Sydney is lucky to be home to some of the best waterfront locations in the world and some of the best restaurants in Sydney are located just metres from the water's edge. Be it harbour, marina, bay, or beach, there's a waterfront restaurant in Sydney offering stunning food to match the impeccable view.
Here's our pick of the best waterfront restaurants in Sydney.
Milsons Point & Chowder Bay
Call me Sherlock if you must, but I’m pretty sure that Sydney waterfront restaurant group Ripples got its name from the whole being near the water thing. Just a guess. Regardless, it’s the place to be for dining with a view in Sydney. Sunshine, a bottle of chilled wine, a plate of their heavenly orecchiette, and good company is all it takes for your occasion to peak at heaven levels. Also, they’re BYO, which you know softens the blow of a long, lingering lunch. Go on, give them a tinkle.
As if the legends at Milsons Point’s Aqua Dining didn’t have enough in their pocket with the whole neighbouring Luna Park, Harbour Bridge views, North Sydney Olympic Pool thing going on… They have to go and have one of the most enchanting menus we’ve seen from a Sydney restaurant. Their modern Australian meets fine-dining Italian menu is everything you could possibly want, which is ideal when you want something delicious, right? Right.
The Boathouse On Blackwattle Bay
This little beauty is tucked away in Glebe and promises to put on a spectacular show when you’re on the hunt for an OMFG-worthy waterfront restaurant in Sydney. Obviously, they’re famous for the snapper pie but don’t skimp on a rock lobster or mud crab (we recommend pre-ordering just in case). Oh, and make sure to get a decent selection of oysters; ask your friendly waiter what’s good and then get four of each. The menu changes depending on what’s fresh and available, but if you can get your mitts on the Moonlight Kisses, hold them close and never let go. Ever.
Watson's Bay Boutique Hotel
I feel like I don’t need to remind you that this beautiful Sydney waterfront pub exists. No doubt you’ve sat there in the sun drinking rosé like it’s going out of fashion (I know, I shouldn’t even joke), solving the world’s problems and saying “okay, just one more” at least five times. Truth be told, Watson’s Bay is damn near heaven on earth when it comes to water view dining. You could sit here until the cows come home. And then when they did, you’d be like, “GO AWAY COWS, I’m enjoying my bloody dinner!" Problem solved.
North Bondi Fish
Bondi had us worried there for a minute. Y’know, the time when it closed one of our favourite restaurants. But we all breathed a hefty sigh of relief when North Bondi Fish opened its doors to the world, equipped with views of Bondi Beach, endless seafood (duh), and more Insta-worthy menu items than you can poke a selfie stick at. Real talk: this beautiful Bondi restaurant nails the whole Summer-to-Winter thing like a bawse, so don’t worry your little tootsies. Just call up and nab yourself a table.
One of our all time fave waterfront restaurants, OTTO delivers the goods and by that, we obviously mean that the portions are generous, the food is delicious and there is a pro sommelier on hand to recommend a your new favourite drop. Head here if you love all things Italian—from the pillowy gnocchi in a rich wild boar ragu, to the traditional affogato to finish the meal, we promise that you won’t leave hungry.
Hickson's Food & Wine
Despite being relatively new (it opened up just last year) Hickson's Food & Wine has quickly become a favourite on the waterfront dining scene in Sydney. Overlooking the picturesque Walsh Bay, the food at Hickson's is certainly as good as the view, with a focus on fresh and seasonal produce (check out our Verdict, here!). Featuring a stellar menu designed for sharing and a wine list as diverse (and delicious!) as they come, it's no wonder this Walsh Bay restaurant is kicking culinary goals left, right, and centre.
Having perfected the art of intimate meals, award-winning fare, and exquisite wines, Aria is also home to one of the most sought-after views of the harbour. By day or by night, the views from this Circular Quay establishment are simply stunning. If you're heading to a show at the Opera House, Aria offers exclusive pre- and post-theatre menus designed for a truly special evening, or just go, eat, and stare at the beautiful outlook.
Combining Modern Asian flavours, fine dining, and generous portions would be a feat for any other restaurant, but China Doll does it with ease. With views over Woolloomooloo's iconic Finger Wharf, and stunning city skyline vistas along with outstanding wine and cocktails, a meal at this waterfront favourite won't soon be forgotten. If you're looking for a delectable banquet (with impeccable Sydney water views of course), China Doll's group dining menu is a good choice.
In keeping with their stunning Sydney waterfront location, seafood is the speciality at Catalina. From shucking oysters to order and a dedicated sushi and sashimi chef to long-standing relationships with Sydney's best seafood suppliers, a fish-filled feast at Catalina is sure to be top-notch. Don't miss the Catalina house-smoked salmon with soft boiled duck egg, truffle mayonnaise (our favourite kind) and melt-in-the-mouth brioche. Sydney seafood at its most decadent and a view to match.
Icebergs Dining Room & Bar
A long-standing Bondi institution, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar is the place to see and be seen—if you can tear your eyes from the amazing views! With a seasonal menu exploring regional Italian flavours and a cocktail list worth drooling over, Icebergs is the perfect spot for a dinner with a view in Sydney.
Celebrating an impressive ten years this August, Pyrmont's Flying Fish has become synonymous with top-notch seafood and stunning harbour views. Be sure to head down for a meal during their month-long birthday celebration, which will see the revival of nostalgic dishes from the restaurant's impressive history as well as a superb truffle degustation (!!!) and a 'freestyle night', which will see the chefs serve up whatever inspires them, with no two meals the same.
The Bather's Pavilion
The Bathers' Pavilion epitomises elegant, yet relaxed beachside dining. Look out across the immaculate Middle Harbour while feasting on specialties like pan-roasted John Dory with enoki mushroom, surf clams, celery cream, mushroom pickle and vine leaf, and finish it off with one of their sumptuous desserts (we recommend the corella pear slow cooked with Indian spices, light rice pudding, coconut sorbet, and crispy ginger—yum!). And don't let the winter chill deter you—The Bathers' Pavilion keeps a roaring fire going all winter long so you can enjoy the beach view out of the elements.
Pilu At Freshwater
This Sydney beachside restaurant looks to make the most of its incredible views and surrounds, with big windows gracing every corner of the dining room and a beachy, yet refined interior. Sardinian fare is the name of the game here, with renowned head chef, Giovanni Pilu bringing the best of his region to Sydney's shores. The 'Menu Sardo' is a showcase of the best dishes from the menu and designed to be shared by the whole table (it features Pilu's signature mouth-watering suckling pig, after all).
Not only is Quay one of the best restaurants in Sydney (and Australia), it's also home to sweeping views of the Sydney harbour, exciting food, and first-class service. Yes, a meal at Quay is a truly special experience. Head Chef, Peter Gilmore's focus is on creating original, beautifully crafted food, where texture, harmony of flavours, and balance all come together to create the perfect dish. Don't miss the XO Sea—a delicious combination of five sea textures and Chinese XO Sauce (with a twist!). You can also feast on the famed Snow Egg here, and you definitely should.
Ormeggio At The Spit
Rounding out our list of Sydney's best waterfront restaurants is Mosman's, Ormeggio at the Spit, where contemporary Italian cuisine is served up alongside the sparkling waters of Pearl Bay and Middle Harbour. Be sure to try the charcoal squid with Tuscan cabbage, Dutch cream potato, and kale. Add a glass of Italian red and you've got all the makings of a relaxed yet elegant waterfront lunch in Sydney. Buon Appetito!
Prefer to just eat cake? Head here.
North Bondi Fish | Image credit: Alana Dimou