Newtown is one of Sydney’s best-known cultural hotspots, tourist destinations and late-night districts.

For the area’s restaurants that means cheap, traditional meals unbothered by expensive fit-outs; bars serving fast food elevated by good produce; and exceptional vegan and vegetarian options. That and an up-and-coming movement of mid-range restaurants serving unpretentious but premium quality and innovative versions of dinner standards such as pizza, pasta and fried chicken.

The venues in this guide illustrate why Newtown is still one of the best suburbs in Sydney for dining, whether for a good value hunk of tandoori chicken and naan, or a seasonally inspired kangaroo tartar.

Konak Turkish Kitchen

Woodfired pide and Turkish breakfast spreads in Newtown

496 King Street, Newtown
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Continental Deli Bar and Bistro

A deli, bar and bistro – literally. One half of the venue, the downstairs section, has a bar that doubles as a deli counter serving both premium deli goods (jammed into Brickfields ciabatta or plated up next to luxury imports of tinned fish) and the best cocktails in the suburb, including the venue’s own range of tinned classics (the Mar-tinny is the classic). Upstairs it’s more French Bistro, with saucy meats, chip-flanked tartares and cheese-peppered salads.

210 Australia Street, Newtown
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Bella Brutta

Pizzas and vinos from the same team that’s behind Continental, with the addition of new teammate Luke Powell from LP’s Quality Meats. Expect pizzas topped with Powell’s mortadella, premium canned seafood (there’s an anchovy menu) and high quality versions of all the usuals. It’s loud inside, from both the tight table arrangements and the beats, but the restaurant design is beautiful.

135 King Street, Newtown
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Mary's Newtown

The reason you can find a classic American-style cheeseburger in every second cafe and bar in Sydney is Mary’s. Its innovation was to take the comfort-trash vibes from the big chains but package it with good-quality grass-fed beef in a grungy venue that blasted metal and served cheap beers next to progressive local wines. Nothing’s changed.

6 Mary Street, Newtown

Gigi's Pizzeria

When traditional Neapolitan pizzeria Gigi’s went completely plant-based in 2015 Newtown freaked out. Vegans celebrated and meat-eaters worried the best pizza in the inner west was ruined. Only one of those reactions lasted. Due to the creativity of chef and owner Marco Matino, no amount of savouriness or soul has been lost. The pizzeria is more popular than ever, so expect lines.

379 Kings Street, Newtown

Bloodwood

The first restaurant in Newtown to push the boundaries of what mid-range dining can be, and an early purveyor of the modern-Australian share-plate format. It also has an exceptional list of organic and biodynamic wines, and an industrial fit-out. It’s become a Sydney institution and remains one of Newtown’s best and most creative restaurants.

416 King Street, Newtown

Rising Sun Workshop

An all-day eatery with three separate culinary identities. In the mornings there are breakfasts inspired by Australia’s relationship with Asia. And for lunch a trio of non-traditional ramens, and two burgers. In the evenings expect a menu that cares little for tradition or convention and offers spaghetti ramenese, anchovy-spiced Caesar salads and vegan jerky. All

1c Whateley Street, Newtown
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Tandoori Hut

Ask most Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi taxi drivers who’ve worked in the inner west where they go for a late-night feed and you’ll hear the same answer: Tandoori Hut. Many Newtown locals know it for its good value tandoori, butter chicken and other Indian diner standards, but that’s not what some regulars order; they ask for the special menu, a list of traditional Pakistani options scrawled on the back of a receipt.

93 Enmore Raod, Enmore

Flying Tong

Korean fried kitchen, but modern. Still as a saucy and spicy as you want but with optional side serves of bulgogi fries, gochujang-chicken tacos and cheesy corn, the latter of which is exactly what it sounds like. Beers, the most classic Korean fried chicken companion, come in cans from Korea or local Sydney breweries.

99 Enmore Rd, Newtown

Cairo Takeaway

One of the only restaurants in Sydney making fresh falafels (taameyya in Egypt) for every order. Egyptian style is to have them as green as a Granny Smith skin, crumbly and moist as a hunk of roast eggplant. Get them stuffed into a pita pocket with tahini and pickles if you’re on the move. If you’re sitting down get a plate of them, or some charcoal-grilled chicken skewers, with bronzed cauliflower and a hibiscus tea.

81 Enmore Rd, Enmore

Hartsyard

This bistro has a focus on seasonality, fresh produce and Australian seafood. Look for chef Jarrod Walsh's kangaroo tartare and sake-buttered calamari. It's paired with a slick fit-out complete with potted plants and the bare hanging globes.

33 Enmore Road, Newtown
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Belly Bao

If Mary’s invented Sydney’s good-trash-food movement, Belly Bao took it to another level. The bao-bun burgers are completely unique in Sydney and maybe the world, as are the spicy bao-noodles and the deep-fried Golden Gaytime-inspired dessert bao. It sounds gimmicky, and maybe it is, but labelling it that betrays how good it is. It’s also vegetarian and vegan friendly (there are eggplant bao burgers, tofu bao and noodle options), and it sports a fun pan Asian-inspired bar menu.

184 King Street, Newtown

La Favola

Expect to wait for a seat on weekends at La Favola. But when you get in there are $22 to $26 choose-your-own house-made pastas and fresh focaccia by a chef who used to work in Fico and fine-dining kitchens in Europe.

170 King Street, Newtown
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Rosso Antico

Purely and zealously Neapolitan. Blistered, thick, bready crusts; thin, sloppy bases covered in San Marzano tomatoes; and only the ingredients you’d find on a pizza in Naples itself. It also serves a cracking pasta, and recipes come from the owner’s mum. Despite the big austere space it can be burdened by longer wait times during busy days.

2/52 - 60 Enmore Road, Newtown