Restaurants

  • Chaco Bar's Keita Abe brings high-end Japanese dining to Surry Hills with this theatrical omakase restaurant. Sit at the wraparound counter try a constantly-shifting menu of Osaka-style tempura and desserts with wow factor.

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

  • Manon brings French flair to the Queen Victoria Building with a roll call of bistro classics such as croque monsieur, steak frites and crab bisque souffle. Take a seat in the handsome dining room, or people-watch Parisian-style at a streetside table.

  • This all-day eatery inside Hinchcliff House mills its own flour, using grain supplied by NSW farmers. That means house-made pastas and ciabatta to go with produce-driven share plates and cocktails.

  • 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.

  • Helmed by a Michelin-starred chef, this multifaceted Japanese diner brings together a dining room, a cocktail bar and a chef's table under one elegant roof. Dishes are informed by Japanese tradition, French techniques and a root-to-stem philosophy.

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  • This Sydney institution is serving Thai family recipes made with produce from the owners’ own farm.

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  • Vibrant Mexican food, super-rare tequilas and million-dollar views are all on the menu at this smart harbourside diner. But to really feel like a millionaire, splash out on the signature gold leaf Margarita.

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Descend the stairs into a labyrinthine den of lush velvet booths, flowing booze and a menu that champions Riverine rib eye.

  • This sumptuous diner is one of two venues by the Speakeasy Group inside the revamped Beneficial House, a heritage-listed former department store in Sydney's CBD. Celebrating life's big moments is what it's all about here – come for tableside theatrics, premium Aussie steaks and complimentary cocktail amuse-bouches on arrival.

  • Nigiri takes pride of place at this 12-seat omakase diner, and there's a formidable selection of Japanese whisky to go with it. You might end up sharing some with your neighbour – it's all about the convivial vibe here.

  • Celebrity chef Luke Mangan imparts his signature style to the Kimpton Hotel’s grand lobby restaurant. Expect modern Australian fare with European and Southeast Asian flourishes, matched with an extensive wine cellar starring rare French vintages and plenty of Australian drops.

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  • Under soaring ceilings in an art deco building, The Charles evokes Europe’s grand brasseries with plenty of thoughtful touches – including a roaming dessert trolley, and tableside saucing and carving. Order the whole dry-aged duck for a show-stopping signature.

  • Inside Sydney's Capella hotel, the team behind Bentley and Monopole are turning out modern Australian takes on classic brasserie dishes. There's an encyclopaedic wine list to match, which accesses all the rare drops stashed in the Bentley Group cellars.

  • Chef Nelly Robinson’s eponymous restaurant serves conceptual, degustation-only cuisine in a Surry Hills basement space. Find playful dishes across 11 courses, from a “poisoned” apple served on a pillow-like plate to an elevated baked potato with jamon and duck fat.

  • This restaurant surrounded by lush gardens is serving a contemporary Asian menu inspired by celebrity chef Luke Nguyen’s heritage.

  • Clayton Wells’ follow-up to Automata has the chef’s signature all over it – literally. Come for unexpected dishes starring beautiful Australian ingredients, as you take in harbour views from within Sydney Modern at the AGNSW.

  • A moody Mexican laneway diner in an old CBD printing shop. The upstairs restaurant serves tacos al pastor, a one-kilogram Wagyu rib eye and a riff on the Pina Colada for dessert. But downstairs in the bar, it's all about mezcal and tequila.

  • 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.

  • A solid lunchtime dining option in the CBD, with an alfresco plant-filled terrace and a whopping 900-kilogram wood grill.

  • At Pinky-Ji, “unauthentic Indian” chef Jessi Singh brings all the fun and flavour of his Melbourne diner Daughter in Law to the Sydney CBD. Expect modern takes on Indian dishes in a neon-lit room draped in red velvet. Plus, a private dining room with a karaoke machine pumping tunes from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.

