Sydney Eating, drinking and dancing
(+61 (0)2 9360 9631)?
This iconic upscale café in Darlinghurst has become world-renowned for its laid-back ambience and superb breakfasts – The New York Times even claimed its scrambled eggs were the best in the world. Locals love the sweetcorn fritters and ricotta hot cakes with honeycomb butter.
433 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney NSW 2010
(+61 (0)2 9332 3300)
This restaurant on Crown Street serves modern Chinese like no other; the mandarin duck with star anise is culinary perfection. It’s a tiny place and the no bookings policy means there may be a wait, but it’s well worth it.
355 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW 2010
(+61 (0)2 9212 7766)
For a taste of tapas, this restaurant in Surry Hills glows with contemporary style; its traditional flavours and wine list will appease any connoisseur, and the open kitchen allows you to watch the chefs prepare the delicious meals. Try the fried spiced school prawns.
216–224 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW 2010
(+61 (0)2 9357 3074)
Harry's Café de Wheels
Famous for its delicious pies, Harry's has been servicing Sydneysiders for many years and it has a long history of star-studded visitors. Celebrity photos are fixed on the walls of the old pie cart for all to enjoy. There aren't any tables, so grab a seat on one of the wharf's benches and take in the local culture while you tuck into your pie and peas.
Corner of Cowper Wharf Roadway and Brougham Road, Woolloomooloo, Sydney NSW 2011
(+61 (0)2 9365 9000)
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar
A great example of the upscale Eastern Suburbs mentality, this restaurant and cocktail bar is in the lifesaving club overlooking one of Sydney’s most iconic pools. Sip a Campari-infused concoction and watch the locals doing laps before tucking into the dining room’s enviable selection of fresh fish.
1 Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW 2026
(+61 (0)2 9332 2225)
One of the best culinary experiences to be found in Australia, this three-chef's-hat (the Antipodean equivalent of Michelin stars) restaurant in Surry Hills usually has a month-long waiting list. Book well in advance to sample chef Mark Best's modern take on Franco-Australian cuisine.
355 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW 2010
(+61 (0)2 9300 4400)
North Bondi Italian Food
Offering one of Sydney's best vantage points from which to watch the thousands of locals and travellers slowly peel off the sand – leaving an empty Bondi Beach to be transformed by the golden evening light – this stylish restaurant is a favourite of the city's beautiful people, who come here for the upmarket Mediterranean cuisine and excellent wine list. It’s packed to the rafters from 3pm, so fight for a spot on the balcony.
118–120 Ramsgate Avenue, North Bondi, Sydney NSW 2026
(+61 (0)2 9365 4422)
A Bondi Beach institution, Ravesi's has been serving up Mediterranean-inspired tapas made with fresh local produce to grateful locals for years. The people-watching from the balcony is second to none.
118 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW 2026
(+61 (0)2 9969 5050)
The Bathers' Pavilion
A waterfront beach house at Balmoral Beach, on Sydney's lower north shore, the Bathers' Pavilion offers a menu of fresh seasonal produce with an emphasis on local seafood. Opt to dine either at one of the communal tables or in one of the more intimate cushioned booths. The views along the beachfront are spectacular.
4 The Esplanade, Mosman, Sydney NSW 2008
(+61 (0)2 9380 8838)
Known for its quality food and chic diners, this wonderful but tiny Japanese fusion restaurant has just one large communal table and it doesn't take reservations. It's worth the wait if you have to queue, though. We recommend the melt-in-your-mouth pork belly. Bring your own wine.
8 Heeley Street, Paddington, Sydney NSW 2021
+61 1800 700 700
Smith tastemaker Stefano Manfredi has brought his winning ways with cucina Italiana to a stunning new trattoria. Located in The Star complex, Balla offers sun-drenched dining overlooking the harbour, and a Milanese menu of wood-grilled meats, hand-crafted pastas and swoon-worthy salumi.
Level G, Harbourside, The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009
(02) 8116 8555
The laid-back, sun-kissed sister of the legendary Kings Cross nightspot, this northern Hugo's outpost flaunts water and wharf views, killer cocktails and a knockout menu of pizzas and other Italian bites. Even dyed-in-the-wool citysiders have been known to cross the bridge for a summer session here.
Shop 1, Manly Wharf, East Esplanade, Manly, 2095 Australia
(02) 9949 9011
This waterfront restaurant is a favourite for relaxed lunches of top-notch Mediterranean fare. Spanking-fresh seafood, housemade pastas and roast meats that'd put your Nan's to shame make this a star on the Sydney dining scene.
West Esplanade Manly Cove, Manly, 2095 Australia
+61 (0)2 8313 1000
There's much to like about Ms. G's, one of Sydney's favourite outposts for 'dude food' and left-of-centre pan-Asian fare. The edgy, multi-level space with harbour glimpses packs nightly with fine young things who come to knock back mini bahn mi (pork rolls), fried chicken with kimchi mayo, and the ridiculously good Stoner's Delight dessert of Mars bar slice, passionfruit marshmallow, dulce de leche, pretzels and donut ice cream. You know you want it.
