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Inner City Eats: The Best Restaurants in the Sydney CBD

We countdown the best restaurants in the Sydney CBD from Chippendale to Potts Point.

Two whole prawn crustless sandwiches and a margarita sitting atop a smokey marble table
Shell House

Sydney CBD is a food lover's paradise, offering a dizzying array of dining options that can make even seasoned locals pause for thought. If you're in the mood for a lavish fine-dining experience, there's a roster of upscale establishments that boast exquisite menus, where gastronomy is elevated to an art form. For those who prefer a leisurely start to the day, Sydney's CBD is brimming with charming cafes offering delightful brunch options. If you're in a hurry and in need of a quick bite, we’ve got you covered, too. The city's laneways and corners hide Sydney CBD’s best-kept secrets, where delightful options await.

In our guide to the best restaurants in Sydney's CBD, we'll lead you on a delicious journey that caters to both lunch and dinner, accommodating all occasions and cravings. 

Best Restaurants In Sydney CBD: Chippendale

A selection of snack items in eclectic bowls against a vibrant blue background
Longshore (Photo credit: Jason Loucas)

Longshore

The Longshore offering consists of a five-course tasting menu alongside an experimental 10-course snack menu served in two stages - hot and cold. Look forward to highlights including raw Tasmanian scallops with mandarin koshu and makrut lime and Paroo red kangaroo tartare with salted muntries. Be sure to keep that dessert chamber open as there is plenty for you to sample. The melon custard with candied melon sounds like a bit of us. 

5 Kensington Street, Chippendale 

A dining room within a terrace with wooden stairs and bannisters giving off a warm and rustic ambience
Kindred

Kindred

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 agnolotti filled with jerusalem artichoke. 

137 Cleveland Street, Darlington 

Best Restaurants In Sydney CBD: Surry Hills

The industrial interiors of the dining room of Chin Chin complete with light wooden table and chairs
Chin Chin

Chin Chin

A true interior design marvel, Chin Chin occupies the iconic Griffiths Tea building in Surry Hills, an aged beauty filled with modern charm. This Sydney CBD restaurant believes in relaxed and enjoyable dining. Their menu features a vibrant ensemble of Southeast Asian flavours with a Thai twist. The atmosphere fuses dining, music, and art, with Chin Chin actively shaping the local scene.

69 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills

Plates of seafood, beans and fresh tomatoes and mozzarella against an orange and white gingham tablecloth
Pellegrino 2000

Pellegrino 2000

This Surry Hills restaurant is one of the hottest places to be! Mixing things up with fresh new twists on old-school classics, Pellegrino 2000 is led by Daniel Pepperell and Michael Clift, the acclaimed duo behind Bistrot 916, one of our favourite Potts Point restaurants. From the beautiful interiors to the sumptuous menu, this one is most-definitely worth adding to your Surry Hills restaurant hitlist.

80 Campbell Street, Surry Hills

(Image Credit: Jiwoon Kim) 

Itō

A very welcome addition to the Crown Street scene, Itō is the Japanese Izakaya you need on your restaurant rotation. Head Chef Erik Ortolani has combined his Italian heritage and passion for Japanese cooking to craft something truly unique. Dishes like yellowfin tuna served on bonito bread with shaved bottarga and Wagyu mafaldine paired with white shimeji and miso grace the menu and will give you a whole new appreciation for fusion cuisine. 

Key to the Itō experience is the drinks menu which features Japanese inspired classic cocktails, a quirky selection of wines from Japan and an extensive sake selection. The pared back interiors with fun pops of colour set the scene for the perfect night out. 

413-415 Crown Street, Surry Hill

Khanaa

Prepare yourself for a truly transformative fine dining experience. A visit to Khanaa is pure delight from the get-go. The restaurant is spacious and airy with a mix of bar seating, round tables and tables for two. Start with a tipple, guided by the incredible sommelier, before diving into an avant-garde Bengali menu packed with delicate flavours, playful dishes and unsuspecting textures. Think duck leg confit samosa, delicate lobster parcels in lobster bisque and textures of mango for dessert. 

Shop 3, 355 Crown Street, Surry Hills 

A red leather corner booth, marble table and French lamps in front of a vibrant piece of modern artwork
Amorica

Armorica

Armorica is one of Sydney’s newest French offerings and it has already become a firm favourite amongst those who want more than just a great meal - they want an experience. Located on Crown St in Surry Hills, this 150-seat Parisian Brasserie pays homage to the city of lights, embracing the timeless charm of classic French dining, with that certain je ne sais quoi that only the French know how. Executive chef, Jose Saulog has curated an extensive menu, with a nod to authentic techniques of Northern France whilst showcasing the best Aussie produce cooked over a traditional wood fire. 

