Dining in a cosmopolitan city like Sydney is always so much fun- the options are endless! After doing a ton of research- reading reviews, getting advice from locals & well-travelled friends that have visited Sydney, I made a list of restaurants to visit on my trip. I edited down to my favorites for my review below.
Din Tai Fung (Casual Restaurant $$)
If I had to pick my favorite restaurant in the world, and I’ve eaten at 525+ in Chicago alone, I would have to say Din Tai Fung. DTF is a Taiwanese chain, and their specialty is the xiao long bao (soup dumpling). They have many locations around the world, and there are 8 locations through out Sydney. If you want to combine this with some great shopping, I recommend the Westfield Sydney or The Star location. The Central Park location is definitely the coolest DTF I’ve ever seen, very instagram-worthy.
They have a pretty large menu, but their classic pork soup dumplings are the thing to get. Get one of the greens so you have some veggies (I always get the string beans) and skip the rest. Their dumpling making process is down to a science- all locations make every dumpling perfectly with exactly 18 folds, and you will never see a burst dumpling. Ever. Not surprisingly, many of their locations have a Michelin star.
Icebergs Dining Room & Bar (Formal Restaurant $$$$)
I posted about the iconic Icebergs pool in my previous post when I talked about the Coogee to Bondi Beach walk. Icebergs also has two restaurants. The more casual one (Icebergs Beach Club) would be a great way to end your coastal walk, but this more formal spot is one you should dress up & come back for. Fantastic steaks & seafood, great service and that amazing view! They serve lunch, brunch & dinner.
🗝 Tip: Book a reso on their website and get the squid ink spaghetti with blue crab, tomato & basil.
Ms G’s (Trendy Restaurant $$$)
Ms G’s is a contemporary, Asian-fusion restaurant. I loved the funky vibe of the restaurant- it made for a really fun & casual meal. The restaurant’s name is a play on MSG, and they serve food like cheeseburger spring rolls and alcoholic bubble teas.
Ms. G’s is located in Potts Point- a renovated industrial neighborhood catering to creatives. There’s a ton of great restaurants & cafes, tree-lined streets and beautiful art-deco buildings. So, go earlier and explore the neighborhood before you grab dinner.
Fine Food Store (Casual Restaurant $)
Part-grocery store, part-cafe, this gem in The Rocks is a fantastic place for lunch or brunch. FFS serves fresh and healthy options with a fun, modern twist. I loved the Queenie Wrap: slow poached chicken, slaw, baby spinach and Sriracha mayo. They have a great selection of specialty teas, coffee & smoothies. Go for brunch, get the sangria jug and bar hop in The Rocks. They have the cutest bars on winding cobblestone streets- just don’t wear heels.
Hugos Manly (Casual Restaurant $$)
Hugo’s at Manly Wharf is an open air restaurant with fantastic views of the water. Hugo’s has great food- mostly Italian style, with pizza being their gem. The vibe is casual and fun during the day, and turns into quite a scene at night.
Manly Wharf is a popular & easy day trip from Sydney. The ferry ride is only 30 mins (shorter if you take a ‘fast ferry’) and was really a treat in and of itself. Manly is a great beachtown (like the Santa Monica to Sydney’s LA). I recommend perusing the shops at the wharf, renting a bike to ride along the beach and checking out Manly Wine Bar.
Opera House Bar (Casual Bar $$$)
I mentioned in my last post how this was the highlight of my trip, and I can’t recommend it enough. Definitely go for drinks (the food is meh). The view & atmosphere are incredible. Having a drink outside the Opera House with views of the Harbour Bridge is such a memorable Sydney experience! It’s a popular spot, but the outdoor seating area wraps around the entire Opera House so there’s plenty of seats.
Baxter Inn (Trendy Bar $$$)
This local speakeasy bar came highly recommended. It’s a little hard to find, but the whiskey selection is something legendary. Their policy is “No reservations, functions or doorlists. Everyone is welcome”. The vibe is a bit dive-y, but the bartenders are toted to be the best in Sydney. They can literally make you anything. Rather than order off the menu, chat up the bartender and describe your likes and dislikes. They pride themselves on mixing you up the perfect, custom cocktail. The bar is basically a windowless basement. So, note that your mobile likely won’t get any service down there in case you’re planning on meeting up with people.
🗝 Tip: Entrance is in the alley off Clarence Street. Look for the unmarked door at the end of the loading zone (to the right in the photo below) and go down a flight of stairs to enter the bar.
Ivy Pool Club (Upscale Nightclub $$$)
Maybe it’s because I’m from Chicago, but is a pool club the coolest thing ever or what? It’s everything you’d think it would be- posh and tropical. It’s a really fun place that you go for the atmosphere, not the drinks or food or service, but as some one who likes fruity umbrella drinks, I actually liked their cocktails, and their pizzas are pretty good. I recommend going early and day drinking in one of their cabanas. It turns into quite the club scene at night so if that’s more your thing definitely go on Sat nights which are hosted by Ibiza’s famous club group, Pacha. Pack a bag with towel and change of clothes. They have bathrooms/changing rooms there.
🗝 Tip: They are open at noon on Wed-Fri only (Sat is 6pm-late) and closed Sun-Tues. If going on Sat, buy tickets online beforehand and go before 9pm. You need a ticket for Sat nights, and the price increases as time goes on (it’s most expensive at the door). If you know you want to check it out, buy your ticket as soon as you book your trip as the first release of tickets usually sell out.