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  • Sydney
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  • Fine Dining For Less: Sydney Set Menus Under $100 for Fancy Food on a Budget

Fine Dining For Less: Sydney Set Menus Under $100 for Fancy Food on a Budget

With set menus for less than $100, these fancy but affordable fine dining restaurants in Sydney deserve a visit.

Cho Cho San (Image Credit Nikki To)
Cho Cho San (Image Credit Nikki To)

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 mouthwatering 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, on a purse-friendly budget. You are welcome.

Two Chaps

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 $60 set menu is available Thursday – Saturday night and reliably features handmade pastas and local cheeses. Think handmade ravioli, cauliflower with tahini dressing and beetroot-cured pastrami and 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: $60 per person, $10 bottle corkage (Thursday - Saturday nights only)

122 Chapel Street, Marrickville

Alpha

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 three equally delicious set menus under $100, perfect for sharing. Their smoked eggplant and black olive pie served with confetti bean salad and coconut feta, lemon roasted potatoes, epic Spanikopita, halloumi sagnaki and more dips than you could poke a pita at.

Details: The Gaia Menu - $60 (two guests and over), Yiayia’s Menu - $65 (four guests and over); Papou’s Menu $85 (four guests and over)

238 Castlereagh Street, Sydney

Casoni

A block back from Taylor Square, you’ll find Casoni. Not to be overlooked, Casoni is bright and breezy with alfresco tables and an intimate feel. Their menu fisso is the ultimate no fuss, high reward proposition. Serving Italian with an Asian twist, Casoni is one of our favourite affordable fine dining venues. Their current menu starts with sticky black garlic sourdough with miso cultured butter before cutting into an oozy burrata. The mains of spaghetti alla chitarra with uni and bottarga and pork cutlet with butternut squash is the perfect precursor to a sweet and fresh limoncello cake.

Details: $64 Menu Fisso

371 – 373 Bourke Street, Darlinghurst

The Apollo
The Apollo
The Apollo

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 $65 per person, you will be beyond satisfied with the eight-dish banquet – think baked saganaki cheese, tangy Greek salad and slow-cooked lamb shoulder slathered in creamy tzatziki. Plus for just $5 extra per person you can add ouzo – which is the properly Greek thing to do!

Details: $65 per person 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 designed for sharing. To sample the best dishes and save some coin, order the Izakaya set menu with seven dishes for $65 per person or up the ante with the Cho Cho San feast with eight dishes for $95 per person. For fine dining, the feast is 100% the way to go with their famous pork katsu bun, crab fried rice and wagyu sirloin making winning appearances on the menu.

Details: $65 per person Izakaya Set, $95 per person Cho Cho San Feast

73 Macleay Street, Potts Point

Chin Chin
Chin Chin
Chin Chin

With a hat to its name, Chin Chin provides the ultimate destination for lively dinners. Everything in this trendy Asian-fusion palace is intoxicating, and their inventive take on Thai cuisine is the icing on the cake. The menu is extensive and full of hero dishes, making the decision process a tough one. Save time and money by ordering the ‘Feed Me’ banquet ($69.50 per person) to indulge in all of Chin Chin’s favourites including the massaman curry of braised brisket which is in our books absolutely essential. If you’re looking for a weekend feed, check out their weekend Yum Cha. For $55 per person, the lunchtime feast is packed full of twists on classic yum cha feeds and, in true Chin Chin fashion can be enjoyed with a range of cool cocktails and with disco tunes playing on a loop. 

Details: $69.50 Feed Me Banquet or $55 Weekend Yum Cha

69 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills

Kaiza Izakaya

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 tradition 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.

With nine epic dishes start with inventively prepared seafood from sashimi tartare with apricot yuzu and avocado and crab fried rice with prawn floss to Hokkaido scallop with mentaiko mayo, aosa nori and ito togarashi. Proving that fried food is always delicious, you’ll move onto tori karaage with sweet and spicy caramelised fish sauce, garlic, onion and nori flake, crispy eggplant with black miso, rice puffs and furikake and wok-fried king prawn with fried nori and chili garlic butter. Steak lovers will rejoice over grilled striploin with Vietnamese chimichurri, kombu butter and fried garlic. Finish with choco harumaki – a sort of chocolate spring roll – served with passionfruit gel, chocolate soil and candied walnut. Chef Jason is one of the rising stars of the Sydney foodie scene, so you’re going to want to make sure you try this menu while it’s still uber affordable!

The Details: $79 per person (minimum of two guests)

95 Enmore Road, Newtown

Ploos

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 twelve dishes and, at just $80 per person, is beyond generous. Begin with sourdough pita, rich and delicate katafi tarts with whipped feta and thinly sliced pastourmas and lamb shank cigars. Before moving onto  a generous serving of grilled halloumi and a main of organic chicken served with braised peas, koukofava and coconut feta and – we cannot stress this enough – the best potatoes you will ever eat in your entire life.

