Sammy’s is the holiday-ready northern beaches cafe that’s perched, quite literally, on top of the water in Avalon’s Careel Bay. The family-run, community-focused spot is atop the marina – and has a homemade bolognaise jaffle that’s worth the drive.

• First Look: Belles Hot Chicken has landed in Bondi with all its classics – exceptional fried chicken done myriad ways – and boozy milkshakes in a fit-out that channels a 1960s American beachside diner.

Crooked Tune is the best inner-west distillery you’ve never heard of. Devoted to American spirits, the speakeasy-style venue has space for just eight, and killer cocktails like spicy peach Margaritas and smooth Sazeracs.

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• First Look: Shadow Baking is the Darlinghurst bakery from a trio of Gelato Messina chefs. Gaining fans from its market stall at The Cannery, the permanent digs will have pandan-coconut brioche, riffs on old-school custard tarts and croissants topped with Messinatella – Messina’s signature choc-hazelnut spread.

Babs is the approachably refined pop-up diner that brings a rotating daily-made pasta, a clarified Bloody Mary and a heap of community spirit to Enmore Road.

• The Bathers’ Pavilion team is bringing a slice of la dolce vita to Balmoral with Eddy’s. The summer-long pop-up is open now, with fried calamari cones, Roman-style pizza and Aperol Spritzes aplenty.

• The latest venue from the Gidley crew is now open. Humming diner Alfie’s adds more sizzle to the CBD steakhouse scene, minus the velvet and faff. Order a $38 Riverine sirloin steak, butchered and aged in-house, and it’ll be on your table in 15 minutes – ideally alongside what may be Sydney’s coldest Martini.

Frenchie’s Bakery and Patisserie brings the lockdown-famous pastries and bread from Frenchies Bistro to Rosebery. All the French classics are made daily: chocolate eclairs, layered opera pastries, entremets and viennoiserie alongside crusty baguettes and sourdough loaves.

Kyiv Social brings a taste of Ukraine to Chippendale. The restaurant is the latest from prominent Sydney social enterprise Plate It Forward. Here you’ll find fluffy, garlicky pampushky (buns), hand-rolled holubtsi (stuffed cabbage) and small-batch vodka, all in service of employing and helping feed Ukrainians displaced by war.

• Surry Hills has welcomed Italian-leaning izakaya Ito to the ex-Cuckoo Callay spot. Pull up a stool at the raw bar to watch chefs slice Hokkaido scallops and yellowfin tuna, or opt for aglio e olio spaghetti with togarashi and spanner crab.

• It’s the return of the sandwich king: Kosta’s Takeaway opens a new HQ in Rosebery, its biggest shop yet. Get a monster schnitzel sanga or a smashed beef burger, plus treats like custard tarts in tin foil inspired by classic Sydney Vietnamese bakeries.

• Potts Point has welcomed Luc-San, a French-Japanese restaurant from Luke Mangan. The space sits beneath the iconic Coca-Cola sign, and the fusion can be tasted in every dish.

Casa is the summer pop-up from the Boathouse Group that brings a slice of the Amalfi Coast to the Northern Beaches. Here you can spend a long evening underneath festoon lighting in the salty air, with snapper carpaccio and a limoncello spritz on the way.

• Bondi has scored Iberica, a charismatic Balearic-style tapas bar and sibling to nearby Ikaria. There’s a palette of earthy tones and artful ceramic pieces backdropping one-bite wonders like lemon-topped Gildas, paella and charcoaled spatchcock. Plus, a lit bread and butter.

• On the north shore, Charlotte Bar & Bistro is welcoming diners to its heritage-listed digs with a charming array of nostalgic French classics. There’s an ex-Lumi chef at the helm, and a reimagined beef en croute that must be ordered 24 hours in advance.

• The team behind Dulwich Hill favourite The General has overhauled the kitchen at Marrickville Golf Club, opening Wharf St Kitchen. Take in views of the green and tuck into steak frites, brisket lasagne and more – then head out for nine holes.

• Joel Bennetts and the Fish Shop crew have opened another spot in Bondi, this time dedicated to simple hand-held beauties. Burger Park delivers outstanding panko-crumbed chicken burgers, a barra burger with green goddess tartare and an off-menu double cheeseburger only available by request.

Khanaa is the new experimental Bengali fine diner on Crown Street from the father-daughter duo behind Metisse. You’ll find singara pastries, fall-off-the-bone sticky beef ribs and shami kebabs – homely Bangladeshi dishes put through a contemporary lens and precisely plated.

• Now pouring: the team behind the award-winning gin house Ester Spirits has opened a cellar door in Marrickville. The space doubles as a working distillery, and there’s plenty of pizzazz: red neon lights, charred AP Bread topped with tomatoes, and beautifully considered cocktails.

Yappari Steak is the sizzling Regent Place eatery that arrived in Sydney direct from Okinawa, Japan. At this bright CBD spot, you can pick from three cuts of meat, choose your weight and then watch as it’s slapped on a super-hot stone to cook on your tabletop.

• After a taco-less month, Ricos Tacos has opened in its new spot: The Norfolk in Redfern. The pub has had an ’80s-inspired Mexican revamp to match Toby Wilson’s famed fare and slick late-night energy.

• The team behind Newtown’s Sydney Cebu Lechon has moved further west, opening Australia’s first karenderia in Blacktown. The casual diner will have marrow-rich clear beef soups, homemade caramelised pork sausage and Cebu-style lechon – with plenty of crackling.

Additional reporting by Lucy Brewer, Aimee Chanthadavong, Dan Cunningham, Jasmine Crittenden, Callum McDermott, Pilar Mitchell and Daniel Phu.