No matter which side of the bridge you live on, you likely have a reason for not crossing to the other side. The journey across the harbour can seem like a monumental effort – but it’s a trip that should be encouraged, especially for city-side residents.

Here we have a fresh trio of new – and very different – openings on the north side of the Harbour Bridge, all worthy of a visit.

Poetica Bar & Grill, North Sydney
Fire powers the menu at Poetica, the breezy 120-seat restaurant and adjoining 60-seat bar from the team behind Loulou and The Charles Grand Brasserie. A custom hearth takes pride of place in the kitchen, casting intermittent bursts of warmth across diners’ faces.

This year, gift them a dinner to remember with a Broadsheet Gift Card.


Touched by the flames are flambadou oysters, braised leeks and catch from Smoketrap Eels, a roast chook seasoned with mussels, and a standout line-up of premium cuts that have been dry-aged on-site. The sweet highlight? A mandarin granita that tastes like a summer’s day Splice: icy citrus, brûlée cream laced with mandarin oil, crispy ginger atop.

When Sydney Metro’s Barangaroo Station is up and running – expected in 2024, and promising a three-minute trip between Barangaroo and North Sydney – venues like Poetica are going to reap the benefits.

Sammy’s, Careel Bay
This hole-in-the-wall cafe is perched on the water in Avalon’s Careel Bay. Family run and community focused, Sammy’s wins in its considered simplicity and spectacular view.

It’s run by Sammy Bizarro, a lifelong hospo player who’s worked with both Josh Niland and The Boathouse Group. The menu is succinct, with four jaffles – bacon and egg, ham and cheese, tuna, and one with bolognaise by Bizarro’s wife, Lauren – bagels, and avocado toast.

There’s Single O and cold-pressed juices on pour, and takeaway picnic baskets on the way. Already locally adored, it’s a daytrip worth the drive.

Tijuana’s, Manly
Just off The Corso in Manly, between the beach and the wharf, you’ll find a restaurant that’s deftly melding Mexican and Peruvian classics – in a buzzy whitewashed space with the air of a beachside hotel in Playa del Carmen.

Tijuana’s has a fresh, bright menu stacked with snacky plates like tuna tostadas, ceviche and elotes (the quintessentially Mexican grilled corn street bite), plus a four-strong taco section that triumphs with a birria taco complete with beefy consommé for dipping.

The 76-seat space has textured white walls and reed-thatched ceilings, while creamy upholstery, soft lighting and a conga line of cacti along one wall cements the holiday vibe.