Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends

Sydney Restaurant Reviews

by Walter Glaser

All Prices in U.S. Dollars

The Bathers Pavilion
4 The Esplanade, Balmoral. Ph: (02) 9968 1133
Cost: around $70 for two.

Located in a beachside building that was a Bathers Pavilion in the 1930’s, this excellent restaurant typifies the trend to mixing eastern ingredients in western style dishes. Decor is bright, the dishes are "modern Australian Pacific rim" style. Put this one on your short list for dishes such as barramundi with chilli and a sensational tamarind broth. There’s a refreshment room to have breakfast or snacks between swims and the main dining room which offers an excellent wine list.

Bayswater Brasserie
32 Bayswater Rd., Kings Cross Ph: (02) 9357 2177
Cost: around $65 for two.

Contemporary Australian cuisine and a great ambiance has made this one of Sydney’s favorite trendy and informal haunts for over a decade. Freshly shucked oysters, good pasta and lots of fresh fish daily make this a great eating experience.

Bel Mondo
Level 3, Argyle Department Store, 12/24 Argyle St., The Rocks.
Ph: (02) 9241 3700
Cost: around $80 for two.

Northern Italian cuisine in an elegant and opulent setting. The antipasto bar is open late and offers wine by the glass. The restaurant offers all the classic Italian favorites of veal, chicken, pasta and some game.

Bennelong Restaurant
Sydney Opera House. Ph: (02) 9250 7578
Cost: around $120 for two.

Located at the Opera House with spectacular views of Sydney Harbour, this is one of the best restaurants in town serving modern Australian dishes. The food has been described as ‘brilliant and challenging’ and uses the best of our seafood, meats and poultry. Upstairs is open late and is less formal. Book ahead or your chances of a table are slim indeed.

Cnr. Stanley & Yurong Sts., East Sydney. Ph: (02) 93604558
Cost: around $65 for two.

Beppi’s has been serving classic Italian food for over 40 years. The
service is old-fashioned and courteous and the menu changes with the seasons. There is a private dining-room in the cellar.

Berowra Waters Inn (out of town)
Berowra Water. Ph: (02) 9456 1027
Cost: around $75 per person.

Mud crab, lobster, yabbies and suckling pig feature on the menu at this beautifully situated restaurant which is out of town and reached by water. There is a bar and outdoor dining area.

422 Liverpool St., Darlinghurst. Ph: (02) 9360 9631
Cost: around $10 per person, no cards.

Open from 7.30 am to 3.00 pm, bills is a great breakfast spot where you can sit at a large communal table if you wish. There is also a bills2 (aka b2) for after theater suppers. Pepper crusted tuna salad with soy is great, but the menu is always changing. Though inexpensive and low-key, this is an icon among Sydney "foodies" and "yuppies".

Upper Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal (north end), Circular Quay West.
Ph: (02) 9150 5600

Cost: around $65 lunch/dinner $85 for two.
You have a perfect view of the Opera House as you dine on modern Australian dishes in one of Sydney’s most polished restaurants. You can also enjoy some of Australia’s best wines by the glass.

Bistro Moncur
Woollahra Hotel,
Cnr Moncur & Queen Sts., Woollahra. Ph: (02) 9363 2782
Cost: around $60 for two.

It’s cheerful and noisy in this busy bistro where French classics are given an Australian twist. Poultry and red meat dishes are beautifully presented, while sweetbreads, boudin noir (black pudding) and other offal dishes are a specialty. There’s a good wine list and a bar area.

Chez Pork (out of town)
Peppers Guesthouse, Hunter Valley, Ekerts Rd., Pokolbin. Ph: (049) 98 7596
Cost: around $70 for two.

Two hours drive from Sydney will be rewarded by the pretty
French-provincial dining room with views over the vineyards. There are international influences in the modern Aussie menu such as peppered quail breast and roasted shallots, and wild-rice blini.

10 Oxford St., Woollahra. Ph: (02) 9331 2325
Cost: around $100 for two.

One of Sydney’s most highly regarded chefs presides here with a philosophy of wanting people to enjoy good food in the new classic Australian style, in intimate surroundings. Every dish is a delight, and there is outdoor dining and a private room.

92 Hargrave St., Paddington. Ph: (02) 9363 3706
Cost: around $75 for two.

Italian classics such as tuna carpaccio and risotto feature in the
club-like atmosphere of this cosy and quiet restaurant with service the way it should be. There is also outdoor dining and private rooms for hire.

