16 of the best fine diners in Sydney

The best fine diners in Sydney

Sydney’s reputation for fine dining is well-deserved, with a strong European heritage with many of our chefs trained overseas then returning to star here. In Sydney, you will find classic French, Italian and Greek influences alongside modern Middle Eastern cuisine and a host of pan-Asian offerings. All of it comes with the added bonus of great local produce which we have in abundance, from seafood to lamb and beef, plus fruit and vegetables galore. And we are finally rediscovering our Indigenous culinary heritage in a big way by including the same bush ingredients that sustained the original owners of this land for millennia. So when in Sydney, don’t be surprised to see kangaroo and emu on the menu served with bush tomato, quandong or Illawarra plum. Here are some of our best fine diners.

Aalia

Executive chef Paul Farag explores dishes and techniques from lesser-known regions and coastlines of the Middle East and North Africa at this new venue. Reflective of its Middle East origins, there are small plates to share as well and substantial mains, but with loads of luxe. Think simple mezze, then up the level with Persian caviar and explore elevated Arabic-inspired vegetable dishes alongside wagyu duck and lamb, plus quality Murray cod, coral trout of john dory. Its already picked up more than a few awards.

25 Martin Place, Sydney, (02) 9182 5880, aaliarestaurant.com

Aria

As a highly-regarded fine diner, Aria has an unrivalled harbourside location, with views to both the Bridge and Opera House. Under the guidance of chef Matt Moran, Aria has established itself as one of Australia’s finest restaurants and has received many awards over the years. Expect seasonal produce, including that from Moran’s family farm, and a world-class wine list.

1 Macquarie St, Sydney, (02) 9240 2255, ariasydney.com.au

a’Mare 

Italian chef and restaurateur Alessandro Pavoni has made Sydney’s waterside his professional home with a’Mare, ‘by the sea’, seeing local seafood take a pride of place on the menu at Crown Sydney. It’s not a one man band though with his wife Anna and a great kitchen crew by his side, Pavoni promises authentic and memorable tableside service. Italian details feature throughout the dining room including furnishings and a stunning ornate ceiling and is among our best Italian fine diners.

Crown Sydney, Level 1/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo, (02) 8871 7171, crownsydney.com.au

Bennelong

What better place to experience Australian produce and wine than inside a sail of the world famous Sydney Opera House. Bennelong offers a three-course à la carte menu at The Restaurant, a two-course menu at The Counter, and for casual drop in, try getting a seat for cocktails and snacks at The Bar and watch the sunset. 

Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney, (02) 9240 8000, bennelong.com.au

Bentley Restaurant and Bar

Bentley Restaurant + Bar offers a fine dining experience in an industrial-chic space in Sydney’s CBD. Innovative chef Brent Savage’s inventive food is expertly paired with boutique wines from sommelier Nick Hildebrandt’s eclectic international list. It is widely regarded as the best place in Australia to drink wine with Hildebrandt picking up numerous awards. Be on the lookout for more offerings from the Bentley Restaurant + Bar founders including the new Asian inspired  King Clarence in the CBD headed by award-winning Executive Chef Khan Nguyen. 

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney,  27 O’Connell St, Sydney, (02) 8214 0505, bentleyrestaurantgroup.com.au

Berowra Waters Inn

If you fancy a short flight to your gastronomic fine diner experience, then Berowra Waters Inn is the one for you. Described by its architect as a “veranda by the water”, patrons can either head up by road, then a short boat trip to this Hawkesbury River venue, or indulge in a seaplane from Sydney Harbour’s Rose Bay for the scenic flight to the peaceful water and gumtree lined shores.  You’ll be bringing back extra weight in the plane if you indulge in their six-course summer menu.

1 Calabash Point, Berowra Waters, (02) 9456 1027, berowrawatersinn.com

Brasserie 1930

Brasserie 1930 fine diner

Brasserie 1930, housed within the stunning new hotel Capella Sydney, and is named in honour of the year the glorious sandstone building was completed. Since opening in March 2023, Brasserie 1930 has received rave reviews including a nomination for ‘best new restaurant’. The food direction, under the guidance of the Bentley Bar crew (see above), is driven by exceptional Australian produce. One of the fine diners to watch. 

2/4 Farrer Pl, Sydney, (02) 9071 5000, capellahotels.com

Catalina

Michael and Judy McMahon were the most engaging of hosts at this eastern suburbs icon set on the waterfront in Rose Bay for almost 30 years. With the passing of Michael a few years ago, the baton has now been passed to the next generation who similarly has a love of fresh, top-quality produce with a particular focus on seafood at this fine diner. Maintaining a global reputation is no easy task but despite Catalina’s elegance there is still an unfussy approach to dining here with a personal service that allows guests to enjoy elegant dishes while drinking in the sweeping views of Sydney Harbour. A favourite among Sydney fine diners. 

