• Above Par is a sleek 60-seater bistro in the heart of the CBD, serving homestyle Levantine dishes from lunch and well into the evening.

  • Italian cuisine with a subtle Australian accent, matched with a wine list that bounces effortlessly between Italy’s Piedmont region and the Adelaide Hills. The Swillhouse group’s modern-day interpretation of a cool ’70s restaurant is everything we’ve come to expect from one the city’s best operators.

  • An institution among Laksa addicts. Today the name has two locations under its banner, but the original, now-closed Hunter Street shop was ladling bowls of piping hot laksa all the way back in 1987 – long before most of the CBD’s other Asian restaurants joined the party.

  • At this restaurant-bar, chef-owner Junda Khoo experiments with regional Malaysian specialties. Plus there are tiki-inspired cocktails and a fun wine list.

  • A cosmopolitan Italian diner with enough marble to sink a ship. It’s a spin-off of Matteo’s in Double Bay, and the pizza is just as good. This place has a few of its own moves though – notably, an executive chef who was trained by the inventor of Roman-style pizza.

  • Apart from sides, there's only one thing on this menu: T-bone steaks, sold by weight.


  • A Japanese-inspired cafe with a menu that changes from week to week.

  • One of Melbourne’s most celebrated coffee roasters' first Sydney outpost is in the CBD.

  • At this offshoot of CBD diner Restaurant Leo, it's all about pastries by day and aperitivi by night. Head into the laneway for innovative cocktails paired with oysters, anchovy-and-sage scrolls and parmesan custard.

  • A one-stop shop for celebration cakes, savoury lunch-time pastries and croissants made with a recipe that took 15 months to perfect. From the street, you can watch the team prepare all of the above inside the glass-encased kitchen.

  • Come to this over-the-top ice creamery if you're into inventive flavours. Just take the bestselling flavour: blue sea salt ice-cream. Toppings include popping candy, flame-toasted marshmallow, caramel popcorn and fairy floss.

  • A former Zumbo pastry chef is behind the elaborate desserts at this Japanese cafe and milk bar by the Devon team. It’s one of the few places in Sydney you’ll find popular Japanese date-night dessert, Kakigori, along with cheeseburger-inspired rice bowls, curries and more.


  • A whisky bar in a former opium den/bootmaker’s workshop/doss house.

  • Francis Ford Coppola's landmark film *The Godfather* is the inspiration behind Apollonia, a dramatic basement bar beneath Hinchcliff House. A visit here involves Sicilian-style bar snacks, inventive house cocktails and a signature Negroni on tap.

  • This luxe rooftop bar and open-air terrace is the cherry atop Shell House, combining sophisticated drinks and Mediterranean snacks with a statement-making design. Think *Mad Men*-era opulence combined with a 1930s Milanese speakeasy feel.

  • The celebrated Darlinghurst speakeasy has resurfaced in the CBD – with a serious food menu, 37 signature cocktails and more than 500 whiskies. Enter via a discreet entrance on Wynyard Lane for all of the blazing bartending theatrics you remember.

  • A cocktail bar serving food and drinks from around the world. Head to Mexico with a spiced agave drink, and New Orleans with a muffuletta sandwich.

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  • The Maybe Sammy crew’s glamorous cocktail bar and diner on the 22nd floor of Adina’s CBD Hotel is a homage to the classic hotel bars of yesteryear. Come for playful, multi-sensory cocktails, lobster rolls and a skyline view that’ll make you feel like a millionaire.

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  • Founded by a qualified nutritionist, Wholegreen has amassed a cult following in Sydney and overseas for its coeliac-friendly bread, pastries and pies. If you’re looking for the gold standard in gluten-free baking, look no further.

  • A deli, wine store and by-the-gram pasta shop from the Love Tilly Group. You can also take a seat inside for a quick aperitif and sandwich.

  • A sleek gelateria and espresso bar that loves to push the envelope with its flavours. While pesto doesn't instantly come to mind when you think of gelato, a scoop of the signature blue vanilla is a must. It's traditionally flavoured but – coloured blue with butterfly pea flowers.

  • Chic, hyperfunctional luggage and accessories in eye-catching colours are what you get at this minimalist store from the popular online brand.

  • Sydney’s art-lovers, design geeks, illustrators and photography buffs practically live in Books Kinokuniya. Its range of niche titles is unparalleled – and that’s not to mention the incredible manga and comic book selection. As far as Sydney’s best book shops go, this one is vying for best-in-show.

  • The Mecca Cosmetica flagship store is a personalised oasis.