The Best Restaurants in Surry Hills

Updated 1 month ago


In terms of quality and variety, Surry Hills continues to be one of the most vital areas in Sydney’s dining scene. Feel like Japanese or Middle Eastern? High-end or casual? Whether you’re sticking to Crown Street or hunting for a neighbourhood gem, there’s something good cooking at every turn. Here are our favourite spots.

  • High-quality produce cooked over a naked flame, with no sauces to hide behind.

  • Helmed by genre-bending Sydney chef Mitch Orr, the Ace Hotel’s eighteenth-floor diner is all about native ingredients, fire-based cooking and flavours from across the globe. The space exudes the Ace’s signature cool, with a view that’s primed for the adventurous wine list by P&V’s Mike Bennie.

  • After a fire, a pop-up and a Covid-19 shutdown, Nomad has returned to its original Foster Street home. Enter for inventive charcuterie, charcoal-fired mains and a wine list highlighting Australian producers great and small.

  • Charcoal-roasted meats and sides, paired with a choice of 300 wines.

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  • An ironbark-fuelled hearth works magic at this buzzing, subterranean wine bar and restaurant from the same crew behind Ester. Expect a long wine list of both classics and genre-busting naturals, plus an innovative, ever-changing snack menu focused on woodfire flavours and eating with your hands.

  • The Porteño group’s Holt Street eatery pays tribute to the group’s seminal venue Bodega (which used to be right around the corner) of the early noughties, combined with a ’60s-era Italian trattoria. Pull up at one of the mint terrazzo tables for vibrant antipasti, seasonal house-made pastas and a knockout drinks list.

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  • A garage-style trattoria where you can disappear into prawn ravioli bathing in brown butter and sage sauce, a list of mainly Italian vino, and a lively soundtrack spanning Afrobeat and Italian pop. From the rock star trio behind Potts Point neo-bistro, Bistro 916.

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  • An ambitious yet down-to-earth set-menu restaurant from former Farmhouse and Dead Ringer chef Tristan Rosier.

  • A sexy wine bar and restaurant from the team behind Nomad. Enter via the back lane, take a seat on a caramel leather banquette, and order some of the best gamay Beaujolais has to offer, with lobster thermidor on baked tomato-saffron rice to match.

  • This sleek, casual eatery by Nomad is dedicated to Lebanese manoush. Find a seat in the sunshine and linger over a hand-stretched, baked-to-order manoush, lathered in za’atar and olive oil. Plus, Champagne, wines on tap and Lebanese Fanta.

  • A handsome brasserie-style spin-off by the team from Arthur Restaurant. It’s primed for casual afterwork drinks and snacks with a sharing menu focused on zero-waste.

  • Noisy, spicy and lots of fun, just like the original in Melbourne.

  • Seafood towers, scampi spaghetti and five types of steak frites are just some of the highlights at this stylish brasserie from the Franca team. Slide into a red leather banquette and admire the capacious dining room – or perhaps that perfect spiral of lemon peel floating in your Martini.

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  • Bodega has joined up with Wyno, together the venue is now known as Wyno x Bodega. There’s a bigger focus on vino, a smaller menu and fan favourites, the fish fingers and banana spilt, are still available.

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  • This Surry Hills pub got a shake-up in 2020 – but it’s still one of Sydney’s best all-in-one wine bars, restaurants and boozers.

  • Nikkei is a Peruvian cuisine that combines Japanese techniques with South American flavours. That’s exactly what you get at this slick restaurant and bar by the Tokyo Bird crew, where the cocktails are just as vibrant as the food.

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  • Contrasting colours and layered textures –Sáng pushes the boundaries of Korean cooking.

  • The list of Japanese spirits at Fujiyama would put most izakayas under the table – but the food is not an afterthought. Hot, cold and raw dishes are elegant spins on Japanese pub classics, and the best place to try them is at the centrepiece bar.

  • A sharp restaurant and bar from the team at Bulletin Place. Naturally, it serves great cocktails.

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  • Forget everything you know about Lebanese food.