Lyne Park, Rose Bay,  (02) 9371 0555, catalinarosebay.com.au 

Firedoor

No one does cooking over coals better than Lennox Hastie (pictured) who trained at famed Basque restaurant and bar Asador Extebarri. No gas or electricity is used in the cooking of kangaroo matched with white beetroot or murray cod and kipfler potato in this open kitchen with a smouldering hearth at its heart. Bookings at this hottest of fine diners is a must.
23-33 Mary St, Surry Hills, firedoor.com.au, 8204 0800, firedoor.com.au

Jonah’s

fine diner

If you get tired of Sydney Harbour views – said no one ever – then this fine diner offers an alternative on our far Northern Beaches. Offering one of Australia’s most spectacular Pacific Ocean views, Jonah’s is located on an escarpment above Whale Beach. With a new chef, Matteo Zamboni onboard, be prepared for burrata with poached pears and guanciale, wild caught fish with lettuce emulsion or lobster thermidor with orange mayo followed by raspberry semifreddo and coconut crumble. Too far to get there and back? Then book a room and enjoy a luxury stay with a view from every room.
69 Bynya Rd, Palm Beach, (02) 9974 5599, jonahs.com.au

Me-Gal

In the local language Me-Gal is the Cammeraigal word for ‘tears’ and evokes the saltwater of the surrounding harbourside shoreline on which this restaurant in Taronga Zoo stands. Offering sweeping views of Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, and the city skyline, Me-Gal offers a dining experience, set in a natural, native bushland setting. While exotic animals roam outside, Me-Gal at the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga features a menu full of  fresh local produce and native ingredients.

Taronga Zoo Sydney, 2A Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman, (02) 8023 7636, megal-mosman.com.au

Oncore

Clare Smyth is the first and only British female chef to hold three Michelin stars in the UK. Coming to Australia to headline Crown Sydney in Barangaroo, Smyth champions exceptional dining using sustainable ingredients. The menu at this fine diner features a selection of classic dishes, including the centrepiece of Smyth’s London restaurant, Potato and Roe. Oncore also offers new dishes under head chef  Alan Stuart who presents uniquely Sydney flavours by drawing inspiration from the harbour outside and its surrounds.

Crown Sydney, Level 26/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo, (02) 8871 7171, crownsydney.com.au

Otto 

This restored woolstore and finger wharf in Woolloomooloo is home to many of the restaurants local celebrities like to be seen at, especially at lunch on a sunny Sydney Sunday. The food at OTTO is simple yet delicious with chef Richard Ptacnik executing modern Italian classics with amazing quality ingredients. The à la carte menu can feature anything from an entree of brioche with lobster and salmon roe to mains of ravioli and risotto alongside whole fish and local beef.

Area 8, 6 Cowper Wharf Rd, Woolloomooloo, (02) 9368 7488, ottoristorante.com.au

Quay

Peter Gilmore, is the Executive Chef of both Bennelong (above) and sister restaurant Quay across the water, and has picked up numerous global ‘best restaurant’ awards over the years. Ever since his awe-inspiring Snow Egg hit social media in 2009, this fine diner in Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal has been on both local and international food bucket lists. If there is a one-in-a-lifetime Sydney dining choice, then the exquisite food at Quay must be up there.  

Upper Level Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks, (02) 9251 5600, quay.com.au

Shell House Dining Room

fine diners

This Sydney CBD fine diner in an historic clocktower building has been a hit since it opened. At the heart of Shell House is a unique dining and drinking experience spread across three sprawling levels. The jewel in the crown is the Dining Room & Terrace, plus an open-air cocktail bar on the rooftop known as Sky Bar, the Clocktower Bar and Menzies Bar on the ground floor. 

Brookfield Place, 37 Margaret St, Sydney, (02) 9158 4000, shellhouse.com.au

St Peter
fine diners

Let’s get the cliches about this fine diner out of the way first. Chef Josh Niland has scaled new heights in seafood. The king of fish continues to make use of every part of the produce from our surrounding seas bringing together a whole new sense of sole to fish-loving people. While his international reputation has been focussed on some of the more bizarre usages of things such as fish eyes, the result on the plate is always superb. If you want to try cooking your own, his Fish Butchery sources and prepares the seafood for Saint Peter just a couple of doors up. Plus there are a few more St Peter spin offs around town.  

362 Oxford St, Paddington, (02) 8937 2530, saintpeter.com.au

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