The 20 Best Restaurants in Sydney

These are Sydney's must-visit venues for any discerning food aficionado.
Ben Hansen and Concrete Playground
Published on January 15, 2024

The 20 Best Restaurants in Sydney

These are Sydney's must-visit venues for any discerning food aficionado.

When it comes to the best restaurants in Sydney, top-tier talent abounds. We may be most famous for our beaches and our bridges, but food may just be what we do best. This food-obsessed city of ours has a swag of standout offerings to suit whatever niche cravings you've got going on. But there are some spots that simply reign supreme; places where the food packs a punch, the vibe is never not on point and you fall in love a little more each time you visit.

Here, we've rounded up our 20 picks for the cream of the crop — the best restaurants in Sydney. From new players reinventing Sydney's perspective on certain cuisine to long-standing spots that are just as exciting as the day they opened; these are the city's must-visit venues for any discerning food aficionado. Feast on.

Recommended reads:
The Best Cafes in Sydney
The Best Bars in Sydney
The Best Wine Bars in Sydney
The Best Pubs in Sydney

  • 20
    Bush in Redfern - one of the best restaurants in Sydney.

    This Redfern restaurant is dedicated to the Aussie bush. The team uses native ingredients throughout the small but mighty menu — seeking to encourage their adoption, admiration and production. The team also cooks up a heap of invasive species, with the aim of reducing their numbers in the bush, thus supporting local flora and fauna.

    The result of this hard work is an incredibly creative and oft-changing selection of dishes. You might come across the likes of a kangaroo carpaccio served with rock oyster cream, venison cutlets topped with Illawarra plums and a bone sauce, or the wattleseed flan dessert served with a crunchy banana brûlée and macadamias. And whenever the Bush burger is on the restaurant’s menu, you better head quick if you want to get your hands on one.

    Add to Playlist
    Want to start building your ultimate playlist?

    Start creating a personalised itinerary — or add to an existing list. Save it, share it and take it with you on your next local adventure.

    Read more
  • 19
    France Brasserie - one of the best restaurants in Sydney.

    Potts Point has seen many restaurants and bars come and go in its time, with upscale digs moving into sites previously home to the dives of The Cross’s colourful yesteryear. Franca arrived with the area’s move towards becoming more residential (and increasingly affluent). It’s one of the many elegant yet casual eateries (see: Cho Cho San, Ms.G’s and Ezra) that has sprung up in the area since its vast transformation — and certainly one of its best.

    The Macleay Street bistro takes cues from all corners of the Mediterranean, though it leans heavily on France. The menu features reinvented French classics, be it a niçoise salad with sashimi-style tuna or duck a l’Orange. Steak frites are a house specialty, of course, and you can finish your night with a Parisian touch thanks to Franca’s pillowy passionfruit soufflé. With such a strong dining scene in Potts Point and a wealth of French restaurants in Sydney, it’s tough to stand above the rest — but Franca shines through as one of the best restaurants in Sydney.

    Images: Jennifer Soo

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 18
    Baba's Place - one of the best restaurants in Sydney.

    This is an actual restaurant in a warehouse. Where else is that happening in Sydney?” Baba’s Place co-owner Alexander Kelly queries. Following a series of pop-ups, Kelly and the Baba’s team found a permanent home in a red brick warehouse in Marrickville. The Sydney restaurant’s fitout is designed to drop you straight into a family dinner at your grandma’s house, illuminating the beauty of the suburban home with family photos, white frilly tablecloths and 80s tableware. And, as with any meal around the family table, the dishes are all designed to be shared.

    The menu here pulls from Kelly and co-owner Jean-Paul El Tom’s southwest Sydney upbringing, from family meals to eating out in Burwood. The menu is constantly shifting and morphing but one speciality you’re likely to find is some of the best taramasalata toast going around. Outside of the standout food, music and art are just as central to the Sydney restaurant — and the friendly staff are always excited to suggest a natty wine to pair with your meal.

