Start planning your post-lockdown feast, Sydney—because there's plenty of newness on the horizon for you to get excited about when restrictions ease up once more.
Like, a 12-seat BYO pasta bar inspired by the chill vibes of the Mediterranean. Or a brand-new burger joint with a Michelin-trained chef at the helm, and 70-seat mezcal bar for the CBD. We've also got a brand-new gin bar for The Rocks pouring fancy Vesper martinis and smoky Brandy Alexanders, Josh Niland's charcoal chicken-inspired fish shop, a farm-to-table concept on the South Coast worthy of your post-lockdown weekend road trip, and a brand-new natural wine bottlo tied to one of Sydney's best bars.
Ready? Here's our list of the best new and upcoming restaurant openings in Sydney right now.
Upcoming Restaurant Openings In Sydney
Get excited about these soon-to-open restaurants, bars, bakeries, and more.
Acqua E Farina
Opening on Saturday 28 August at midday, Acqua E Farina is a brand new artisan pasta spot from the team behind Sydney's rule-breaking degustation restaurant, Métisse. Head chef Lucinda Khan will be whipping up fresh handmade pasta and housemade sauces—which will be made to order and available for takeaway for the duration of lockdown. Once restrictions ease, Acqua E Farina will open up its intimate 12-seat BYO pasta bar. Inspired by the Med with fresh pasta being served out of 80kg Parmigiana cheese wheels, we're predicting this one will be a major summertime vibe.
The Milpa Collective is responsible for some of Sydney's best Mexican-inspired eateries (and some of our best margs too). In July, they announced they would be opening not one, but three new venues across the city. We're most excited about Santa Catarina, an all-in mezcal bar where you can go deep on the smokey sibling to tequila.
The Clarence Street bar will be paying homage to the Mexican city of Oaxaca, where the majority of the world’s mezcal is sourced. You can expect a showcase of rare and authentic varieties, showing off Milpa’s connection to Oaxacan producers, some of which still use ancestral techniques like distilling in clay pots. The 100-seat venue will also put a modern touch on traditional Mexican dishes like mole madre and tetelas using house-made maize.
As for the other two new venues, we can't deny they sound pretty damn excellent too. Casa Merida will be a 70-seat cocktail bar in Potts Point dedicated to margaritas and top-shelf tequila. Then, a restaurant called Londres 126 in Sydney's Quay Quarter is inspired by Frida Kahlo's parties and Mexico City’s dynamic food scene. Read more here.
From the crew behind Sydney's opium den-inspired whisky bar, The Doss House comes an all-new gin bar for The Rocks. Slated to open sometime this month, Frank Mac's won't be an average gin bar either—with over 80 gins sourced from all around the world, it'll have one of the biggest botanical collections in Sydney.
Set across two storeys and a courtyard in one of The Rocks' extra-charming sandstone buildings complete with cosy fireplaces, standout drinks include signature G&T's (naturally) and a Vesper-style "Mac Martini" made with Bombay Dry gin, Eristoff vodka, Lillet, Antica Formula vermouth and house-made olive brine, and infused with lemon myrtle, kaffir lime, and bay leaves. We're also excited for the potential comeback of the Brandy Alexander this winter—Frank Mac's version will be a chilli-infused coco pop washed brandy milk punch served with smoked cream and dusted with nutmeg (just casually).
Slated to open sometime this month, Charcoal Fish is the latest from award-winning, trailblazing sustainable seafood chef, Josh Niland. Very basically, it's a fish and chip shop concept that pairs the nostalgia and simplicity of a charcoal chicken shop with his new school approach to seafood.
“Charcoal Fish has been an ambition of mine for the past 12 months,” Niland told us back in May when the new venture was announced. “I feel it is absolutely essential to Sydney's dining footprint that we have a charcoal chicken equivalent available for fish.”
Charcoal Fish will serve just one fish—Aquna Murray Cod from Griffith in NSW. It’s an interesting move for a chef who’s known to hero diversity when it comes to seafood, but as with anything Niland does, there’s plenty of thought behind it. Read more about Charcoal Fish here.
Sydneysiders are already spoilt for choice when it comes to inner-city distilleries that double as great bars, and now there’s a new spot on the horizon from a couple of local bar and spirit-making legends. Hickson House Distilling Co. is the brainchild of Mikey Enright and Julian Train (of The Duke of Clarence and The Barber Shop fame) plus Tim Stones (distilling whiz formerly of Manly Spirits), and their new venture promises to shake up The Rocks’ booze scene in a big way.