  • Good times are guaranteed at this fun izakaya. Studio Ghibli films are projected on the wall, the staff are cool, and the bites are booze-friendly. Sit at the bar with a whisky highball and some chicken-thigh skewers for the win.

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  • Line up for luxurious, velvety ramen made with the help of science.

  • Settle into the handsome dining room to tackle the 180-bottle-strong wine list, or grab some takeaway slushies from the old coffee window. Plus, there's excellent house-made pasta.

  • At every turn, chef Dylan Cashman’s smart 20-seater is guided by provenance and zero waste. Whole beasts are used from nose to tail; fresh produce comes from the garden out back; and local winemakers are placed front and centre. Ask for the “secret” drinks menu – it’s got super rare French drops and cocktail specials.

  • This Mexican diner's menu is entirely plant-based, and it's all the better for it. If you're a veg-lover and a fan of Mexican flavours, this is the spot for you. When your tortilla's loaded with pastor-style mushrooms, pico de gallo and pineapple; you won't even notice the meat's gone.

  • The super-popular “inauthentic Indian” restaurant from Melbourne and NYC serves up butter chicken without the butter.

  • Vacanza embodies the Italian “less is more” approach to pizza. There’s a neat list of pies, a calzone for good measure, plus a dedicated mozzarella bar brimming with imported Italian cheeses. Need we say more?

  • The pizza bases here are proved for four days so they’re light and easy to digest, then topped with only a couple of ingredients, including buffalo mozzarella imported from Italy.

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  • A colourful vegan-friendly pasta and spritz bar.

  • Top contender for Sydney’s smallest restaurant, Raita Noda is an eight-seater Japanese kitchen in Surry Hills.

  • Sneakers and champers to go with your fried chicken.

  • Pass between two heritage buildings to reach this dramatic space with a 10-metre-tall glass ceiling. Inspired by the marketplaces of the Middle East, it’s a romantic spot to enjoy shawarma, velvety burrata and pita pockets.

  • Too Korean to be called modern Australian, but not traditional enough to be called classic Korean.

  • Another winner from Bill Granger, the man who revolutionised Sydney's cafe scene.

  • Ask anyone about the best spots for a drink in Surry Hills, and Forrester’s would have to be in the conversation. This 100-year-old pub is split into multiple distinct spaces – do afternoon pints in The Public Bar, a bottomless rosé lunch in the dining room, or trivia in the light-filled functions space upstairs.

  • A renowned izakaya from Tokyo serving Hakata-style skewers grilled over charcoal. The best seats in the house are wrapped around the open kitchen, where you can watch the chefs prepare and serve the house specialty with military precision.

  • The sister venue to Lennox Hastie’s Firedoor is a celebration of the vibrant pintxos bars of northern Spain. The menu offers Australian ingredients with Basque-inspired touches, a taste of Spain via imported jamon iberico, and a drinks list that’ll change the way you feel about sherry.

  • Merivale’s good-times Mexican joint is home to the tacos secreto, where the filling is a surprise until it hits your table. Secreto or not, every taco here is wallet-friendly. But we recommend the DIY platters – they’ll give you even bigger bang for your buck.

  • Authentic Neapolitan pizza on Crown Street.

  • Authentic Vietnamese street food and a long list of Asian beers make this mini-chain a winner.

  • Authentic Neapolitan street food in a bright, modern setting.

  • A colourful restaurant showing India’s whimsical side.

  • Not every pizzeria can say it has an Italian flour technician at the pass. And the proof is well and truly in the dough here (there’s more than one kind depending on what you order). But it’s the genre-bending toppings that truly stand out: past pizzas on the menu have been loaded with anything from pureed pea to smoked turkey.

  • A pasta retailer turned restaurant.

  • A cosy, izakaya-style Japanese bar diner with a downtown vibe.

  • Dumpling dinner with a happy ending.

  • The family behind The Fold is taking on Surry Hills with this Sri Lankan wine bar and diner. Get a front-row seat at the hopper bar, and share fragrant curries featuring native Australian ingredients.

  • Japanese with a side of jazz? Hit this smooth diner, where legit musos play most nights of the week. Jazzed up ramens and Japanese favourites have been served here for more than 20 years.

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