There’s no better cure for Sunday blues than a long and leisurely lunch with your mates and, lucky for us, Sydney knows how to do a long lunch well. Oooooh yes she does. So in honour of making the most of every second of the weekend, we have rounded up the best places to head to for a long lunch in Sydney. You better get started guys—there’s a lot to get through.
Nothing kicks a case of the Sunday-Mondays better than soaking up the view of Sydney Harbour and The Bridge over a glass of wine and a delicious meal (or two) at harbourside restaurant Q dining. We suggest you ease into the afternoon with a charcuterie board to share before moving in on the main event—the Humpty Doo baramundi with kohlrabi, cornichon and salty green olive.
Nothing short of a loooong lunch will do at Nomad in Surry Hills. That is, if you want to take full advantage of the boutique wine list on offer and generous shared menu, which you do. The menu was designed with groups in mind, featuring a chef’s menu of kingfish ceviche, BBQ cauliflower, and chocolate with rosewater and raspberry to polish it all off. You had us at boutique wine list.
The perfect setting for a special occasion, CHISWICK is an idyllic, light-filled dining room set in the leafy Sydney suburb of Woollahra. With their kitchen garden at the heart, Head Chef Tom Haynes has created a fresh seasonal menu designed to share. Think Cone Bay barramundi with roast baby fennel, whole wood-roasted John Dory and pavlova with yoghurt mousse and a rhubarb ripple. The cocktail list features both classic and contemporary, taking advantage of fruit and herbs from their kitchen garden, while the beer and wine list features a balanced selection of boutique and local tipples.
Vine Double Bay
A contemporary restaurant with a French heart, Vine Double Bay’s humble wine list will have you discovering your new favourite French wine to sip away the afternoon. Every item on the menu looks almost too good to eat, but we recommend ordering a few tasting plates for the table. We’ve got our eye on the smoked ham hock eclair, but there are meatier options available if you’re in the mood for something more substantial. The dessert menu won’t disappoint either, so bite the bullet and order the tasting platter. It would be wrong not to.
It doesn’t get any more ‘Sydney’ than an afternoon spent by the water with a great bottle of wine, indulging in the best local seafood on offer. And in this arena, Cala Luna delivers in spades. For starters there is salted and cured meats with grissini and Nonna’s pickled vegetables before moving on to an entrée of rock pool broth with Western Australian king prawns, vongole and dry vermouth. A curated selection of classic Italian pasta dishes will greet you for mains and we can’t go past the orecchiette pasta with duck ragu, porcini mushrooms, chianti and fresh peas.
Any restaurant who describes their shared menu as a feast will quickly find its way onto our bucket list. But add into the mix delicious food, an exotic cocktail list that includes an intriguing ‘Liquid Yoga’ and you have yourself a perfect Saturday afternoon. The street market-esque décor is a theme carried through to the menu at INDU and, in our experience, you’re best to hit up the dosa bar first, before moving on to the curries and grill (picking up plenty of side dishes on the way) and finishing up with dessert. There’s a watermelon and fresh mint popsicle for Pete’s sake!
Foys was created as part of the revival of Sydney’s oldest sailing club the Sydney Flying Squadron and the stunning water views make it the ideal location for a relaxed long lunch. The menu is a fresh take on Australian favourites, like the sous vide lamb rump with aubergine, tomato fondue (yep), chickpea and labneh, and the Nutella and Frangelico pannacotta for dessert will have you going back for seconds.
Sunday sessions are made all the more sweet for Northsiders, who won’t have to cross the bridge to take in the harbour views from The Greens on a sunny afternoon. While the view is hard to beat, the pretty-as-a-picture plates come close, whether you keep it simple with house smoked trout salad or treat yo’ self to the macerated wild strawberries with yoghurt ice-cream, honey comb and ginger cream. Plus, there is no better way to bond with new friends than over a stupidly competitive round of barefoot bowls, #amirite?
North Bondi Fish
A fool-proof combination of sea breeze, the freshest seafood, boozy popsicles and an alarming selection of rosé wines (never too many) will have you lunching again and again at North Bondi Fish. Intrigued? You should be. Located in the heart of Bondi Beach, North Bondi Fish strikes the perfect balance between being completely relaxed and a little bit fancy, all at the same time. So get the squad together and head down for a leisurely lunch and a glass of rosé (or two).
A Sydney institution for a reason, Jonah’s will instantly give you those first day of holidays warm and fuzzies. With an unbeatable view over Whale Beach, it would be wrong to stay for only an hour, so settle in and let them do the hard work by ordering from the set menu of two, three or four courses. Add on the paired wine option, because you deserve it.
The Boathouse On Blackwattle Bay
With their close proximity to the fish markets, it’s hardly surprising that seafood is the specialty at The Boathouse On Blackwattle Bay and since there’s a snapper pie with mashed potato on the menu, you should be hightailing it down there yesterday. Staying away from the city’s hustle and bustle is easy at The Boathouse, while you soak up the skyline from a different vantage point. Variety is the spice of life after all.
Fine dining with a ‘real food’ ethos makes Otto Ristorante a no-brainer for a long lunch with your mates. There are plenty of fresh cocktails to test out, hearty pasta dishes and seafood share plates to devour, plus a giant tiramisu for dessert (need I say more?). The menu is concise, so with a reasonably sized group, there should be no room for food envy. Plus, they have a set BYO menu for groups of 13 or more, so get on that.
Aye, Papi! Merivale’s Manly beachside restaurant had us from the moment it casually opened its windows (and doors) a few years back. What’s not to love? Cocktails, pea guacamole (don’t knock it ‘till you try it), enormous platters of juicy meat, lingering conversations over perfectly chilled bottles of rosé… If heaven exists in Sydney, this might just be it. They only take bookings for tables of six or more, what better excuse to round up the troops?
There’s this eerie (yet wonderful) thing that happens in Sydney when the sun comes out. A light breeze whispers the faintest hum of ‘Chiiiiinaa Dollll’ in your ear. This whisper gives you no choice but to pick up the phone and book yourself a table for a long lunch in the sun on Woolloomooloo Wharf. What’s not to love about this Sydney institution? Sunshine, wine, chilli caramel pork belly, wine, glorious cocktails… Did I mention wine?
Remember when Woollahra was having all the fun, with their ladies lunching, tree-lined streets, and local stalwart in the form of Bistro Moncur? Yeah, all of that has changed now thanks to the chic French brasserie taking up residence at The Buena in Mosman. This North Shore restaurant just screams long lunching, with its inviting group dining room, enviable wine list, and serious ‘grammability. Get going!
There’s something about a farm-to-table restaurant that demands you sit and linger over a delicious, extended lunch with your nearest and dearest. And Camperdown restaurant acre is no exception. Picture it: starting with an orange gateau martini, tucking into freshly-made macadamia hummus and then lingering over a braised kangaroo gnocchi, before finding yourself falling head over heels with a banana tarte tatin and never leaving. Heaven, right?
I mean, if you haven’t hit up Sydney’s iconic The Apollo, do you even live in Sydney? You might not, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rectify the situation quick smart. This call-your-Mum-and-tell-her-about-dinner Greek restaurant in Potts Point knows you want the full experience, and isn’t afraid to give it to you. Sample The Full Greek, a feast of epic proportions that covers all bases when it comes to delicious Greek grub. If you want to go rogue on the menu (nice one), then the BBQ octopus is your winner.
Image credit: acre Eatery, China Doll, Nomad & CHISWICK Woollahra | Federica Portentoso and OTTO Ristorante | Carla Dibbs