Housed in the old Saatchi & Saatchi garage, Hickson House will breathe new life into the former warehouse party pad with an active distillery pumping out an interesting mix of gin, aperitifs, whisky, and specialty spirits alongside an enormous, multi-storey bar serving up daring cocktails and a botanical-inspired menu to match. First on the trio’s agenda is a range of "Hickson Road" gins (if The Barber Shop’s "Gin Bar Of The Year" reputation is anything to go by, you know it’s going to be epic), featuring a gin designed to pair with a special kangaroo dish.
Back in February, the Hickson House team hinted at a late 2021 opening date—so we're expecting this one to open up very soon. Stay tuned here.
New And Recent Restaurant Openings In Sydney
Here are Sydney's most exciting new restaurant openings—as well as details on which venues are also open for takeaway during Sydney's ongoing lockdown.
Wings 'N Burgers
The iconic Robin Hood Hotel has had a bit of a glow-up this year. First was Lorraine's, an Art Deco-style wine bar, led by Michelin-trained chef Clement Marchais. The newest addition to the Eastern Suburbs boozer is Wings 'N Burgers. Also headed up by Marchais, this is all-American comfort food meets top-notch pub fare with a little Michelin star polish. The very good-looking "Triple Double" burger is a stack of Jack's Creek Wagyu smash patties, double hi-melt cheese, double maple bacon, American mustard, tomato sauce, pickles, and onions, finished with Wings 'N Burgers' signature sauce and served on pillowy-soft, freshly baked potato buns. A contender for one of Sydney's best burgers? We'd back that. There's also a spicy twist on buffalo fried chicken, three variations of poutine, and cheesy fries that you should absolutely top with tequila jalapenos. Amazing.
Wings 'N Burgers is currently available for takeaway at The Robin Hood Hotel, and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5pm - 9pm. Delivery is also available on Deliveroo and Doordash.
Ok, this one's a little further afield—but hands up if you're keen for some restaurant-inspired road trips once lockdown wraps up? Yeah, same. Down in pretty Narooma in NSW's Eurobodalla Shire, Merivale has continued its pub acquisition spree, picking up The Whale Inn in June, a restaurant, motel, and bar perched on the coast. And it's here that Chez Dominique has popped up, offering an intimate farm-to-table bistro experience.
Led by French-Australian couple Elsa Marie and Julian May, who draw experience from kitchens across Europe and Australia (Septime, Saint-Europe, Brawn, 10 William Street, and their own Parisian restaurant, La Vierge), Chez Dominique champions Narooma's local farms. Veggies from Borrowed Ground growers, Queen Street growers, Old Mill Road farm, and Stepping Stone farm, for example, will be served alongside grass-fed pork and beef raised and butchered by local father and son duo, Ian and Rhys Martin of free-range Martin’s Ridge Farm. This one is a super special, limited-run experience—so here's hoping we can travel down south again soon.
Where's Nick Wine Shop & Bar
Where's Nick feels like one of Sydney's best-kept bar secrets—a long-standing Marrickville small bar loved for its unique curation of booze. But then, Where's Nick has won plenty of awards and appeared on plenty of "best bars" lists—so the secret's definitely out. In May this year, much to our delight, Where's Nick expanded, opening up its very own bottle shop in the former Flight Centre spot next door.
Owners Julian and Dominic Abouzied have buddied up with Bridget Raffle (Sixpenny) to create the Where's Nick wine shop—and here you will find the same mix of unique nattie wines, spirits, and beers that the Nick crew have become known for. “We want to move the conversation in natural wine beyond trendy juice,” Julian said in a statement. As well as the downstairs retail space, you'll also find an upstairs function room built for tastings, movie nights, Dungeons and Dragons events (!), and more.
You can shop Where's Nick's Wine Shop online here. Same-day delivery is available for Sydney Metro—order before 1pm.
After a stunning multi-million dollar glow-up, Greek fine diner Alpha is back in our lives again. For the unacquainted, Alpha first opened on Castlereigh Street back in 2013. For its 2021 refresh, DS17 interior designer Paul Papadopoulos has worked a little magic over the space, retaining the sweeping ceilings and warm, muted palette, but adding in white-washed walls, American oak, creamy marble, and some unique Thonet chairs. There's also a handcrafted feature wall carved with ancient Greek letters.