Details: $80 Pikilia Menu (minimum two guests)

Bay 7, 7-27 Circular Quay West, The Rocks

No. 92

This neighbourhood wine bar serves delicate dishes inspired by Mexican flavours and traditions. Their ‘made for sharing’ menu includes kingfish tepache, casarecce with mushrooms, brown butter, XO and pangrattato, Mexican fried chicken with habanero mayo and scotch fillet with mole and charred choko.

Details: $80 ‘made for sharing’ menu

92 Glebe Point Road, Glebe

Poly

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 a natural oyster, fermented potato bread, sesame whip, anchovy toast and fried potato with salted egg yolk. Mains of pastrami-style lamb neck are served with leeks and Aleppo pepper before you move onto desserts! Make sure you arrive thirsty to take full advantage of Poly’s epic wine list!

Details: $85 set menu (for groups of six or more), otherwise, à la carte

74-76 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills

Buon Ricordo

It’s widely accepted as one of the best restaurants in Paddington but, if you ask us, it might just be the best restaurant in Sydney. Between the interiors, which are to die for with art literally lining the walls from floor to ceiling and the to-die-for dishes, Buon Ricordo is a feast for all the senses. With two courses for just $85, this is one of the best fine dining deals in town. Everything on the menu is great but the must-try dish has to be the fettuccine al tartufovo. Fresh pasta served with cream, parmesan, topped with a truffle fried egg and tossed at the table, in the almost four decades that Buon Ricordo has been operating in Paddington no dish has been as loved as this! 

Details: $85 two-course a la carte menu, $110 three-course a la carte menu or $165 six-course degustation menu.

108 Boundary Street, Paddington

Riley Street Garage

Fittingly located in a gorgeous 1930s building, Riley St Garage is a modern Japanese restaurant inspired by New York’s chic Meatpacking District. One of our favourite Japanese restaurants in Sydney, Riley Street Garage has two epic set menus, one for $88 and a second slightly pricier set menu for $110 per person. Like all good Japanese menus it begins with edamame before moving onto salmon sashimi with smoked crème fraiche atop a prawn cracker and wintery grilled Jerusalem artichoke with tofu miso and truffle honey. Confit baby octopus and chicken karaage are executed to perfection and make for a sure-fire menu hit. Now comes the main of fall-off-the-bone slow-cooked lamb shoulder served with barley miso, garlic labneh and chickpeas served with a side of truffle dashi mash and apple miso salad. Save room for dessert – a fresh and fun deconstructed cheesecake served with yuzu granita. Side note, their cocktail menu is beyond excellent so make sure to order a few to wash down your epic feast!

The Details: $88 per person or step it up with $110 per person

55 Riley Street, Woolloomooloo

Lilymu
Lilymu
Lilymu

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 sashimi, ‘tom yum’ prawn dumplings, lamb massaman, rich wagyu beef and a super sweet Thai milk tea tres leches cake. 

Details: $88 per person Lilymu Banquet

153 Macquarie Street, Parramatta Square, Parramatta

Mr Wong
Mr Wong
Mr. Wong

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 less than $100 (and another for the equally reasonable $108) you can enjoy steamed dim sum, sweet and sour pork, stir fried vegetables, beef, chicken and so much seafood - we're talking garlic prawns, sea scallops and salt and pepper calamari - and all without breaking the bank. You're invited to finish your set menu with a dessert. Our pick? The famous Mr. Wong deep-fried vanilla ice cream with butterscotch sauce. 

Details: $88 per person banquet (minimum of four people)

3 Bridge Lane, Sydney

Chiswick
Chiswick
Chiswick

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 $90 per person family-style feast that features the very best that Chiswick has to offer. Beginning with dips, appetizers and entrees, the set menu pffers 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 chocolate hazelnut mille-feuille. 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: $90 per person, serves groups of four or more

65 Ocean Street, Woollahra

NOMAD

Almost too beautiful to eat, NOMAD serves up food inspired by the exotic flavours of Spain, Morocco and the Middle East, boldly cooked with smoke and fire. Start with the swankiest of snacks, from flatbread and charcuterie to wood-roasted eggplant and burrata with fennel jam. Entrees of zucchini flowers with truffle honey and pecorino and Hiramasa kingfish with finger lime and crackers before mains of prawns and spatchcock. A dessert of olive oil ice cream sandwiches shows just how inventive this menu can be!

Details: $95 per person, feast menu

16 Foster Street, Surry Hills

Looking for more dining inspo? If you loved our round up of the best fine dining deals you might also like our edit of the best gastro-pubs in Sydney and the best banquets for a serious feast. Or, for when money’s not an object, check out the best degustation menus at Sydney's finest fine dining spots.