Make an occasion of it with Sydney’s best fine dining restaurants.
Although your local pub will certainly provide diners value for money, fine dining in luxury restaurants invites us to appreciate the details, the finesse and the art that truly is eating with opulence. Whether you’re after degustation menus, or just a fancy dinner, Sydney is sure to deliver.
Fine dining institutions in Sydney rival Michelin-starred venues from around the world and with so much variety in Sydney’s food scene, we’re spoilt for choice. So, for those on the hunt for a nice restaurant for an upcoming lunch or dinner, we’ve garnered Sydney’s best 11 fine dining restaurants for you to add to your list.
Frequently making the list for Australia’s top restaurants and adorned with three hats, eating at Quay is on a lot of people’s bucket lists. Located at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal, this restaurant has sweeping views of the harbour with the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge all in view. Chef Peter Gilmore has never been one to rest on his laurels, continuing to fill Quay with some of the most articulate, textural, botanical and graceful food in all of Australia, with many considering it to be Australia’s finest fine-dining venue.
This ambitious, degustation-only restaurant serves some of the most finessed food in the Inner West, with a focus on produce grown in the backyard or on the Parry family farm in Bowral. Sixpenny is not a restaurant defined by chef-egos or a million dollar fit out, but is about letting ingredients speak for themselves in new and interesting ways. Each dish is a lesson in simplicity, unbothered by excessive or unnecessary techniques.
Back and better than ever, Bennelong is a benchmark for fine dining from one of Australia’s most renowned chefs, Peter Gilmore. Located in Sydney’s most iconic harbourside space, Bennelong boasts a show-stopping venue with a definitively Australian menu which exceeds the very high expectations placed upon it. A new hybrid of casual fine dining, the food at Bennelong is modern, beautiful and a celebration of Australian local produce, meat and seafood.
There’s no doubt that Automata should be your first and last destination for a smorgasbord of fine dining and exceptional bar snacks (which alone is enough of a reason to visit). Designed by former Momofuku sous-chef Clayton Wells, the nine-course fixed-price menu menu ($165) is intriguing, minimalist and delicious.
Bentley Restaurant & Bar
Chef Brent Savage and sommelier Nick Hildebrandt have transformed the stuffiness of corporate dining into a cleverly designed bar and restaurant in the original Fairfax building in the heart of the CBD. Rarely can a duo pair food and wine together as well as Savage and Hildebrandt, so much so that dining at Bentley isn’t just ‘going out for dinner’ but a whole experience in a league of its own.
LuMi Bar and Dining
Drawing inspiration from Italian food and interweaving masterful Japanese influences, LuMi Bar and Dining takes fine dining to a whole new level by bringing together two incredibly different cuisines for one cohesive experience. The menu is ever-changing due to seasonal availability, but the seven-course degustation always impresses. If you consider yourself an oenophile, we recommend also taking advantage of the wine flight designed to pair with each of the dishes paired by expert sommelier, Michela.
Tetsuya’s nine-course degustation ($250) is a balancing act of Japanese and European flavours that is elegantly minimalist and best taken at a leisurely place. In an art-filled restaurant that is light-dappled by day and moodily dramatic at night, Tetsuya’s overlooks a glorious Japanese garden and is a masterclass in fine dining. Long term favourites are the Confit Ocean Trout with salad of apple and witlof and sumptuous Chocolate Stone with Honey & Milk – divine!
Ester is fine dining that isn’t too overworked. At the heart of this Chippendale restaurant is a mallee root-fuelled wood-fired oven which was co-designed by chef Mat Lindsay. The overall feel of the dining room is stripped back – concrete interiors, paper napkins on clothless tables – but when it comes to the food, Ester doesn’t hold back. Masters of dishes that work just as well at the bar as they do at the table, you’ll see likes of Roasted Rock Oysters with pepperberry and sake, Wagyu Oyster Blade and a Sourdough Ice Cream Sandwich to name a few.
10 William Street
Sitting at its namesake in Paddington, 10 William Street is a wine bar first and foremost – but that doesn’t mean they’re lacking on the food. Boasting Italian braggadocio with a modern Australian twist, the menu is the work of Trisha Greentree (previously Brae), and the atmosphere is courtesy of the Italian brothers and owners of the nearby Fratelli Paradiso. Expect riotous fun while eating at the bar; with salads and crudites in summer, while winter will bring ragus and risottos.
Located in Sydney’s colourful suburb of New Town, Oscillate Wildly is an intimate neighbourhood-style restaurant with a vibrant and adventurous menu. Owner and chef, Karl Filda, will take you on an inspired journey as he continuously looks to evolve his flavours and food. Product sustainability is also of high importance to Filda, working with seasonal changes and availability to ensure that each bite reaches its fullest potential. Dining at Oscillate Wildly is sure to be unexpected and exciting.
Nestled in a quaint corner spot in Surry Hills, Arthur offers sittings for just 40 guests at a time. Just like its appearance, don’t expect stuffy or formal airs here, but a casual and food-first approach to a degustation menu. The seasonally-influenced modern Australian cuisine is the product of Tristan Rosier (previously Farm House and Dead Ringer), but the pièce de résistance has to be the pillowy house-made sourdough and butter which will greet you on arrival. It’s the only dish which is guaranteed, and it’s easy to understand why – there would be riots if it went!
Looking for more restaurant ideas in Sydney? Explore the most impressive private dining options around the city, or if you fancy a particular cuisine, check out our run down of the best Italian, Tapas and Steak around Sydney.