Julie Australia 2 Comments

Where should you eat and drink in Sydney? With fine dining restaurants, rooftop cafes, wine bars, and restaurants and bars that boast big views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, your choices may seem overwhelming.

In this guide, we list some of the top bars and restaurants in Sydney. Ranging from cheap eats to fine dining restaurants with a view, there is something here for everyone.

This is by no means a “best restaurants in Sydney” guide. It would take weeks, months even, to try out enough restaurants in Sydney to write a guide like that. This is a relatively short list of great restaurants and bars in Sydney that can easily be added to your Sydney itinerary.

About Our Experiences

Tyler spent over 3 months in Sydney, living here while studying abroad at the University of New South Wales. He sampled quite a few bars and restaurants, not only around campus but in the city center.

Tim and I joined Tyler for a week in May 2023. We had several fine dining meals, drinks at swanky, famous bars, and meals at some of the city’s most popular restaurants.

This restaurant guide is from our combined experiences, plus a few places we visited on our first visit to Sydney several years ago. Tyler, Tyler’s friend Adrien, and I all have entries on this guide.

Restaurants in Sydney

Nomad

Price: $$$$
Location: Surrey Hills
Website: nomad.sydney
Reservations: Highly recommended

This fantastic restaurant is located a short drive outside of the city center but it’s worth the extra travel time to get here. Nomad features locally sourced food inspired by the chefs’ travels through Morocco, Spain, and the Middle East.

At Nomad, you can pick a few items from the a la carte menu or choose their tasting menu. On the tasting menu, the dishes are shared amongst the entire table, family style.

We chose the a la carte menu, with the raw oysters, spatchcock chicken, and the fish of the day being the highlights of our dinner here. We washed this down with a bottle of Samuel’s Gorge shiraz, one of our favorite wines from McLaren Vale, Australia.

We had such a great time here that I forgot to take some photos, but take a look at Nomad’s website to check out the menu and see the restaurant.

LuMi Bar & Dining

Price: $$$$
Location: Pyrmont
Website: lumidining.com
Reservations: Highly recommended

Lumi Sydney | Restaurants in Sydney

LuMi Bar & Dining

 

Lumi Sydney Restaurant

This glass enclosed restaurant has a waterfront location in Pyrmont. On the menu is a fusion of Italian and Japanese cuisine.

They only offer a tasting menu and prices start at $255 per person, with the option to add on a wine pairing, so this is one of the more expensive dining experiences in Sydney.

The setting is beautiful and the food is outstanding. Over the course of several hours, Tim and I were brought an endless stream of small plates, dining on seafood, pasta, and vegetarian dishes. The presentation of the food is exquisite.

LuMi is known as having one of the best tasting menus in Sydney, so if you want to add a fine dining experience to your visit, this is one of our top recommendations.

Sokyo

Price: $$$$
Location: The Star, Darling Harbour
Website: sokyodining.com.au
Reservations: Highly recommended

Sokyo Sydney | Restaurants in Sydney

Sokyo is one of Sydney’s top Japanese restaurants. Located in The Star, this restaurant serves Japanese cuisine with a modern twist.

On the menu is sushi and sashimi, as well as hot dishes, and an exceptional wine and sake list. You can dine a la carte or choose the omakase experience, which is only offered to a limited number of guests several nights a week.

This was one of our favorite dining experiences in Sydney. The service and the food are phenomenal.

Cucina Porto

Price: $$ – $$$
Location: The Star, Darling Harbour
Website: star.com.au
Reservations: Highly recommended

Cucina Porto Restaurant | Restaurants in Sydney

Cucina Porto

 

Cucina Porto Sydney

Cucina Porto is a classic Italian restaurant located in The Star hotel. The location is very convenient if you’re staying at The Star, or if you’re in the Darling Harbour area. However, the view from the restaurant was a bit disappointing as it looks onto a bland hallway near The Star’s food court. If you need a bit more excitement, might we recommend The Star’s casino?

Although Cucina Porto didn’t have a comparable view to some of the other restaurants we went to, the rest of our dining experience more than made up for it. The menu included a solid variety of dishes such as pasta, seafood, meat, and pizza. The prices are a bit on the higher side, but the quality of food was well worth it.

