The Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Sydney

Updated 2 months ago


The line between fine dining and not fine dining used to be very clear. The former restaurants had tablecloths, suited staff and maybe even a dress code for diners. The latter was more relaxed. Things have been different for a while now, but the fine diner’s charged, special occasion atmosphere has stuck around and continues to differentiate it from wine bars, bistros and the like. And these spots do it better than anywhere else.

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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

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  • In the hands of Federico Zanellato, the fusion of Japanese and Italian cuisines makes so much sense, it’s a wonder why more people aren’t doing it. Settle in for an ambitious degustation with matched wines, and the serene views of Pyrmont Bay will keep you occupied between courses.

  • There’s nowhere else quite like chef-restaurateur Alessandro Pavoni’s waterside institution. While the trifecta of seafood, crisp Italian wines and house-made gelato mostly succeeds in capturing the essence of a coastal Italian diner, those Middle Harbour views from Ormeggio’s breezy dining room make for a quintessential Sydney experience.

  • Where a wood-fired oven is fed with produce sourced from Sydney and surrounds.

  • This elevated vantage of Bondi’s sloshing surf is one of Australia’s great views – one a less conscientious restaurateur might easily lean on. Not Maurice Terzini, who’s been pushing his resplendent Italian diner to greater and greater heights since 2002.

  • This restaurant surrounded by lush gardens is serving a contemporary Asian menu inspired by celebrity chef Luke Nguyen’s heritage.

  • A slow, intimate dinner of simple, local produce.

  • 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.

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

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

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

  • A wood-fired oven, an open-flame hearth and some of the country’s best produce and cocktail bar underneath.

  • Masquerading as a beach house, Pilu does Sardinian-inspired fare including pasta shapes unique to the Italian region. It’s a place of long lunches and refined dinners, with sea views that can’t be beaten on a cracking Sydney day.

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  • 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.

  • From its opulent, art deco interior to the theatrical service from floor staff, Rockpool remains one of Sydney’s premiere special occasion restaurants. It champions sustainable, grass-fed beef from Blackmore Wagyu and Cape Grim, on a menu abound with raw seafood, pasta and uncomplicated sides. The experience is enhanced by a wine list to rival any in the country.

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

  • The CBD has some of the best cocktail bars in the world, but there’s a surprising lack of venues with a focus on vino. Since moving from its original Potts Point location, Monopole, with its clever mix of snacking and thoughtful drinks list, has changed that.

  • A pioneering “fin-to-scale” eatery by Josh and Julie Niland. Behind the sleek marble counter, chefs deftly butcher sustainably caught fish and utilise every part of the animal across a menu of wildly inventive dishes. A meal here is thrilling, educational, and enhanced by an impressive selection of Australian wine and Japanese sake.

  • It’s named for the cloud-like apartment building it resides beneath, but this fine diner by chef Brent Savage and sommelier Nick Hildebrandt is concerned with all things below sea level. Come for elegant seafood dishes matched with a white-heavy wine list in a handsome harbour-side setting.

  • This underrated fine diner has been going strong since the 1950s. It sits on the edge of Cowan Creek, one of several waterways feeding directly into the Hawkesbury River near Mooney Mooney. Expect elegant waterside dining at its best, with beautifully-plated European dishes and a progressive wine list.

  • Reviving French splendour in an old-fashioned setting.

  • 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.

  • Whale Beach’s own elegant fine diner and hotel lives inside a wartime-era coach house. The menu has an Italian edge, with wild-caught fish and a couple pastas starring. If that's not enough to lure you in, the dining room has priceless ocean views to match the superlative food.

  • At his first solo restaurant, acclaimed chef Phil Wood explores and expands Australian cuisine with a produce-driven menu combining classic European cooking with local ingredients. There are nods to Aboriginal history, too, plus a fresh take on the classic peach Melba dessert.