  • This is the long-awaited Sydney outpost for the beloved Japanese dining empire, and it's brought its signature miso cod along for the ride. Dine on salmon-sashimi tacos and evaporate-in-your-mouth nigiri, knock back "sushi cups" and enjoy some aged sake.

  • A sexy wine bar from the team behind Love, Tilly Devine, where the pasta menu changes almost daily and comes supplied by its retail sibling, Fabbrica a few blocks away. You might order cavatelli with pippies and house-made pork sausage one day, and goat ragu mafaldine the next.

  • Helmed by genre-bending Sydney chef Mitch Orr, the Ace Hotel’s eighteenth-floor diner is all about native ingredients, fire-based cooking and flavours from across the globe. The space exudes the Ace’s signature cool, with a view that’s primed for the adventurous wine list by P&V’s Mike Bennie.

  • Merivale’s opulent Japanese diner puts a modern spin on the country’s traditional cuisine. Take your seat at the white marble counter for a theatrical experience involving premium seafood, sake and no shortage of knife skills from the team of highly trained chefs.

  • This '70s-inspired cocktail lounge on the 83rd floor of Sydney Tower is the highest bar in town. Cocktails come from an ex-Baxter Inn and Hubert bartender whose drinks will (almost) distract you from the 260-degree views.

  • The laneway eatery is a collaboration by top Sydney chefs Federico Zanellato (Lumi Dining) and Karl Firla (ex-Oscillate Wildly). While they’re both renowned for innovative fine-dining concepts, Leo is their ode to rustic Italian cuisine. That said, your pasta may come with truffles when they’re in season.

  • Set within Merivale’s sprawling Ivy Precinct, Bar Totti’s is more than just a facsimile of the Bondi original. It brings together the best bit of the OG (signature pastas, outstanding antipasti and woodfired flatbreads), but has a few of its own tricks, too. Notably, regular DJ sets and a late-trading licence to keep the good times rolling for longer.

  • This art deco drinks-and-dining complex has three seductive bars, but the heart and soul of the building is the spectacular ninth-floor restaurant. Take your time with a lengthy menu of seafood, pasta and protein-heavy mains, and a wine list highlighting French classics and new world naturals.

  • Serving up burgers under $10 and freshly churned thickshakes, this burger joint’s neon signs and sky-blue tiles are a vibrant ode to ’50s American diners.

  • Following a stunning makeover, this beloved Greek restaurant reopened in 2021. A handful of old favourites remain on the menu, but everything else – from the sprawling open kitchen to the roaring woodfire oven – is brand new.

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  • Formerly an oyster bar, this al fresco French diner evokes the Mediterranean with its unmatched harbour views and sterling seafood. It's got you covered for all occasions, from pre-theatre snacks to big-budget lobster and champagne dinners.

  • Jimmy’s Falafel's colourful room features booths, frosted-glass sconces and tourism posters of cosmopolitan 1960s Beirut. As the name suggests, there’s falafel, which is stuffed in pita (among other things) and served alongside meze plates including eggplant salad, hummus and silverbeet. At night, there’s also meat cooked on the charcoal grill, and a wonderful smoky scent permeates the air.

  • Southeast Asian street food is the focus at Merivale’s rowdy good-times diner: oysters spiked with Vietnamese-style vinaigrette, jungle curry with pipis and Phnom Penh fried chicken. To drink? Fresh cocktails and a famous yuzu slushie.

  • Fine dining meets Oaxacan flavours at this casual CBD spot. There's a rollicking bar with such vast quantities of tequila and mezcal, bartenders use a library ladder to access the top shelf. A pre-dinner flight here is highly encouraged – and well worth it.

  • Mike McEnearney trades out No.1 Bent Street with his all-day canteen where you’re encouraged to bring in your own Tupperware.

  • Bow down to the dumpling masters. Or just watch them through the glass, hand-crafting those world-class xiao long bao in the kitchen.

  • The Middle East’s lesser-known cuisines brought to light on a menu informed by ancient recipes and modern techniques. You can also try wines from Syria, Jordan, Morocco and more, in a stunning contemporary space in the former MLC Centre.

