Restaurant views don’t come anymore impressive than this. Matt Moran’s Aria is positioned between the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, affording diners sweeping views of the iconic landmarks. Taking its prime real estate and harbour views into account, you can almost understand the prices. At around $40 for entrees, $50 for mains, this is strictly special-occasion dining for most.
The interior is classic with white tablecloths, plush chairs and subtle lighting, and tables are generously spaced, giving the room a luxurious feel. But only those lucky (or famous) enough to be seated near the floor-to-ceiling windows get to fully enjoy the view.
The food is sophisticated and the plating creative. Executive chef Tom Gorringe is behind the ever-changing mod-Oz menu, which features quality ingredients treated simply. Dishes might include Murray Cod with diamond clams and purple artichokes, or glazed duck with nectarines, chicory and salsify (a root vegetable with an oyster-like flavour). Desserts are divine: try the strawberry souffle with lavender and vanilla, or mango with elderflower, white chocolate and coconut.
Add to this an impressive wine list and smart, efficient service.