A well-planned Sydney weekend can be a lot of things. Balmy nights in the city streets, hopping from sexy bar to fine diner. Burnt-orange sunrises over expanses of ocean, sandy wanderings, smoothies and slow arvos by the sea. Or suburban wine bars, rooftop bakeries, local brewery beer gardens and ferries across the harbour. We live in a slick city with a sun-licked glow – a place we’re very lucky to call home.

While we’re spoilt for choice, some of the best spots are (even just a little) hidden. Down side streets, in industrial areas, cosied up to car washes. These are the hard-to-find gems we’re loving right now.

Down an unassuming city alleyway is teeny Japanese joint Parami. The team dishes out plump paper-wrapped onigiri – kombu and ume or salted salmon – and vibrant just-whisked matcha (which is, just quietly, some of the best in the city). If you’re on a Euro bent, try Koket. The swish Swedish cafe, where golden, cream-stuffed cardamom buns join cinnamon-laced twists and salted pretzels, is out the back of a Paddington homewares store.

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If the sun’s out, make moves to Wylie’s Baths. Its blue-and-yellow-striped doorway is hidden along Coogee’s bushy coastal track. A sun-bleached deck surrounds the salty ocean pool, and staircases take you to the water’s edge. Plus, the canteen has $8 old-school salad rolls and standout coffee.

A steaming bowl of creamy tonkotsu and mandarin sake await at Darlinghurst’s tiny Chaco Ramen. Nearby Love, Tilly Devine pushes snacky fried olives and sardine sangas alongside natural Aussie drops from up-and-coming winemakers. For slurp-able dishes of cheung fun (rice noodle rolls) doused in Shenzhen-style soy, head to Taste of Canton, the diner hidden in a sliver of a space next to a car wash in Zetland.

While most people have a definitive list of faves in the Marrickville brewery scene, you’re in for guaranteed happy sipping at Wildflower, Kicks and Hawke’s (where yum cha trolleys roam monthly). Head to Ester Spirits, a working backstreet distillery with a snazzy bar and tight cocktail list heroing the award-winning spirits made in-house.

Less hole-in-the-wall and more bar-in-a-bar is La Prima. The candlelit 10-person mezcal bar is hidden behind a trick door in El Primo Sanchez, the party-ready Mexican joint on Oxford Street. Stop in, ask to enter the smoky den, and expect to feel like you’re in Oaxaca.

A version of this article first appeared in Domain Review, in partnership with Broadsheet.