The Best Seafood Restaurants in Sydney

Updated 4 days ago

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It’s no surprise that our harbour city does seafood incredibly well. A world-class fish market means we’re spoilt for choice with Med-inspired diners, elevated fish’n’chippers, and a booming omakase scene that’s wholly deserving of its own list. It's also partly why Sydney has the distinction of being home to Saint Peter, arguably the most important seafood restaurant in the world.

Since we aren’t exactly lacking in the seafood department, angling for a platter of ruby-red prawns or a fillet of sustainably-caught fish can be a daunting prospect. Here, we’ve reeled in the best to make those decisions a little easier.

  • 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.

  • “Fin-to-scale” cooking is the mission at this seafood restaurant from Josh and Julie Niland of Saint Peter fame. Josh’s creativity is in full swing by way of saltbush empanadas, green curry with line-caught hapuka and chateaubriand made with yellowfin tuna in place of beef.

  • 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.

  • The Hartsyard team have turned the old Automata space into a coastal-inspired diner, where it’s all about the repeat visit. Your first visit might involve à la carte hits like sand whiting bathed in XO pipi butter. The next? An experimental 10-course snack flight.

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  • 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.

  • The best of New York inspires the Pellegrino 2000 crew's handsome CBD seafood grill and steakhouse. As ever, it’s all about irreverently executed classics: steak tartare with an unexpected twist; macaroni alla vodka that tastes like the best pasta bake you’ll ever eat; and cocktails that cross New York classics with the “daggy drinks” of the ’80s.

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  • This Sydney fine dining seafood institution has revitalised the tarnished reputation of the seafood platter and is cooking the best the ocean has to offer over a wood fire.

  • This moody double-decker spot has long been one of the best places to drink cocktails in Surry Hills. But it’s also one of the best places to dine – with a refined bistro menu spanning European classics and a cult Sydney burger.

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  • Caviar bumps, vintage booze and josper-grilled seafood – this refined eatery on Coogee Pavilion's middle level might just be Merivale’s magnum opus. A focus on premium Australian produce speaks to the beachside location, but the curvaceous, pastel-hued dining room recalls old-world European elegance.

  • Enjoy artful, seafood-forward plates at this sophisticated diner at the heritage Pier One wharf. Inside it's all about sleek dark timbers – but it's the outdoor experience that truly shines. A table by Walsh Bay water is the ideal setting for a long lunch or elegant dinner.

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  • Another addition to Sydney’s oeuvre of fancy fish’n’chippers. This one is by two former Bennelong chefs, and they’ve split the business in half: a takeaway counter on one side doing upmarket renditions of fish shop classics, and a cosy restaurant on the other with an expanded dine-in menu and Grifter beer on tap. It's also a lure for some of the city's best chefs.

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  • The sister restaurant to Golden Century, and named after that institutional restaurant’s most famous dish. It’s also one of the best places in the city to eat Cantonese-style seafood, served in a super-contemporary space in the Darling Square dining precinct.

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

  • There’s something about the fish’n’chip format that top chefs love. Matt Moran’s North Bondi Fish – located under the North Bondi RSL – is one of many examples on this list. But none other enjoys a spectacular ocean view quite like this. It’s the perfect complement to Moran’s tight, seafood-focussed menu.

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  • An elevated fish'n'chipper from the team behind Fishbowl. Pull up a chair in the light-filled dining room for Mediterranean-inspired bar snacks, or settle on a picnic rug in the neighbouring park with takeaway boxes.

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  • Alpine salmon “pastrami” served with rye bread and house pickles. Salt-and-pepper calamari with chorizo powder and wasabi mayo. Seafood with style is what love.fish in Barangaroo does best. It’s worth a visit just to see what they can do with the humble fish ’n’ chips.

  • This heritage corner site has lived many lives – but its most recent one is arguably its best. Come for freshly shucked oysters from the cabinet, premium Australian steaks and a focus on local and French wine varieties.

  • Crustacean and fish fans will tell you that there’s nothing on God’s Earth quite like a fish market in the morning. If you want to take that to the next level, book a behind-the-scenes tour of Sydney’s Fish Markets, where you’ll get to experience everything the seafood Mecca has to offer, including its infamous auction floor. Make sure to book this one in advance.