What makes Cucina Porto unique is that their menu is heavily influenced by the childhood favorites of their Italian born chef, Martino Pulito. We got to experience this passion for food while trying their apple-cinnamon tart for dessert. Besides tasting amazing, they also left the recipe for the tart on the table so we could try to make it for ourselves at home.

Café Sydney

Price: $$$
Location: Circular Quay
Website: cafesydney.com
Reservations: Highly recommended

Cafe Sydney | Restaurants in Sydney

Café Sydney

 

Sydney Harbour Bridge | Restaurants in Sydney

The view from Café Sydney

With a prime location on Circular Quay, Café Sydney serves Australian cuisine with a spectacular view of Sydney Harbour Bridge. This restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Customs House, so with its elevated location, offers great views out over Circular Quay.

The menu has a little bit of everything, with salads, oysters, seafood and meat dishes, small plates, and vegan options. They also have a long list of Australian wines that can be purchased by the bottle or by the glass.

Café Sydney is one of our top recommendations if you want to dine with a view of Sydney Harbour.

El Camino Cantina

Price: $$
Location: The Rocks
Website: elcaminocantina.com.au
Reservations: Recommended but walk-ins are accepted

El Camino Cantina | Restaurants in Sydney

Whether for a casual lunch or a night out with friends, El Camino is a great spot for any occasion. Their crazy cheap deals and great party vibe are what makes this spot so special. They’re always playing good music and you get a free sombrero when being seated.

During the week you may find some insane deals that draw massive crowds, such as 10 cent wings on Wednesdays! If you’re feeling bold, order a margarita tower for the table!

El Camino Cantina is a Tex-Mex restaurant with great energy and even better deals! We initially ate at El Camino for a quick lunch, and even though it was a weekday at noon, we could feel the energy oozing out of the restaurant. There was great music playing, free sombreros for all customers, and even churros being given out in exchange for a 5-star review.

There are several locations around Sydney, with the one located in The Rocks being where we visited. You shouldn’t need a reservation to be seated, but on their busiest nights (Wednesday) you may have to wait a few minutes for a table to open up.

With our last night in Sydney being a Wednesday, we knew we had to show up for the 10 cent wing extravaganza. The restaurant was filled to the brim, but we were thankfully able to get one of the last tables without having to wait. We threw on our colorful sombreros and got to work on a hefty amount of cheap wings. We even ordered a couple margarita towers to put a cherry on top of the night.

The wings and margaritas weren’t anything special, but it was a deal we simply couldn’t resist. The restaurant once again had a lively energy to it, and we had a great time overall.

Caffe’ Amici

Price: $$ – $$$
Location: Kent Street, CBD
Website: caffeamici.com.au
Reservations: Not necessary

Caffe Amici

Caffe Amici Sydney

Caffe Amici

We originally never intended on eating here, but after a sudden craving for Italian food while in the Darling Harbour area, we stumbled upon Caffe Amici.

The cafe is really easy to miss if you’re not looking hard for it, as there’s only one sign outside the small entrance. Its interior wasn’t anything special either as they only had around ten tables all closely packed together, with a direct view into the kitchen.

We ordered some Italian classics: red wine, lasagna, and fettuccine bolognese. Our food arrived pretty quickly, and upon our first bites we knew we had something special. The food tasted great and exactly what we wanted.

We had a great meal and even talked to our waiter for a bit before we left. We found out that the cafe operates with only 2 employees, the cook and the waiter. We could just tell they were passionate about their work, and we would highly recommend coming to Caffe Amici if you’re looking for a classic and delicious Italian meal while in Sydney.

Icebergs Dining Room and Bar

Price: $$$$
Location: Bondi Beach
Website: icebergs.com.au
Reservations: Highly recommended

Icebergs Restaurant

Icebergs pool and Icebergs Dining Room 

 

Icebergs Restaurant | Restaurants in Sydney

Overlooking Bondi Beach and the Icebergs pool, this restaurant is a great place to visit for lunch, dinner, or a have cocktail with a view.

The service is impeccable and the menu offers a lot of choices, from salads, oysters, burgers, fish and seafood dishes, and poke bowls. We can speak from experience that the cocktails are amazing.

If you have plans to visit Bondi Beach and want an upscale dining experience with a view, we recommend Icebergs Dining Room. For a more budget friendly option, take a look at Bondi Trattoria, mentioned next.