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 17
    Emma's Snack Bar Enmore - one of the best Sydney restaurants. Besy BYO restaurants Sydney.

    Emma’s Snack Bar in Enmore has a friendly, casual vibe and a stacked menu of magnificent mezze — this is Lebanese dining that always pleases. The retro interior draws inspiration from the local takeaway model, and the long tables down the centre of the restaurant create some proper community feels.

    The menu is designed for a relaxed pick and nibble while you sip on a glass of wine that you can BYO (ideal for those looking to dine on a budget). 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. This casual diner is one of the best in Sydney.

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 16
    One of the best restaurants in Sydney - chaco bar.

    In one of Sydney’s main thoroughfares, where Oxford Street meets Crown amid a flurry of quick-fix fast-food, clubs, pubs and bottle shops, lives this surprisingly authentic Japanese experience. Chaco Ramen feels more intimate than small. The room is divided by a communal table that sits adjacent to an exposed kitchen gallery, where inside, the smells and sounds of meat against coals make for a promising start to the evening.

    The ramen at this beloved Sydney restaurant comes in six different variations. While the soy delivers a classic chashu pork ramen to the highest quality, the chilli coriander and yuzu scallop variations are must-tries. Sides include bone marrow curry, edamame, fish dumplings and karaage chicken wings — and as with any good ramen joint, there’s a solid selection of sake, beers, shochu, wine and yuzu punch.

    Image: Letícia Almeida

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 15
    Lilymu - one of the very best restaurants in Sydney.

    Lilymu is the Parramatta Square outpost from the team behind Nour, Henrietta and AALIA. For their first Western Sydney restaurant, the team linked up ex-Mr Wong chef Brendan Fong for a contemporary take on Chinese and Southeast Asian dishes. Everything on Fong’s menu is top-notch, but the Tom yum prawn dumplings are a must-try — swimming in bright, refreshing soy, lime and chilli dressing.

    While you’re tackling the entrees, opt for the fried quail. This crispy golden bite-sized bird is bursting with enough flavour to put your favourite fried chicken joint to shame. Rounding out the selection of dishes you’ll be sorry if you miss are the pipis marinated in XO sauce and the mie goreng loaded with black garlic and bean sprouts. These four dishes alone are worth a trip to Parra, but the top-notch cocktails — try the sour plum negroni — and the always-friendly waitstaff are a much-appreciated cherry (or sour plum) on top.

    Images: Nikki To

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 14
    Lobster at Bouillon l'Entrecote. One of the best restaurants in Sydney.

    In the six years since Brasserie L’Entrecôte opened in Pymble, there’s been a bit of a French boom in the Sydney restaurant scene. While many of these spots are bringing a flashy city flair to their take on French cuisine, the long-standing spot — and its even more impressive sibling venue Bouillon L’Entrecôte — celebrate tradition, serving up classic dishes done incredibly well. On entry to Bouillon L’Entrecôte, you’ll head upstairs and discover the expansive dining room with a grand French fitout. Luxurious detailing and large dining tables are complemented by a huge portrait of legendary French chef Paul Bocuse.

    When it comes to the food, the options are varied but not overwhelming. Kick things off with your choice of starters and a glass of kir royale from the ‘How To Be a Good French’ drinks menu and follow it up with the escargot bathing in a rich sauce or ultra-cheesy twice-baked soufflé. The house specialty is the 200-gram sirloin steak served with french fries, walnut green salad and the Sydney restaurant’s famous secret sauce. Owner Johan Giausseran, nor the chefs, will give up the secret to the sauce’s recipe, no matter how hard you might prod.

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 13
    best restaurants sydney - maiz Mexican Street Food.

