooked exceptionally well at that, Saint Peter is easily one of the best restaurants in Sydney to oblige. Just note, there can be a long waitlist for a table, so get your booking in early!
544 Bourke St, Surry Hills, 2010 – $$-$$$
If you don’t like making a choice when you go to a new restaurant, then you’ll probably like Arthur in Surry Hills. Working on a set-menu-only model, Arthur delivers dishes to your table that reflect the best the current season has to offer. Not only does this mean the freshest ingredients, but also a menu that changes regularly, meaning there’s plenty of reason for you to make this a must-visit restaurant in Sydney several times a year.
Don’t be intimidated into thinking this is a high-end dining experience either, as Arthur’s atmosphere is decidedly casual. We’d still recommend you wear a button-down and a good pair of jeans, of course, but you don’t need to throw on your fanciest suit.
What we order: They order for you. So go with the flow.
When did we dine here: 13th October 2021
30-36 Bay St, Double Bay, 2028 – $$$$
Only opened in 2021 by notorious Sydney chef Neil Perry (former Rockpool chef Richard Purdue assumes the head chef role), Maragaret has quickly become one of Sydney’s best restaurants for those who love both seafood and meat. The best dishes to come out of the kitchen are cooked on a wood fire grill, and include everything from swordfish to flathead and beef fillet to Wagyu Scotch fillet.
All produce, including the spirits for the cocktails, are sourced as locally as possible, making Margaret one of the finest showcases of modern Australian cuisine.
What we order: Wagyu steak.
When did we dine here: 14th October 2021 (Yes, the very next day after Arthur)
Shop 2/81 MacLeay St, Potts Point, 2011 – $$-$$$
Occupying the space where Fratelli Fresh once stood, Franca Brasserie offer Sydneysiders the chance to experience some of the finest French and Mediterranean cuisine in the city. With pasta dishes, seafood and meat-based dishes all adorning the menu, there’s certainly something for everyone.
The restaurant itself is an incredibly open space, and you’ll be seated in velvet chairs whilst tucking into your meal. Franca Brasserie ultimately offers diners a welcoming atmosphere with a laidback vibe, making is a must-visit Sydney restaurant.
130A Beach Street, Coogee, 2034 – $$$$
The first thing you’ll notice walking into Mimi’s is the stunning view it offers of Coogee beach and it’s surrounding greenery. The second thing you’ll notice are the mountains of fresh seafood that adorn the countertops around the open kitchen. It’s worth stopping to take a look at this produce as you head to your table because although Mimi’s may be expensive, this is where your money is going.
The menu is seasonal so subject to change but is always comprised of incredibly fresh, high-quality ingredients. Current highlights include the Caviar pie with scallop mousseline and citrus butter, as well as the Wagyu tongue with blacklip abalone skewer, serrano chilli and onion rings. If you’re going as a pair, try the Two-Person Set Menu.
What we order: Lobster pasta and caviar bumps.
When did we dine here: 27th April 2022
270 Campbell Parade, North Bondi, 2026 – $$$$
Sitting inconspicuously at the foot of a class red-brick art deco block, Sean’s Panorama is one of the city’s greatest hidden gems. With a menu that rotates daily dependent on what their ethically-sourced farmers and markets have available, they transform comforting home-style food with modern twists and top-tier craft.
The oddly-shaped and quirkily designed space adds a truly unique dimension to the dining experience: mismatched furniture, walls crammed with idiosyncratic artworks and a ceiling painted to match the great blue Sydney skies all serve to enhance a changing but consistently brilliant menu. If you’re going for the first time, try the three-course menu for $120pp.
What we order: Sean’s pate and Lamb three ways, when available.
When did we dine here: 14th June 2022
Icebergs Dining Room
1 Notts Ave, Bondi, 2026 – $$$$
As far as icon status is concerned, Icebergs at Bondi is heard to beat. Looking out across Sydney’s most famous and, arguably, most beautiful beach, Icebergs has fast become an Aussie institution.
Founded by legendary restaurateur Maurice Terzini back in 2022, the restaurant boasts a dreamy Italian menu with separate cards for Vegetarians, Vegans, and Sunday Sunset patrons.
Closed for much of 2022 for renovations, the menu returns suitably refreshed while service has been tightened up and is better than ever – now is the time to visit, so don’t delay.
What we order: Cacio e Pepe, Tagliata with Stone Axe Wagyu, Tiramisu
When did we dine here: 28th January 2022
10/6 Cowper Wharf Roadway, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011 – $$$
Kingsleys sits unsuspectingly at the far end of the Finger Wharf, a spot that’s so saturated with great restaurants, luxury yachts, and equally luxury apartments that it would be easy for one of its many gems to become hidden, lost amongst the clamour of this jampacked marina of high-end pleasures.
Kingsleys’ kitchen is headed up by chefs Jason Roberson and Leonardo Rachid Militão, who have recently given the restaurant’s menu an autumn refresh, building up a new offer focused on premium quality steaks reared in Australia, as well as fresh, locally sourced seafood.
As well as being ample, the steak was delectable. Perfectly cooked, unbelievably tender, and with a lightly charred outside that gave it a depth of flavour I didn’t believe a steak of capable of… As well as crispy, bubbling, fatty end-bits that I kept sneaking when judgemental eyes were averted.
What we order: Dry Aged T-Bone, Duck Fat Potatoes, Iceberg Salad
When did we dine here: 31st March 2023
There you have it. Now you know all the must-try Sydney restaurants to experience this year, take a look at our other Sydney-insider pieces below: