Just a stone’s throw from Sydney’s CBD, certain inner-city suburbs are known for their epicurean excellence. Follow your stomach to these four gateways of gastronomy and experience some of the best restaurants in Sydney. To help you with your dinner plans, we’ve highlighted one must-dine restaurant in four popular neighbourhoods: Chippendale, Surry Hills, Paddington, and Potts Point.
Chippendale’s delicious degustation
Chippendale is a foodies’ playground. Its emerging dining scene means there is an abundance of popular restaurants to try, but there’s only one on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list: Automata on buzzing Kensington Street. An open-plan kitchen and the non-stop firing of plates means you’re guaranteed a lively evening here. Expect small plates of art featuring head chef Clayton Wells’ controlled yet colourful presentation. The restaurant’s five- (AUD105) and seven-course (AUD130) menus – the only options you’ll find here – change every few weeks, depending on what ingredients are freshest and best at the time. Don’t miss out; bookings are key.
Sumptuousness in Surry Hills
Inspired by the parillas (barbecues) and asados (fire pits) of Argentina, Porteño chef-owners Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz installed their own at their Surry Hills restaurant. These sons of Argentinian parents are serious about showing Australians that this is not your average sausage sizzle: think smoky, grilled Cape Grim beef short rib with barbecued red cabbage, pickled green chilli and hand-cut chimichurri (500g, AUD46). These can be paired with lovely Malbecs (AUD64-350) for every budget from the extensive wine list. If it’s South American, Italian, Australian and American varietals, you prefer, they have it too.
The pick of Paddington
When window-shopping on Oxford Street makes you hungry, a feast at Fred’s is a must. Gourmet Traveller calls this restaurant in the designer suburb of Paddington the “Chez Panisse for the eastern suburbs of Sydney”. Come for the warm wood-fired hearth in the open kitchen, and stay for the seasonal and sustainable produce perfected by head chef Danielle Alvarez. Try the grilled-Maremma duck breast, or splash out on Alvarez’s five-course degustation (AUD120) which changes daily. While here, head down to Fred’s basement for a speakeasy-style cocktail at Charlie Parker’s.
Potts Point’s take on Tokyo
Cho Cho San is one of the best boutique Japanese restaurants in Sydney. Sitting on Potts Point’s newly revitalised and vibrant Macleay Street, the décor of this informal Japanese pub is minimalist, though the flavours are anything but. The result: next-level yakitori like corn-fed chicken hearts and liver with a zesty trio of wasabi, English mustard and red and yellow yuzukosho (yuzu chilli). The fish tempura is taken up a notch with kombu flatbread, a dollop of seaweed sour cream and lettuce (AUD28). Let your night out really take off by adding a flight (AUD30) off its longer-than-usual sake menu. You won’t have to pick between nama, nigori, kimoto or yamahai – have them all.
For those who don’t wish to venture too far, great dining experiences are just steps from your Hilton hotel room.
On level 2 at Hilton Sydney, Glass Brasserie Restaurant & Wine Bar serves anything from tapas to a full-on degustation menu by Australian celebrity chef Luke Mangan. A typical dish might feature cosmopolitan offerings such as quail with caramelised miso, labneh, walnut and pomegranate (AUD27). The wine list is extensive and is a winner on Gourmet Traveller’s Wine List Hall of Fame in the Best International Hotel category – more reasons to not wander too far from your hotel room.
Dip down under to the opulent Marble Bar in the basement of Hilton Sydney for some heritage and tipples. This Corinthian-columned, Victorian-styled cocktail lounge dates back to 1893. Back then, it called nearby Tattersall’s home, but the bar moved to our location – marble slab by marble slab – in 1973.
Still keen on sustainable food? Solander Dining and Bar at West Hotel Sydney Curio Collection by Hilton is an all-day dining room that will serve you just that. Named for Daniel Solander, the Swedish botanist famed for documenting Australian native flora, the bar serves up dishes that focus on local ingredients. Chef David Vandenabeele made his name with his signature teapot of chicken tea, a consommé with hints of ginger, garlic, kecap manis (Indonesian sweet sauce), and goji berries. The menu changes regularly, so make sure you check the website [link: https://www.solanderdiningandbar.com.au] for his latest.