The Best BYO Restaurants in Sydney for When You're on a Budget or Want to Bring Your Favourite Drop
Head to your local bottle shop or pilfer your own wine collection before hitting these Sydney restaurants.
THE BEST BYO RESTAURANTS IN SYDNEY FOR WHEN YOU'RE ON A BUDGET OR WANT TO BRING YOUR FAVOURITE DROP
Head to your local bottle shop or pilfer your own wine collection before hitting these Sydney restaurants.
The best BYO restaurants in Sydney are prime places to hit up when you're keen for dinner or lunch with mates but are a little strapped for cash. They can be great cheap date spots, and they can also be standout dinner options when you want to bring your favourite bottle of pét-nat or those craft beers you've been loving. All you've got to do is plan ahead, stopping by one of your fave Sydney bottle shops to grab some beer and wine before gliding into the restaurant to feast.
Some Sydney BYO restaurants charge a corkage fee — some don't. But no matter the option, you'll save a few dollars on drinks when visiting one of these eateries. Thankfully, our fine city is blessed with stacks of brilliant BYO diners who serve up all kinds of great eats. To help you pick the right one, we've curated this guide to the greatest. Simply read through to find the spot that'll pair best with your chosen bevs.
The mezze-heavy menu at this small Lebanese restaurant in Enmore is designed for a laidback nibble while you sip on a glass of wine that you can BYO. Start with the house-made hummus, a selection of pickles and the garlic dip — made with so much pure garlic it’ll have you tearing up a little. Then, make a proper feast of it by adding some larger mezze dishes. We suggest the fried cauliflower and the arak and garlic prawns.
Emma’s Snack Bar — which also makes our best Sydney restaurants list — serves up beer, cider and wine, but you can also BYO vino. We recommend grabbing a couple of bottles from the nearby P&V or Famelia, both on Enmore Road.
This Darlinghurst Indian restaurant serves up classic south Indian cuisine with style, flair and a healthy sprinkling of tradition. You can expect a huge array of fragrant curries at Malabar, but this joint is best known for its range of house-made dosai. These are just about as traditional as they come, with six different varieties available.
Malabar also has a BYO license for wine only, so you can bring your fave bottles with you, paying a modest corkage fee. Darlinghurst Road is home to a heap of bottle shops, so you’ll surely find the perfect wine pairing for your Indian feast.
Chinese Noodle House sits just across the way from Chinese Noodle Restaurant, yet another budget-friendly dumpling joint within the Prince Centre. Similar to its neighbour, it’s the plates and baskets of dumplings that attract the crowds, and while some love the sticky special braised eggplant at Noodle Restaurant, others prefer the crispier fried version here.
One of the best things about the Sydney restaurant is that it’s BYO, so head on over to one pf the nearby Red Bottle outposts beforehand and grab a couple of long necks or a bottle of hearty red and give in to the excesses of Chinatown.
Image: Trent van der Jagt
Surry Hills’ creatively charged culinary hot spot, the ‘unauthentic Indian’ restaurant Don’t Tell Aunty, is one of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney. Inspired by the welcoming homes of traditional Indian aunties, the food here does not stick to the rules. Instead, innovation is the hero. An oft-changing menu trips all across India, with touches of Aussie and American influence peppered throughout.
These folks also have a BYO license, but the corkage fee is fairly steep. At $20 per bottle, you’ll still save a bit of money — compared to buying from the menu — but it won’t be as considerable as many of the other spots on this list of the best BYO restaurants in Sydney. But we must admit that its bottomless brunch deal ($79) is a proper bargain.
Despite its humble facade, Cairo has carved out a cult following as one of the best restaurants in the Inner West. The ingredients are super fresh, there’s plenty of space to dine in, the food is made to order, and the menu is a truly authentic one — thanks to owner Hesham El Masry. He has 12 years of experience in hospitality and brought it back home with this venture, which is an homage to his mum’s Egyptian cooking.
There’s heaps to love about the food here, but we are obsessed with the falafels, which you can pair with a bottle of your choosing. The spot stocks a rotating selection of craft beer and lets you bring your own wine. And with P&V Wine and Liquor just across the road, there’s no need to lug those bottles far.
