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In the recent years, Sydney’s foodscape has been experiencing a revolution, bringing innovation and excitement (and many happy tummies) to a dining scene that now commands global attention. So now we can surely say that you haven’t been to Sydney if you haven’t visited at least some of these 15 top dining destinations.
Automata: 5 Kensington St, Chippendale
Automata is known for the Chef Clayton Wells with his powerful, provocative cuisine. Here the five-course tasting menu rarely stays the same for more than a couple of weeks. The restaurant décor is best described as ‘auto shop chic’.
Bea: 1/35 Barangaroo Avenue, Sydney
You’ll find Bea where land meets sea. Bea draws inspiration for both food and interior design from the glittering Australian landscape. Thus this place makes fine dining fun and fashionable with a focus on quality meat and seafood and indigenous Australian ingredients.
Ester: 46-52 Meagher St, Chippendale
At Ester you’ll find fine dining sans stuffiness that appeals to mums and mates alike. Both the food and the interior design are minimalist, accessible, and smart – simple but expertly finessed, with a focus on substance over exaggerated style.
Firedoor: 23-33 Mary St, Surry Hills
Firedoor is the name and flame is the game. Chef Lennox Hastie never takes the easy way out, eschewing the efficiency and convenience of many modern interior design kitchens to showcase the natural beauty of wood fired cooking. The decor of the restaurant is also focused on modernity and wood accents.
Fred’s: 380 Oxford St, Paddington
A produce-driven restaurant in Merivale’s Oxford Street, Fred’s is all about top-notch Australian ingredients cooked with care. Chef Danielle Alvarez builds her menu around seasonality and combines old-world techniques with innovation, which you can personally witness thanks to the restaurant’s arrangement around a central open kitchen.
Blanca: 75/79 Hall St, Bondi Beach
Cultures collide at Blanca, a Bondi Beach outpost the owners describe as “a blank canvas where our diversity and travels come together.” White restaurant decor also goes in line with ‘blank canvas’ theme. The menu manages to simultaneously feature elements of Mediterranean, Japanese, and Scandinavian cuisine, while the influence of Australia can be felt in the wine list. Traditionalists may find the menu dizzying, but for the experimental, it’s a welcome addition to the Sydney food scene.
Bennelong: Bennelong Point Sydney Opera House, Sydney
Bennelong is back and better than ever after a 2015 revamp that brought celebrated Aussie chef Peter Gilmore aboard. There are multiple ways to eat here: an à la carte restaurant downstairs, the Cured & Cultured counter up a level, the theatrical Circle dining room, the bar at the top, and for a splurge, the exclusive chef’s table. It’s hard to go wrong, whatever you pick, when you’re dining inside the architectural majesty of the Opera House sails.
Sixpenny: 83 Percival Rd, Stanmore
It’s easy to miss the diminutive Sixpenny, tucked away in a corner terrace not far from Stanmore Station. Sixpenny makes a point to forego excesses in favour of a more economical approach to both food and furnishings, but what it does, it does exquisitely well. Anything you taste, touch, hear, smell, or see has been curated and crafted with a tremendous level of care that earns ongoing accolades.
Restaurant Hubert: 15 Bligh St, Sydney
Restaurant Hubert brought a breath of fresh French air to Sydney in 2016, and has since made many a ‘best of’ list thanks to a masterful menu, a warmly inviting atmosphere (complete with 100-seat theater), and a team pedigree that includes Baxter Inn, Frankie’s Pizza, and Shady Pines. Hubert is impeccably realized and impossibly romantic, with a vintage take on dining out and atmosphere in spades.
The Grounds: Building 7A, 2 Huntley Street Alexandria
Located in a former industrial precinct from the 1920s, The Grounds of Alexandria is a landmark coffee roastery, café, sustainable garden, and one of Instagram’s most tagged foodie destinations. You’ll be in for a wait so get in early, pop your name on the list, and pass the time wandering the artisan market until your table’s ready.
LuMi Bar & Dining: 56 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont
With a prime backdrop of the Pyrmont waterfront, LuMi Bar & Dining is an idyllic dinner destination for relaxed fine dining. The food is Italian with a Japanese twist, and served only in a degustation menu designed around seasons and market availability. Big windows, discrete lighting and modern furniture helps to create the romantic and relaxed atmosphere.
Nomad: 16 Foster St, Surry Hills
If you want fine dining with an edge, Nomad is your go-to Sydney restaurant. Local seasonal produce and traditional culinary skills make up the menu, while modern bar chairs and wood materials define the bar interior design. Add to that an all-Australian wine list and an open plan kitchen, and you’ve got an effortlessly chic dining experience in the heart of Surry Hills.
Sasaki: 102/21 Alberta St, Sydney
New to the scene last year, Sasaki prioritises simple home cooking inspired by owner/head chef Yu Sasaki’s youth in the Japanese countryside. The tiny Surry Hills spot is spare but intimate, a heartfelt and nostalgic ode to tradition, childhood, and food made with a mother’s love. At $80, the 10-course omakase menu is a steal.
Mr. Wong: 3 Bridge Ln, Sydney
Mr. Wong elevates dim sum to a level you didn’t know was possible, dishing out what are likely the best dumplings you’ll find this side of the Great Wall. You can easily spend hours working your way through the menu and wine list, and soaking up the 1930s jazz-era Shanghai vibe. Bigger is better at this a two-level temple to Cantonese cuisine – including the line, so come prepared to wait for the privilege of experiencing this Sydney institution.
Mercado: 4 Ash St, Sydney
Do you like meat? Then you’ll love Mercado in Sydney’s CBD. This has fast become one of our Friday night or lunch time business meeting hot spots. Mercado is operated by Nathan Sasi, the man behind Nomad in Surry Hills, bringing together the grand atmosphere of Moorish Spanish dining with a casual yet elegant dining experience.
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