Our favourite haunts. The places we go time and time again with as much adoration as we felt on the first visit. With restaurants opening back up and the time for 'end of year' dinners closes in, these are our favourite spots. Old faithfuls and new loves. These are the best restaurants in Sydney, according to all of us.
Bar Vincent is a local spot that carries the same charm as a neighbourhood eatery that hasn't yet been discovered by the rest of Sydney. With Sarah Simm at the helm (of Billy Kwong), the restaurant has a strong focus on fresh, local produce which is often championed in conversation by the ever-energetic female front-of-house alongside the dishes themselves. Bar Vincent never fails to make one want to stay a while, and then a little bit longer.
Good food is seldom hard to come by in my neighborhood, but Cho Cho San will always have my heart, and the location I’ll always gently force loved-ones to try. Their modern approach to Japanese food will forever leave me feeling lucky to live around the corner. If you go, don’t skip-out on dessert. Namely the black sesame mochi and matcha soft-serve.
A half-block away from Cho Cho San lies Fratelli Paradiso, a very different, but equally satisfying situation. Considering it’s an institution, last-minute bookings rarely work out, but if you roll up at 9pm, they might just have a seat for you. Make like the Italians and stay a while inside their womb-like interior, or sit on the street for people watching, just don’t forget the lasagna.
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Images: @bellabruttapizza and @thelandsdowne
When it comes to amazing food pizza is not my usual pick, however Sydney has some pretty spectacular options I can’t go past. Bella Brutta in Newtown offers a clam pizza which I implore you to try despite how strange it sounds. Can guarantee you won’t be disappointed and the wine list is also noteworthy. What I really love about Bella Brutta is the relaxed vibe despite how good the food is.
My second recommendation would be The Lansdowne. An unconventional option I know, but give me live music, a pizzeria, Mary’s burgers and a dancefloor (I’m being optimistic for post-COVID) and I’m happy.
Images: @ragazziwinepasta and @albertoslounge.
For the love of pasta. Ragazzi is a charming wine and pasta bistro situated on the quiet nook of Angel Place. With a fast changing menu complete with handmade pasta in unique and traditional ways, it’s a sheer delight every time. Sit back and relax with an equally incredible glass of wine and feel like you’re in another city, just for a moment.
Following on for an ever-chic evening session, you better find yourself at Alberto’s Lounge. From the Tonnarelli Blue swimmer crab with chilli and zucchini to the Pesce Murray cod roasted in garlic butter, and honestly everything else. One word, yum. Maybe two words, so yum! Order yourself a dirty gin martini (yes the cocktails are winners too) and enjoy the moody atmosphere with a special date worthy of your presence.
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Images: @batherspavillion and @thenewportsyd
The newly revamped Balmoral Pavilion is such a treat. I absolutely love going there for breakfast, and it’s always my first suggestion. It has views for days, the decor is divine and the food is fabulous. For straight-up vibes, whether you want breakfast, lunch or dinner, I love The Newport. It’s particularly beautiful in spring when the jacaranda trees come to life. For pizza, I always go to Riccardo's, it’s just the best pizza and pasta joint in the area. And pre-COVID, I had a borderline obsession with Din Tai Fung in Chatswood. I can eat two trays of Xiao Long Bao to myself.
Also, I know I’m not revealing anything new here, but I always love a visit to The Grounds of Alexandria. I always order the polenta chips, I think they taste the way happiness feels.
Every Sydney sider knows that when it comes to the inner west, the dining options can be overwhelming. As much as I would like to spread the love equally across my favourite haunts, I find myself returning to Enmore’s vegan Thai eatery Little Turtle every. Single. Time. The vibe is casual and unpretentious yet each dish is plated to perfection with fresh flowers, hers and perfectly folded banana leaves. Do not miss the Mushroom Toast and Puff Sticks to start, and the Hor Mok curry which arrives in an actual coconut alongside a carafe of fresh coconut water. Each visit has be floored as if it were the first, you leave satisfied but never ‘full’ and it’s the perfect place to dine with both your vegan and non-vegan friends, together.
My trigger word – apple martini. Thankfully for me, it’s only a five-minute drive to southern-Sydney institution, Alphabet St, where not only do they serve up an array of lip-smacking cocktails (unsurprisingly, the apple martini is my favourite), but their modern Asian-inspired menu will have you dreaming of grilled prawn betel leaf and ‘Big boyz chicken wings’ for days. A secret favourite among locals, don’t sleep on the Roti Murtabak. When you’re ready for dessert, the salted caramel espresso martini is impossible to top.
Be warned, Alphabet St certainly garners a crowd. Make a booking well in advance (yes, even on weeknights), to avoid disappointment. If you’re out of luck, head down the path to their sister restaurant, Giro Osteria, for an authentic Italian meal.