Affordable Fine Dining Sydney: Fancy Food for Under $150
With set menus and tasty dishes for less than $150, these fancy but affordable fine dining restaurants in Sydney deserve a visit.
When you think of fine dining, the first thoughts that spring to mind are fancy, formal and above all – expensive. But with Sydney’s new wave of humble fine diners, you can find mouth-watering menus, lavish tasting feasts and even hatted-degustation deals, without blowing your entire month’s wages. Thankfully, the days of unaffordable – and unobtainable – gourmet dining are well and truly behind us.
We’ve done some digging to reveal Sydney’s best-kept restaurant secrets – here’s your guide to finding the fanciest fine dining experiences in the city, the affordable edit. You are welcome.
Affordable Fine Dining Sydney: Under $50
The Charles Bar
We thrive on a splash of opulence and a visit to The Charles Bar is always set to satisfy, even when we're on a budget. Soak up old-world hospitality without the price tag with The Charles Club Sandwich. At $25, you'll also score crisps and your choice of beer or soft drink. If this isn't living, we don't know what is!
Monday to Friday, 12pm to 3pm
66 King Street, Sydney
Meat & Wine Co
Meat & Wine Co are doing us all a solid by serving up a delish 3-course meal paired with a glass of expertly selected wine, beer or soft drink for a sweet $49 per person come weekday lunch. If you haven't yet had a chance to dine at this Afro-centric steakhouse, you're in for a treat. The best part is, the menu has plenty of options to choose from including three entrees, eight mains and two desserts. We'll be ordering the lamb shoulder with chimichuri, thanks!
Monday to Friday, 12pm to 4pm
Ground Level, International Tower One, 100 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo
If you haven't yet had the chance to pop by the QVB's 1920s-inspired dining destination ESQ, you're in for a real treat. The exceptional menu is the genius of head chef Guillaume Dubois and is inspired by high-quality Australian produce with a prohibition era twist.
The 60-minute express lunch menu is your chance to sample this incredible restaurant for just $39. Score your choice of main, a side and house beverage.
Wednesday to Friday, 12pm to 3pm
Level 2, Queen Victoria Building, 455 George Street, Sydney
Back by popular demand, Spice Temple are giving diners the ultimate express lunch with their lunchtime noodles special which comes with a glass of wine or beer for just $25.
Served at the bar, the new lunchtime menu features five delicious noodle options including Beijing Noodles with Blackmore Wagyu and Cucumbers, White Cut Chicken, Ginger, Shallot with Egg Noodles and Braised Pork, Fermented Chilli with Belt Noodles. The menu also includes selection of Spice Temple favourites from Prawn Wontons with Aged Black Vinegar Dressing to Lamb and Cumin Pancake; for when you're feeling extra hungry.
If you're channelling fine European dining for under $50, pop by Sax in Barangaroo come lunchtime. No Europe trip, no worries! They're serving $20 pasta every day with the option to add a glass of wine for $10. The perfect combination! If you're all about the vibe, be sure to pop by of an evening for a drink with live sax setting the scene from 4pm on.
Shop 7A/100 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo
Kuro's head chef is Michelin trained and an absolute star in the kitchen when it comes to technical expertise, seasonal ingredients and Japanese tradition. And whilst the food is a work of art in itself, you don't need to be shelling out the big bucks if you're keen to have a taste. If you swing on by Kuro at lunch, you can score their Set 1 menu for $45 which includes an entree and main. Choose from the likes of seared Kingfish sashimi, Hokkaido scallops and salmon confit.
368 Kent Street, Sydney
Rockpool Bar & Grill
The awe-inspiring art deco interiors of Rockpool Bar & Grill are about as boujee as you can get in Sydney. If you're looking to score a yummy lunch for under $50, head to the bar where you'll find some rather reasonable delights. Grab the steak sandwich or Wagyu Rueben for $26 or the cheeseburger for an easy $21. You'll even have a little left over for a beverage or side of chips!
66 Hunter Street, Sydney
Affordable Fine Dining Sydney: Under $100
Peter Conistis is the godfather of Greek cuisine and a man who has two entries on our edit of fine dining restaurants with set menus under $100. Alpha has two equally delicious set menus under $100, perfect for sharing. Expect taramosolata, roasted potatoes, epic Spanikopita, halloumi saganaki and more dips than you could poke a pita at.
Details: Yiayia’s Menu - $80 (four guests and over); Papou’s Menu $95 (four guests and over)
238 Castlereagh Street, Sydney
By day Two Chaps is one of the best cafes in Marrickville but by night it’s transformed into one of the best pasta spots in Sydney with a stellar set menu for under $100. Vegetarian and with an emphasis on sustainability, almost everything at this Marrickville restaurant is handmade or locally sourced. Their $70 set menu is available on Friday and Saturday nights and reliably features handmade pasta and local cheeses. Think handmade ravioli, moreish side salads and roast baby beets as well as deliciously delicate desserts. Plus, it’s BYO with $10 corkage per bottle which gives you the perfect opportunity to bust out that wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion.