Bondi Trattoria

Price: $$ – $$$
Location: Bondi Beach
Website: bonditrattoria.com.au
Reservations: Recommended

Bondi Trattoria | Restaurants in Sydney

Bondi Trattoria

Bondi Trattoria, as you could probably guess from the name, is an Italian restaurant placed at the corner of Bondi Beach. With a lovely setting, beach views, and even better food, Bondi Trattoria is a great spot to grab a meal after a long day of sun. Given the location, do expect a more expensive meal. What you’re paying for is the view and the excellent staff and service, and it’s definitely worth it.

When I ate here, I arrived when they opened for dinner, at 5:00pm. Not only was the food fantastic, but the service I received was quite hospitable and speedy. As I waited for my meal, members of the staff would walk by and we would strike up a friendly conversation. I felt like I was at home and adored the treatment I received. On top of this, my meal was delicious and had me planning my next trip back here.

More Restaurants in Sydney

We also recommend The Glenmore and Oncore by Clare Smyth. These are both bar and restaurants and they are listed below in our ‘Bars in Sydney’ section.

If you want a cheap eat, Guzman y Gomez is a chain restaurant that can be found throughout Australia and all over Sydney. They serve Mexican food in bowls and burritos, similar to Chipotle in the USA. Tyler ate here quite a bit, and we did as well. The food comes out fast, tastes great, and good for those on a budget.

Bars in Sydney

Opera Bar

Price: $$ – $$$
Location: Circular Quay
Website: operabar.com.au
Reservations: Recommended

Opera Bar Sydney | Bars in Sydney

Opera Bar

 

Best Bars Sydney

Best Sydney Restaurants | Bars in Sydney

The Opera Bar has a prime location in Circular Quay, right next to the Sydney Opera House. This is a great spot to get a table, a glass of wine or a cocktail, and enjoy sunset views of Sydney. From here, you get up close views of the Opera House and a stunning view of Harbour Bridge.

The Opera Bar is busy all afternoon and evening, particularly on the weekends. Our favorite time to be here is late afternoon, just as the sun begins its descent. For the best experience, book a table in advance.

Maybe Sammy

Price: $$$
Location: 115 Harrington Street, The Rocks
Website: maybesammy.com
Reservations: Not accepted (walk-in only)

Maybe Sammy | Bars in Sydney

Maybe Sammy

 

Best Bars in Sydney | Bars in Sydney

Maybe Sammy is one of Australia’s most famous cocktail bars. In 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022, this bar made the World’s 50 Best Bars list.

With décor inspired by the 1950’s, creative cocktails, and bartenders who put on a show, put Maybe Sammy at the top of your list.

After a short wait to enter Maybe Sammy, Tim and I were shown to our seats at the bar, the prime place to watch these amazing bartenders in action. We were handed a cocktail book, with cocktails named for famous actresses. However, the menu is always changing, as is the theme.

Plan to stay awhile…the menu is so long and so creative that it’s hard to pick just one cocktail. And if you can, ask for a seat at the bar. Interacting with the bartenders is one of the highlights at Maybe Sammy.

The Bar at Oncore by Clare Smyth

Price: $$$$
Location: Crown Sydney, Darling Harbour
Website: crownsydney.com.au
Reservations: Highly recommended

The Bar at Oncore Sydney

The Bar at Oncore by Clare Smyth

 

Sydney Rooftop Bar View

The view from the Bar at Oncore by Clare Smyth

Sip on perfectly crafted cocktails, dine on small plates, and enjoy one of the best views of Sydney. The Bar at Oncore is one of Sydney’s most luxurious bars, boasting stunning views of the city and impeccable service.

The Bar at Oncore is located on the 26th floor of the Crown Sydney, a high-end casino, hotel, and residential building. This is also the tallest building in Sydney.

We sampled a few cocktails during our visit (all of which were amazing) but there is also a very extensive wine list, with wines from around the world.

Reservations are highly recommended. This is the most expensive bar we visited in Sydney, with a $75 minimum per person. Cocktails cost approximately $25, so with two cocktails and a snack, it’s easy to hit the $75 mark. A bottle of wine will cost anywhere from $100 to $15,000+.

If you want to extend the experience, have dinner next door at Oncore by Clare Smyth. Clare Smyth is the first and only British female chef to hold three Michelin stars in the UK. This is one of the top luxury dining experiences in the city and reservations are booked months in advance.

