Restaurants

17 Of The Best Outdoor Dining Spots In Sydney Right Now

By Jessica Best

Sydney is undoubtedly the most beautiful city in Australia. Period. So, when the mercury starts rising, and the days start feeling a little bit longer (thank you, daylight savings), we’re all about lapping up that sunshine in style and knocking back cold ones until the sun goes down.

Whether that be in a European-inspired laneway, a rooftop patio, a waterfront restaurant, or a leafy courtyard in one of Sydney’s oldest pubs, just bring on the antipasto and al fresco vibes. 

These are the best outdoor dining spots in Sydney.

Rafi

North Sydney

A 300-person drinking and dining behemoth from the Applejack crew in North Sydney,  Rafi is decked out with sunny terraces, a cocktail bar, a restaurant, a private dining room, a chef's table experience, and a central glasshouse structure called The Arbour. Outside on the terrace, the vibe is more Euro summer thanks to the bright striped fabric banquettes, custom tiled tables, colourful umbrellas, festoon lighting, lush greenery, and daydream-worthy lounges.

As for the menu, think fresh, seasonal dishes like glacier 51 toothfish with chickpea miso, fresh chickpeas and chilli, raw south coast tuna with cucumber, avocado and fresh yuzu, and dry-aged duck crowned with fresh plum and mustard leaves.

Shell House Dining Room & Terrace

CBD

The historic Shell House at Wynyard was one of the biggest openings the CBD has seen in a while. The multi-storey establishment now boasts epic bars, a rooftop, and a stunning restaurant. The restoration of the venue leans into the stunning building's interwar commercial palazzo-style architecture with over 1,600 sqm of space and, notably, a huge sunny terrace, which is the perfect spot to wine and dine from the share-style, mostly Italian-inspired menu.

Whalebridge

Circular Quay

Perched right on the harbour, Whalebridge is where you want to be for oysters, fresh French fare and unbeatable views. A lot of the seating is outside, making it perfect for sunny afternoons when you feel like being a tourist in your own city or you’re trying to impress out-of-towners. 

The food follows a similar fuss-free ethos, with Executive Chef Will Elliott serving up playful French dishes and plenty of seafood—an intersection of Paris and the Pacific Ocean, if you will. Order the bouillabaisse de Marseille for an indulgent meal of scampi, prawn, fish and lobster in a saffron broth, or lobster Thermidor if you're really looking to stun.

Totti’s

Bondi

Totti's courtyardScoffing down mortadella, salami, prosciutto, creamy burrata and woodfired bread in a casual Italian-style courtyard just makes a whole lot of sense to us. So it’s no surprise that Totti’s takes the cake when it comes to bearing an outdoor space that’s too good to pass up. Headed up by Mike Eggert, Totti’s shines in many departments, from the antipasto spreads and the charcoal fish to the organic wines and Riot Spritz (it's aperitivo hour around the clock here). The courtyard sports extended patio vibes and is filled with olive trees, director’s chairs, and dappled sunlight.

The Boathouse

Palm Beach, Patonga, Rose Bay and Balmoral

Boathouse PatongaIf there's one hospitality group that rules the outdoor dining scene in Sydney, it's gotta be The Boathouse Group. With venues dotted around the harbour, stretching from Rose Bay all the way to the Northern Beaches, The Boathouse venues are made for easy, breezy weekend lunches over summer. All up, they own ten waterfront eateries, six of which fall under The Boathouse moniker—all serving fresh-as seafood and elevated pub meals. Our pick? The Boathouse Patonga. Surrounded by national parkland and with stunning boutique accommodation, this spot feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Catch the ferry over, drive down or stop in while on a scenic hike—no matter how you get here, trust us, you won't want to leave. 

Bopp & Tone 

CBD

outdoor dining spaceBopp & Tone is another stellar outdoor dining affair from the legends at Applejack (also responsible for plating up the tasty tacos at SoCal above), oozing a nostalgic aesthetic and incorporating a whole lot of greenery, complete with an alfresco dining terrace you need to hit this summer.

The Australian menu centres around honest and generous share food with Mediterranean influences, featuring dishes such as salt cod fritters, Wagyu flank steak, and a lemon tart with lavender ice cream.

St George Sailing Club

Sans Souci

St George Sailing ClubThanks to a huge $15M renovation, St George Sailing Club has quickly become one of the top al fresco dining spots in Sydney. Run by the team behind the Manly Skiff Club in the north, the sprawling St George Sailing Club has a revamped bistro, lounging spaces, and breezy open-air decks. The redesign is the work of architect Jon Jacka, who has created a crisp coastal aesthetic with warm timber accents and outdoor space for days. Just remember your SPF. 

Behind the seafood-rich menu is group executive chef Justin Wong—and all your seaside favourites and then some are there for the taking. Think freshly shucked oysters, chilled prawns with wasabi mayo, and beer-battered fish and chips, alongside a little Mediterranean influence with wood-fired pizzas, prawn linguini, and osso buco rigatoni.

The Newport

Newport

NewportThe Newport is a pretty flawless venue when it comes to its outdoor multi-dining spread, overlooking pretty Pittwater. There are several outdoor dining options to get around here, all equally amazing and delicious. The garden is fitted out with fire pits in winter, tables with views over the water and cabanas for the squad, you’re only mission is to decide on what your vibe is. The Arms Bar is your go-to for an al fresco happy hour, there’s also a Kiosk Cafe with breakfast goods and smoothies, Vinnie’s Pizza is pretty much the beating heart of the entire joint, and The Shack whips up greasy burgers, fish and chips, and salt and pepper calamari.