Image: Destination NSW.
When in Glebe, don’t miss the chance to dine at Ramen Goku. This fan-favourite ramen shop turns out mighty impressive noodle soups. For the broth, you can choose soy, miso, shio or pork tonkotsu. On top of your usual chasu, black garlic and pork ramens, there are specialties like the Gyokai Tonkotsu miso, served in a tonkatsu soy base with seafood flavour and roasted pork, and the yokohama tonkotsu of roasted pork, bamboo shoots and ajitsuke tamago (marinated boiled egg).
Best of all, Ramen Goku lets you BYO wine. We recommend getting a white wine with a little sweetness (to cut through the rich ramen broth) from the nearby Camperdown Cellars.
Images: Trent van der Jagt
One word: roti. Another three words: get the roti. Mamak is famous for a good reason, and that reason is flaky, buttery, delicious and dipped in curry. It has three Sydney branches, plus one in Melbourne, Brisbane and Seminyak in Bali. Obviously, you’ll hit up the roti menu when visiting this Sydney BYO restaurant, but don’t bypass the satay options — they’re just as good.
For $4 per person, you can also bring a few bottles of wine with you. A slightly dry white, such as a riesling or chenin blanc, will pair brilliantly with your roti and satay. Hot tip: get one member of your party to line up while the other heads off to the bottle shop. The earlier you can snap a spot, the better.
Derrel’s is his nostalgic Indian diner in Camperdown from Brendan King (The Lady Hampshire, ex-Baba’s Place). Located right next door to The Hampshire, this inviting eatery has a big naughties energy, drawing from Western Sydney takeout shops and your Grandma’s house circa 2004.
The menu is kept simple. There are a few snacks and share plates like samosa chaat and tandoori wings, a trio of kathi rolls that pile tandoori chicken or hara bhara onto flaky paratha flatbread, and a selection of curries paired with rice, roti, lime, onion and chutney. Plus, the restaurant is BYO, so feel free to grab a few beers from Camperdown Cellars across the road or bring a bottle of your favourite natty wine to pair with your tandoori chicken plate.
When you can walk away from a dinner having shared a starter, enjoyed a delicious pasta or main, not been charged an exorbitant rate for corkage, and you’ve only had to fork out between $30 and $40 per head, it’s safe to say you’ll be paying the restaurant a second visit. And it’s exactly why Bar Reggio has such a loyal crowd of regulars.
But a chill and cosy restaurant, this is not. It’s a frantic, non-stop experience from the moment you sit down till the moment you walk out the door. And don’t be surprised if, as soon as your plates are cleared, you’re handed the bill and informed that they need the table because there is a line out the door. And this isn’t just one of the best BYO restaurants in Sydney, it’s also one of the city’s top Italian restaurants.
Image: Leticia Almeida
You might be surprised to hear it, but Sean’s — one of the best restaurants in Sydney — is BYO-friendly. However, it also happens to have one of the biggest corkage fees of any other Sydney restaurant on this list, coming in at $35 per bottle and $60 for those bringing in magnums.
Nonetheless, if you so desire to bring your own booze to Sean’s, you can. Sip on your favourite vino while dining on brilliant seafood and gawking at the Bondi Beach views. And once you’ve finished, your bill is hand-written, and your leftovers are wrapped up in tinfoil, ready for you to relive your experience the next day. It’s easily one of the best BYO restaurants in Sydney, even if that BYO doesn’t come cheap.
Alphabet Street is where to go for some of the best Thai food in Sydney. Its bubblegum-pink walls also make it a bit of an Instagram fixture. Leaning more towards the upper end of the spectrum than your standard Thai establishment, this venue specialises in flavoursome small bites designed to share.
And for $8 per person, groups can bring their own wine along with them, either from home or one of the three nearby bottle shops (all within a short five-minute walk). But do note that there is no BYO on Friday or Saturday evenings.
Garfish — both one of the best BYO restaurants and top seafood restaurants in Sydney —is something of an institution to Crows Nest locals. Famed for its fresh seafood selection, great wine list and outstanding service, it’s a hard place to beat. The menu is ever-changing, depending on what comes in fresh from the sea that day, but you should expect to find its famed fish pie made with thick fillets of fresh snapper. It’s almost always on offer.