    Rolling down King Street looking for somewhere to dine can be a daunting task, but Newtown’s Maiz is here to make that choice easier. It is easily one of the best restaurants in Sydney. Located in a historic 1830s building with a stunning openair courtyard, the restaurant offers central Mexican street food, affordable tostadas and specialty cocktails. Maiz started as a family-run food stall at the Summer Hill Flour Mill Markets before making the leap to a bricks-and-mortar restaurant among the bustling atmosphere of south King in early 2021.

    Maiz employs a strict no-taco policy, drawing from more underappreciated elements of Mexican cusine. While the Sydney restaurant made its name for its sopes and its tortas — now only available for Sunday brunch — its standout dishes come in the form of its complex dinner options overflowing with flavour. Wild spanner crab molotes, tamales verdes and Oaxaca cheese tostadas are accompanied by a variety of margaritas, and specialty cocktails incorporating wild fermented pulque (often referred to in Mexico as ‘the drink of the gods’).

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 12
    Bert's - one of the best restaurants in Sydney

    As we’ve come to expect from Merivale, Bert’s doesn’t do anything by halves. Getting its inspiration from the 1930s — when hotel dining rooms were grand destinations — the restaurant is an extravaganza of jade green and coral pink, with an open kitchen as its centrepiece.

    But it’s not all about the looks. The food is just as luxe as the interiors. Look out for a dedicated raw bar crowded with oysters, mud crab, lobster and brioche canapés, and a larder loaded with charcuterie and salads. The 750-strong wine list, extensive cocktail menu and sparkling views across Pittwater also add to the appeal of this brilliant Sydney restaurant.

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 11
    Bennelong at the Sydney opera House - one of the best restaurants in Sydney.

    At Bennelong, one of the very best restaurants in Sydney, Peter Gilmore ditches the more extravagant elements of Quay and offers up brilliantly to-the-point dishes. Despite its unmatched panoramic views of Sydney Harbour, somehow, the food is still the highlight. Nestled below the Sydney Opera House, this Sydney showstopper provides a few different experiences. Stop in for a tipple at The Bar, take a seat at The Counter for a more accessible pre-Opera House meal or go all out at The Restaurant.

    Those who leave their inhibitions at the door will be treated to a brilliant three-course meal accompanied by intricately designed cocktails. Start your night with yuzu, fig, honey and lemon. That’s all packed into a cocktail called the Village Vanguard, combining these bold flavours with a pair of gins — one dry and one fruity. From there, you’ll be presented with the likes of mud crab congee and aged Kurobuta pork. Fittingly, you can finish your night off with Bennelong’s famous dessert, a stunning replica of the Opera House in pavlova form, complete with meringue shard sails.

    Image: Destination NSW

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 10
    The dining room at Kiln rooftop restaurant at the Ace Hotel in Sydney. one of the best restaurants in Sydney.

    From the moment it opened, the cool factor and unmistakable style of the Ace Hotel brand was delivered in spades. And Kiln, its fantastic rooftop restaurant, is no exception.

    Chef Mitch Orr has brought a menu that’s equally imaginative and delicious with inventive, genre-crossing dishes that bring together Italian flavours and Japanese influences (although not necessarily always at the same time). Matching the menu is a killer drinks list, a fun and electric atmosphere, and the sense that at any minute, you could turn around and bump into someone famous. The buzz is real at Kiln — and exciting hotel dining has well and truly returned to Sydney.

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 9
    Ester - one of the best restaurants in sydney

    A Chippendale mainstay, Ester pairs the best of Sydney’s dining scene with the laidback energy of its Chippo surrounds. The space is simple and sparse — done in concrete tones and darkish wood. It’s a (designer) vessel free of corny trends and all the tiring paraphernalia that comes with them, placing the food at the centre of your experience.

    The menu is driven (or fired) by a wood-burning oven which makes the house-made potato bread served with trout roe, dashi and kefir cream a solid place to start. There are oysters aplenty on the menu as well, making them another non-negotiable. Lastly, take your pick and pair your main with a smattering of sides from woodfired leek to a classic Ester salad, or, if you’re not one for decision-making, you can always put your trust in the chef and order the set menu, which hits all of the Ester hallmarks. Once you’re just a few bites and sips in, you’ll realise why it is one of the best restaurants in Sydney.