Bellevue Cottage By Antoine

Glebe

Cottage exteriorSome food was just meant to be consumed outside and, when it comes to French fare, nothing beats crunching your way through a croque madame at brunch or spooning down coq au vin at dinner in a leafy courtyard reminiscent of the French countryside. Bellevue Cottage By Antoine builds from Antoine Moscovitz’s French culinary roots in a stunning heritage-listed building with almost as much charm as the Loire Valley itself. Moscovitz hails from Paris and his mega culinary background not only includes cooking under world-renowned chef Alain Ducasse but also being appointed private chef to the House of Roederer. The kitchen is stocked with seasonal goods, an array of proteins are cured in-house, and dishes are made from scratch, which include the pork and chicken liver terrine, the confit smoked pork belly, and the succulent braised beef cheeks.

Ezra

Potts Point

With not one but two courtyards and Ashkenazi, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours, Ezra is a must if you're after memorable outdoor dining. Share plates of moreish dips, vibrant raw fish, tabbouleh and flat iron pastrami while sipping on a spritz or juicy natural wine in dappled sunshine.

A'Mare

Barangaroo

With a primo harbourside location at the base of the Crown Casino, a'Mare is a luxurious Italian restaurant with a covered outdoor terrace that's pure perfection for watching the Barangaroo busy-ness pass by. Order up snapper crudo with citrus dressing and chilli oil, a trofie pasta with pesto made tableside, and maybe a caviar-dressed maritozzo milk bun, and you can aaaaalmost smell the Adriatic. 

Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel

Watsons Bay

The next best thing to setting sail on the harbour itself is setting yourself up at Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel at sunset and slinging back crisp glasses of rosé. Not much beats the blue and white parasols of this iconic venue which bears a whole lot of morning mimosas, seafood platters and smashable breakfasts with a view. The Beach Club should be your place of calling, perfect for lazy lunches, afternoon cocktails, and after-dark parties. 

Cafe Freda's

Darlinghurst

Cafe Fredas exteriorWhile you might not be able to call it peaceful, Cafe Freda's is primed for after-work arvo drinks and next-level snacks. Located on Oxford Street's Taylor Square, it's the more food-focused second iteration of the former late-night Chippendale haunt—and it's still a huge vibe. Sit out on the street, knock back a minimal-intervention vino, and watch the busy world go by as you tuck into the likes of smoked mussel tostadas, fish finger sambos, zippy ceviche, and slow-roasted brisket empanadas. Later on, DJs get behind the decks to take things up a notch, too. 

North Bondi Fish

North Bondi 

If making the most of your final hours of freedom is your Sunday game plan, North Bondi Fish's live music from 4pm to 7pm is a safe bet to satisfy, especially when enjoyed from their covered terrace. Steps from the sand and surf, this seafood spot is super laid-back, with a menu that covers everything from a daily selection of sashimi and simple grilled fillets to a signature fish curry or the fish tacos that many claim are Sydney's best.

Opera Bar

Circular Quay

You can't beat Opera Bar's location, right in front of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. At any time of day, you’ll be soaking up the sunshine, watching ferries glide in and out of the terminal, and even scoping some cheeky scenes of Luna Park. Real estate aside, here it’s all about freshness and seasonality, from Opera Bar’s spritzes and crisp pale ales to its all-encompassing seafood menu. There’s an all-day menu with snacks, pizza, sashimi plates and mains, and epic cold or hot seafood platters for when you're with a group.

SoCal

Neutral Bay

SoCal outdoor dining roomIt doesn’t get any closer to an actual trip to California than Neutral Bay’s sunny haven SoCal. Bright, buzzing and bang-on with the decor, the rooftop terrace here is a vortex of good times. On the menu is fresh and modern Southern Californian share-style street food, packed with Latin American spices alongside low ‘n’ slow-smoked meats, house-made sauces and freshly indulgent sides. The lush garden and retractable roof mean the al fresco vibes are amped at all times. Order up as many tasty tacos as you can handle, fried smoked wings, tuna tostada, ceviche, a serving of tater tots and wash everything down with SoCal’s famed Tommy’s margarita.

Hello Auntie

Darling Square

laneway dining at restaurantCompared to its sister venue, Hello Auntie 2.0 preaches a more bar-heavy vibe. Bringing a new-school vision of Vietnamese eats to the Haymarket hotspot, this beauty is not a copy-and-paste version of its Inner West original. Instead, you’ll find a sleeker look that features a monochrome colour palette, mood lighting and wooden accents as dining tables pour out onto the footpath. Centred right in the heart of Haymarket, there’s a sprawl of outdoor tables perfect for Hello Auntie’s bottomless brunch offering or date night during the warmer months. The venue is also dog-friendly so you can bring your four-legged furry friend along, too.

Now, check out the best rooftop bars in Sydney right now.

Image credit: Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, RAFI (Steven Woodburn), Shell House, Whalebridge, Totti's, The Boathouse, Bopp & Tone, Leigh Griffiths, The Newport, Bellevue Cottage By Antoine, Ezra, a'Mare, Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, Cafe Freda's, North Bondi Fish (Steven Woodburn), Opera Bar, SoCal, Hello Auntie

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