Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)


“A surfy little joint on a Bondi Beach side street; don’t walk past the ‘Magic Boot’ pizza!”—Meg Worby, editor, Lonely Planet’s Sydney Encounter and Sydney & New South Wales guidebooks. Affordable pizza and pasta not far from the surf. Casual, lively atmosphere; sidewalk tables; good vegetarian and kids’ options. 10 Lamrock Avenue, Bondi Beach; tel. 61 2 9130 4042.

Harry’s Café de Wheels
“As much a tourist attraction as an eatery; great cure for late-night munchies.”—Peter Dragicevich, author, Lonely Planet’s Sydney City Guide. Appearing in countless films and TV advertisements, Harry’s is a Sydney icon. Try the stomach-filling “Tiger” pie—a meat pie topped with mashed potatoes, hot peas, and gravy. Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo; tel. 61 2 9211 2506.


“Breakfast with a little ‘b’ at relaxed, communal tables; filling and fresh.”—Meg Worby. One of three bills around Sydney, owned by celebrity chef Bill Granger. “Mod Oz” (Modern Australian) menu—a fusion of Western ingredients with Asian techniques—includes signature dishes such as sweet corn fritters, roast tomato, spinach, and bacon. Also serves lunch and dinner; vegetarian options. 433 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst; tel. 61 2 9360 9631.

“Pasta with an Aussie twist, wood-fired pizza and great salads; decorated with modern art and 1970s style.”—Anne Matthews, author, Fodor’s Sydney’s 25 Best. Cavernous but eternally busy café open from 9 a.m. until late. Hip young staff; Darling Harbour views. Balcony, Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour; tel. 61 2 9283 7385.

The best yum cha in the city, with plenty of vegetarian choices. Sit inside at angular stainless steel tables, or outside on a shady terrace. Barbecue buns a specialty; packed on weekends; great value. Cook & Phillip Park, 2-4 College Street, Sydney; tel. 61 2 9360 2523.

Spanish Tapas
Raucous, colorful restaurant that’s stood the test of time. Expect jugs of sangria, flamenco guitarists and dancers, paellas and well-priced, generous tapas plates with a seafood bias. Entertaining option for families; good vegetarian selection. 26 Glebe Point Road, Glebe; tel. 61 2 9571 9005.

Thai Pothong
“Big, buzzy place with plenty of vegetarian options and a menu that won’t strain the plastic.”—Peter Dragicevich. Frequently voted Sydney’s best Thai restaurant; family-friendly atmosphere in grungy Newtown. The sweet-chili prawns are a knockout. 294 King Street, Newtown; tel. 61 2 9550 6277.


Bondi Icebergs
“Fine dining with magnificent beach views and ice-cool clientele.”—Meg Worby. Up-market seafood and steaks; clipped, attentive service; razor-sharp interior design. Walk off dessert along the beach, or wash it down with a beer at the bar. One Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach; tel. 61 2 9365 9000.

Café Sydney
“Sublimely Sydney, this up-market Circular Quay eatery has an excellent Mod Oz menu and the city’s best views.”—Peter Dragicevich. Top floor of the old Customs House building. Cocktail bar, live jazz, and excellent seafood dishes. Level 5, Customs House, Circular Quay; tel. 61 2 9251 8683.

“Thai cuisine cranks it up a notch at this hangout for Sydney’s terminally cool set.”—Peter Dragicevich. Modern pan-Asian eatery with communal tables and a cocktail bar. Try the green fish and snakebean curry. 85 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills; tel. 61 2 9280 2888.

Revitalized Sydney’s Italian culinary scene in the early 2000s. Artisan Italian offerings (pasta, meat, game, and fish—not a pizza in sight) on glamorous Woolloomooloo Wharf. Sensational desserts; vegan menu available; open late. Area 8, The Wharf, Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo; tel. 61 2 9368 7488.

“Seafood is a specialty here. Wonderful views of the Opera House and harbor.”—Anne Matthews. Fixed-price menus of esteemed chef Peter Gilmore’s inventive fare (Northern Territory barramundi with lettuce puree and baby leeks). Crisp service; bright interiors; classy but never snooty. Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks; tel. 61 2 9251 5600.


“The chef gets more press than a diva.”—Meg Worby. Superb Opera House and Harbour Bridge views, faultless service, and high-profile chef Matthew Moran’s outstanding modern European menu. Tip: Order the terrine of rabbit cassoulet with pickled onions and mustard dressing, or the double-cooked sweet pork belly with pear salad and cider dressing. Consistently voted one of Sydney’s best restaurants; reservations essential. 1 Macquarie Street, East Circular Quay; tel. 61 2 9252 2555.

“Sydney’s best seafood restaurant; chef Neil Perry presents his signature fish dishes with flair.”—Anne Matthews. Impeccable service, eye-popping wine list, and handcrafted, contemporary seafood cooking. Menu changes daily, but oysters and the stir-fry mud crab omelet are a must. 107 George Street, The Rocks; tel. 61 2 9252 1888.

“Japanese cuisine transformed into an Australian art form by one of Sydney’s top chefs.”—Anne Matthews. Tetsuya Wakuda creates fabulous Japanese/French/Mod Oz fusion dishes (Japanese natural flavors, classic French technique, modern Australian recipes) in his serene, secretive downtown restaurant. Cavernous wine cellar; multicourse degustation menu. Try the grilled barramundi fillet with braised Nameko, Enoki, and Woodear mushrooms. Book well in advance. 529 Kent Street, Sydney; tel. 61 2 9267 2900.


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