As for the food, some of executive chef Peter Conistis hero dishes have remained, like the scallop moussaka, slow-roasted lamb, and Alpha spanakopita. The rest of the menu has been reimagined along with head chef James Roberts (China Doll, Est.) and an of-the-moment theatre-style kitchen. Highlights include feta brined roast chicken with tourlou tourlou and a vegan-friendly smoked eggplant pie with cauliflower kapama and coconut yoghurt.
We're also excited to see that almost half of the wine list features unique Greek wines—giving Sydney more opportunity to bask in the glory of some lesser-known grapes of the Mediterranean.
Alpha has launched an "Alpha at Home" takeaway menu. Check it out here.
Pub Life Kitchen
After a four-year hiatus, Pub Life Kitchen is another blast from the past on this list, returning to the Lord Wolseley Hotel in Ultimo. PLK fans will be happy to learn that other superstars from the original menu are making a comeback. As well as the OG Burger (a stack made up of dry-aged grass-fed beef patty, cheese, pickles, tomato, lettuce, and roasted garlic and lime mayo), you'll also find the TLC (fried chicken, double cheese, pickles, green sriracha mayo), founder Jovan Curic's beloved thick-cut chips, and hot n sticky chicken wings.
When it comes to what's new, Curic says, "this time it’s a family affair, with my wife Dee and I creating a menu that pays homage to both our love of the classic Aussie pub, great quality Australian produce, and also our Serbian heritage.”
Kick-off with an Adriatic-style octopus salad, or Balkan staples like dry-aged cevapi, sarma (stuffed pickled cabbage rolls), and a Serbian-style pork schnitzel called karadjordjeva snitzla. And, alongside even more weekly specials, you'll also find Aussie pub classics like schnitty and parmi; a pasta alla norma with eggplant, tomato, basil, and Reggiano; and a dry-aged grass-fed rump steak served with chips and burnt onion butter.
Pub Life Kitchen is currently open for takeaway. Peep their menu and opening hours here.
Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers
Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers claim to be Australia's first-ever dedicated gnoccheria (claiming to be first with any sort of Italian food concept is bold, but we'll let it slide). If you're not familiar, the beloved Brisbane market-stall-turned-gnocchi-sensation has been turning heads for the past few years with its fluffy house-made gnocchi and pasta sauces, peddling tasty plates across six vibing restaurants in Queensland.
Newtown is the gnocchi emporium's first Sydney outpost—and here you can tuck into traditional beef Bolognese gnocchi, a wild mushroom and truffle gnocchi, a creamy lobster and barramundi gnocchi, a creamy basil pesto, and more. Gluten-free and vegan bowls are available, and each gnocchi is $18 for dine-in or $14.50 to takeaway. Sides include Italian mopping bread, salt and pepper calamari, and truffle salted chips. For dessert, there’s tiramisu, cannoli, and panna cotta—you know, the Italian icons. Hungry? Order yourself a gnocchi degustation to take home ($81).
Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers is open for takeaway and home delivery on Uber Eats and Deliveroo.
From the Ho Jiak team, Amah is a fresh Malaysian eatery serving cuisine inspired by head chef Hun Loong's amah (the word for "grandmother" in Teochew and Hokkien). While Loong was head chef at Mr Wong and also counts Quay on his resume, the food at Amah is his true passion.
Loong's idea of homestyle cooking is not to be confused with casually whipped up dishes and simple flavours. For example, his favourite item on the menu is his amah’s handmade mackerel fishbowl soup, which would take her an entire day to prepare. The modern version created from memory features Spanish mackerel from the Northern Territory, with pork and flounder bones flavouring the sweet and savoury broth.
Elsewhere on the menu, you’ll find dishes showcasing Loong’s refined cooking techniques like Amah’s Tau Eu Bak, a six-hour braised soy master stock pork belly, or a dry wok-fried mud crab with Sarawak black pepper, brown butter, and curry leaves.
Amah is currently open for takeaway—check their socials.
Dean And Nancy On 22
Dean and Nancy is a fancy hotel lobby bar within the all-new A by Adina boutique hotel in the heart of the city. Behind the concept is the award-winning Maybe Sammy team. Ascend a golden staircase to the seriously stunning 120-seater bar, which has been designed by George Livissianis (Sammy Junior, Chin Chin, The Apollo). With a super slick black and gold palette, a baby grand piano, low leather banquettes, intimate lamplit tables for two, and a view of the twinkling city skyline that, come nighttime, Dean and Nancy feels a little bit like Sophia Coppola's Lost in Translation.
