The Best Restaurants in Surry Hills

Updated 1 week ago

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Surry Hills is home to one of Sydney’s most vital dining scenes. Japanese or Middle Eastern? High-end or casual? Whether you’re sticking to Crown Street or hunting for a backstreet gem, there’s something good cooking on every corner of this versatile suburb. These are our favourite spots.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bar Copains is one of the best places in Sydney to drink wine at. At this romantic corner bar, two of the country’s best chefs are sharing "unicorns" from their own personal cellars, and elegant snacks to try them with.

  • Enter this iconic Sydney restaurant for Med-inspired dishes spanning inventive charcuterie and charcoal-fired plates. Plus, a wine list highlighting Australian producers great and small.

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

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

  • 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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  • Partway between a Tuscan wine bar and an American speakeasy, this Italian stallion is all about the Negroni. It serves around 30 versions of the classic drink, and Italian liqueurs so rare they're even hard to find in Italy. The menu spans classic aperitivo snacks and pastas.

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

  • 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 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.

  • 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. Follow the pink-neon bunny to GoGo bar for cocktails, then head to the buzzy dining room proper for Chin Chin classics like kingfish sashimi with lime and coconut, and wok-fired rice noodles with Wagyu.

  • 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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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • A Thai Town fixture since 2004. This slamming, unpretentious little BYO joint has all the classics you know. There’s also a strong Thai following to rival the corporates and students dropping in for an affordable lunch and dinner.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • Sneakers and champers to go with your fried chicken.

  • A colourful vegan-friendly pasta and spritz bar.

  • At this bright community kitchen, ingredients rescued by Ozharvest are transformed into gourmet lunches for those experiencing food insecurity. It’s an Australian-first collaboration between acclaimed Italian chef Massimo Bottura and Ozharvest founder Ronni Kahn.

  • The grungy trattorias of Rome are the inspiration behind this cool, graffitied Italian joint. Along with classic carbonara and cacio e pepe pastas, it's serving true Roman-style pizza from a huge woodfired oven and natural vino courtesy of Giorgio De Maria Fun Wines. A soundtrack of Roman-Italian beats ties it all together.

  • 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.

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

  • 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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  • 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.

  • Authentic Neapolitan pizza on Crown Street.

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

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Inspired by Tuscany’s dining scene, this female-led diner is all about fresh pasta (including a squid-ink fettucine with crab), al fresco dining and flamboyant weekly specials.

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  • An ex-Bentley chef is serving a set menu dedicated to snacks at his cosy pan-Asian diner. We loved the quail katsu, styled after Hot Star’s Taiwanese fried chicken.