Details: $70 per person, $10 bottle corkage (Friday & Saturday nights only)
122 Chapel Street, Marrickville
Kindred serves up wholesome Italian fare reminiscent of a bygone era - no fuss yet plated to perfection. The chef's tasting menu is jammed with value with seven seasonal courses only setting you back $69. Begin with warm sourdough and cultured butter, travel through entrees, mains and pasta and end with something sweet. The pasta is the real standout so if you're a pasta fiend, you'll be thrilled when you're treated to lesser-known goodies like bucatini and cauliflower cappellacci.
Details: $69 (minimum two guests)
137 Cleveland Street, Darlington
If you have a penchant for saganaki cheese and charred calamari, then The Apollo is the Greek restaurant you need to visit. Their take on Mediterranean flavours (with a strong focus on Greek food), along with a smattering of dishes cooked over wood and charcoal, is out of this world. And indulgent. You’ll be left wishing you had a spare stomach. To get the most out of your experience, opt for the 'Full Greek’ that showcases The Apollo’s best of the best. For just $70 per person, you will be beyond satisfied with the eight-dish banquet – think baked saganaki cheese and slow-cooked lamb shoulder slathered in creamy tzatziki.
Details: $70 per person for the Full Greek menu
44 MacLeay Street, Potts Point
Cho Cho San
Equal parts playful and chic, Cho Cho San is where the cool kids go for Japanese. One of the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney, the Cho Cho San menu is designed for sharing. To sample the best dishes and save some coin, order the Izakaya set menu with eight dishes for $65 per person or up the ante with the Cho Cho San feast with eleven dishes for $95 per person. For fine dining, the feast is 100% the way to go with their famous pork katsu steam bun, fried brown rice and ocean trout making winning appearances on the menu.
Details: $65 per person Izakaya Set, $95 per person Cho Cho San Feast
73 Macleay Street, Potts Point
Bar La Salut
Bar La Salut is the wine bar and Catalonian eatery you need to pop on your list. Their menu boasts a curation of small tapas-style plates with a heavy emphasis on market-fresh seafood and the a la plancha grill. Serving options, La Salut proffer two set menus, one at $75 and one at $90 if you're after something a bit more substantial. Think octopus, anchovy and blue mackerel amongst other artisan bits like tongue and pork neck.
Details: $80 for 11 plates or $95 for 13 plates
305 Cleveland Street, Redfern
Masters of seasonal staples, Chiswick's set menus are always top-notch. In fact, their spring menu was planted in their very own Woollahra garden in preparation months ago and the ingredients are harvested fresh each morning. Their spring tasting menu will only set you back $75 and includes potato doughnuts, crispy zucchini flowers and skillet prawns amongst other shareable treats. Set amongst lush gardens with streams of natural light drenching the restaurant, Chiswick is the perfect place for a lazy Sunday lunch.
Details: $75 per person (between 2 to 7 patrons)
65 Ocean Street, Woollahra
Enjoy a taste of the Greek Islands on the edge of Sydney Harbour with Chef Peter Conistis’ Ploos. The man behind Alpha and Omega, Conistis is the forefather of Greek Australian cuisine. Their shared menu includes ten dishes and, at just $95 per person, is beyond generous. Begin with sourdough pita and rich and delicate kataifi tarts with whipped feta and thinly sliced pastourmas. Before moving onto a generous serving of grilled halloumi fennel and a main of organic chicken and – we cannot stress this enough – finishing with decadent loukoumades.
Details: $95 Pikilia Menu (minimum two guests)
Bay 7, 7-27 Circular Quay West, The Rocks
No. 92 is a neighbourhood wine bar that serves delicate dishes inspired by Mexican flavours and traditions. Their ‘made for sharing’ menu includes Spagetti chitarra, as well as the iconic Mexican fried chicken served with burnt habanero mayo, black vinegar and a chile de arbol glaze.
Details: $85 ‘made for sharing’ menu
92 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
Chef Jason Nguyen - the creative mind behind Kaiza Izakaya - is serving up some of the most unique dishes in Sydney. Having grown up watching his dad cook traditional Vietnamese fare before formally training in Japanese culinary art, Kaiza Izakaya creates a perfectly-poised fusion. With talent this tasty, you’re going to want to try it all so we recommend the chef’s tasting menu.
The Details: $80 per person (minimum of two guests)
95 Enmore Road, Newtown
With a menu by Brendan Fong (Mr. Wong) and an $88 banquet option, it’s no surprise that Lilymu is one of the best restaurants in Parramatta. With a menu designed to highlight the dynamic flavours of Chinese and South-East Asian cuisines, their budget banquet menu features kingfish ceviche, ricotta dumplings, banana leaf roasted barramundi and prawn fried rice.