The wine list is also impressive, championing Australian drops from small producers. If it is too daunting for you, the staff know it well and will happily pair your seafood eats with the perfect vino. And come Tuesday, the team lets you bring in your own wine. But keep in mind that BYO won’t be accepted on any other day.
The Norton Street stalwart and true icon of Sydney’s Little Italy, Bar Italia, has been a tried-and-true spot for a feast since 1952. Whether you sit within the trattoria’s nostalgia-laden dining room or in the courtyard out back, come on your lonesome or with a group of ten, the buzzing spot overflows with low-key, good-time vibes.
There’s a boundless menu, a $1 corkage fee and strict rules — “no skim, no soy, cash only” — accompanying efficient service, generous servings of pizza and pasta and a bright roll call of house-made gelatos. You’ll feel right at home in this Sydney BYO restaurant.
This Turkish delight in Enmore serves mezze fit for a king. Come for the delicious suckling lamb, sizzling adana kebab grilled over charcoal and authentic woodfired pide. Start the meal with an assortment of dips in a rainbow of flavours, which includes parsley, jajik (garlic), chilli, beetroot, carrot, spinach, hummus and baba ganoush, accompanied by a slab of oven-baked Turkish bread.
It’s also BYO — and they don’t even charge corkage for the privilege. Finish with a strong, aromatic Turkish coffee and a slice of baklava or head next door for some of the city’s best gelato at Cow and the Moon.
Image: Cassandra Hannagan
There are heaps of Thai restaurants in Sydney that let you BYO, but Macquarie Park’s Khao Pla is in a league of its own. It serves up modern dishes that span culinary regions from all over Thailand, made with local and seasonal Aussie produce. You can get all the classics done to perfection, but the regularly changing specials are what makes Khao Pla one of the best Thai restaurants in Sydney.
And to make things easy, this Sydney BYO restaurant is situated right next to Vintage Cellars and BWS. Consider your next cheap night out in Macquarie Park sorted.
Two Chaps is one of the best things you’ll find behind a garage roller door in Sydney. The Chapel Street cafe has a strong following among vegetarians and pastry lovers, and for good reason — everything on the menu is vego and the kitchen bakes all its own bread and pastries. It’s home to some of the best breakfast in the city and is one of the top cafes in Sydney.
Then on Friday and Saturday evenings, the team serves up a special dinner menu, championing homemade pastas and local cheeses. During these nights, you can also BYO wine and beer. Either bring something from home or hit up the small local bottle shop on the corner of Chapel Street and Illawarra Road.
Modern Australian restaurant Jensen’s is where The Shire residents go for a celebratory feed. It’s also one of the best BYO restaurants in Sydney — if you come on the right day. Jensen lets you BYO wine Thursday to Sunday for lunch, and Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday for dinner.
That means you can bring your own bottle of sparkling to pair with some Sydney rock oysters, a gutsy red to have with one of the house-aged steaks and then some dessert wine to sample with your souffle or rich banana pudding drenched in butterscotch sauce.
Image: Alexander Hoy
Newtown is home to plenty of institutions and up there with the best is Thai Pothong — a destination BYO restaurant in Sydney that’s been drawing in couples on dates, groups of mates sharing a banquet and boisterous twenty-firsts and fortieths for over two decades.
Heaps of Thai eateries line Newtown’s streets, but Thai Pothong rises above them all. The service is top-notch, and the expansive dining room offers flavoursome Thai food in an ever-bustling atmosphere. What’s more, it lets you BYO wine for $4 per person, meaning you can feast on some of the best Thai eats in Sydney without breaking the bank.
Image: Cassandra Hannagan.
Set along Newtown’s Enmore Road, this joint is serving up some of Sydney’s best Korean fried chicken. Opened by sibling duo Julie and Jeff Oh back in 2017, the shop has become known around the city for its signature dish, served in four styles: original, sweet chilli, soy garlic and ‘spicy bomb’.
