Dinner And A Show | Where To Watch Your Meal Being Made

By Emily Hutchinson
6th May 2015

Image credit: Nicola Sevitt at New Shanghai

Traditionally speaking, customers and the kitchen are separate entities. The calamity and hours of preparation that take place behind closed doors can never be truly appreciated by the customer—unless you’re watching it unfold before your eyes. If you’re curious to find out how your dish goes from simple ingredients to a perfectly executed meal, sit back, relax and take in the show at these ten Sydney restaurants with open-kitchens.


Bondi Beach

This Bondi ‘butcher shop’ is more than just a place to pick-up your meat and head home for a cook-up. Peter Zaidan prides himself on providing customers with quality meat and invites them to take a seat in-store and chow down on a steak or burger. Customers select their own meat, watch the chef sizzle it on the grill and finally have it appear before them (where, of course, it quickly gets devoured).


Surry Hills

The infamous Porteno is an Argentinean grill where you can watch the theatre of the parrilla (open grill) come to life. Chefs and owners Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate bring the heart of South America to Surry Hills and the regular crowd gathers to watch Abrahanowicz’s father flame grill a whole suckling and lamb as the regular feast. 

Editor’s note: Porteno has officially reopened!

New Shanghai


New Shanghai is traditional Chinese restaurant in a thoroughly modern setting. Ever wonder how much preparation goes into the silky smooth noodles and soul-satisfying dumplings on your plate? At New Shanghai you can watch the masters at work; kneading, stretching and hanging those delicious noodles and hand-forming those moreish dumplings, so you can develop a true appreciation for the love that goes into each mouth watering bite.

Raita Noda

Surry Hills

Having opened earlier this year, Raita Noda is building quite the reputation as one of Surry Hills’ best Japanese restaurants. In true Japanese bar style, it only fits eight customers at a time who watch in wonder as Noda and his son Momotaro prepare delicate dishes from fresh seafood topped sushi to the soft-shell crab taco.



The large space and elegant décor makes Sokyo at The Star a restaurant for those special occasions. Grab a seat at the bar at this Sydney Japanese restaurant and watch the theatre of the busy kitchen. Fire-tossed pans, high-speed chopping and delicate ‘micro-herbing’ make this view the best seat in the house!

Vacanza In The Hills

Surry Hills

Remember your childhood days when heading to the local pizzeria with your parents was basically as good as life was ever going to get? If you still have a soft spot for pizza then Vacanza delivers on a mouth-watering wood-fired pizza with all the showy essentials. Watch as the cured meats are passed through a vintage slicer, drool as the pizza bases are formed by hand and control your stomach grumbles as you see a selection of fresh toppings decorate the doughy canvas.

Buffalo Dining Club


If you’re up for waiting in the line that Buffalo Dining Club constantly attracts, then you’ll find it’s well-worth your time. Sumptuous pasta within an authentic Italian vibe keeps the crowds coming back. While you cannot see very well into the kitchen, the excitement of the cacio e pepe pasta being stirred around in a large wheel of pecorino cheese at your table before winding up on your plate has known to result in the applause or two.

Tokyo Bird

Surry Hills

There’s something irresistible about the smell of the grill. New Sydney restaurant and bar, Tokyo Bird specialises in yakitori and cooks it in front of your very eyes. As the meat sizzles, the chef keeps close and turns it over and over until perfect. With a freshly poured Japanese beer, whisky or cocktail in hand, you can continue to sit back and enjoy the result of the hard work you just witnessed.

Din Tai Fung


Do you love dumplings? If the answer is yes, then Din Tai Fung is a must-visit. The venue allows diners to watch the art of folding and steaming the world-famous dumplings in-store. The constant flurry of dumplings passed along the line of experts is definitely something to watch in awe.

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