490 Crown Street, Surry Hills

Best Restaurants In Sydney CBD: Inner City

The edge of a circular table with plates of steak and salad against a backdrop of stacked wines
The Gidley

The Gidley

In the heart of Sydney's CBD, The Gidley is a hidden gem beneath the city's surface. This American-style steakhouse exudes an intimate and inviting charm. Descend dimly lit stairs into the lounge, fitted with plush seating and cosy corners, where you can enjoy a well-crafted drink that’s garnished and finished right in front of you. 

Following a dirty martini or two, you can begin to savour their specialty prime cuts of meat like the mouthwatering Riverine Black Angus ribeye prepared in various styles. If you’re looking to round out your spread, be sure to order their brick chicken and whole trout. The accompaniments are equally impressive and offer a symphony of flavours to complement the star of the menu. 

Basement, 161 King Street, Sydney 

A very stylish dining room complete with a patchwork of marble floors, tables and cream leather chairs
Shell House

Shell House

Shell House Sydney seamlessly combines the best of old and new in a meticulously restored 1930s clock tower building. You can evidently see this at The Dining Room and Terrace on the ninth floor, thoughtfully designed by Anna Hewett.

With culinary prowess from Culinary Director Joel Bickford and Head Chef Aaron Ward, the menu showcases an inventive blend of Mediterranean and French flavours. Start with fresh Sydney rock oysters, or try the indulgent caviar-topped steak tartare. 

Wine enthusiasts will appreciate Wine Director Shun Eto's thoughtfully curated selection, where you can sip your way around the world or enjoy Shell House’s best bubblies.

37 Margaret Street, Sydney 

A low lit dining room with leather chairs and a dark colour palette.
The Meat & Wine Co

The Meat & Wine Co

One of Australia's best-known steakhouses, The Meat & Wine Co has just opened its twelfth location, right in the heart of Sydney CBD. Delivering the finest meats, and curated international and local wines, the new location comes complete with the institution's signature African flair. The romantic and chic inner-city setting seats 120 guests, and is open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Sunday. 

219-223 Castlereagh Street, Sydney

Best Restaurants In Sydney CBD: Potts Point

A marble table topped with vibrant Middle Eastern dishes including chicken and olives, ice cream, hummus and oysters
Ezra

Ezra

Co-owners Nick and Kirk Mathews Bowden (formerly co-owners of Bistro Rex) have put their heart and soul into Ezra their 90-seat restaurant which is an homage to Tel Aviv’s cosmopolitan dining scene. Their menu reflects the rich Jewish dining scene with pickles, meze and flavourful vegetarian dishes. Deviating from their Jewish roots they serve delicious oysters and their wine list runs the gamut from a natural Aussie wine to a rich French red. It's the perfect spot for your next meal out in Potts Point.

3 Kellett Street, Potts Point

A handful of people dining outside a bright yellow terrace
Yellow

Yellow

Yellow in Potts Point is a standout in Sydney's vegan dining scene, brought to life by the creators of Bentley Restaurant + Bar, Monopole, and Cirrus. Co-owner and chef Brent Savage recognised the city's demand for vegan options and crafted a menu highlighting unique heirloom vegetables sourced from local growers. With a comprehensive wine list designed by co-owner and sommelier Nick Hildebrandt to perfectly complement their plant-based offerings, Yellow has elevated the vegan dining experience. Housed in a converted 1950s art gallery, it offers a chic yet health-conscious atmosphere. Yellow is the first vegan restaurant to earn two chefs hats in the prestigious Good Food Guide, making it a must-visit for a memorable degustation in Sydney. It's the epitome of creative and health-conscious dining.

A wooden table topped with bowls of octopus and lamb
The Apollo (Photo credit: Nikki To)

The Apollo

Featured in Monocle's prestigious top 10 global restaurants, The Apollo is a Greek restaurant that no Sydneysider should miss. The brainchild of culinary talents Jonathan Barthelmess and Longrain's Sam Christie, it seamlessly marries Mediterranean flavours, with a strong emphasis on Greek cuisine. Their innovative approach has captivated the culinary world's spotlight, and deservedly so. The Apollo promises a delectable journey through the heart of Greece, where every dish is crafted with meticulous care and passion, creating an experience that lingers long after the meal is over. It’s a quintessential stop for aficionados of Greek fare in Sydney.

44 MacLeay Street, Potts Point 

Best Restaurants In Sydney CBD: Darlinghurst

Strand Bistrothèque (Image Credit: Parker Blaine)

Strand Bistrothèque

If you’re a French food fanatic, we recommend booking a table at Strand Bistrothèque, stat. As you step off William Street into this low-lit haven, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled into a chic Parisian dive bar. Everything is impeccable from the tiled floors to the wine list curated by P&V Wine & Liquor Merchant’s Mike Bennie and a swish cocktail list curated by the Maybe Sammy team. But the food, the food is what we’ve been left daydreaming of. You can’t go wrong with a single dish from the exquisite menu but you’d be mad for not ordering the pastry-topped French onion soup and potato galette to start.

