The pie takes on many forms in Australian culture. It's a football game staple, a midnight snack between bars, eating competition fodder and the source of an infinite number of burnt tongues.

Whether it comes from a bakery or a pub doesn't bother us too much, but there are a few "musts". A pie must be hot – almost too hot to eat straight away. The pastry must be flakey, the filling must be rich, and by damn that pastry should cover the whole pie. Stews with pastry roofs are just that. They're not pies.

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Best Bakeries in Sydney

Flour and Stone Annexe

Cafe

It’s one of Sydney’s best bakeries, so of course the pies are phenomenal. Whether you get one with a classic filling or go for something with more panache (the ratatouille and feta pie is an absolute must, if it’s on the menu) you’ll be very, very satisfied. And you can buy them frozen, so you can enjoy them at home.

43 Riley Street, Woolloomooloo

AP Bakery

Cafe

Every single baked creation at AP is ike buttery mana from heaven: it’s the thing you never knew you needed until it appeared on the cooling racks. The pies are just one example: smoked brisket for the carnivores and warrigal greens and ricotta for the rest; encased in flaky layers of pastry perfection.

Paramount House Rooftop 80 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills

Lode Pies and Pastries

Cafe

Acolytes of Lumi Dining may know, but Lode’s OG pie once featured on that restaurant’s degustation menu. Despite the name, it’s not a pie, but a pithivier: an incredibly difficult-to-make French version of a pie filled with pork and shiitake that took chef Federico Zanellato months to perfect. Also available are classic Wagyu and chicken numbers.

487 Crown Street, Surry Hills

Black Star Pastry Newtown

Shop

When Black Star first opened on Australia Street, it wasn’t just the watermelon cake that drew the crowds. It was the pies: available in rosemary, lamb and red wine or beef and beer. The shop has since moved around the corner, but the pies are just as good. These days you might also see a Japanese curry chicken pie on the menu.

Shop 1 325 King Street, Newtown

Berkelo Manly

Cafe

Past pie fillings at Berkelo have included organic beef; potato and miso; chicken, leek and mushroom; and pumpkin, lentil and harissa. There’s no real consistent cultural theme in the pies here, but if the bakers land on a flavour combination that tastes good, it’s likely to end up in a pie at some point. Flavours are also informed by the bakery’s organic vegetable garden in Terrey Hills.

18A Whistler Street, Manly

Infinity Bakery

Shop

These are pies you could stop a door with. Fillings such as spicy Mexican and butter chicken are the result of the bakery’s simple ethos: make sure they taste bloody good. More traditional flavours, such as beef and Guinness, have a surprisingly rich depth of flavour. Available at all three of Infinity Bakery’s locations.

Sonoma Bakery

Cafe

The staple at this bakery behemoth is a beef and beer pie that you’ll find at most of its locations across Sydney. Mushroom and country chicken are two other regular guest stars in the pie warmer.

Baked by Keiran

Cafe

This boulangerie’s moreish pies are almost as popular as the best-selling sourdough loaves, so that means a lunchtime pie will require some strategy. It’s worth ducking in for a pie here before noon – 11.45am should do the trick most days.

455 Marrickville Road, Dulwich Hill

The Grumpy Baker

Cafe

A Grumpy Baker pie is never far away; the bakery chain just keeps opening great new locations. Pie flavours are pretty consistent – and hew towards the classic – regardless of which outpost you end up visiting. We recommend going for Moroccan lamb or creamy mushroom.

Shop 6 767 Old South Head Road, Vaucluse

Tuga Pastries

Shop

Although it's best known for its phenomenal Portuguese tarts, this wildly popular Clovelly bakery also has some of the best pies going. They're on the pricier end of the pie spectrum, but trust us, the pies at Tuga are worth it. If you've got the room, be sure to add a Nutella doughnut to your order.

6/231 Clovelly Road, Clovelly

Rollers Bakehouse

Cafe

A short menu of croissants and pastries is occasionally joined by a whopping beef pie with an explosively flaky inch-high lid. Available from the counter until sold out.

19 Rialto Lane, Manly

Bourke Street Bakery

Cafe

Perhaps the best known – and loved – pies on this list. We love the brisket, red wine and mushroom number, but the vegan vegetable curry pie hits just as hard in the flavour department. Shout out to the sausage (and vegan) rolls, too.

633 Bourke Street, Surry Hills

Wholegreen Bakery

Shop

No coeliac should be deprived of a good pie. This gluten-free bakery makes one with grass-fed beef cooked with onions and tomato, encased in short-crust pastry.

257 Clarence Street, Sydney

Breadfern

Cafe

There’s something about Redfern. Good bakeries just like it there. You’re never too far from a sensational croissant, sourdough loaf or a ripper pie. Breadfern’s pies stand out in a crowded field, though. And best of all, there are plenty of gluten-free options to choose from.

308 Chalmers Street, Redfern

François Artisan Baker

Shop

While we still mourn Dinky Di Bakery and its legendary meat pies, Francois, its successor (with the same ownership) has kept the flame alive. Baker Francois Galand is a former part-owner of the chain Pie Face, and he’s taking that Big Pie experience and combining it with his fastidious commitment to high-quality produce and technique.

91 Bondi Road, Bondi

The Pie Tin Newtown

Shop

Ask anyone on King Street where to find the best pies on the strip and they’ll inevitably send you here. The fillings at the Pie Tin are wild – past ones include lentil and coconut curry, chicken boscaiola and a cheeseburger number – but there’s a lot of technique going on, too.

1a Brown Street, Newtown