  • Steak frites is king at this two-storey French bistro in the heart of the city. But sophisticated Gallic standards are just one part of the picture – you'll also find a formidable wine list spanning Burgundy, Champagne and the Rhone Valley wine regions.

  • The one-two punch of exemplary Malaysian sweets and smoky char kway teow noodles is not one you’ll experience often. But that’s exactly what you get at this unassuming food court counter run by a husband-and-wife duo.

  • Pull up a chair at the former Chiswick at the Gallery site for mid-week and weekend brunch, long lunches, and extraordinary views over Sydney Harbour.

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  • A 1200-square-metre rooftop bar and restaurant which rules over Pitt Street Mall.

  • A Parisian-style bistro in the heart of the city.

  • 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.

  • A ritzy institution on the Customs House rooftop. The menu bounces between Indian and Italian flavours to create an altogether modern Australian vibe that spans surf, turf and vegan dishes. An appropriate focus on seafood works a treat, given the jaw-dropping views of Sydney Harbour. Book ahead for the window seats.

  • Handmade Greek delicacies in the CBD.

  • A CBD northern-Thai diner channelling the late-night tapas dishes of a famous Chiang Mai market stall.

  • A Malaysian eatery, setting standards with some of Sydney's best laksa.

  • Nasi Goreng, bakmi and flat whites.

  • Its star dish is a roast duck that takes four days to prepare.

  • The sophisticated restaurant serves barrel-aged Negronis and “not so traditional” bolognaise to the power set.

  • Burger Project's up-makert store with boozy shakes and meatier burgers.

  • Jang Ta Bal helped popularise Korean barbeque in Sydney – the CBD outpost of the chain is the most raucous and fun-filled yet.

  • Italian classics and a late-night outdoor bar in a previously underused space.

  • Lebanese-Japanese fusion from the man behind Toko and Crown Street Fish Shop.

  • Barbeque the Japanese way – tripe, highballs, rib eyes and Red Eyes.

  • Where plump, golden crisp-skin birds are prized and authenticity is king.

  • Take a crew and get the pig, with its head on.

  • Roaming food and art.

  • The first Australian location for one of Japan's most famous ramen chains.

  • All-day dining with a seafood-inspired wood fire menu

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  • A surprisingly relaxed spot for a sophisticated vino.

  • Tacos to match the tunes at The Basement in the CBD.

  • Oysters at the front, burgers at the rear. Not a bad combo, is it?

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  • Jamaican street food in the front bar of a small club.

  • This Fratelli Fresh in the city is a little bit glamorous.

  • Mamak’s little sibling serves traditional Malaysian street food, this time with a Chinese influence.

  • Vikki and Helena Moursellas do home-cooked Greek cuisine.

  • The perfect lunchtime laksa stop.

Cafes

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

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  • 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.

  • Hidden behind the heritage-listed Louis Vuitton building, this tiny espresso bar has no seats – just good coffee, pastries and ready-made paninis for a quick getaway.

  • A coffee nook that rejuvenates Sydney's laneways.

  • 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.

  • Proof that CBD cafes don't need to be cramped.

  • A coffee oasis in the city.

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

  • At the cutting edge of coffee in Sydney.

  • Go here for coffee, “toppers” and sunshine.

  • With four walls of glass and great burgers, this little cafe is a great spot to people-watch.

  • This sleek city venue mixes health-conscious lunches with after-work cocktails.

  • The high priests of macarons from France.

  • A coffee nook in the bustling city arcade to get your perfect daily fix.

  • A split-level coffee bar serving sandwiches and sweets.

  • Paris metro meets New York subway at Hyde Park’s chic bistro.

  • Indonesian-inspired cafe food, Five Senses coffee and homemade doughnuts in a beautiful CBD courtyard.

  • Good coffee is hard to come by in the heart of Circular Quay. So go here.

