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Across Land & Sea Travel Blog

25 of the best restaurants in Sydney

During our six months living and working in Sydney, we fully embraced the city's dining options and found ourselves devouring meals of all shapes and sizes across the city.

The number of restaurants in Sydney's CBD and surrounds is huge (there's over 5700 on TripAdvisor) so, how on earth do you decide where to go?

We've spent many hours indulging in what Sydney has to offer and below we've listed our 25 favourite restaurants, starting with the 'cheap-and-cheerful's and ending with our top occasion restaurants.

Don't just take our word for it, though - 15 of these restaurants rate in the top 150 on TripAdvisor. Whilst some may not be to your style, they are highly recommended by us. At each of the below, we were served incredible food and received an awesome service.

Toastie

Dumplings & Beer

With a name like that, this place had us at 'hello'. This poky hole-in-the-wall joint offers big flavours for small prices.

Order: Soupy xiao long bao
Vibe: Super chilled, come with your mates in a pair of thongs and a t-shirt
Nearest train station: Kings Cross

Click here to find out more

New ShangHai

There's one in Sydney CBD but if you want the real deal, head to the original in Chatswood. The dumplings are soft and bouncy and you can expect authentic dishes from this growing chain.

Order: Everything.
Vibe: Old school Shanghai and place-mat menus
Nearest train station: Chatswood

Click here to find out more

Shanghai Fried Dumpling

This gem of a restaurant is a stone's throw from the station, a dangerous (read: ideal) location for hungry commuters.

Order: Dumplings - you can't go wrong
Vibe: No-frills eatery with takeaways in Tupperware encouraged
Nearest train station: Wolli Creek

There's no website for these guys!

Basket Brothers

We ate our first burger in Sydney here and boy, did we choose the right spot. Huge slabs of meat with generous salad, caramelised onion and fluffy fries, it's a safe place to get your burger fix.

Order: Jalapeno burger
Vibe: Hip, street-corner space serving decadent Aussie burgers
Nearest train station: Museum 

Click here to find out more through Broadsheet

Mamak

Chinatown was full of music, dance, happy crowds and snapping cameras during the Lunar New Year. We escaped the main drag and headed round the corner to Mamak, a Malaysian diner with a short, yet satisfying, menu.

Order: Roti & chicken satay
Vibe: Traditional, bold Malaysian food served café style
Nearest train station: Central

Click here to find out more

Brewtown Newtown

Sticky pecan delights, crispy bacon and brioche rolls... hangover cure anyone? Breakfast is king at this hipster heaven.

Order: The breakfast burger
Vibe: Warehouse dining-hall serving specialty coffee and brekkie favourites
Nearest train station: Newtown

Click here to find out more

Graze

This pleasant restaurant boasts a great location looking out to the Opera House and serves refreshing dishes in a relaxed environment. You could easily spend the whole afternoon here.

Order: Grilled flat bread with Zatar & hummus, slow-cooked duck leg
Vibe: Elegant veranda with stellar views and delicious platters
Nearest train station: Circular Quay

Click here to find out more

Mejico

Music pumping and cocktails flowing, dinner at Mejico is a lot of fun. The food is tasty, staff are buzzing and the menu is so mouth-watering, you may end up going back for a second visit.

Order: Guacamole, made at the table, and ceviche
Vibe: Lively, industrial and 'dishes arrive when they're ready'
Nearest train station: Wynyard

Click here to find out more

Butcher & Farmer

Tramsheds Harold Park is foodie heaven. This restored tram depot is now home to carefully-chosen restaurants and bars in an airy food hall and Butcher & Farmer takes a prime spot.

Order: from the Farmer's Kitchen
Vibe: Natural-light filled open kitchen serving fresh, wholesome food and selling artisan produce
Nearest train station: Jubilee Park Light Rail (or bus it from Central)

Click here to find out more

stinking bishops

If 'cheesy chic' was a thing, this would be it. This poky joint on Enmore Road has a vast range of cheeses and expert staff to guide you as to how stinky, moist or hard you want it.

Order: A mixture of cheeses and meats, from countries you wouldn't expect
Vibe: Boutique European-style, boasting smelly delights and exquisite cold cuts
Nearest train station: Newtown

Click here to find out more

Farmhouse

One long table dominates the small space, encouraging sharing plates and making new friends. We met a group of McDonalds franchisees from California who were on their yearly 'big trip' - two weeks in Australia. We got on with them so well they ended up paying for our meal - which was delicious.

Order: No decisions necessary - there is one set menu!
Vibe: Relaxed, communal dinner party in a homely wooden dining room
Nearest train station: Kings Cross

Click here to find out more

Grounds of Alexandria

This was one of those places that Rachel fell in love with and didn't want to leave! With market stalls, restaurants and bars, the Grounds is the perfect place for a long, lazy brunch, followed by afternoon tea, evening drinks and a stonking hangover the following morning... 

Order: The Grounds Big Brekkie (inc. chorizo, pumpkin, baby peppers) and rose lemonade
Vibe: Paddock-to-plate food served in beautiful surroundings
Nearest train station: Green Square or St. Peters

Click here to find out more

Spice ROOM

An extensive menu with exotic curries is served to traditional Indian music by efficient staff. It's a safe bet if you're looking for hearty Indian fare in a location that otherwise hosts restaurants that are unremarkable.

