A long lunch is underrated. There’s no better feeling than spending a few hours in a restaurant during the day and walking out, spritzed and satiated, into the blinding light outside. From must-do steak restaurants to 150-year-old pubs and coastal fine diners, here are five places we’re taking our mates for a leisurely lunch this summer.

Neil Perry may have “retired” last year and stepped away from his most notable restaurant, but the must-do Sydney food experience hasn’t lost its magic. It might be a hospitality industry trope, but Rockpool truly uses the best and freshest produce you can get in Australia. Simple cooking techniques leave the ingredients to shine. Step inside the grandeur of the marble dining room and treat yourself to beef dry-aged in house and sourced directly from Australia's best producers, as well as lobster with herb butter – the creaminess of which pairs well with the slightly fizzed tartness of an Aperol spritz. You don’t go to Rockpool for a light lunch.

Six years in the making, Mimi’s is an ambitious project from Merivale’s Justin Hemmes that opened in early 2020. It’s an extravagant fine diner on the middle level of Coogee Pavilion, which includes a grand restaurant alongside a cocktail bar (Will’s) and tapas bar (Una Mas). The dining room is stunning during the day, with huge arched windows that look out on Coogee’s sparkling seas. Executive chef Jordan Toft blends Australia and the Mediterranean in a lavish menu featuring lobster, salt-baked mud crab and Australia’s best caviar. Obviously it’s easy to drop some serious cash here. You’ve been warned.

Broadsheet Access members get special tables at busy restaurants, tickets to exclusive events and discounts on food, coffee, brand offers and more.

Find out more

The Old Fitzroy
There’s nothing better than a really, really good chef who just likes to cook pub grub. Anna Ugarte-Carral (who won the prestigious Josephine Pignolet young chef award in 2020) is doing just that at the Old Fitzroy: a 150-year-old venue in Woolloomooloo which is a pub, brasserie and theatre all in one. The historic venue was revamped by the team behind the Oxford Tavern and the Duke of Enmore earlier this year, but the welcoming pub touches remain intact: red carpets, exposed brick walls, antique chandeliers and fireplaces. On the bistro-like menu there’s bavette steak with herb butter and frites, and a 500g pork chop with crackling and champagne sauerkraut. After a long lunch, sidle out of the dining room and into the bar, where you might also accidentally while away the afternoon.

If you’ve ever wondered about that fancy-looking dining room above the beer garden at the Newport, it’s Bert’s. Another Merivale number from Justin Hemmes and executive chef Jordan Toft, Bert’s is like a grand London hotel from the 1930s (complete with a champagne bar) if it was plopped in front of Pittwater foreshore. It’s cosy but coastal, from large plush banquette seats lined with pastel-coloured velvet, to big windows with views of the water beyond. Like Mimi’s, the food is as extravagant as it gets: live lobster hand-picked from the tank, whole fish grilled over charcoal, and $215 caviar.

The Dolphin Hotel
Nothing says “boozy Friday lunch” like the Dolphin. Office workers regularly pack out this pumping, multi-level Surry Hills pub, but the dining room is less rowdy and the perfect place to stay a few hours. It’s casual but polished, with light interiors, high vaulted ceilings and grungy art from Beni Single adorning the walls alongside an open kitchen and pizza oven. The food is Italian with a twist of Australian: wood-fired pizzas with proper parmesan, juicy cheeseburgers, and snacky small plates of octopus and calamari.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Aperol. With 100,000 Aperol Spritzes up for grabs this summer to help celebrate being together again, find out how to claim yours.