The Best Chinese Restaurants in Sydney

Updated 2 weeks ago


Chinese cuisine is as diverse as its many ethnic groups, languages and environments. Every province has its own traditions – and sometimes the dishes are so niche, they’re only found in one district of one particular city.

Historically, most of Sydney’s Chinese restaurants were dominated by one of those traditions – Cantonese food – because most Chinese immigrants came from Hong Kong and nearby Cantonese-speaking areas. Now, it’s a completely different story. All over Sydney you can find the wheat-heavy traditions of west China, the spice of Hunan, and the sour and numbing sensations of Sichuan.

At the same time, a new generation of modern Chinese restaurants has emerged, some mixing progressive wine lists and fine-dining service with traditional Chinese flavours, others exploring what Chinese food means in an Australian context.

This guide provides a mix of all of these places: from high-end concepts and fresh-from-the-tank seafood restaurants to $15 noodle haunts and family-run spots serving dishes you can’t find anywhere else in Sydney.

  • The upmarket sequel to legendary Sydney Cantonese restaurant Golden Century. It’s named after its now-closed sibling’s most famous dish, the XO pippies, which you can absolutely order here. Plus, Cantonese-style roasted meats, live seafood and outstanding wines from the tome-like list. There’s also a daily yum cha service from midday.

  • Moody jazz, heavy wooden beams and a bank of barbeque ducks in the old Tank nightclub space. A modern Shanghai-style dumpling den from Dan Hong and Merivale.

  • One of the few places in the centre of town where you can try Nanjing specialties. If you’re into duck, this is the spot for you.

  • Roast goose, “fried milk”, and fish dumplings – this is a rare opportunity to try a niche cuisine from south-east China.

  • One of Sydney’s yum cha kings. This slamming Cantonese favourite can be a tad expensive if you're dining with a smaller group – but the premium is warranted. The quality of food, speed of service and deep history is undeniable.

  • A lone, late-night Cantonese star among Ashfield’s strip of Shanghai dumpling dealers. Some say it goes head-to-head with Golden Century on quality and price.

  • An institution among Laksa addicts. Today the name has two locations under its banner, but the original, now-closed Hunter Street shop was ladling bowls of piping hot laksa all the way back in 1987 – long before most of the CBD’s other Asian restaurants joined the party.

  • Innovative Chinese-Australian fusion in a low-lit underground restaurant. More than a decade on, it remains one of the best places in Sydney to try the lesser-seen cuisines of China's Yunnan, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces. While Sichuan food is king here, the entire menu is stylish, vibrant and well-balanced.

  • Bow down to the dumpling masters. Or just watch them through the glass, hand-crafting those world-class xiao long bao in the kitchen.

  • A wildly popular Chinese chain in the middle of the CBD, repping the spicy flavours of Sichuan. The tome of a menu here is telling of the huge portions you get here.

  • Merivale’s waterside Cantonese joint, complete with live seafood tank, oyster bar and dim sum. The views across the water make for an ideal setting year-round.

  • Fresh handmade dumplings and cocktails.

  • Exceptional dim sum with glistening, seafood-stuffed dumplings and saucy pork ribs. Completed by a homely RSL vibe, this is the yum cha king of the south-west.

  • Sleek and informal Asian dining at the Cowper Street Wharf. The menu is a knock-out homage to the best of Chinese and south-east Asian cuisines. Try tenured dishes such as tea-smoked duck with tamarind and plum, or the pork belly with chilli caramel and *nam pla phrik* (sweet-and-sour sauce). White tablecloths and city skylines included.

  • Fresh-out-of-the tank seafood banquets and stellar crispy-skin pigeon. This is Cantonese food at its best, alive and well in Beverly Hills.

  • A swish and enormous restaurant with an exceptional yum cha service. It’s a contender for best yum cha in the CBD, but it's also one of the newest in the pack.

  • In the old Golden Century site, this 400-seat Cantonese diner is ushering in a new era for Chinatown. The seafood tanks are full, the yum cha trolleys are back in action and late-night dining runs until 3am.

  • Huge bowls of handmade thick-cut noodles for a little over $12. There’s also several pages-worth of dishes you’d typically find in China’s Shaanxi Province.

  • Inspired by Chinatown neighbourhoods around the world, this sumptuous diner offers a “secret deep-fried ice-cream”, vintage Chinese teas, wines you can’t find anywhere else in Sydney, and baijiu by the glass.

  • Start with silky wontons, move onto a chilli-laced fish soup and finish with glutinous rice cakes coated in brown sugar. This is one of Haymarket’s must-try Sichuan spots.

  • Crazy amounts of lobster, mud crabs, whole fish and platters of pippies weigh down the tables here. Seasonal Cantonese specialties are available too, but believe us – it’s all about the seafood banquet.

  • A hoemy diner that offers a rare chance to try genuine Uyghur cuisine. The menu blends traditions from both Central Asia to the west and Chinese cuisines from the east.

  • The flagship location of a string of restaurants specialising in cuisine from north-east China. Tackle a hotpot or go for a platter of smoked pork with Chinese corn bread.

  • A cornerstone of south-west Sydney’s Cantonese-speaking community. Its suited-up service and low-key decor have remained unchanged since 1980. And you can expect the same consistency from the extensive menu. Equally primed for one-person lunch or a banquet for many.

  • A taste of China’s best, inside a shopping centre. Believe it.

  • A little-known spot with some of the best Peking duck around. Here, they carve the duck at your table and – for a bit of extra cash – will batter and fry the last morsels of meat for you once you’re done eating.

  • A Chinese-Macanese hotpot restaurant aiming to elevate the steamboat experience. You can find this opulent eatery in Haymarket’s 1909 dining precinct.

  • Fiery dried chillies, mouth-numbing peppercorns and searingly hot oils are standard at this Haymarket restaurant. The offering is as extensive as it is spicy.

  • A high-end restaurant chain serving Peking duck and north-eastern Chinese specialties you can’t find elsewhere. The lavish dining room alone is the worth the visit.

  • It’s all in the name at this Dixon House eatery. Crisp, bronze Peking Duck hangs in the kitchen window, which you can try san choy bao-style or on pancakes.