Grain

Price: $$ – $$$
Location: Four Seasons Hotel, The Rocks
Website: grainbar.com.au
Reservations: Recommended

Grain Four Seasons Sydney | Bars in Sydney

Best Bars in Sydney Australia

Grain Sydney | Bars in Sydney

Grain is an upscale bar that is located on the first floor of the Four Seasons Hotel. Similar to the experience at Maybe Sammy, the bartenders here are friendly, amusing, and very entertaining. The cocktails are nothing short of exceptional.

Their signature drink, In Like Flynn, combines gin, amaro, lemon juice, and an egg white and is topped with koala print.

Grain also serves a long list of carefully crafted cocktails, many featuring bourbon, gin, and tequila, along with an extensive whiskey list.

The Glenmore

Price: $$ – $$$
Location: The Rocks
Website: theglenmore.com.au
Reservations: Recommended for dining at the restaurant

Glenmore Hotel

The Glenmore

 

Glenmore Arms View | Bars in Sydney

View from the rooftop of the Glenmore

The Glenmore is a restaurant & bar that is sure to bring guests every night of the week.

The restaurant is spread across three floors of the building and the main draw is the view from the rooftop bar on the top floor. You get an incredible shot of the Opera House, Circular Quay, and if you’re lucky you can see the partygoers at Argyle on a Friday night.

The Glenmore was one of our favorite drinking spots in Sydney. Besides being conveniently located in the heart of The Rocks neighborhood, what makes The Glenmore special is its three distinct floors that all add a magical touch to the place.

The first level is a classic bar with countless beers on tap and some decent outdoor seating options. This area also acts as their public restaurant space which includes a small food menu. The second floor gets a bit more interesting as it includes a snazzy cocktail bar with some luxurious rooms inspired by 1920s Hollywood. These rooms are mostly used for private dining events and are available for reservation.

The third level is what really makes The Glenmore unique. It includes a rooftop bar that has one of the best views of the Opera House in all of Sydney. The rooftop was decorated beautifully and just had a certain charm about it that we couldn’t resist.

PS40

Price: $$ – $$$
Location: Skittle Lane, CBD
Website: ps40bar.com
Reservations: Not accepted

PS40 Sydney

This charming cocktail bar has a modern blend of great cocktails, tasty snacks, and a unique atmosphere. The alternative aesthetics found within PS40 create an unforgettable vibe, along with a handful of delicious cocktails.

When I visited, this also seemed to be a pretty popular date spot among young couples. Grab a signature cocktail or two, but make sure to order one of their freshly baked flatbreads. They’re to die for!

Apollonia

Price: $$ – $$$
Location: Circular Quay
Website: apollonia.sydney
Reservations: Not accepted

Apollonia Sydney | Bars in Sydney

Apollonia

 

Apollonia

Apollonia was recommended to us by just about every bartender we asked in Sydney.

The bar is located in the bustling Circular Quay area, and unlike some of the other bars we went to, Apollonia’s entrance was very easy to find.

Despite being a small place, Apollonia is beautifully decorated with a classic Italian feel and a unique marble patched bar. A large mirror lining the roof above the bar allowed us to watch our drinks being made by the excellent bartenders.

The menu is themed after “The Godfather”, and their signature cocktail (which is conveniently at the top of their menu) is their Apollonia Negroni. Our negronis lived up to the hype, but for non-negroni fans, Apollonia has a wide variety of cocktails and a pretty hefty wine selection to boot.

Fortune of War

Price: $$$ – $$$
Location: The Rocks
Website: fortuneofwar.com.au
Reservations: Reservations are not accepted

Fortune of War

Opening in 1828, The Fortune of War is Sydney’s oldest pub.

This bar has a great location in The Rocks and has the vibes to match. They feature an outdoor seating area with warm heaters on a chilly night, but the main attraction is their historic bar.

On our visit here, every seat at the bar was taken, with classic rock music and bar banter filling the air. The pub also includes a small cocktail lounge one floor above the bar.

We felt obligated to get some pints of beer, and the food was just as good. We recommend getting their steak sandwich and The Fortune Burger. Both pair great with a nice beer and are reasonably priced.

Fortune of War has live music most nights and doesn’t accept reservations for their bar area. If you’re looking for a classic Aussie bar with some rich history, this is the place.

