Restaurants

nel.

Restaurant

Chef Nelly Robinson’s self-titled restaurant nel. serves conceptual, degustation-only cuisine in a Surry Hills basement space.

Prince of York

Restaurant

Have dinner and wine upstairs, then head downstairs to party.

Flyover Fritterie

Restaurant

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

Kuro

Restaurant

A degustation only Japanese restaurant that doubles as a casual eatery and bar that begins the day with coffees and sees out the night with cocktails, draft beers and snacks.

Jimmy's Falafel

Restaurant

This diner brings Middle Eastern food to George Street and the Ivy Precinct. On the menu? Falafel, meze and meats from the charcoal grill.

Malay Chinese Takeaway

Restaurant

An institution among Laksa addicts. The name has several locations under its banner, but the Hunter Street location has been ladling bowls of piping hot laksa since 1987 – it was around long before many of the CBDs other Asian stalwarts joined the party.

Cafes

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.

Picco Leo

Cafe

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

St Dreux

Cafe

At the cutting edge of coffee in Sydney.

Bars

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.

Old Mate's Place

Bar

You’ll need to locate the discrete ground-level entrance and then climb four levels of steep, narrow stairs to reach it. But you'll be rewarded by a killer rooftop bar – with an adjoined cocktail bar – where you'll be in amongst the CBD's highrises.

Bar Ombre

Bar

From the team behind Salt Meats Cheese, a rooftop bar (with glimpses of the Sydney Harbour) serving barrel-aged Negronis and antipasto.

Jackalberry

Bar

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.

Little Felix

Bar

Little Felix channels Paris of the 1920s, has towering platters of cheese and wine served from magnums.

Bar Topa

Bar

A standing-room-only tapas bar with mini cocktails and Spanish snacks.

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.