Restaurants

  • This 80-seat spot serves all the Fabbrica favourites, from spaghetti cacio e pepe to cotoletta alla Milanese served with the bone. As ever, the wine list goes big on Italian and Australian drops from the minimal-intervention realm.

  • You can always count on fresh oysters, complimentary bread and a razor-sharp wine program at this exemplary neighbourhood diner. Come for an Italianate menu, served in one of the inner-city’s most romantic dining rooms.

  • The elegant sequel to Sydney's legendary Hunanese restaurant. The signature smoked pork – a dish that counts Neil Perry and Matt Moran among its fans – is on the menu here.

  • 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.

  • It's all about that cold fermented sweet glutinous rice with mango and coconut cream.

  • 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 tiny spot does fresh sangas during the day and decadent meaty sandwiches and margaritas at night.

  • The club’s signature cacio e pepe is served hot inside a hollowed-out wheel of Pecorino Romano, imported once a month from Sardinia, Italy. That’s how serious this slick diner is about cheese. Score a seat at the communal table with some quality European booze and get down to business.

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  • Sagra is one of Darlo's quiet achievers. It's laidback, it's wallet-friendly, and there's something on the menu for just about everyone. The pastas, most of which come in at under $25 a bowl, are particularly worth your time.

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  • This is the godfather of Italian dining in Sydney. Beppi’s has been ticking-over with the same consistency, fit-out and leather-bound menus – hand-carved by the late Beppi Polese himself – since 1956. Immortal dishes include clams and mussels with garlic, olive oil, white vino and tomato; and zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta, basil and mushrooms.

  • Hoppers, curry, sambol, wine and a slick design.

  • A four-level extravaganza with a retro cocktail bar with views over Hyde Park, stone-baked pizzas, and a Japanese menu by an ex-Sake chef.

  • Dimitri’s first started as a lo-fi little pizzeria on Crown street; in 2019, it moved up to Oxford Street. The new digs feature an Italian-made woodfire oven, a bigger dining room, plus a dedicated small bar upstairs. The toppings here are a riff on Dimitri’s flavour-over-tradition approach.

  • Curbside dining, Sopranos-style, since 1965. The buzzy dining room upstairs is a good alternative though, where you’ll find generous bowls of pasta and super-sized schnitzels with cheese and veg. Hair-raisingly robust espresso from 6am until midnight.

  • $2 espressos in the afternoon, European share plates in the evening.

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  • Sushi that won't break the bank.

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  • Not to be confused with poke bowls.

  • These huge, tasty soups sold here are unlike anything else in Sydney. And they’re guided by a sustainable ethos.

  • A tapas bar to handle the overflow from Buffalo Dining Club.

  • Home to the best crispy pork-belly roll in Sydney. And it’s available past midnight.

  • Are you game to take on T-Bone's Doom Juice, made with Carolina Reaper chillies?

  • Burgers, ceviche, fried chicken and English baps with the spices and flavours of India.

  • A handsome cafe and wine bar from the owner of Tatler, right downstairs.

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  • An intimate, authentic izakaya.

  • Serves dumplings of all kinds made fresh in-house.

  • A cafe serving classic American burgers with a hip-hop backdrop and a Breaking Bad theme.

  • A takeaway burger joint by the duo behind Bar Luca.

  • The former Capriccio and Cafe Paci chef is cooking regional Italian cuisine in Darlinghurst at this six-month pop-up.

Cafes

  • A buzzing cafe doing riffs on Japan’s most famous convenience store item: the katsu sando. The one here is staked with cabbage, pickled carrots, American cheese and more. And considering the size, it’s bang for your buck. Expect katsu salad bowls, smoothies and Single O coffee, too.

  • 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.

  • At this compact patisserie, a genre-bending baker mixes Korean influences with classic French techniques to create some of Sydney’s most eye-popping pastries. We love the iced raspberry sencha and the big specialty coffee focus.

