As much as people seem to love to compare the two, to us, Sydney and Melbourne are both fantastic in their own right. Our Sydney editor has picked the latest and greatest to visit up North. From harbour-side cafes and expertly mixed cocktails to artisan bakeries and a stroll around the beach cliffs, we’ve got you covered for a short weekend away.
Buried in the back streets of Chippendale, Ester is the work of chef Mat Lindsay and the team in the kitchen are proving their skills at cooking with the beautiful wood-fired oven. Order the oysters, roasted until the lids pop open, and the wood-roasted cauliflower – dark, crisp and slightly smokey, with almond cream and mint.
46-52 Meagher Street, Chippendale
(02) 8068 8279
Buffalo Dining Club
Arrive at Buffalo Dining Club on the early side of the evening, as it’s damn popular, and for good reason too. BDC fly in mozzarella and burrata twice a week from Italy. Order a ball of their finest and choose some sides to accompany maybe honey-roasted fennel or chilli broccolini, plus a carafe of Italian wine. It’s always buzzing here, and it’s a good idea to bring a few friends so you can try everything on the menu.
116 Surrey Street, Darlinghurst
(02) 9332 4052
Osteria di Russo & Russo
Dimly lit with a white curtain hanging delicately in the front window, Osteria di Russo & Russo offers all the warmth of a traditional Italian restaurant, but with creative, delicate and modern fare. Worth the wait is the cooked-to-order risotto with Jerusalem artichokes and truffled pecorino. If you like, order the chef’s selection for an incredibly well-priced roll of dishes from the kitchen.
158 Enmore Road, Enmore
(02) 8068 5202
Fish & Chips by Fish Face
If you’re looking for quick takeaway, you are in Sydney, so make the most of our terrific seafood. Fish & Chips by Fish Face is offering a considered take on the beloved fish and chips meal, and is a contender for the best fries in town. The concise but varied menu offers a choice of two fish in each cooking style. From the grill, you might try ocean perch or snapper (there’s also crisp-skin snapper or mirror dory), or for a more traditional approach, try the batter-fried blue spotted flathead or shovel nose shark.
132 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst
(02) 9332 4803
Bird & Bear Boathouse
You can’t really get any closer to the harbour than here. Perched on the end of the Elizabeth Bay marina, Bird & Bear Boathouse offers simple breakfast things and great coffee while you gaze out at the sparkling azure and sailboats. Modestly decorated with white umbrellas and communal benches, this outdoor cafe screams long summer afternoons, beach club-style.
1 Ithaca Road, Elizabeth Bay
0402 533 654
Champions for making the most of hyper-local produce, Cornersmith pickle and preserve quite nearly everything and incorporate the final products into its fantastic casual breakfast and lunch menu. Their two-cheese and pickle toastie is a local favourite, matched with a milkshake made from house-made fruit compote.
314 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville
(02) 8065 0844
Bread & Circus
This healthy and delicious little nook draws quite a crowd of regulars for their healthy, veg-centric options and market-influenced fare. Coffee comes all the way from Padre in Melbourne.Keep an eye out for the cloud eggs with baked ricotta, the morning jumble of bircher and granola, or lunches of mozzarella with grilled zucchini and polenta. For a sweet treat, the plate-sized giant choc-chip cookie will sort you out.
21 Fountain Street, Alexandria
(02) 9698 2939
Bourke Street Bakery
No visit to Sydney is complete without a visit to this famous bakery on the corner of Devonshire and Bourke Streets in Surry Hills. A line stretches out the door on the weekend, but the wait is worth it for crème brulee tarts, pork and fennel sausage rolls, dark chocolate and sour cherry cookies and excellent sourdough.
633 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
(02) 9699 1011
Set in an old hall that used to be a Greek Men’s club, Mary’s is the place to head for a raucous night of beers and burgers with a side of fried chicken. The cocktails change regularly but the local beer, Young Henry’s, is on tap.
6 Mary Street, Newtown
(02) 4995 9550
121BC Cantina & Enoteca
One long central table, wines by the glass from every region of Italy and incredible share plates of drinking food are the go here. Sommelier Giorgio di Maria loved to chat Italian wine, so ask him to divulge his wisdom in between cola-braised short ribs.
4/50 Holt Street, Surry Hills
(02) 9699 1582
If you’re wandering around the CBD in search of a great cocktail in an unusual setting, The Rook is a nice place to start. Up top in an office building, the entrance is unassuming, but once inside you’ll fine plants and tea lights provide a twinkling atmosphere.
Level 7, 56-58 York Street, Sydney
(02) 9262 2505
It’s a bold and brave concept that sets this bar apart. Selecting fresh produce daily from the markets, bartenders shape these ingredients into classic drink recreations. The mango daiquiri (when in season) is a critical game changer. For those less inclined to drink cocktails, they make the perfect G&T, rotate wines constantly and entertain a delicious selection of sparklings.
First floor, 10-14 Bulletin Place, Sydney
Lover has taken a minimal approach to their inaugural store. Black timber floors contrast with a soft pink feature wall. The signature feminine collections hangs from utilitarian racks reminiscent of studio equipment, with no mannequins in sight. No further bells or whistles are needed after all – the clothes speak for themselves.
The Strand Arcade
Level 1, 412-414 George Street, Sydney
(02) 9232 7289
The Corner Shop
The Corner Shop is a boutique that instantly makes you feel at home. The layout is reminiscent of wandering through a fashion paradise, and all is ripe for the picking. The Corner Shop stocks international labels such as Etoile Isabel Marant, Alexander Wang and Philip Lim, plus Australian favourites such as Ellery, Anna & Boy and Therese Rawsthorne.
43 William Street, Paddington
(02) 9380 9828
Eveleigh Producers’ Market
This Saturday morning market, showcases the best of NSW producers and is a gorgeous and vibrant weekend ritual. Each Saturday the huge shed comes to life with the friendly ruckus of 70 plus stall holders and thousands of food-focused shoppers, framed at one end by the profuse rainbow blooms of Mayfarm Flowers and Jonima at the other.
243 Wilson Street, Darlington
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
After its recent renovations, the MCA has reopened more vibrant than ever, right on the water in the harbourside suburb of The Rocks. The MCA brings together old and new to create a context for engaging artists with audiences for the 21st century.
140 George Street, The Rocks
(02) 9245 2400
Bondi to Bronte Cliff Walk
Start at Bondi Icebergs and continue along the cliff line, dodging runners and dog-walkers along the way, until you arrive at Bronte Beach after passing the small inlet of Tamarama. You can’t get more Sydney than this, and if you’re lucky, you might spot a whale or two.
Set on Woolloomooloo Warf right on the water, Blue overlooks the Botanical Gardens and Sydney’s spectacular skyline. Stroll along the warf to a plethora of dining options including Otto Ristorante and China Doll, and the CBD is only minutes away.
6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo
(02) 9331 9000
Bondi Beach House
Just a stone’s throw from Sydney’s most famous stretch of sand, Bondi’s Beach House has only nine, perfectly formed rooms, sleeping up to 21 guests. Relax on the tranquill terrace over breakfast before heading over to Icebergs ocean pool for a dip.
28 Sir Thomas Mitchell Road, Bondi Beach
(02) 9300 0369
Park Hyatt Sydney
If it’s a luxurious weekend away you’re after, look no further than the spectacular Park Hyatt Sydney, directly across the water from the sails of the Opera House, and quite nearly next to the Eastern point of the Harbour Bridge. After a recent renovation, the hotel is looking outstanding. Don’t miss the rooftop pool.
7 Hickson Road, The Rocks
(02) 9256 1234