Restaurants

Haco

Restaurant

Keita Abe brings Japanese like you've never seen to Surry Hills with his tempura restaurant. Sit around the centrepiece wraparound counter and order from a constantly-shifting menu.

Flyover Fritterie

Restaurant

Sydney’s first pakora and chai bar only sells four things.

Mary's Circular Quay

Restaurant

Burgers, craft beer, minimal intervention wine, thumping rock music and a fern-filled outdoor dining space with 30 seats. And the whole menu can be ordered vegan.

Matteo Downtown

Restaurant

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, a mozzarella bar which receives a fresh batch of the good stuff each morning.

Monopole

Restaurant

The CBD has some of the best cocktail bars in the world, but there’s a surprising lack of venues with a focus on vino. Since moving from its original Potts Point location, Monopole, with its clever mix of snacking and thoughtful drinks list, has changed that.

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Seta

Restaurant

An ambitious, opulent multi-part Italian restaurant and bar inside Australia's first bank – with an executive chef who ran a Michelin-starred Italian restaurant. Take a seat in the main dining room, crudo bar or chef's table. There's Venetian-style bite-size snacks, 30 varieties of raw seafood and a three-metre-high wine fridge.

Cafes

Picco Leo

Cafe

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.

Industry Beans

Cafe

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

Sammy Junior

Cafe

This is the younger sibling of Maybe Sammy (arguably Sydney’s most acclaimed cocktail bar). It’s an all-day cafe and bar, where you can have cocktails at 10am and coffee ‘till 10pm. Come for half-serve cocktails on tap, strong coffee and a tight menu of versatile snacks.

Aqua S

Cafe

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.

Mo’st

Cafe

Traditional northern-Chinese food such as rou jia mo, which here are twice the size of your hand.

St Dreux

Cafe

At the cutting edge of coffee in Sydney.

Bars

Continental Deli, Bar and Bistro CBD

Bar

The follow up to Newtown's distinctive tinned cocktail bar offers all the same thrills: cold cuts, cheese, canned goods, fine wine and stiff drinks.

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Little Felix

Bar

Little Felix is more than a waiting room for French bistro Felix. Thanks to a Cognac and Cointreau-heavy drinks list and a bar piled high with towers of French cheese cut to order, it's a destination in its own right. It’s all set in an opulent, pale-emerald room replete with comfortable dark-toned leather lounges.

Double Deuce Lounge

Bar

Take the founders of Ramblin' Rascal, add a subterranean space and finish it off with a ’70s sheen and you have a guaranteed blockbuster cocktail bar. The vibe of the space – filled with wood panelling, plump leather couches and even a furry shag feature wall – is cool, easygoing and cheesy. A smooth funk and soul soundtrack rounds it all out.

Cantina Ok!

Bar

Word of warning: don't bother bringing a large group to this tiny mezcal-centric laneway bar – even if it were completely empty, you probably wouldn't fit. It's by the team behind Tio's Cerveceria. The friendly, knowledgeable staff here will help you navigate the cracking cocktail list with confidence (and you might even end up ordering Sydney's best Margarita).

Dean & Nancy on 22

Bar

The Maybe Sammy crew's glamorous bar and restaurant on the 22nd floor of a luxe hotel. Come for interactive multi-sensory cocktails and a menu by a veteran Sydney chef that channels the glory days of Vegas.

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Reign

Bar

A champagne parlour and bar in the QVB with views out over George Street. There are more than 150 champagnes and sparkling wines here that run the gamut from A-list producers to smaller-scale labels. If bubbly isn't for you, there are cocktails – signature and classic – as well as a menu of pan-European food.

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Shops

Mecca Cosmetica The Strand

Shop

The Mecca Cosmetica flagship store is a personalised oasis.

Abbey’s Bookshop

Shop

If you’re going past the Queen Victoria Building, this longstanding independent is worth a visit. It stocks a wealth of Australian crime fiction, and if it’s true crime you’re after, history is another speciality.

Books Kinokuniya

Shop

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.

Fabbrica

Shop

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

Wholegreen Bakery

Shop

People with coeliac disease and those who have to avoid gluten, rejoice. You can get it all here: gourmet pies, sausage rolls, sandwiches, pasta, loaves, chocolate eclairs and croissants.

Growing Friends

Shop

The Royal Botanic Garden is huge, so you can be forgiven if you’ve never noticed this small retail nursery set on the eastern boundary, near Woolloomooloo. Outdoor plant seedlings are the thing here – more so than full-grown specimens, anyway – with prices starting from as little as $5. The stock is largely propagated from the RBG’s own collection and those of its counterparts in Mount Annan and the Blue Mountains. That means rare and exotic flowers, shrubs and creepers often pop up for sale, alongside a steadier supply of natives.