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 8
    Pellegrino 2000, one of the best restaurants in Sydney.

    Dan Pepperell (Alberto Lounge, 10 William Street and Frankie’s), sommelier Andy Tyson (Alberto Lounge) and longtime Rockpool Dining Group chef Michael Clift are behind Pellegrino 2000, a relatively new neighbourhood Italian restaurant inspired by trattorias in Rome and Florence.

    The menu at this Surry Hills standout consists of the Italian staples the owners dearly love, including cacio e pepe, prawn ravioli and focaccia paired with possibly Sydney’s best butter. As with many of the best restaurants in Sydney, good wine is on hand. You’ll find a massive selection of Italian classics — mostly barolo and chianti, plus a few prized bottles of the greats like soldera and valentini. The team knows exactly what it’s doing here.

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 7
    The main dining room at Sean's in Bondi - one of the best restaurants in Sydney - seafood restaurant sydney.

    Sean’s is a true institution. A long-standing Sydney seafood stalwart where everyone is welcome. Located on Campbell Parade overlooking the iconic Bondi Beach, this breezy eastern suburbs icon perfectly pairs a laidback, friendly atmosphere with plentiful dishes made from the freshest produce. Take a seat among the perfectly curated mishmash of wall art and choose from the day’s dishes — all laid out on the restaurant’s chalkboard.

    While the menu at this Sydney restaurant is reserved, there’s something for everyone here. Whether you’re on the hunt for a hearty serving of vegetables in the form of the farm plate, a perfectly roasted chook or a spot-on kingfish tartare, Sean’s is a crowd-pleaser. Once you’ve wrapped up, your bill is hand-written, and your leftovers are wrapped up in tinfoil, ready for you to relive your experience the next day.

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 6
    Views from Quay restaurant - home to one of the best private dining rooms in Sydney

    Quay might just be the most well-known fine-dining restaurant in Sydney (or Australia, for that matter). Head Chef Peter Gilmore is famous for his appearances on Masterchef, and the restaurant has one of the greatest views in the city — overlooking both the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s also home to one of the best private dining rooms in Sydney.

    Since its inception, Gilmore has worked closely with farmers, fishermen and artisans to source ingredients — many of whom grow, forage and create items specifically for the acclaimed chef. These are then used to create seemingly simple but thoughtfully creative dishes that change regularly. It’s one of the best restaurants in Sydney, but keep in mind that it comes with a hefty price tag. Be sure to keep this one bookmarked for your next special celebration.

    Image: Nikki To

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 5
    Lankan Filing Station - one of the best restaurants in Sydney.

    After building a cult following for her show-stopping hoppers at Carriageworks Farmers Market, O Tama Carey flung open the doors to her first permanent restaurant, Lankan Filling Station, in 2018. A shrine to Sri Lankan cuisine, the east Sydney venue features a hands-on menu of hoppers, sambols and curries. The build-your-own style meal employs a check-box system, and it takes all the restraint in the world not to go on a mad ticking spree.

    Start by ordering a few hoppers, which are bowl-shaped Sri Lankan crepes known for their soft, spongey centre and crisp lacy trim — and an optional fried egg in the centre. Next up, choose your sambol and pickles, then turn to Carey’s curries to round out your banquet. While hoppers do go exceptionally well with hops, there’s more to the drinks menu than just beer. If you’re looking to quench the heat of the chillies, try one of the custom-blended Sri Lankan tea. Otherwise, there’s plenty of natural, minimal-intervention wines (including sangiovese rosé on tap) available at one of the best restaurants in Sydney.