  • Enter this extravagant cafe in a corner art deco building – featuring a striking Keeley Baird (from Something More Design) fit-out and a mural by artist Andrew Dennis – for truffles, caviar and a toastie that has to be seen to be believed.

  • A shop that sells inventive sourdough-brioche doughnuts by a classically trained pastry chef. Traditional flavours are playfully twisted here – there’s a Vegemite-spiked salted butterscotch and another filled with Basque cheesecake.

  • A carefully considered hole-in-the-wall cafe.

  • A busy hole-in-the-wall cafe.

  • A bona fide favourite with a takeaway window.

  • Like Tiffany's for chocolate

  • A small, easy-to-miss cafe serving incredible Brazilian cakes and home-style meals.

Bars

  • 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.

  • Sydney’s OG wine bar still hits after all these years. Come for a hefty list of mainly lo-fi wines, excellent snacks and sly laneway seating unlike anything else in the city.

  • A pumping hip-hop nightclub from the team behind Cantina OK. A weekly line-up of DJs spins the best of the genre till super late on Friday and Saturday. This place also has a killer cocktail game, with signature drinks going for a steal before 9pm.

  • On a sunny Darlo corner, this double-decker pub is all about Australiana, weekly-changing cocktails and reimagined pub classics. The highlight? A showstopping burger by Iceberg's executive chef.

  • A taxidermy-filled den that's equally about well-made cocktails and straight spirits, bourbon particularly.

  • 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.

  • Italian food, drinks and hip-hop served until 3am. Big Poppa's is low-key one of Sydney's best places to eat cheese – whether you like it on a platter or inventively deployed across a range of handmade pastas.

  • A 100-year old Sydney pub has been transformed into a handsome three-storey venue featuring an all-day bistro on the ground floor, a 17-room boutique hotel and a sun-soaked rooftop offering views of the city skyline.

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  • Hidden behind a tiny takeaway sandwich shop, this rowdy little tequila bar and taqueria is one of the best spots in Sydney to snag a Margarita. There are more than 15 versions of the classic drink to choose from, plus a neat menu of tacos going for half price on Tuesdays.

  • After a makeover inspired by New York’s dive bars, this late-night icon is open till 4am seven nights a week. Head in for after-work drinks and topnotch hot dogs, or party till the wee hours to five-hour sets by local and international DJs.

  • The successor to Chippendale's Freda's channels the spirit of the original late-night haunt into a buzzing sit-down bar and diner in the heart of Sydney's nightlife district.

  • A Miami Vice themed bar with an appropriately tropical cocktail menu to match.

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  • No sign, no fancy cocktails, but lots of locals at this Oxford Street hideaway.

  • A terrific corner pub.

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  • The gin flows freely at this Darlinghurst venue that tips its hat to Old Havana.

  • An upmarket, three-storey pub from the Goodtimes Hospitality Group.

  • A refurbished live-music favourite, with pizzas and pool tables.

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  • An alfresco bar from the owner of Tuxedo and Kansas City Shuffle.

  • Inventive cocktails served fast.

  • A world-class beer bar. Enough said.

  • A cocktail-only establishment offering a three-course drink experience.

Shops

  • 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.

  • It stocks 150 plant varieties – the majority of which are indoor and shade-friendly. And if you’re lacking a green thumb, it’ll help you keep your new purchases thriving.

  • 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.

  • An essential part of Sydney’s LGBTQI history. Visit for a comprehensive range of literature, magazines, DVDs, erotica and some very sexy calendars.

  • This colourful store sits on the CBD end of Oxford street, with enough variety to give designers, artists and literary types plenty of inspiration (or procrastination).

  • A petite, eclectic boutique curated with a sense of fun.

  • A lovingly curated DVD rental store in Darlinghurst.

  • Textile guru Rouse Phillips has a showroom, complete with carpets, homewares and rolls of its signature fabrics.

  • One-off antiques for all.

  • Browse obscure international labels in person, or through the online store.

  • Wine selected by an industry legend.