It’s best to pair your fried chicken with traditional bibimbap, which is an Oh family recipe. The rice bowl comes topped with a whole heap of veggies, including radish kimchi, bean sprouts, carrots and shiitake mushroom, and is a refreshing accompaniment to the deep-fried main attraction. House-made kimchi and other more Westernised sides like fries and slaw are available. And, if you’re dining in, you can bring your own wine.
This Haymarket stalwart specialises in its namesake dish: slow-cooked hot bowls of Lanzhou-style handmade noodles served with beef, chilli and veggies. Alongside bowls of hearty, meaty noodles, Mr Chen also does plenty of Chinese staples, including mapo tofu, sweet and sour pork and tom yum fried rice.
The show-stopping deal here, though, is the dumplings — visit during ‘dumpling happy hour’ for a serious steal, with super cheap dumplings available every single day from 5–10pm (a worthy excuse to shift the team lunch to dinner instead, we think you’ll agree). So round up your workmates, grab some drinks en route (it’s free BYO at this Sydney restaurant) and make a night of it.
What Redfern may lack in fine dining establishments, it more than makes up for in top-notch casual diners. And a favourite among locals for a low-key, affordable feast is La Coppola. The BYO-friendly Sydney restaurant is home to excellent Italian eats, with the pizza being a must-have.
Stefano Scopelliti’s Sicilian-style pizzas are made with imported Italian ingredients and local produce and then cooked in a woodfired oven. They’re crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and definitely not soggy. Top flavours include Contesse (fior di latte, mushroom, roasted capsicum and artichoke) and Zafferia (burrata, spicy pancetta, mushroom, garlic and olive oil).
Founded by Emma Nguyen in 2011, I Love Pho has a special focus on bringing a specific Vietnamese dining experience to Sydney. Decked out with a bamboo-themed interior, the dining room captures the essence of the frantic hustle and bustle of Vietnamese street dining. The service here is classy and casual, and it’s the kind of place you’ll be returning to again and again after discovering it.
As the name suggests, pho is the star of the show. Following a traditional recipe from Hanoi and cooked for 24 hours, this steaming broth is available in several different flavours, including vegetable, pork chop, wagyu beef and chicken breast. It’s some of the top pho in Sydney — best paired with some BYO wine and beer.
This Taiwanese chain was founded way back in the 70s and opened on Aussie shores in 2008. With eight Sydney outposts — MLC Centre, World Square, Westfield Chatswood, Westfield Miranda, The Star, Greenwood Plaza, Broadway Sydney and Gateway Sydney — Din Tai Fung is probably the best-known dumpling haunt in town.
And although shopping centres may not create the best dining ambience, Din Tai Fung’s venues are often bustling thanks to their convenient locations. Thankfully, each of its Sydney restaurants lets you BYO wine and beer, so grab a six-pack from down the road and settle in for a huge feast, ordering up some of the best dumplings in Sydney.
Fresh, nutritious food is the game at Golden Lotus, cementing it as one of the best vegan restaurants in Sydney and one of the best BYO restaurants in Sydney. David Nguyen’s Vietnamese eatery promises the authentic flavours of Saigon without any animal products. Beyond tofu, there are a few soy meat options available across the menu of family recipes that include stir-fries, dumplings and noodle soups.
The food at Golden Lotus is so tasty that even the most vehement meat-eaters will be placated — that is, if they can look past the glowing pink “Veganism is Magic” sign on the wall. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Golden Lotus also has a BYO wine license, so you can pair your vegan eats with some of you’re favourite drops.
Spice I Am almost sounds like a challenge, or at least a state of mind. But don’t be scared off if you’re not the biggest spicy food lover. Only a few dishes are lethally hot, like the tom klong – roasted fish submerged in a spicy and sour soup. The rest of the menu at Spice I Am, one of the best BYO restaurants in Sydney, focuses on north-eastern Thai cuisine that hasn’t been modified for Western tastes.
Head chef Sujet Saenkham also makes a point not to serve up all the usual stir fry dishes and curries you find at just about every other Thai restaurant in Australia. Instead, come here with the aim of being a bit adventurous. BYO-wise, the team lets you bring in beers and wine for a small fee.
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