Matt Moran's harbourside restaurant has been serving up top-notch tasting menus by the water for 20 years.
Matt Moran's harbourside fine diner has been an institution for 20 years now. And, after all that time, Aria continues to be among Sydney's most sought after dining destinations. It championed seasonal ingredients and Australian wines long before these were on trend, and still boasts one of the best tasting menus (and views) that the Sydney hospitality scene has to offer.
That tasting menu is available every day for lunch and dinner — and, yes, it's a special occasion splurge (starting at $210 per person). But you'll get to taste seven of Aria's best dishes of the moment. The autumn menu features snapper with green chilli and wild garlic, Maremma duck with pumpkin and burnt onion, wagyu short rib with parsnip and green garlic and cobia with eggplant and sweet corn.
If you don't have quite that much cash to splash, but still want to indulge in the Aria experience, opt for the more reasonably priced two-to-three course lunch ($85–115) or three-to-four course dinner ($150–175). Any of these menus can be made vegetarian vegan and gluten-free, too.
And, as March 2020, you really don't need to break the bank to dine here. Alongside the 170-seat dining room, Aria has just launched a 'casual' bar area, where Executive Chef Joel Bickford is offering an a la carte menu of well-priced, seasonal snacks ($6–25).
Think hand-held snacks like crisp wagyu toasties with dill pickles and house mustard, or crab sandwiches with tarragon and lettuce heart ($18 each). Other dishes on, at the moment, include fresh Merimbula rock oysters with finger lime ($6 each), raw scallops with caviar ($25) and whipped cod roe and caviar served with a charcoal cracker ($16).
Alongside the eats, diners can order from Aria's extensive cocktail menu or award-winning wine list, which boasts a whopping 80 wines by the glass and 1700 by the bottle. It's curated by Head Sommelier Alex Kirkwood, who suggests a 2016 Hubert Lamy La Princée Saint-Aubin with that crab sandwich, or a (rather indulgent) 1970 Conde de Los Andes rioja with the wagyu toastie.
The no-reservations bar is open daily from 5.30–11pm. Expect the elegance of the dining room to extend to the bar, which is furnished with low chairs and offers soft lighting.
No matter which dining option you go for, you'll be in for one gorgeous meal.
Images: Cole Bennetts, Kitti Gould and Steven Woodburn