Darley Street Thai
30 Bayswater Rd., Kings Cross. Ph: (02) 9358 6530
Cost: around $75 for two.

Considered to be Sydney’s best Thai restaurant, the owner researches dishes in ancient Thai texts and the result is certainly worthwhile. The 8-course banquet dinner has been created from Thai "memorial books" collected from monasteries. Bookings are essential.

407 Pacific Hwy, Crows Nest. Ph: (02) 9439 2559
Cost: around $60 for two.

Modern Malaysian dishes and classics like chicken and prawn laksa and beef redang are as good as they get. Rice-flower cake, sambal prawn and veges are amusing names for tasty reworkings of East meets West ideas.

Doyle’s on the Quay
Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay. Ph: (02) 9252 3400
Cost: around $40 per person.

The Doyle family is arguably the most experienced in running Sydney’s seafood restaurants, and Doyle’s, located at Circular Quay directly across the water from the Opera House, is our favorite of their several excellent establishments in Sydney. Everything you order here for lunch or dinner was still flapping that morning.

The seafood dishes are cooked to perfection, the outdoor/indoor setting looks across the ferry terminal. Its views are spectacular "real-life" theater. We generally find ourselves ordering stuffed prawns, followed by benchmark-quality Pacific lobster, and we have never yet had anything but perfectly prepared fish.

Edna’s Table
Lobby Level on the Terrace, MLC Centre, Martin Place. Ph: 02) 9231 1400
Cost: around $40 for two.

You sit in boomerang-shaped chairs and view art by Mundara Koorang in this very Australian eatery. Indigenous ingredients are incorporated in classical dishes. This is Sydney’s outstanding restaurant for those who want to try true Australian flavors, from kangaroo to emu, but more international dishes are also available. The ocean-trout fillet with ky choy is baked in native paperbark.

Emporio Armani Express
Challis House, 4 Martin Place. Ph: (02) 99231 3655
Cost: around $60 for two.

Simple and light Italian food such as porcini-cream ravioli with lots of fresh fish, and carpaccio. Popular with those who like to shop, then lunch, then shop again. Wines by the glass and a bar area.

Fez Café
247 Victoria St., Darlinghurst. Ph: (02) 9360 9581
Cost: around $50 - $60 for two.

North African and Middle Eastern dishes which are reasonably priced. The Couscous Royale is recommended. Lots of vegetarian offerings and comfortable cushioned-lined, window seats and outdoor dining.

Flavour of India, Edgecliff
120 New South Head Rd., Edgecliff. Ph: (02) 9326 2659
Cost: around $45 for two.

Traditional dishes such as beef vindaloo and lamb saag, are interspersed with southern-Indian dishes like green fish curry with tamarind sauce, and an Aussie/Indian creation of "elephant ears", a potato plant rolled with spices and chilli served on mung beans.

Forty One Restaurant
Level 41, The Chifley Tower, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney. Ph: (02) 9221 2500
Cost: around $30 for lunch/dinner around $65 per person.

Frequently a finalist in Restaurant of the Year awards. Enjoy crown roast of hare with braised Belgian endive, along with Asian flavors such as Yamba prawns in potato waistcoats on a sauce of Indian spices. The Krug room offers a complete range of Krug Champagnes by the glass or bottle. Don’t miss this one!

The Observatory Hotel, 89 Kent St., Sydney. Ph: (02) 9256 2222
Cost: around $90 for two.

Set in one of Sydney’s classiest boutique-hotels, this traditional,
elegant, low-key restaurant is a "find". The classic Italian dishes are
now joined by Caribbean and Pacific ideas such as Federation beef with smoked ancho-chilli hollandaise, and roast mashed kumera. Enjoy wines by the glass in this non-smoking environment.

Sheraton on the Park, 161 Elizabeth St., Sydney. Ph: (02) 9286 6669
Cost: around $90 for two.

Selecting from the extensive menu is difficult. Simple appetizers are the salmon tartare with blue-swimmer crab, chilled sugar-snap-pea soup or the ocean-trout roll. And it gets better with every course.

The Regent of Sydney, 199 George St., Sydney. Ph: (02) 9238 0000
Cost: around $60 per person.

Kable’s, located in Sydney’s 5-star Regent Hotel, has been a benchmark for fine dining in this city for years.