55 Victoria Street, Potts Point, Australia
+61 (0)3 8399 1440
The Bodega boys are the brains behind this Argentinian meat fest. Come early for the wood-fired lamb and suckling pig, teamed with punchy chimichurri salsa and plates of South American delights, including morcilla (blood sausage), homemade chorizo and some token salad greens.
358 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, New South Wales
(+61 (0)2 8273 1222)
Part of Wildfire, a glorious restaurant at the Ground Level Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay, this fun venue with a wonderfully subtle music policy is the ideal place to enjoy a cocktail while gazing across the shimmering water to Sydney Opera House. Snuggle up in a cosy booth or settle down on one of the oversized leather couches in the outside bar.
Ground Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay West, Sydney NSW 2000
(+61 (0)2 9240 3040)
Inspired by the opulence of the Ottoman Empire, this pricey cocktail lounge in Establishment Hotel is the place to come for sheer extravagance. Guests stepping out of the elevator walk straight into a sultry room that rivals any of New York or London’s finest. ??
Level 4, 252 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
(+61 (0)2 9357 4411)
Hugo’s Bar Pizza
As famous for its pizzas as its nightlife scene, this Kings Cross favourite has nonetheless won plenty of Best Bar and Nightclub awards. Tuck into a calzone and then hang around for late-night drinks and dancing.
19–33 Bayswater Road, Potts Point, Sydney NSW 2011
(+61 (0)2 9240 3000)
The newly opened Ivy, one of the latest additions to the super-chic Merivale Group’s portfolio, boasts an array of bars and restaurants, including a fabulous open air Pool Club. Wear your most stylish bikini and kaftan, ladies…
330 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
(+61 (0)2 9331 2604)
Located at Five Ways, this heritage pub has kept its original architecture and ornate decor. We suggest a cosy table for two on the balcony overlooking the heart of Paddington, with the city skyline as your backdrop.
237 Glenmore Road, Paddington, Sydney NSW 2021
(+61 (0)2 9357 1111)
The Beresford Hotel
An art deco gem, this recently renovated hotel is home to some of Australia's finest mixologists, and is an absolute must-visit for anyone with even a passing interest in cocktails. If you're worried about drinking on an empty stomach, then take your pick from the irresistible menu of modern Italian dishes available in the sizeable beer garden.
354 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW 2010
(+61 (0)2 9299 4770)
This stunning upstairs cocktail lounge and bar, set at the northern end of King Street Wharf, offers spectacular 180-degree views of Darling Harbour.
3 Lime Street, King Street Wharf, Sydney NSW 2000
(+61 (0)2 9265 6070)
Situated in the Hilton Hotel, this stylish bar is furnished with lavish velvet armchairs, white footstools and flowing drapes, all of which create a private-booth effect. It also offers a stunning outside terrace with spectacular views of the Sydney skyline.
Level 4, 488 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
+61 (0)2 9699 1011
Bourke Street Bakery
This bijou bakery is one of Sydney's finest. Dave McGuinness and Paul Allam's ginger and pistachio creme brulee tarts have a cult following, and the pork and fennel sausage rolls have cured many a sore head on a Sunday morning. The line at this, the original branch, can be foreboding - if you don't want to cue for fresh-baked sourdough, slabs of pizzas or giant meringues, try one of the larger outlets on Gardeners Road in Alexandria, or Mitchell Street, Marrickville. If you find yourself in the city centre with a croissant craving, make a beeline for the boys' Central Baking Depot in Erskine Street.
633 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, NSW, Australia
+61 (0)2 9130 1566
Set back from Bondi Beach, locals' favourite Brown Sugar morphs from laid-back cafe by day to buzzy, candle-lit bistro by night. Chef Neil Gottheiner's contemporary menu is packed with crowd-pleasing Med-inspired dishes, such as mussels with white wine, chilli and tomato, and squid-ink pasta with crab and saffron. Sweet-tooths will go into a spin over desserts of chocolate fondant with espresso ice cream.
106 Curlewis Street, Bondi Beach, NSW, Australia
+61 (0)2 9810 7318
The Adriano Zumbo Cafe
Master patissiere Adriano Zumbo is single-handedly to blame for starting a macaroon craze in Australia. His knockout flavours include salted butter caramel, lychee bubble tea and out-there options such as satay or Japanese mayo. His individual cakes and tarts are works of edible art. Stop by the Rozelle cafe, or call into branches on Darling Street Balmain or The Esplanade, Manly.
114 Terry Street, Rozelle, NSW, Australia
+61 (0)2 9358 1196
Toby's Estate Cafe
This is where it all began for Australian java master Toby Smith. Visit the industrial-chic space for spot-on coffees, elegant teas, and a snappy range of sweet and savoury treats.
129 Cathedral Street, Woolloomooloo, New South Wales, 2011
+61 (0)2 9358 6777
People-watching and pancake-scoffing are the order of the day at this Parisian-style café in chichi Potts Point. Each day kicks off with bountiful breakfasts of cinnamon and vanilla porridge, or a sausage sanger with red pepper relish. Lunches are light and bright offerings such as roast chicken salad, and dinners steer more towards tapas-style starters and Mod Oz mains. Nab one of the sun-drenched footpath tables, then settle in to watch Sydney's beautiful people saunter by,
77 Macleay Street, Potts Point, NSW, Australia