A bar and bottle shop styled after the enotecas of Italy. And a colourful upstairs restaurant with pasta and panache. Paski is a three-part stunner by wine importers Giorgio de Maria and Mattia Dicati, and chef Enrico Tomelleri.
This tiny two-storey diner punches above its weight with a former Sokyo chef in the kitchen and a top mixologist behind the bar. Expect Japanese dishes reimagined with native Australian ingredients, fruity highballs and a warm neighbourhood vibe.
The chef behind this Japanese bistro honed his craft at a Michelin-starred Kyoto restaurant. Here he’s serving top-grade sushi, Kyoto-style duck and classic Japanese dishes that draw everyone from diplomats to Darlinghurst locals.
The Milano-inspired joint emphasises good times and communal eats, serving up pizzas, house-made pasta, and an Italian-leaning wine and cocktail list. Go for its white-base mushroom pizza with truffles or the crowd-favourite vodka pasta.
This takeaway-focused, old-school sandwich shop makes some of Sydney’s best (and biggest) sangas. But you don’t need to take our word for it – the lengthy queues that form outside it every single weekday at lunchtime should tell you how good these beauties are.
Three Messina chefs have gone all-out with their bakery debut. It’s where French and very nostalgic Aussie influences collide in treats like a Vegemite and avocado scroll, and a fancy take on an old-school custard tart.
At one time, the breakfasts at Bill Granger’s sun-drenched cafe were the yardstick by which all the city’s cafes were measured. This blonde-wood institution still hits with avo on Iggy’s bread, poached eggs with elevated sides and ricotta hotcakes.
Set within a historic former church, this social impact cafe empowers at-risk women through hospitality training and a sense of community. It also collaborates with top Australian chefs to curate monthly specials, events and more.
This modern neighbourhood cafe has an old soul, serving up classic brunches with top-tier Sydney produce. Come for an outstanding ploughman’s board or a three-cheese toastie, and stick around for Mecca coffee served any way you like.
A two-in-one spot with comforting Filipino dishes alongside killer pastries and doughnuts. Come for northern-style garlicky longganisa, chicken inasal, a vegetarian version of okoy (shrimp fritters), and round the meal off with exquisite pastries and doughnuts.
There are only a handful of live music venues in Sydney deserving of legendary status. This two-in-one spot below Oxford Street – styled after Andy Warhol’s NYC warehouse in the ’60s – is surely one of them.
It’s all about “taps, tunes and Chinese” at this legendary 130-year-old pub. Head in for 17 local beers matched with Shandong-style chicken and prawn wontons from a Hong Kong chef. Don't miss the breezy open-air terrace on top.
This polished sake room is inspired by a popular Japanese manga – hear the story behind each sake as you sip, and don’t hold back on the nostalgic snacks. We can't get over the Kewpie mayo-shaped chopstick rests.
A compact izakaya like you’d find down a Tokyo alleyway, with hot towels and all. Inside there are more than 20 sakes, plus sake-friendly snacks including yakitori, miso-marinated cream cheese, and scallops in the half shell.
With locations all over the country (and one in Hong Kong), Sydney-born Messina is the definition of a runaway success story. Despite the scale; the flavours, the quality of ingredients and the exacting attention to detail have, if anything, improved over the years. It even uses milk from its own dedicated jersey farm in rural Victoria.
When Rivareno's Darlinghurst location opened, it was the first non-European outpost for this renowned Italian gelati chain. And though it's since spread across Sydney, we think that this one's still the best.
Wall-to-wall books on design make this one of Sydney’s true specialists of the genre. You can find back issues of high-end mags such as Monocle and Creative Review, but that’s not all – there’s also a raft of merchandise for sale by witty design crew, Good Fucking Design Advice.