Details: $98 per person Lilymu Banquet
153 Macquarie Street, Parramatta Square, Parramatta
The sister venue to Mat Lindsay’s Ester, Poly, houses in the Paramount House Hotel, is a relaxed venue with a seriously sexy menu. If you can grab a group of six, you’ll start with snacks of the highest order, fermented potato bread, smoked beetroot and fried potato with salted egg yolk. Enjoy mains of black angus steak and roasted hispi cabbage before you move onto desserts! Make sure you arrive thirsty to take full advantage of Poly’s epic wine list!
Details: $95 set menu
74-76 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills
As well as being a champion of farm-to-table cooking, Matt Moran is one of the most recognisable names in the Australian foodie scene so it may come as a surprise that you can enjoy one of his tasting menus for less than $100. The Chiswick Collective is a $95 per person family-style feast that features the very best that Chiswick has to offer. Beginning with dips, appetizers and entrees, the set menu offers tables of four or five the choice between a roast chicken or a Chiswick slow-roasted lamb shoulder. Chiswick’s lamb is famous so we’d wholeheartedly recommend it. There’s salad and chips to round out the feast before you finish with a sticky toffee pudding. Farm-to-table restaurants are rare in an inner-city suburb such as Woollahra but, if you’re lucky enough to be seated by the window, you’ll be able to look outside and see the suburbs only kitchen garden.
Details: $95 per person, serves groups of four or more
65 Ocean Street, Woollahra
Affordable Fine Dining Sydney: Under $150
One of the best Asian fine dining spots in Sydney, Mr. Wong serves Cantonese-style food in the heart of the CBD. Moody, intimate and with the typical Merivale aesthetic sensibilities, this is the perfect spot for your next dinner. With one banquet menu for just $108 (and other slightly bougier options for $128, $158 and $178 per person) you can enjoy prawn toast, salt and pepper calamari, stir-fried king prawns, honey-glazed char siu chicken and their signature "Strange flavour" prawn wontons - and all without breaking the bank. You're invited to finish your set menu with a dessert.
Details: Starting at $108 per person banquet (minimum of four people)
3 Bridge Lane, Sydney
Well ahead of the plant-based eating trends, this Potts Point restaurant has been serving up an 100% vegetarian menu since 2016. Yellow is currently serving a six-course vegan tasting menu, so you can expect turnips, beetstrami, potato noodles and an apple-infused dessert.
Details: $105 six-course vegan tasting menu (matching wine $95)
57 Macleay Street, Potts Point
One of Sydney’s best French eateries, Restaurant Hubert is a firm favourite with Sydney foodies. The bistro is a Parisian wonderland, and in typical French style, the wine list is illustrious and the food, exceptional. If you’re looking for a heavenly feed without the hefty price tag check out the pétit banquet at $125 per person. Starting, as all good meals do, with a warm baguette, eat your way through duck parfait and saucisson before the main course, a whole chicken and finish the night with a classic crème caramel. If you’re in the mood for a lighter feed, check out Bar Pincer, the restaurant’s bar, their menu is essentially an abridged version of Hubert’s and is well worth a look.
Details: $125 Petit Banquet, $165 Grand Banquet (both minimum four guests)
15 Bligh Street, Sydney
With polished concrete arches and lights hanging from the ceiling, Ester is the perfect place for an affordable set menu. Small plates of roasted rock oysters and fermented potato bread with dashi and salmon roe, pickled cucumber, fried artichoke give way to rich margra lamb chop with their signature salad and rich, creative desserts.
Details: $125 per person set menu
46-52 Meagher Street, Chippendale
Our favourite contemporary Korean restaurant, Jung Sung is a chic sunlit restaurant with a modern industrial feel. Their two seasonal set menus are heavy on seafood with rich Korean flavours. Their menus change with the seasons but some of our favourite dishes have included candy melon and ocean trout with smoked horseradish or beautiful Moreton bay bugs with deconstructed bibimbap decorated with flowers and poached in butter.
Details: $98 for seven courses
Level 3, Old Rum Store, 2-10 Kensington Street, Chippendale
A hatted restaurant serving up epic five-course set menus for less than $150 is practically unheard of but, at Arthur that’s exactly what you'll find. For $120 per person you can get your hands on some of the best modern Australian cuisine in Sydney. Owned by head chef Tristian Rosier (Farmhouse, Dead Ringer) and his partner the ambitious menu changes regularly and aims to tell a story with every dish. A smart and gutsy chef, Rosier trained at Biota and Est and the signature produce driven fare – think Ester or Automata but at a fraction of the cost. For bright, rich, bold food at an unquestionably reasonable price, you can’t look past Arthur.
Details: $120 per person for the five-course chef's menu ($85 per person beverage pairing)
544 Bourke Street, Surry Hills