Order: Butter chicken (preferably as part of one of their incredible banquets)
Vibe: No heavy, cream-laden curries at this tucked-away, tapestry-adorned restaurant in tourist town
Nearest train station: Circular Quay

Click here to find out more

Tapavino

If you're looking for serious tapas, you've come to the right place. The wine list is a book of predominantly Spanish bottles and the food menu is vast. Expect decent-sized portions and to spend your entire night here.

Order: Braised chorizo, and a glass (or two) of sherry
Vibe: Spanish alleyway chic, darkened rooms and bold tapas served by suited waiters
Nearest train station: Circular Quay

Click here to find out more

Meat & Wine Co

An established chain with a range of beef on offer, there are now a few branches across the city. It's not cheap, but we feel the quality matches the price and there is always a positive energy about the place. 

Order: Steak, how you like it
Vibe: Buzzing after-work wining and dining in a modern steakhouse
Nearest train station: Circular Quay 

Click here to find out more

Bouche on Bridge

If you like the idea of fine dining without the pomp, book a table at Bouche. The dishes are beautifully presented and flavours aren't obscure, but just right.

Order: Asparagus, duck yolk and grains to nibble on and the hazelnut, chocolate, malt dessert - basically a big, delicious Ferrero Rocher
Vibe: Local, sustainable produce presented beautifully in a modern European setting
Nearest train station: Wynyard

Click here to find out more

Nomad

Wine store as well as restaurant, Nomad's large space makes it perfect for group meals, where you can get a bit rowdy without annoying (too many) tables around you...

Order: Bread (baked in house), kingfish ceviche and lamb neck. Oh, and lots of Australian wine.
Vibe: Laidback warehouse showcasing fine Australian produce with a wine list '4000km long'
Nearest train station: Museum

Click here to find out more

Billy Kwong

From three-legged stools in Surry Hills to a swankily-designed restaurant in Potts Point, celebrity chef Kylie Kwong has created a new dynamic environment and with the original delicious menu on offer. 

Order: Home-style fried eggs with XO sauce & tamari; and crispy skin duck with orange & Davidson's plum
Vibe: Grandma's recipes cooked with love in a stylish setting (including chairs with BACKS and adult-sized tables...)
Nearest train station: Kings Cross

Click here to find out more

Icebergs

Everybody has heard of Icebergs. It's ocean-side pool, sweeping views of the bay and understated decor have made it a prime hangout for trendy tourists and locals alike.

Order: Crab lasagne
In a nutshell: A Bondi institution with superb views and refined food to boot!
Nearest train station: Bondi Junction

Click here to find out more

Est

This multi award-winning heritage restaurant is instantly impressive with its high ceilings, beautiful arched windows and dramatic columns. The menu offers traditional French fare with a touch of class. Go hungry, as you will almost certainly want to taste the full degustation.

Order: The largest tasting menu and a glass from the champagne trolley. 
Vibe: Formal luxe dining in elegant surroundings
Nearest train station: Wynyard

Click here to find out more

Nel

We are huge fans of experimental cooking (and serving), so Nel really hit the spot. Steaming tomato water poured from test tubes, prosciutto-covered exploding watermelon balls and other taste sensations abound. We only wish we heard about it sooner so we could have returned and tried a new menu (which changes every six weeks). 

Order: Their dinnertime tasting menu. Savour each dish!
Vibe: Understated and underground, in the best way possible. 
Nearest train station: Central

Click here to find out more

China Doll

Finger Wharf is home to some pretty good restaurants, but China Doll has to be our favourite. With famous dishes from South East Asia, China, Hong Kong and Japan, the menu is a crowd-pleaser which never sacrifices quality over variety. 

Order: A banquet menu, with the corn and zucchini cakes with a coriander sambal, and the pork belly with a chilli caramel and nam pla phrik. 
Vibe: City skyline views and contemporary Asian cooking
Nearest train station: Kings Cross

Click here to find out more

Hubert

This popular Parisian haunt has universally wowed critics, and we can see why. Hearty, well-seasoned sharing dishes, an expansive wine list and lively ambiance make Hubert the sort of place you could end up returning to time and time again. 

Order: Chicken à la jardinière (even if there's just two of you. And you want to get a few more side dishes. Just do it)
Vibe: Dimly-lit, warm and jazzy, the atmosphere encourages the sharing of stories and laughter, as well as great food
Nearest train station: Martin Place

Click here to find out more

Mr. Wong

Because of it's expansive two-floor set up, it's popular with groups and you'll find plenty of 'work meals' here. That's not to say Mr. Wong is just for corporate dinners, though, and you'll notice anyone and everyone queuing for a table outside. 

It's vast, classic menu and colonial setting has seduced diners for a couple of years, earning Mr Wong plenty of 'hats' and 'glasses' from the Sydney Morning Herald and Gourmet Traveller.

Order: Chinese roasted duck and plenty of dim sum
Vibe: (After you've queued) expect traditional Chinese furnishings and a modern Cantonese menu
Nearest train station: Wynyard

Click here to find out more

Quay

We have renowned chef Peter Gilmore to thank for his most awarded restaurant in Australia. Polished, exciting, and downright tasty, the evolving menu is one-of-a-kind. As expected, the service is superb and the view is to die for. 

Order: The tasting menu with wine pairings (especially if the 'uni' dish is still on the menu)
Vibe: The ultimate occasion restaurant: exquisite food and a characteristically 'Sydney' view
Nearest train station: Circular Quay

Click here to find out more


 
 

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