Sitchu Tip: Swing by on a Wednesday and settle into a cosy booth as you’re serenaded by live jazz.

99 William Street, Darlinghurst

Best Restaurants In Sydney CBD: Barangaroo

A plate of artfully presented sashimi on a white plate with chopsticks balancing on the edge
Nobu

Nobu

Nobu at Crown Sydney is a culinary legend, synonymous with upscale Japanese cuisine. With a Chef Hat from the Good Food Guide Awards, the restaurant artfully combines Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa's expertise with the local talents of Chef Harold Hurtada. Japanese tradition blends with locally sourced ingredients, offering imaginative dishes and global classics. 

Crown Sydney, Level 2, 1 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo

Chopsticks reaching out to select from a colourful plate of Nigri with a green tea and edamame placed to the side
Zushi

Zushi

Sashimi, bento boxes, and the signature bimbimbam form the core of Zushi's offerings at Barangaroo. Their sashimi is a symphony of delicate, fresh flavours, while bento boxes offer a variety of tastes neatly arranged in one meal. The bimbimbam is a vibrant, satisfying dish that captures the essence of Japanese-Korean fusion cuisine.

13/33 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo

An elaborate dish with a glass cloche being removed whilst smoke seeps out the sides
Oncore

Oncore by Clare Smyth

Set 26 levels above Sydney Harbour, with one of the best views in the city, Oncore is a world-class restaurant from Clare Smyth, the only British female chef with three Michelin stars. Oncore, her first international restaurant pays homage to Core, Smyth’s UK restaurant and highlights sustainable ingredients.

With a classic degustation for $340 per person and a seasonal tasting menu for $395, this is a great addition to Sydney’s high end dining scene. One for a special occasion!

Level 26, Crown Sydney, 1 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo

Best Restaurants In Sydney CBD: The Rocks

The outside of a restaurant with signage reading "Phillip's Foote" and an old-fashioned look
Le Foote

Le Foote

It’s always a guaranteed good time when the Swillhouse team (Alberto’s Lounge, Restaurant Hubert, Shady Pines) put their trademark seal of innovation and experimentation on a new location and their latest project, Le Foote, has Sydneysiders stoked. 

Taking over 101 George Street - one of the oldest pubs in The Rocks, the team has transformed the charming yet ramshackle space into a European wine bar and restaurant. Alberto's Lounge head chef Dan Johnston has worked his magic on the menu, with goodies like cured meats and pickles and cheese, while the vibe will be buzzing thanks to live music, flowing beers on tap and al fresco dining. 

101 George Street, The Rocks

A hand reaching out to dress a plate of sashimi with a blurred opera house in the background
Harbourfront Seafood Sydney The Rocks

Harbourfront Seafood Sydney The Rocks

Located in the historic Campbell's Stores at The Rocks, Sydney, Harbourfront Seafood Sydney The Rocks offers diners a picturesque waterfront dining experience with stunning views of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. 

Their exceptional winter menu has just dropped so there's no better time to indulge. Enjoy everything from reinvented classics (the 150 Lashes battered fish and chips with crushed peas and ‘chip shop’ curry sauce is phenomenal) as well as hearty new additions like the organic chicken breast, complete with squash and truffle mushroom pearl barley risotto, hazelnut crumb and jus. Uniquely Australian ingredients also make a regular appearance throughout from the Riverine MSA MBS2+ 1.1kg t-bone steak to the finger lime-dressed chargrilled baby octopus. Seafood lover? Opt for the freshest and best platter you'll ever taste.

Campbell's Stores Bay 1-3, 7-27 Circular Quay West, The Rocks

A fan o sashimi atop a white plate sitting on a wooden table
Sake

Saké Restaurant

Saké Restaurant in The Rocks, beckons food enthusiasts with its reverence for traditional Japanese cuisine and a remarkable collection of sake. This Sydney CBD restaurant goes above and beyond to cater to its patrons' desires. For those seeking a quick yet delectable meal, they offer express lunches and enticing bento box deals throughout the week. 

If you're after a more private and intimate dining experience, Saké boasts a series of exclusive dining rooms. Here, you can immerse yourself in the world of washoku, savouring dishes that pay homage to the centuries-old Japanese culinary traditions, each crafted with a dynamic and innovative touch by Japanese-born and trained chefs. Each visit at Saké Restaurant promises an award-winning dining experience for discerning palates.

12 Argyle Street, The Rocks

Have you eaten your way through this edit of Sydney CBD's best restaurants and still hungry for more? Take a look at our round-up of Sydney's best set menus for under $150. Once you're done there, take a look at our comprehensive guide to eating out in Barangaroo. 

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