This far sighted modern Australian restaurant buys direct from the growers and small specialist suppliers for the finest produce. West Australian marron tails served poached on parsnip brandade, and Wagyu beef (Kobe) grilled and presented with tiny Japanese potatoes, are just two of the extraordinary dishes.

MCA Café
Museum of Contemporary Art, Circular Quay, Sydney. Ph:(02) 9241 4253
Cost: around $30 per person.

Much more than a café, here you can enjoy inventive Mediterranean inspired dishes such as pan-fried salmon with aioli. The menu changes frequently offering good eating at a modest price, in a central location.

2 Albert St, Circular Quay, Sydney. Ph: (02) 9247 9323
Cost: around $80 for two.

Classic French dishes such as smoked salmon with roe on braised fennel, or duck confit with sorrel and fried parsley, and waist defying desserts like vanilla creme brulee make for memorable dining. This is a favorite venue for pre-or-post Opera House dining.

No. 7 At the Park
Park Hyatt Sydney, 7 Hickson Rd, The Rocks. Ph: (02) 9256 1630
Cost: Business lunch - 2 courses around $35 per person.
Dinner - 3 courses around $75 per person.

Undoubtedly one of the best views of the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and the water activity. Prestige dining offers all the expected favorites and a few surprises. Stylish dining in a superb setting.

Peninsula Bistro
264 Darling St Balmain. Ph: (02) 9810 3955
Cost: around $65 for two.

An intimate venue offering modern French dishes in a restaurant which is run in Parisian style. Enjoy the new classics such as salmon roe and fried sweetbread with fresh borlotti beans and green-pea puree, and terrine of leeks with dill mayonnaise.

Plaza Grill
36 Blue St., North Sydney. Ph: (02) 99764 9766
Cost: around $55 for two.

This is a modern Australian steakhouse serving fine aged beef, seafood and lots of oysters. Choice ducklings gently turn on a wood-fired rotisserie to be served with green mango and coriander salad. There is a private room and non-smoking area.

Rattlesnake Grill
130 Military Rd., Cremorne. Ph: (02) 9953 4789
Cost: around $25 per person.

This Southwest American Sante Fe cuisine is a meld of native American, Spanish and European styles. Duck quesadilla with ancho-chilli jam is one example of this blended cuisine. Asian influences are apparent also, creating an original menu.

Robin Hood Bistro
203 Bronte Rd., Waverley. Ph: (02) 9386 0674
Cost: around $60 for two.

Classic British food using the best of ingredients. The humble roast
chicken is Kangaroo Island poultry stuffed with thyme and parsley, basted with butter, cooked to a golden turn before serving with green beans and perfect gravy. The puddings are great too.

107 George St., The Rocks. Ph: (02) 9252 1888
Cost: around $50 per person.

Another for your Sydney "not to be missed" list, this seafood restaurant is a Sydney icon. European and Asian influences infuse the menu which is inventive with lots of attention to detail. For that special night out, Rockpool is highly recommended.

Sean’s Panaroma
270 Campbell Pde., North Bondi. Ph: (02) 9365 4924
Cost: around $75 for two.

Here is casual Australian dining at its best, right on the waterfront. The menu changes daily, and there’s lots for vegetarians. Fish lovers will enjoy the seared yellowfin tuna steak with aubergine relish. Breakfasts are great too.

Cnr. Cambridge & Darling Sts., Rozelle. Ph: (02) 9555 1017
Cost: Lunch - 5 courses around $60 per person.
Dinner - 6 courses around $85 per person.

Considered by experts as Sydney’s best Japanese Restaurant, this ‘new Australian’ menu changes according to availability of the freshest produce, and is hard to categorize as a style. So put yourself in their hands for either of the degustation menus. You will be pleased you did.

Imax Theatre, Darling Harbour. Ph: (02) 9211 9888
Cost: around $65 for two.

Sydney’s premier East-meets-West restaurant, this is run by the same owners as Rockpool and has its own inimitable style.

The joke ends with the name. The food is seriously delicious with offerings like superb Szechuan duck confit with mandarin pancakes and hoi-sin sauce, a favorite.

Walter Glaser is a freelance travel writer based in Australia.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

Share this article with a friend:

Free eNewsletter SignUp

Sally's Place on Facebook    Sally Bernstein on Instagram    Sally Bernstein at Linked In

Global Resources

Handmade Chocolates, Lillie Belle Farms

Food411 Food Directory