Simon Day reveals some of Sydney’s best restaurants.
Sydney is one of the most delicious cities in the world. Although you might associate it most with ferries cruising on the lovely harbour, the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the sun shining on beautiful beaches, its glorious food is the cherry on top of this incredible city. A quick trip across the Tasman and you’re in a town full of truly world-class eating.
Sydney’s eats are some of the best in Australia, but you can eat all around the world, while staying in one corner of a suburb or the city centre. That’s right, it’s not just the city that has the best restaurants, with the suburbs also home to some of the greatest meals you can find in the country.
It’s really hard to narrow down the best of the best – but we gave it an honest try. Here are our picks for great eating in one of Australia’s most exciting cities. It’s full of high-end luxury, and wonderful,simple food too. Eat it all.
Everybody raves about Aria Restaurant on Circular Quay. Known for its creative fine dining and modern Aussie cuisine, at Aria you can enjoy a tasting menu then walk it off around the harbour. Make sure you book!
There’s a short stretch of Oxford Street in Paddington that’s home to a collection of delicious Sydney restaurants, each with their own personality. Saint Peter is often called the finest fish and chips in town, but it does the restaurant a disservice to call it fish and chips! Try the Coffs Harbour wild kingfish and spring beans or the raw diced Mooloolaba big eye tuna with sour cabbage and egg yolk for an unforgettable experience. Paddington is so much fun for shopping too that you won’t want to leave.
One door down and you’re at The Paddington. Try the roast chicken, chips, crispy cos lettuce and gravy. It’s simple and perfect. The fitout is warm and cosy and makes you feel like you’ve gone to your best friend’s house for dinner.
Another door over and you’ll find Fred’s. It’s a little fancier, a little more polished and also very delicious. Even though it’s posh, the atmosphere is relaxed and the service is fantastic. What makes it go from great to special is the dedication to the food’s provenance and the restaurant’s commitment to sustainable produce and the people who farm it. Arrive early and have a drink at Charlie Parker’s, the underground bar beneath the restaurant.
Sydney is best experienced by the ocean, and so is its food.
The Doyle family are known for their beautiful seafood restaurants, which are all by the sea, but you simply can’t beat Doyles on Circular Quay. Enjoy the most incredible seafood while looking at the Opera House and the busy harbour. If you visit Sydney during the incredible Vivid Festival, you’ll be given a free light show too!
Ripples at Milsons Point sits right under the Harbour Bridge. Tour The Rocks and see Sydney’s rich history. The cobblestone laneways are the perfect place to get lost on a sunny day, then relax with some Italian-inspired food.
Sydney’s large Italian community means it’s not hard to find cuisine that rivals the best on offer in Milan, Rome and Naples. Fratelli Paradiso at Potts Point is one of my favourites. The staff banter away in Italian, and the food is just as authentic. Try the tagliatelle with brisket rag: spag bol on a whole new level. It’s a fantastic spot for Sunday lunch.
Sydney is an expansive city but get out and walk as much as you can. Inner-city Darlinghurst is a heap of fun to visit and if you do, check out the famed Gelato Messina. It’s a great way to cool off – every flavour is made by the Gelato Messina team and some call it Sydney’s best gelato. The apple pie and blood orange flavours are out of this world!
The food at the Bondi Icebergs Club at the southern end of Bondi Beach is simple, but the location is legendary. Find a spot on the deck and enjoy a dozen oysters and a half kilo of fresh prawns while you watch the beautiful people of Sydney in their natural environment.
The Harbord Diggers Club on Sydney’s Northern Beaches is a newly renovated RSL club that caters to everyone. RSL Clubs in Australia are like community hubs and are a must-try experience. The Harbord Club is a great example of that, with a very family-friendly atmosphere and a great excuse to visit the northern suburbs. Order the salt and pepper squid with apple balsamic and sit outside in the fresh sea air.
Wherever you go in Sydney, finding a great meal is easy. It’s a city that loves to eat and you will too while you’re there!