Maybe Sammy creative director Andrea Gualdi has crafted 15 new signature concoctions written into a journey of a menu, including some high roller cocktails made with super-premium spirits and non-alcoholic cocktails too. Try the Coffee Champagne cocktail, where—magically—your hands become the garnish via some keepsake hand cream, or the “Rolling A Double”, which comes with a pair of dice; roll a double and you’ll win a cocktail upgrade. The menu of hearty bar snacks has been dreamt up by legendary Sydney chef Jane Strode and includes the "Fireball", a ball of whipped cream cheese, nduja, marjoram, and lemon that’s wrapped in a nest of Kataifi pastry, baked until almost molten, and served on a dab of tomato jam with pickles. Pro tip? Go at sunset to see that golden bar glow like nothing else.
Dean and Nancy is currently closed due to Sydney's lockdown. You can, however, order Maybe Sammy's bottled cocktails here.
If you've been wondering what would become of the old Freda's site in Chippendale—we finally have an answer. Picking up where the legendary late-night spot left off is The Barrie, a no-fuss cocktail lounge and live music spot from Chris Garner, Chris Turvey, and Liam Stanwell. While the trio counts Employees Only, Rockpool, and Restaurant Hubert in their bar experience, the vibe at The Barrie will be much more low-key.
Serving only Australian wine and beers alongside a neat edit of signature cocktails, cheeses, and charcuterie from LP's Quality Meats, The Barrie isn't trying to be anything but a good time—which is totally the sort of unpretentious vibe we can get behind in a post-2020 world. Kick-off your night with the fruity and refreshing "Cash on Delivery" cocktail, made with cognac, Brookie's macadamia and wattleseed, passionfruit, citrus, and peach bitters, before moving on to something delicate and smoky like the "Finger in the Ocean" with Vida mezcal, Amaro Montenegro, Espolon blanco tequila, grapefruit and rosemary, topped with sparkling wine.
The Barrie also has live music most nights of the week ticking off everything from blues to reggae and disco.
The Barrie is open for takeaway cocktails, beer, and wine. Check their socials for more.
Rice Pantry is a part of Marrickville Metro's amazing (and very welcome) new glow-up. On the new Smidmore Street dining precinct, the all-day diner is a follow-up to St Peters' super popular Rice Pantry outpost, only this time, former Masterchef contestant Bryan Zhu has joined the kitchen as head chef, whipping up even more friendly Aussie-inspired Vietnamese treats.
As the name suggests, rice is the hero of the menu, and alongside a daily selection of rice paper rolls, bao, signature bowls and pho, are things like okonomiyaki loaded tots, made with nori salt, furikake, Japanese BBQ sauce, kewpie mayo, shichimi togarashi, bonito, and lime, as well as spring onion roti, and sriracha loaded fries. There are a bunch of signature cocktails to sip (our pick is the "Lychee Umeshu") and, for dessert, Zhu is serving his famous yuzu ice cream, made with layers of lime meringue, citrus, and saffron pineapple combined with sago and mint. There's also a Vietnamese coffee lamington that needs to be on your sweet treat hit list.
Rice Pantry is open for takeaway—order online here.
Among the top-billed eateries at the new South Eveleigh dining precinct is Lucky Kwong—an all-new eatery from Kylie Kwong. It opened at the end of May and is centred on the idea of simplicity, flavour, and food as nourishment—a far cry from the theatre and extravagance of some of Sydney's recent restaurant openings.
Just serving lunch, Lucky Kwong is a walk-ins-only, pay-at-the-counter venue, plating up Kylie Kwong favourites Monday through Friday for dine-in and takeaway. Pop in for caramelised pork belly with Davidson’s plum, savoury pancakes with fried egg, vegetables, Asian herbs, and caramel-tamari, and Uncle Jimmy’s steamed Hokkien noodles.
Lucky Kwong is open for takeaway.
Dreamt up by the same team that brought Sydney Chaco Bar and Chaco Ramen (chef Keita Abe and ex-Sasaki head chef Kensuke Yada), Haco is a pint-sized 12-seat omakase dedicated almost entirely to tempura. Housed within a concrete cube at the Surry Hills end of the CBD, it's a first of its kind in Sydney where the sheer theatre of deep-dried deliciousness takes centre stage ("haco" translates to "theatre").