Baxter Inn

Price: $$ – $$$
Location: Clarence Street, CBD
Website: swillhouse.com
Reservations: Not necessary

Baxter Inn Sydney Bars | Bars in Sydney

Baxter Inn Sydney

Baxter Inn

One of the best “hidden bars” within Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD), the Baxter Inn is a must-visit.

This underground whiskey bar has a warm, cozy atmosphere and an admiration for blues music. Their whiskey cocktails are what they’re known for, but they also have a great selection of both beer and wine. Grab a side of pretzels along with a drink. I don’t know what they do to them, but their pretzels are unbelievably tasty, making a perfect combo with a smoky whiskey drink in hand.

Finding the Baxter Inn is the fun part, and we recommend having this pinned on Google Maps. The path itself seems sketchy, but you’d be surprised at how safe this area is.

The entrance is located on a large, unmarked alley. You’ll find The Duke of Clarence next to it, which is a pub that gets great reviews. To your right, look for a door that seems like a fire escape. This is actually the entrance to the Baxter Inn. The challenge of finding a spot like this only adds to the fun!

The Lobo

Price: $$ – $$$
Location: CBD
Website: thelobo.com.au
Reservations: Optional

The Lobo Plantation

Another fantastic hidden underground bar, the Lobo is one of the top bars within Sydney’s CBD for rum enthusiasts. Serving over 250 types of rum, you’re bound to find a drink that satisfies your thirst.

Order a rum flight to sample Lobo’s deep rum portfolio, or order one of their many signature rum cocktails. The bartenders love to put on a show, and the longer you stay here, the more drinks you’ll watch come ablaze in a fiery spectacle.

The Lobo is located near the Baxter Inn, but it is easier to find. You’ll find a marked entrance down a short hallway, step down the spiral staircase, and enter a Caribbean paradise. There’s a very strong Jamaican theme here, present within Lobo’s décor and drinks. While living in Sydney, this was the bar Tyler frequented the most.

The Doss House

Price: $$ – $$$
Location: The Rocks
Website: thedosshouse.com.au
Reservations: Optional

Doss House

A hidden whiskey bar in The Rocks neighborhood? Say less.

When I think of drinking whiskey, I imagine myself sitting in a dark room with rustic décor, listening to 50’s music and smoking a cigar. Minus the cigar, that is the exact vibe that I’d use to describe The Doss House.

The Doss House has a breathtaking collection of whiskey, but that’s not all that makes this spot so special. Immerse yourself within the cozy atmosphere of this underground bar adorned with dim lighting, soothing melodies, and a small outdoor terrace. Grab a cocktail or enjoy a whiskey flight and soak in the magic of the Doss House.

Restaurants and Bars in Sydney: On a Map

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each bar and restaurant. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Our Recommendations

If you want to dine with a view, we recommend Cafe Sydney. With a location on Circular Quay, dinner here is easy to work into your itinerary in Sydney. We had one of our best views in Sydney at Nomad, just be aware of its location in Surrey Hills, which is a short Uber ride from the CBD. 

If you want good food without spending a lot of money, put Caffe Amici on your list.

For drinks with a view, it’s hard to beat the Opera Bar, but The Glenmore is nearby (in the Rocks). Our favorite bars are Maybe Sammy and Grain (Julie and Tim) and Doss House and the Lobo (Tyler and Tyler’s friend Adrien). We all loved the experience at Baxter Inn.


If you have any questions about where to eat and drink in Sydney, or if you would like to share some of your favorite places, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Australia

SYDNEY: Get started with our Sydney Bucket List, which contains 40 of the best things to do in Sydney. We also have a guide to the best viewpoints in Sydney, the Sydney Bridge Climb and the Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk.

MELBOURNE: Melbourne is one of our favorite cities in Australia. Learn about the Best Things to Do in Melbourne and get a recap of our experiences here.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: One of the best things to do in South Australia is to visit the wine regions near Adelaide. Plan your visit with our Guide to McLaren Vale, our Guide to Barossa Valley, and our Guide to Clare Valley.

TASMANIA: In Tasmania, hike to Cape Raoul and Wineglass Bay, explore the Tasman Peninsula, spend some time on Bruny Island, visit Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, and cruise to Tasman Island.

Read all of our articles about Australia in our Australia Travel Guide.

 

Best Restaurants Bars in Sydney Australia

 

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