Bars

  • 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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  • Swish CBD basement bar Tiva is all about live music, high-end cocktails and a touch of theatre. It's part of three-in-one venue The Charles, and you can expect a mix of DJs and live performers most nights, as well as premium snacks from the impressive kitchen team upstairs.

  • Like visiting the Guggenheim, sipping a cocktail at Employees Only in the West Village is a quintessential New York experience. This is the plush Sydney outpost for that same bar – with the same impeccable service, late-night food menu, and yes, even a resident psychic who’ll tell you your fortune.

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  • Don't bring a large group to this tiny laneway bar – even if it were empty, you probably wouldn't fit. It's considered one the best tequila and mezcal bars in the world for its peerless selection of rare agave spirits, and the friendly, knowledgeable staff here will help you navigate the list with confidence.

  • Named after the voodoo spirit of lust and laughter, Papa Gede’s is the kind of bar where the energy is always high and your flaming tiki drink is still burning when it arrives at your table. Live DJs and soul bands are on regular rotation here.

  • Take a subterranean space, add a ’70s sheen and a smooth soul soundtrack and you have one hell of a cocktail bar. The vibe of the space – filled with wood panelling, leather couches and a furry shag feature wall – is cool, easygoing and just the right amount of cheesy.

  • Find the discreet ground-level entrance, then climb four levels of steep, narrow stairs to reach this hidden rooftop. It’s completely worth it – you'll be rewarded with a killer cocktail bar set against a backdrop of towering CBD highrises.

  • To find this open-air oasis above the State Library's historic Mitchell Building, make your way through a grungy corridor and up a goods lift. You'll be met by a handsome bar serving cocktails and sublime views of the Domain and Sydney Harbour.

  • An old-school Italian-influenced wine bar

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  • The first of three stunning venues to arrive at the refurbished Shell House building. This one draws inspiration from the grand eateries of Europe, in the form of a daily Martini hour, lobster rolls and a 2am licence.

  • A timelessly beautiful bar set within a hollowed-out 400-tonne clocktower atop Shell House. Ascend for high-end yet relaxed service, plenty of whisky and fresh, crushable cocktails. Also, snacks befitting the space's old-world glamour: caviar, freshly shucked oysters and truffle toasties.

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  • The Mary's Group snagged the old Basement space in Circular Quay and continued its legacy as an inner-city hub for live music. They've also thrown in a burger joint with the Mary's signatures: 'burgs, fried chicken and natural vino.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • A plush, sumptuous city wine bar.

  • A tipple with the tunes.

Shops

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • A good shoe can take as long to make as a luxury car.

  • The iconic Melbourne womenswear label that's all about prints and bright colours.

  • This sweet collaboration by two much-loved operators is a one-stop-shop for all your Japanese dessert needs.

  • Casual, understated elegance by Sydney's brightest sibling designers.

  • Spanish-based clothing giant providing fast fashion for everyone.

  • Tom Ford brings luxury, style and glamour to Sydney.

  • High-end and luxurious outfitting for men.

  • A high-end concept store sporting luxe designer goods.

  • Andrew McDonald brings its 20 years of shoemaking experience to The Strand Arcade.

  • An emporium of luxury designer streetwear in the Sydney CBD.

  • The travelling tailors of Suit Shop's sharp and sophisticated showroom in the Strand Arcade.

  • Mister Mister in the CBD is offering made-to-measure denim as well as the suits it is renown for.

  • After dressing American presidents, Brooks Brothers now dresses the people of Sydney.

  • Greek food go-to, Alpha Restaurant in the CBD, has opened an adjacent Food Store selling street staples.

  • A spice shop with every pungent powder you can think of.

  • This Japanese lifestyle brand is characterised by simple design and a minimalist aesthetic.

  • The team at Oscar Hunt will make you feel a million bucks at its elegant showroom.

  • The Asian supermarket of your dreams in Regent Place.


  • The Melbourne accessories brand’s Sydney store.

  • Men's Biz in the Strand Arcade offers everything you need to look sharp, including barbershop shaves from a master.

  • MakMak and Cakedown Bakery have joined to open a city store.