The ultimate food guide to Sydney’s CBD

Sydney’s glittering harbour, golden beaches and dynamic city pockets have long made it a global must-do. Combine this with some of the world’s best restaurants, cutting-edge eateries and vibrant eating precincts you’ve also got an unrivalled foodie capital. 

Our ultimate Sydney guide throws the doors open (with more than a few spectacular views) to serve you premium cuisine, culinary fusion and seriously good vegetarian – all lashed with some of the best cocktails in Sydney.

Spice temples and creative cocktails

Waiter serving cocktails at a table.
Cocktail’s coming right up! Image from Matt Beaver.

No culinary excursion into Sydney would be complete without an innovative cocktail to enhance the seasonal flavour. Get started with a trip to Spice Temple, a Chinese eatery that thrives on aromatic and spicy delicacies drawn from across China – from succulent meat to exquisite vegetarian dishes. Sip a Zodiac Cocktail and savour the sweet and spice. Be sure to check out their extensive cocktail menu as well.

Ready for some adventure? Sydney is packed with hidden gems to fire up the senses. Tucked into a stylish basement on Barrack Street, Employees Only is a leading light serving classy cuisine and imaginative drinks. Enjoy some truffle and crab fries to start, as you sip on a truffle and bourbon stirred Black Diamond. 

If you’re looking to enjoy an eyeful of Sydney’s beautiful harbour and city, look no further. The Bar 83 Restaurant in Sydney Tower offers world-class views 83 levels above the city’s glimmering waterways. Pair the view with a Helios Flair infused chili tequila cocktail as you peruse the internationally flavoured menu. 

Fine dining Sydney-style

Couples enjoying an evening out at Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney Opera House
Take a night out to visit Bennelong Restaurant, at the Sydney Opera House. Image from Destination NSW and Tobias Rowles.

Among the best Sydney CBD restaurants you’ll find some of Australia’s most celebrated dining experiences. Start with the outstanding six-course seasonal dishes at Quay Restaurant, an acclaimed mainstay overlooking Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House helmed by leading Australian chef Peter Gilmore. 

You’ll savour more acclaimed cuisine under one of the iconic ‘sails’ of the Sydney Opera House at Bennelong. This famous venue is the perfect place to relax with a three-course à la carte serving gastronomic delights ranging from sashimi scallops to pork belly confit. You can also enjoy live music here on Fridays and Sundays. 

For a Sydney-styled industrial chic experience, the renowned Bentley Restaurant + Bar serves up innovative fine dining expertly paired with boutique wines and classy cocktails. Regarded as one of the best places in Australia to drink wine, you can choose from an extensive international list. 

Seriously good vegetarian

The Sydney Opera House surrounded by Sydney Harbour, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, and Sydney CBD
It’s time to hit the town and visit Sydney’s CBD for some great vegetarian food. Image from Destination NSW and Daniel Tran.

These days Sydney’s vegetarian and vegan diners also offer some of the best on the food scene. Based in Surry Hills, Yulli’s is a thriving institution that takes its vegan options to the next level. Taking inspiration from South-East Asian and Mediterranean cuisines, we can recommend the seasonal San Choy Bow and crispy wasabi cauliflower. 

Another great vegan restaurant Sydney CBD side, Bad Hombres is an inventive Mexican-inspired plant-based eatery that also specialises in natural wines and mezcal-based tequila. Choose from a range of seasonal tacos that range from fillings such as Chipotle Potato to Carne Asada Mushroom and Jackfruit Tinga.  

Marrickville’s bustling inner city food precinct is home to another of the best vegetarian restaurants Sydney has to offer. Pizza Madre is acclaimed for its rich and tasty vegan pizzas, with seasonal toppings that range from harissa eggplant to roasted potato with charred fennel puree. Buon appetito!

Where to stay

Base yourself close to all the top restaurants Sydney CBD has to offer, with fine-dining establishments, thriving eateries and hidden back street favourites at your fingertips. There are plenty of accommodation options in and around the heart of Sydney to suit every taste and budget, from boutique hotels to spacious apartments and comfortable rooms. 

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