Restaurants

Haco

Restaurant

Chaco Bar's Keita Abe brings Japanese dining like you've never seen to Surry Hills with this theatrical omakase restaurant. Sit around the centrepiece wraparound counter and order from a constantly-shifting menu of sushi, Osaka-style tempura and delicate desserts.

Bar Patron

Restaurant

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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Esteban

Restaurant

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 sweet potato dessert. Downstairs there's a bar with more than 200 mezcals and tequilas.

Santa Catarina

Restaurant

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.

Kitchen by Mike

Restaurant

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

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

Dopa Donburi and Milk Bar

Cafe

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.

Joe Black X

Cafe

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.

Cabrito Coffee Traders

Cafe

A coffee nook that rejuvenates Sydney's laneways.

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.

Cross Eatery

Cafe

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

Klink Handmade Espresso

Cafe

A coffee oasis in the city.

Bars

Menzies Bar

Bar

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.

Sky Bar

Bar

With views across the city and an open-air terrace, Shell House’s spectacular rooftop bar evokes Mad Men crossed with a ’30s Milanese speakeasy. Lofty snacks, well-named drinks and inimitable style make this a CBD bar like no other.

About Time

Bar

Nostalgia for the ‘90s and classic Australian fuel this CBD pop-up by a Sydney hospo dream team. Think Frosty Fruit-inspired slushies, roast-dinner rolls and the king of ‘90s desserts, the Vienetta.

Old Mate's Place

Bar

Locate the discrete 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.

Grandma’s Bar

Bar

A candle-lit den with “faded granny glamour” in spades. Lamps, mismatched armchairs and cheesy baked bean toasties are all comforting throwbacks, but the rum-heavy list of tiki drinks will really get you settled in.

Mary’s Underground

Bar

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.

Shops

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.

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.

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.