This pocket of Sydney has emerged as one of Sydney's most vibrant drinking and dining districts.
Redfern is home to quirky casual eateries, wild dive bars that champion order-in Chinese and a collection of offbeat but charming date spots.
This suburb really caters to anyone looking for something a little different to a white table cloth type affair. Whether it’s a special occasion, a midweek meal with an old mate or simply the start of your Friday night, we’ve gathered a list of our top picks for dinner and drinks in Redfern.
Misfits transports diners and drinkers to a stylised retro-style haven above the streets of Redfern. Enter via George St and climb the stairs where you’ll be greeted by a plush bar and dining spots fitted with vintage furniture. There's a hidden dining room and private bar tucked behind the bookcase, but Misfits offers a whole lot more than its beautifully upholstered mid-century armchairs. On the menu is fancy fare like slow cooked lamb shoulder, fettuccine with clams, charred octopus or pan-roasted mahi-mahi.
If cheap and cheerful is your flavour, Happy D’s dumpling bar will satisfy your cravings. The minimal menu of mostly dumplings (and Peking duck pancakes!) is trusty, tasty and great for a low-key night of sharing plates with mates over cocktails. As well as great grub, Happy D’s also has a great selection of Japanese beers, plus a surprising selection of sake.
This pint-sized woodfired pizzeria offers a Sicilian take on an Italian staple—and it's easily one of our favourite places to pause and enjoy a seriously delicious slice or three. The lengthy list of pizzas range in prices from $20 - $26 with plenty of options for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. Seating is limited and is typically provided on a walk-in basis (unless you’re in a large group), but you’re in the right area to grab a drink while you wait. Oh, and one of the best parts about La Coppola is that it’s BYO, so don’t forget to snap up a bottle of red en route.
There is something delightfully confusing about the Ron’s Upstairs décor. From the same crew that gave us Redfern institutions Arcadia Liquors and Redfern Continental (see below), Ron's features vinyl chairs, parquetry floors, fairy lights and a vast sea of tables, which give it a 70s bingo hall vibe (although you’re actually seeing the remnants of the Thai restaurant that resided here for over three decades). The outfit, however, is in distinct contrast to the menu. The food is Mediterranean-inspired and placed somewhere between hearty and fine dining. Sharing is encouraged, and we recommend trying the ouzo-grilled prawns and lamb skewer with tahini.
Redfern Continental And GDR
Fancy a bowl of pasta in moody lighting with a glass of red in hand? Sign us up. Actually, the Redfern Continental menu seems to switch between Italian and German, with schnitzel and bratwurst sitting alongside parmigiana and spaghetti meatballs. Bear in mind that you may have to wait for a table at this super popular Redfern haunt—but pop your name on the list and head down the back of the restaurant to discover Gunther's Dining Room (or GDR), Redfern Continental's not-so-secret hidden back bar, where you can sip cocktails and snack on croquettes under a spinning disco ball while you wait. This is one of Sydney's best date spots, hands down.
Before you even step in the door you’ll notice that Bart Jr is, put simply, very cool. The bar is stocked with natural wines and local craft beers, and the menu changes seasonally—both of which are signs of people who love food, love Aussie produce and love experimenting with it. The food is tapas style and designed to be shared. The bites are small but pack a flavourful punch, think anchovy toast and honey roasted haloumi.
RaRa Redfern is a ramen bar that's typically buzzing with energy, which makes dining here all the more fun, but it’s the flavour and taste of the ramen that keeps the line out the door growing. The noodles are handmade, and the ramen is renowned across the city. Ramen die-hards won’t want to go past the rich tonkotsu, but there are other varieties plus vegan options for those wondering. Add a chilled beer or natural wine and sleek interiors and you really can't go wrong here. The one downside is that you may have to queue for a table, but as they say, the line is there for a reason.
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Image credit: RaRa Ramen by Bob Barrett.