We love a good wine list as much as the next person, but you know what we also love? Holding on to our hard earned dollars for more than a nano second after we get paid. But good food is
life also pretty important to us, so when we find an awesome BYO restaurant we get a bit excited.
And no, we’re not talking about the local Chinese restaurant you started frequenting as a uni student so you could BYO four bottles of wine and order one serve of satay sticks to share because your parents told you that your friends couldn’t come over for mid-week drinks again. We’re talking places with rad food and a killer atmosphere, places you wouldn’t expect to let you bring your own wine to.
It turns out Sydney is full of these gems, so we teamed up with MadFish Wines to bring you eight of the best BYO restaurants in Sydney.
Surry Hills & Bronte
Traditional Italian pizza is always a good idea, and you know what else is a good idea? Wine: straight from your fridge to the pizzeria table, that’s what. Vacanza has restaurants in two locations in Sydney and both are BYO friendly for groups of eight or less. Corkage is $8, so depending on the sweet deal you can pick up at your local bottle-o on the way to dinner; this could be a cheap option. On the food front, pizza isn’t all they’re good at, because they also offer antipasti, salads, a small selection of pasta dishes and dessert.
Longrain have decided to hand over the wine choices to you on Sundays and Mondays, with a BYO option available on both for $10 per bottle. Inspired by the communal eating philosophy of the Asian table, the menu at Longrain is made up of modern Thai dishes that are designed to share, like the whole crispy fried snapper (which goes perfectly with a chardonnay) and the caramelised pork hock (delicious with a pinot noir).
Café and sourdough bakery by day and pasta restaurant by night (Thursday and Friday night, to be precise), Two Chaps has an ever-changing selection of pasta dishes that we’re sure will pair perfectly with your favourite wine. The dishes change with the seasons, but you can expect the menu to feature classics like mushroom raviolo with sage burnt butter, hazelnut and fresh truffle and chocolate pistachio tart with tangelo mascarpone for dessert. They also offer fresh gluten free pasta, which is basically unheard of, so get your coeliac or gluten intolerant butts down there for the carb party.
Dining at Tetsuya’s has been described as a serene high end Japanese dining experience and while the word ‘serene’ and ‘high end’ isn’t often synonymous with BYO, that is certainly the case here. While the BYO charge is on the pricey side ($30 for the first bottle, $45 after that), it could be the perfect opportunity to bust out that bad boy you’ve been waiting for the ideal moment to open. Go on, treat yo’self.
Any restaurant that has named themselves after butter has our vote, and that is exactly what Mantecato has gone and done. Adding in a BYO policy will only sweeten our love and they’ve done that too. Specifically, Mantecato is named after the process of whisking butter into risotto, so it’s fitting that risotto is their house specialty. Nestled in the village-like suburb of Balmain, there are more risotto options than any other dish, from funghi porcini to alla Milanese con osso bucco (saffron risotto with braised osso bucco). But if risotto isn’t your thing, don’t fear, because they also serve pasta, traditional main meals, antipasti and did we mention they’re BYO?
Classic Sydney restaurant, Il Baretto is a traditional Italian trattoria serving no fuss pasta (but verrrrry delicious) for lunch and dinner. The dishes are hearty and affordable, which is the ideal combination when the hunger pangs have set in and you need a comforting dinner in a hurry. They don’t take bookings at night (but you can book for lunch) and the BYO fee is only $3 or 10% for groups of eight or more.
The story behind the Chat Thai name is kind of a cute one, since their restaurant has served as a meeting place for diners to hand out and chat about Thai food and food in general for over 25 years. Plus they serve guay jupb (tubular rice noodles with pork and boiled egg in five spice broth), khor mhu yang (chargrilled pork neck with smoked chilli and tamarind relish) and allow BYO. Win!
One Penny Red
The BYO at One Penny Red is probably the best named of the bunch. Called the ‘raid your cellar dinner’, their BYO night takes place on the last Tuesday of each month in their downstairs dining area. This is the perfect opportunity to dust off that special bottle of red that’s sitting in the corner at home, waiting for a special occasion. All you have to do is book a table and for $75 per person, they’ll tailor a four-course menu to accompany your special bottle. Their food is contemporary but still filling and comforting. Case in point is their Berkshire pork chop served with fermented cabbage, rosella and apple and the vanilla and coconut panna cotta with young coconut jelly and pineapple sorbet.
If you're searching for more cheap eats in Sydney head to 50 of the Best Cheap Eats in Sydney under $15 for some inspo.
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Image credit: Federica Portentoso at Longrain