Here is my Foodie’s Guide to the top restaurants in Sydney, starting with the higher End of the restaurant scene:
Japanese fusion. No menu degustation. Tiny and very intimate.
Unique. Just sit down and the food will come to you. 10 courses. About 3 hr experience. Excellent sake.
Special Occasion. Unforgettable. For “foodies” with a wide palate only. Be careful who you invite to this one – Philistines won’t get it.
You’re eating art here. 8 course degustation. Great wine list. Fun and boisterous atmosphere
Fred’s Restaurant & Charlie Parker’s Bar
Start with a few drinks downstairs at Charlie Parker’s. Gorgeous cosy interior. Upstairs at Fred’s, the chef’s, food prep and kitchen are part of the dining experience. Very high quality ingredients bring to life a refreshingly unpretentious menu.
Set menu style showcasing local produce. Dishes made from scratch. Lots of pickled items.
Ex chef from Farmhouse and Deadringer. Lushly appointed. Fun vibe inside.
Unique and really amazing interior. Modern Australian with a Nordic Scandinavian slant. Superb high quality alcohol. Outstanding menu focused around meat, with bone marrow and spiced pig’s head terrine making appearances. A selection of hearty side dishes are the perfect compliment.
Simply the best French restaurant in the city. The interior is a knock out. Red velvet and candles. Looks like a movie set. Top notch alcohol of all varieties in a cozy downstairs bungalow style bar. Lose yourself for hours in this place.
Upstairs in the strand arcade, this place is dark, moody and wonderful. Italian style food at its best.
The menu is entirely powered by wood fire and everything is cooked to order. The kitchen burns a collection of different woods daily to create coals that will then be used to enhance the natural characteristics of the ingredients. Fun & boisterous vibe
Kepos Street Kitchen
The best Thai in the city by a long way. Powerful, fresh flavour combinations fill the small yet slick menu. Fantastic converted Surry Hills warehouse space.
Ex Bodega chef Kenji Maenaka goes back to his roots. Super cool vibes of a Japanese flavour, fantastic sashimi in a lush, dark candlelit interior. Imported Japanese beer on tap, excellent sake selection too.
Greek food served in a tasting plate format. Stunning venue. A place you’re likely to see Sydney’s top chefs. I used to eat here every week when I lived in Potts Point and never grew tired of it. Advanced wine menu. Brilliant for a long lunch.
Cho Cho San
Done by the same crew involved with Apollo, but this time in a Japanese style. Not traditional Japanese though. Very creative and unique dishes such as udon bolognaise. As with all of these restaurants, high end alcohol in plentiful supply and talent behind the bar.
Authentic Argentinian meats prepared front and centre on a traditional Parilla (BBQ) and Asado (pit of fire). But lots of seafood and vegetarian options too. Lively atmosphere. Never let you down this place. A selection of sumptuous Argentinian malbecs are the perfect compliment.
Couldn’t resist including this one. By Mat Lindsay (Ester). Poly is much less formal than ester and more a wine bar than a restaurant. The choice of wines here is guided by the philosophy of organic and biodynamic viniculture with minimal intervention. That said, the food is very good indeed, made up of snacks cooked in a custom-built hearth.
Our favourite local cocktail bar. But the menu is superb too. Rob Sloan and Tim Philips (from the amazing Bulletin Place) have fashioned delightfully imaginative cocktails with the most talented bar crew pulling the levers. The seasonal food menu never disappoints, nor does an interesting and ever-changing wine list. Excellent for hot summer evenings.
Cheap yet Wonderful
An eatery modelled on the yakitori restaurants found in Fukuoka, Japan. Dimly lit space with just 25 seats. Huge portraits of Japanese cooks on the walls. The scent of grilling meat fills the air. Alongside common cuts such as pork belly and chicken wings, you’ll find Wagyu tongue, chicken hearts, tails, livers, heart pipes, gizzard and gristle. Def try the spicy tuna-belly tataki with pig’s ear; and snapper sashimi with Tasmanian fresh truffle.
It would have to be a damn fine pizza to arouse any interest in me. It’s the one type of food that’s mostly done exceedingly badly. This place is a shining exception. There are a lot of Sydney hospitality guns involved in this venture: Luke Powell of Chippendale’s LP’s Quality Meats, his partner Tania Houghton, and Elvis Abrahanowicz, Joe Valore and Sarah Doyle of Porteno and Continental Deli Bar and Bistro. Enough said right?
Very small so arrive early. Sensational coffee and wonderfully inventive menu. Very original in conception. Brilliant.
The layout of this place is really stunning. The food lives up to the surroundings. Nothing clichéd here. For example the Smithy breakfast burger which consists of a brioche bun filled with pesto fried egg, bacon, cheddar cheese, pickled slaw, beetroot relish and chilli jam, or the chicken karaage and bagna cauda.