Special occasion coming up? Get ready to explore the best fine dining restaurants in Sydney…
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, dinner or special occasion, we’ve garnered a the 10 best fine dining restaurants in Sydney for you to add to your list and visit in 2021!
Editor’s Note: Some restaurants featured may be temporarily closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
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 your standard fine dining restaurant defined by chef-egos or a million dollar fit-out, but it’s 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 in Sydney from one of Australia’s most renowned chefs, Peter Gilmore. Located in Sydney’s most iconic harbourside space, the Sydney Opera House, 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.
Tucked along Kensington Street, 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). Our go-to when looking for a Sydney-based restaurant for special occasions; Automata was designed by former Momofuku sous-chef Clayton Wells who created a legendary tasting menu ($165) that is just as intriguing as it is 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. One of the best fine dining restaurants in Sydney of 2021!
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 match seamlessly with each of the dishes paired by expert sommelier, Michela.
Tetsuya’s eight-course degustation ($255) 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 when it comes to fine dining in Sydney. Long term favourites are the Confit of Tasmanian Ocean Trout with salad of apple and witlof; and sumptuous Chocolate Stone with Honey and 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 horseradish, Grilled Abalone with chicken skin and Bread & Butter Ice Cream to name a few.
10 William St
Sitting at its namesake in Paddington, 10 William St 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.
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 menu is the product of Tristan Rosier (previously Farm House and Dead Ringer). All-in-all one of the best fine dining restaurants in Sydney, here 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 restaurants in Sydney? Explore the 9 Best Private Dining Experiences in Sydney, or if you fancy a particular cuisine, check out our run down of the best Italian Restaurants, Tapas Bars and Steakhouses around Sydney.