10 William St
This tiny, vibrant, dimly lit Paddington bar has etched its place in many hearts for its chalked-up list of interesting Italian vinos, and those crunchy seeded pretzels dipped into whipped bottarga. Then there’s the more substantial plates, which currently include gnocchetti with funghi, cipollini (an Italian onion) and yolk. The kitchen was most recently taken over by Pinbone’s Mike Eggert and Jemma Whiteman, who were given free rein to create Italian food with an Asian twist. Now it’s welcoming chef Enrico Tomelleri. Doing time at kitchens in Verona, Tomelleri has cooked at 10 William St for nearly three years alongside Dan Pepperell, Luke Burgess and the Pinbone team, but will now lead the charge. The menu will remain true to the restaurant’s Italian swagger with a few subtle updates; think tagliatelle with slow-braised pork.

Reuben Hills
When Reuben Hills opened its doors in 2012 we welcomed it and its salted-caramel shake with open arms. Soon we were ordering (and pronouncing) baleada like Honduran locals. The more-to-the-point Really Fucking Great Fried Chicken delivered on its promise. Coffee aficionados will love Reuben Hills’s latest beans, spanning Huehuetenango, Guatemala to Welega, Ethiopia. Owners Russell Beard and Nathan Borg have relationships with producers from the region, and coffee is made with precision on their shiny new SP9: a single-serve brewer offering a complex and clear cup. A ginger-turmeric latte with house-made almond milk is a spicy winter-warmer, and the new Horchata Porridge, based on the Mexican street-drink of the same name, features milo, sultana syrup, apple bark, charred mandarin and sesame snaps.

Ester
Few people can work a wood-fired oven like Matt Lindsey; we’re convinced he could roast cardboard and it would still taste great. His restaurant, Ester, put Chippendale firmly on the Sydney food map, contributing to the suburb’s rise in the dining ranks. Lindsey’s whole roasted cauliflower with almond cream became popular long before the vegetable reached rock star status. This season, Lindsey is excited to work with free-range quail from Feather and Bone, which he’s baking whole in the wood-fired oven in a salt-and-ash crust, before plating up with shiitake mushrooms and smoked garlic cream. The crust’s lid only comes off when it hits the table, so you can imagine the smoky, garlicky scents that waft out.

Fratelli Fresh
Fratelli Fresh’s robust ragus, punchy appetisers, and of course, that banoffee pie, have been pleasing locals and celebrities (George Clooney, the late Philip Seymour-Hoffman and Cate Blanchett have all been spotted there) for more than a decade. Beginning at Waterloo before expanding to six different outposts, the eatery was recently acquired by the Urban Purveyor Group (which runs Sake and the Argyle Bar). Former owner Barry McDonald stayed on as a creative consultant, but new things are afoot at Walsh Bay and Potts Point. A weekend breakfast menu kicks off from July 2. While it’s yet to be firmed up, Fratelli taste-testers tell us homemade blueberry pancakes with lemon curd; bruschetta of poached eggs and hollandaise; and baked truffled eggs are all hot contenders. Winter hibernators, you can now order your Fratelli to go.

Cornersmith Cafe
When Alex Elliott-Howery and James Grant opened their neighbourhood cafe on a little street corner in Marrickville, a community of sustainably-minded locals was born almost overnight. While the 100 per cent produce driven menu – powered by small scale producers – is entirely of the moment, its produce-swapping system is based on age-old principles. With the Annandale outpost it hopes to foster the same community spirit on a new inner-west corner. Recent winter menu highlights include wattle seed roasted pears, sweet parsnip, smoked macadamia and rooftop honey on sourdough. Cornersmith has more pickling classes coming up too, including miso and tofu, and a kids pickling and preserving program for the school holidays.