For a certain kind of person, the best part about birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations is the excuse to splurge at a top-tier restaurant. Even if that's not you, nearly everyone can appreciate the experience of settling around a table to enjoy the company of friends and family for several hours while all your whims are catered for.

These spots do it better than anyone else. In short: you bring the occasion and leave it to the staff to supply the special.

The Gardens By Lotus

Visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship for artisan tea and food by an acclaimed Singaporean-Chinese chef. And the most beautiful place in Sydney to eat dumplings.

Chinese Garden of Friendship Pier Street, Darling Harbour
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Peter Gilmore's world-renowned restaurant treads the line between art, high gastronomy, science and downright deliciousness.

Overseas Passenger Terminal The Rocks, Sydney
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Australiana on a plate, with no hint of kitsch. We'd expect nothing less from Peter Gilmore.

Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point
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LuMi Bar & Dining

Sublime Japanese-Italian courses and a beautiful view. Special indeed.

56 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont


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

Level 1 35 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo

Ormeggio at the Spit

In 2020, this waterside Sydney favourite changed its menu to focus exclusively on seafood. And it's all the better for it. The views out over Middle Harbour, combined with the fantastic seafood, make this one of Sydney's best – and most serene – dining experiences.

D'Albora Marinas The Spit Spit Road, Mosman

Ester Restaurant & Bar

It's much more lively and relaxed than most places on this list, but it has the food and service to hit that special occasion vibe.

46-52 Meagher Street, Chippendale

Icebergs Dining Room and Bar

A Sydney classic, thanks to its sweeping views of Bondi and sharp Italian menu.

Restaurant 1 Notts Ave, Bondi
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Botanic House

This restaurant surrounded by lush gardens is serving a modern-Asian menu inspired by Luke Nguyen’s heritage.

Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney


Book the private dining room, which seats up to 10 and gives you a view of the chefs preparing creative, hyper-local dishes.

83 Percival Road, Stanmore


Stunning food beside a zen-like Japanese garden.

529 Kent Street, Sydney


It’s been attracting the glitterati since 1994, including Beyonce and Jay-Z, Madeline Albright and Bono.

Lyne Park, Rose Bay


Caviar, champagne, tanks of live lobsters – there’s a certain swagger to this high-end restaurant in a relaxed waterside locale.

The Newport 2 Kalinya Street, Newport


This barbeque restaurant is a world away from fussily presented degustations and white tablecloths. Which is what makes it so special – there's nothing else like it in Sydney.

23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills
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A wood-fired oven, an open-flame hearth and some of the country’s best produce and cocktail bar underneath.

380 Oxford Street, Paddington

Momofuku Seiobo

You'll be eating a full degustation, but that's the only certainty at this dynamic, surprising restaurant.

The Star, Level G 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont


Clayton Wells's fun, energetic and unpredictable take on fine dining.

5 Kensington Street, Chippendale

Pilu at Freshwater

Beautiful Sardinian food by the ocean.

Moore Road, Freshwater
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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

Rockpool Bar & Grill

Approachable fine dining that won't scare off fussy eaters.

66 Hunter Street, Sydney
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Vegetables and seafood dominate the menu at this refined but down-to-earth spot.

33 Enmore Road, Newtown
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Bentley Restaurant & Bar

A tasting menu and 1000 wines to go with it. Yep.

27 O'Connell Street, Sydney
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Another spot where the wine list is as big an attraction as the food.

16-20 Curtin Place, Sydney

Saint Peter

No one else in Sydney does seafood like this.

362 Oxford Street, Paddington


... except maybe this restaurant, another winner from the team behind Bentley and Monopole.

10/23 Barangaroo Avenue, Sydney

Cottage Point Inn

Drive for an hour to dine beside a bird-filled national park.

2 Anderson Place, Cottage Point
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Restaurant Hubert

Celebrate with French classics at this hidden underground parlour.

15 Bligh Street, Sydney


For the sweet tooth in your life. The desserts here are killer.

1 Macquarie Street, East Circular Quay


Enjoy a celebratory dinner, then stay the night.

69 Bynya Road, Whale Beach