    Image: Nikki To

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 4
    best italian restaurants in sydney - ragazzi wine bar

    City workers, theatre-goers and general pasta lovers should all have this romantic Italian restaurant at the very top of their hit list. Ragazzi comes from the duo behind Love, Tilly Devine and Dear Sainte Éloise, bringing these venues’ passion for carbs and minimal-intervention wines to Angel Place. The 38-seat wine bar features textured concrete walls, leather banquette seating and a ten-seat, wraparound brass bar, serving up daily-changing wines by the glass, along with a whopping 250 by the bottle.

    Then there’s the pasta — possibly Sydney’s best. While you can expect the menu to be different every time you visit, some of the highlights you may run into include spaghetti cacio e pepe, mushroom and gorgonzola ravioli and spanner crab conchiglie. Can’t make a decision? The friendly staff and open-plan kitchen mean there’s always a helpful opinion around the corner. And if you can’t find a table at Angel Place, head to the team’s expansive, but just as impressive, new CBD diner Palazzo Salato.

    Image: Nikki To for Buffet

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 3
    One of the best restaurants in sydney - cafe paci

    Cafe Paci, the highly lauded Darlinghurst pop-up, made its grand return in 2019. Award-winning Finnish chef Pasi Petänen (Quay, Four In Hand, Marque) opened the permanent iteration of the Sydney restaurant along one of the city’s busiest strips — Newtown’s King Street. While the original pop-up was set-menu only, this iteration of Cafe Paci is instead a la carte — which Petänen feels will create a more casual, everyday restaurant vibe, as opposed to one that’s just for special occasions.

    Stop in for a quick bar snack and cocktail combo, or enjoy oysters with your glass of wine. But, for the full experience, nab a seat in the dining room. Some of the original fan-favourite menu items remain mainstays — like the house potato and molasses bread and the liquorice cake. These are paired with fresh creations like the best deviled eggs you’ll ever have and continually changing plates of ravioli.

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 2
    A musician playing jazz music in the dining bar at Restaurant Hubert - home to one of the best steaks in Sydney. Also one of the best restaurants in Sydney.

    Since it opened as the first full-service restaurant from the Swillhouse Group in 2016, Restaurant Hubert has built a reputation as a true gem of the Sydney restaurant landscape. It even has the Jack Harlow tick of approval. From the moment you open the door, this Bligh Street spot will hurtle you headfirst into a C.S. Lewis-style adventure, taking you from dreary city streets to the resplendent old-world opulence of post-war Paris. It’s like an adult’s version of Narnia, only this time, there’s steak and wine.

    If you’re heading to Hubert, you’re in for some serious mood lighting and daily live jazz. Playing off this utterly romantic setting is an intricate menu of classic French brasserie dishes. The selections progress from lighter, entree-style dishes — like XO escargots— to heavy cream-laden mains. And, while Hubert is drenched in lavish luxury, it knows how to have a little fun with $13 cheeseburgers during happy hour and regular movie screenings in its theatre.

    Images: Daniel Boud. 

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 1
    Saint Peter - the best restaurant in Sydney.

    Josh Niland is one of Sydney’s great culinary innovators. His nose-to-tail ethos around sustainable seafood has seen him named in the world’s top 100 best chefs, win the James Beard Book of the Year Award and be listed among the world’s 50 best next-generation hospitality leaders. Josh and his partner-in-crime Julie Niland’s sardine tin-sized venue Saint Peter is where it all began and should still be top of the list for any seafood lovers.

    Whether you get in to experience its original Paddington digs, or end up experiencing the restaurant after it relocates to The Grand National Hotel, you’re in for an experience like no other. The menu changes daily depending on what’s been trawled in from the ocean that morning, but if you manage to nab a highly sought-after spot at the Oxford Street diner, you can be sure you’ll be served some of the tastiest and most innovative takes on seafood you’re likely to come across. It’s clear to see why it is one of the best Sydney restaurants.

    Add to Playlist Read more

Top images: Quay Restaurant by Nikki To

Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x