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. This list includes harbourside rooftops, massive foodie precincts, CBD bistro-style restaurants (with all the natural lighting) and a number of classic venues.
And best of all, with our Urban Feast card, you'll basically get a round of drinks for free at any of the participating venues—do you really need another excuse?
Here are all the best spots for a long lunch in Sydney.
This is one of those Sydney bucket list spots that everyone needs to visit at least once, and this year they kicked off weekend lunch service—and yes, it's a real treat. Perched on the top floor of the historic Customs House at Circular Quay, your lunch will feature a breathtaking view of the Bridge, Opera House and sparkly Sydney Harbour. Make sure you book a table on the balcony, settle in with a spritz or an espresso martini or indulge in a plateful of Cafe Sydney’s extra fresh oysters. The menu is polished modern Australian, and ticks off things like tuna tartare with smoked trout roe, ricotta gnocchi, braised beef cheek and roasted pork belly.
Built into a stunning, sprawling weatherboard cottage on Freshwater Beach, Pilu is an absolute must for anyone wanting to experience the very best of Sydney's dining with a side of fresh, seaside air. Pilu has two chef hats—a culinary title that is well deserved. The menu is inspired by owner Giovanni Pilu's Italian home, Sardinia, but champions local produce. The hero of the menu has to be the crisp-skinned suckling pig for two with rosemary potatoes, but we're also very into the refined desserts on offer.
If you've been dreaming of the sort of long, lazy lunch you'd get if you were drifting somewhere in the Mediterranean, let Potts Point newbie Franca Brasserie sort you out. The menu here is French-leaning, focusing on classics and coastal delicacies from the glorious, glamorous South, but you can expect a library of flavours and food stories from all the neighbouring beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. Get started with basil eggplant tortellini finished with a ratatouille consommé, or a fresh spin on the classic Nicoise salad with yellowfin tuna and grated cured egg yolk infused with smoked paprika. Standout mains include a spanner crab tagliatelle and corn-fed chicken with walnut and butter lettuce.
The Saké family has travelled across the harbour to the new rooftop of Manly Wharf, where you can indulge all your summer vibe needs and that means the epitome of long lunch feels. Boasting a variety of dining spaces, you can choose your fortune at Saké. Take in the sea air and ocean views on the terrace, sit kitchen-side at the sushi counter, get the crew around for a more intimate experience in one of the private dining rooms or sip on gin bowls in the bar area.
Icebergs Dining Room And Bar
It's true that some beachside restaurants with epic ocean views tend to rely a little too heavily on their location. Icebergs is not one of those venues. As well as having a postcard-perfect vantage to watch the waves of one of the world's most iconic beaches, Icebergs delivers with a perfect a flawless Italian-inspired menu, a sleek modern interior and an epic menu made for long lunches. It's headed up by Maurice Terzini, who's taken Sydney by storm since opening Icebergs Dining Room and Bar back in 2002 (his latest is CicciaBella, also in Bondi).
We'd definitely be remiss to not include this inner-city go-to. Since this sprawling garden wine bar slash urban oasis opened, many locals have been known to get lost here for a few hours of lunchtime feasting. As its name suggests, The Winery has a hefty wine list to get stuck into that covers off a nice curation of bubbles, whites, pinks and reds. To eat, you've got modern Australian-style share plates and snacks like porcini arancini, sausage rolls and smoked lamb meatballs. Larger plates include a lamb shank and pinot pie and mussels cooked in a riesling cream sauce and served with garlic bread.
The Adored Group, who also run popular drinking holes The Lobo Plantation and Kittyhawk, have worked up a thirst for opening venues in the Sydney CBD. While Matteo Double Bay is pizzas and seafood, the Downtown counterpart features earthier, richer dishes from northern Italy and bistro vibes we’d happily soak up for hours. We’re giving a massive shout out to the mozzarella bar here but like always, all the Matteo feeds are hard to fault.
The Pacific Club
All of you Bondi trendsetters need to listen up because The Pacific Club is here and you’re going to want to head there, like, now. The all-day venue has us excited for lazy Summer arvo’s by the beach, with an indoor-outdoor flow and ocean views. A woodfire grill and raw bar are the heroes of the kitchen, with a local seafood-heavy menu (which is pretty darn appropriate considering those waterfront vibes on Campbell Parade).
The dining room at Bert's might be one of the most stunning Sydney has to offer. Designed by Akin Creative's Kelvin Ho alongside regular Merivale-collaborator Amanda Talbot and Merivale boss Justin Hemmes, it's a total Great Gatsby-era dream. As well as plush booths, soft lighting and a view across Pittwater, there are raw bars dressed in caviar, lobsters and oysters. The vibe is all things Mediterranean, with Merivale's Jordan Toft at the helm as executive chef and Sam Kane leading the way in the kitchen as head chef. And if all that's not enough to keep you there, take a plunge into Bert's 750-strong wine list created by master sommelier Franck Moreau.
The Collaroy is the latest makeover project from the peeps at Merivale (they’re getting good at this). The beachfront hotel is spread over two levels: the ground floor serves up breakfast pizza, healthy bowls for lunch, and home-style dinners once the sun goes down. Meanwhile, upstairs it’s seafood galore, and you’ll also have your choice between two bars. It’s the perfect place to chill out after a dip at the beach.
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).
Inspired by the iconic food culture of New Orleans and Louisiana, NOLA is a sweet spot for a lunchtime feast with views out across Darling Harbour. The Smokehouse has you covered for top-cut meats cooked to perfection with southern-style roasting. Think dry-aged beef brisket, smoked and pulled pork shoulder and spit-roasted lamb served with simple slaw or BBQ spiced garlic corn on the side. Hit the French Quarter after your meal—a secret room dedicated to premium whisky.
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.
Ready for something sweet? Treat yourself to nine of Sydney's best desserts.
Image credit: Icebergs Dining Room and Bar | Frederica Portentoso