Eating well in the centre of Sydney was once difficult. There was little middle-ground between typical food-court fare and expense-account steakhouses. But things have changed in recent years, thanks in part to Barangaroo’s burgeoning dining precinct, a financial district that’s upped its game, and an eruption of restaurants in place of late-night bars and clubs. Now, there’s plenty to choose from in the city centre.

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Cafe Sydney

A ritzy institution on the Customs House rooftop. The menu bounces between Indian and Italian flavours to create an altogether modern Australian vibe that spans surf, turf and vegan dishes. An appropriate focus on seafood works a treat, given the jaw-dropping views of Sydney Harbour. Book ahead for the window seats.

Customs House 31 Alfred Street, Sydney
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Ragazzi

There’s 250 bottles of mainly low-intervention wine from Italy and Australia, and a rotating menu of pasta that changes daily.

Shop 3 2-12 Angel Place, Sydney

Restaurant Hubert

Reviving French splendour in an old-fashioned setting.

15 Bligh Street, Sydney

Alberto’s Lounge

Come here for a playful, subtly Australian-inflected take on Italian cuisine.

17-19 Alberta Street, Sydney

Continental Deli, Bar and Bistro CBD

The follow up to Newtown's distinctive tinned cocktail bar offers all the same thrills: cold cuts, cheese, canned goods, fine wine and stiff drinks.

167 Phillip Street, Sydney
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Mr Wong

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.

3 Bridge Lane, Sydney

Forty Licks

A taste of Modern Vietnamese serving boozy coffee, crisp pancakes and rotisserie chicken.

24 York Street, Sydney

The Gidley

Descend the stairs into a labyrinthine den of lush velvet booths, flowing booze and a menu that champions Black Angus rib eye.

161 King Street, Sydney

Bistecca

Apart from sides, there's only one thing on this menu: T-bone steaks, sold by weight.

3 Dalley Street, Sydney

Quay

The standard-setter for fine dining in Sydney. Executive chef Peter Gilmore is tireless in his pursuit of what’s interesting, new and Australian. His backyard is peppered with test plantations of rare vegetables, he works with local ceramicists on custom crockery and he’s a leading advocate for native produce. The restaurant’s theatrical tasting menus show off all this and more, bolstered by some of the city’s best harbour views.

Overseas Passenger Terminal The Rocks, Sydney
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Bea

Matt Moran's fine-dining restaurant inside Barangaroo House.

Level 1 35 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo

Felix

A classic French brasserie experience from Merivale.

2 Ash Street, Sydney

Tetsuya’s

Sydney’s fine dining benchmark. Tetsuya’s alumni (Dan Hong and Luke Powell, to name a few) have gone on to shape the city’s culinary landscape. They earned their stripes here first, plating-up a famous menu that includes the signature confit of Tasmanian ocean trout – one of Australia’s most iconic dishes. It’s all set within a serene Japanese-style interior.

529 Kent Street, Sydney

Bennelong

Peter Gilmore has made the culinary vision that earned him accolades at Quay more approachable at the Opera House.

Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point
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Matteo Downtown

A cosmopolitan Italian diner with enough marble to sink a ship. It’s a spin-off of Matteo’s in Double Bay, and the pizza is just as good. This place has a few of its own moves though – notably, a mozzarella bar which receives a fresh batch of the good stuff each morning.

20 Bond Street, Sydney

Aria

This is the show-stopping star of Matt Moran’s culinary empire. The artfully-plated dishes warrant the lofty price-tags, but those generous harbour views do a lot to offset the sting. This is one of Sydney’s great try-before-you-die restaurants – a pillar of modern Australian dining.

1 Macquarie Street, East Circular Quay

Cirrus

Seafood in Barangaroo with views of the harbour.

10/23 Barangaroo Avenue, Sydney

Mercado

The restaurant in Angel Place has whole rotisserie beasts, homemade cheeses, an enviable wine list and charcuterie.

4 Ash Street, Sydney

Spiced by Billu’s

A less-spicy outpost for a Harris Park Indian favourite.

7/33 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo

Bopp and Tone

A solid lunchtime dining option in the CBD, with an alfresco plant-filled terrace and a whopping 900-kilogram wood grill.

60 Carrington Street, Sydney

Banksii Vermouth Bar & Bistro

Enjoy a dry Martini and mussels cooked in vermouth, while looking over the water.

33 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo

INDU

Southern Indian spices and village cuisine are at the centre of Sam Prince’s restaurant.

350 George Street, Sydney

Long Chim

Thai cuisine by David Thompson, the world’s most lauded Thai chef.

Corner of Pitt Street and Angel Place, Sydney

Rockpool Bar & Grill

A large experience in the best possible way.

66 Hunter Street, Sydney
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Bistro Papillon

A Parisian-style bistro in the heart of the city.

Clarence Street 98 Clarence Street, Sydney

Bentley Restaurant & Bar

In the heart of the CBD, Bentley offers dishes that reflect a reputation for innovation.

27 O'Connell Street, Sydney
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Spice Temple

Innovative Asian-Australian fusion in a romantic, underground restaurant. It’s also by Neil Perry – expect the dishes here to be stylish, vibrant and well-balanced.

10 Bligh Street, Sydney
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Haco

Keita Abe brings Japanese like you've never seen to Surry Hills with his tempura restaurant. Sit around the centrepiece wraparound counter and order from a constantly-shifting menu.

102/21 Alberta Street, Sydney

Nobu Sydney

This is the long-awaited Sydney outpost for the beloved Japanese dining empire, and it's brought its signature miso cod along for the ride. Dine on salmon-sashimi tacos and evaporate-in-your-mouth nigiri, knock back "sushi cups" and enjoy some aged sake.

Crown Sydney Level 1/2 Barangaroo Avenue, Sydney

Woodcut

This dazzling fine diner – from the duo behind legendary CBD restaurant The Bridge Room – was worth the wait. Each kitchen of the four kitchens here harness a different element: steam, fire, smoke and ice. From the seafood kitchen, you'll find piles of caviar and roe; and raw kingfish with lychee and grilled ginger. From the woodfire grill? There's swordfish and a 270-day-aged one-kilogram Black Market T-bone.

Level 1, Crown Sydney 1/1 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo

A'Mare

A’Mare is impressive. Owner Alessandro Pavoni wanted to emulate the theatre of a Michelin-starred meal, without the European stiffness – there's a roving gelato cart, pesto pounded tableside and a view over water so pretty that, if you squint, you might be fooled into thinking you're in Italy.

Crown Sydney, Level 1/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo
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