At Haco, you're in for a relatively vague set menu of 20 bite-sized dishes—kept vague because chef Yada likes to really move with what's in season (we love to see it). Expect to sample lightly battered king prawn, lotus root, and, for dessert, banana, alongside braised pork belly, kombu-cured lobster, and bonito sashimi, while you sip sake, Japanese beer, and house-made umeshu and yuzushu.
Pro tip: Haco is a super special experience—but you'll want to plan ahead. Being a 12-seater, it is booked out a few months in advance.
Haco is currently closed due to lockdown restrictions—but you can still make future reservations here.
Good Ways Deli
With a nostalgic palette of Aussie Colourbond green and a neat menu filled with top-tier sangas and CWA-style bakery treats, Good Ways Deli is the sort of sunny corner spot you dream of stumbling across while roaming around on the weekend. Behind the new hybrid cafe-deli-bakery, is chef-baker Jordan McKenzie (whose resume casually ticks off Cornersmith, Cho Cho San, the Orana Sydney pop-up, and Small Talk Coffee) and Tom Pye of Coffee Supreme.
Here, sandwiches are a cut above the rest, to say the least. Made with housemade wattle-seed-permeated ciabattas—in the AM, go for the breakfast roll with hot butter, fermented potato, egg salad, and onion jam. Or, cure that hangover with a perfected cheese and apple toastie with Maffra mature cheddar, pickled apple, and mayo. Get fresh with a next-level salad sanga packed out with beetroot, carrot, sprouts, cheddar cheese, broadleaf rocket, mayo, and a lick of mushroom pâté.
As for the sweet treats—slabs of rhubarb-jam lamingtons, Vegemite scrolls, gluten-free wattleseed brownies, and Anzac biscuits are all on the agenda, each created by McKenzie and Good Ways baker, Greer Rochford.
Good Ways Deli is open for takeaway.
Another entry on the sandwich front this month is Kosta's, Rockdale's newest hole-in-the-wall sandwich joint with stacks of attitude. Painted bright blue and white, the zero-fuss menu is divided into "You Like, You Buy", "Classic, Not Basic", "Tell Your Missus", and "Best Coffee In Town", (which reveals more of Kosta's overall vibe as opposed to what they actually serve but, whatever, we dig it).
As for what you can actually fill up on here, the menu has been crafted by ex Cornersmith Chef Cameron Harris and Delicious magazine recipe writer, Helena Moursellas. Hero sandwiches are the Super Deli panini, with turkey ham, basturma, marinated peppers, spinach, graviera, fennel butter, lettuce, and salsa verde, and the classic poached chicken sandwich, which is
chicken, avocado, slaw, chives, mayo, and salsa verde on Tuscan-style schiacciata. There's also a schnitty sandwich served on an olive oil bun, classic shakes, smoothies, frozen watermelon juice and coffee by Veneziano Coffee Roasters.
Kosta's is open for takeaway as normal.
RND (an acronym for “Raw Next Door”) operates out of neighbouring Harry’s Bondi just three nights a week (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). Behind the menu at RND is Jack New, who headed up the kitchen at Edition Coffee Roasters, as well as another secret Japanese spot tucked away at the back of a poke bowl bar in Woollahra called Izy Izakaya.
With a Japanese meets Bondi mindset, standouts on New's menu include a lobster tempura sando with yuzu slaw and fermented chilli mayo, karaage chicken with ginger dressing and black garlic aioli, crispy rice with spicy tuna tartare, and then overnight master stock pork belly skewers with sweet, sticky glaze and yuzu kosho mayo.
RND is currently closed due to lockdown restrictions. Keep an eye on their socials for updates.
Still To Come
- Byron Bay eatery Harvest is due to open its first Sydney venue at the new surf lodge at Wisemans Ferry in 2022
- AP Bakery, a brand new bakery concept from Ester's Mat Lindsay, Reuben Hills' Russel Beard, and Ping Jin Ng, the man behind the beautiful Paramount House Hotel
- A new era for Fort Denison—which is due to become a restaurant, bar and wine room
Hungry right now? Here's our list of awesome Sydney restaurants offering takeaway during lockdown.
Image credit: Wings 'N Burgers, Acqua E Farina, Milpa Collective, Steven Woodburn, Wings 'N Burgers, Where's Nick, Alpha, Nikki To, Amah, Steven Woodburn, The Barrie, Leigh Griffiths, Lucky Kwong, Nikki To, Kosta's, Kitti Gould