50 Institutional Restaurants You Should Have Been To If You Live In Sydney

By Anna May
27th Mar 2015

We love a new Sydney restaurant as much as the next person who dreams about anything delicious and edible, but we really enjoy showing those time-tested classics some well-deserved love as well. 

And so you’ll never have to take a risk on quality again, here are 50 institutional restaurants you should definitely to visit if you live in Sydney.

  1. Buon Ricordo: Hands down one of the best restaurants in Sydney, this Paddington institution has been wowing food lovers with their timballo napoletano for over 20 years.
  2. Barrenjoey House: Go for the food and stay for the view. Treat yourself to some sunset cocktails and a feast fit for a king at this Palm Beach restaurant.
  3. Bill & Toni’s: The original Sydney cheap eat, this Italian restaurant on Stanley Street will make you feel nostalgic for orange cordial and minestrone every time.
  4. Tetsuya's: We’ve all heard tales of the ten-course degustation at what is categorically one of the best restaurants in Sydney. 
  5. The Boathouse On Blackwattle Bay: Yes, the snapper pie is sensational, but be sure to get messy and don your bib for a delicious mud crab feast.
  6. Malabar: these guys have been serving up some of the best South Indian cuisine in Sydney since 1992, and have gained an incredible following since. Prep your stomach and head in for the delicious banquet menu.
  7. Aqua Dining: Delicious fare with spectacular harbour views? We’re there. Try the smoked duck breast to see why this Sydney restaurant has lasted over a decade.
  8. Sean’s Panaroma: The original farm-to-table restaurant in Bondi will keep you on your toes with its ever-changing menu.  
  9. Rockpool: The home of fine dining in Sydney, be prepared to understand just how much difference fresh produce makes to a meal.
  10. Berowra Waters Inn: Sitting on the banks of the Hawkesbury River since 1926, this restaurant is the perfect way to spend a lingering lunch or dinner with a view.
  11. Catalina: This waterfront restaurant in Rose Bay has been serving up beautiful seafood and cocktails for over 20 years.
  12. Onde: A provincial French restaurant with a modern twist, Onde’s heavenly steak frites and chocolate terrine will remind you why they’ve been a favourite for so long.
  13. Oscilate Wildly: White tablecloths and creativity is on the menu at this Newtown restaurant. The menu is seasonal, but we guarantee satisfaction.
  14. Cottage Point Inn: Feel super fancy when you arrive by air or sea to this 45-year-old restaurant and settle in for a long lunch or lingering evening.
  15. Beppi’s: The definition of an institution, Beppi’s has been operating since 1956. Head in and try some truly authentic Italian cuisine; the veal saltimbocca is life-changing.
  16. Quay: We know these guys get a lot of press, but it’s for good reason. The mud crab congee will change your life.
  17. Lucio’s: Serving up delicious Italian food in Paddington since 1983, this family business has endless old-world charm.
  18. est.: A little younger than others but still a classic Sydney restaurant, est.’s chefs menu is an absolute must.
  19. Jonah’s: You’ll feel like you’re on the Spanish coast at this beautiful Whale Beach restaurant and guesthouse. Cocktails on the terrace should be on every Sydneysider’s bucket list.
  20. Pilu at Freshwater: Expansive views of the beach and suckling pig are on the menu here, where the real world disappears.
  21. Public Dining Room: the seafood soup is an absolute essential at this Balmoral beach restaurant.  
  22. Sailors Thai: This iconic Sydney restaurant serves up authentic Thai food, not your standard take-away style. The jungle curry is a must-try.
  23. Golden Century: Feeding hungry chefs and Sydneysiders for over a decade. Pick your live seafood from the tank and prepare to be amazed.
  24. ARIA: The third restaurant of Matt Moran, ARIA was one of the original farm-to-table restaurants in Sydney. Combine that with harbour views and it’s pretty much irresistible. 
  25. Chinta Kechil: Some of Double Bay’s finest, Chinta Kechil's Malaysian menu is seriously drool-worthy. The sassy duck is every bit as yummy as it sounds.
  26. Vincent: This traditional French dining room will delight you with its sinful lemon meringue tart.
  27. Malaya: Dishing up delicious south-east Asian food since 1987, The Malaya’s king prawn laksa is the stuff of legends. 
  28. Icebergs Dining Room & Bar: With its Italian-inspired menu and stunning ocean views, Icebergs is the perfect place to watch the waves over a plate of squid ink linguine.
  29. 3 Weeds: Probably the winner, this Rozelle pub was established way back in 1881. Park yourself in for their lamb rump and a glass of red.
  30. Doyles On The Beach: These guys came in close second, opening its doors in 1885. Shout out to the Doyles for keeping our tummies full of delicious fish and chips since.
  31. Fish At The Rocks: Now in its 27th year, the team is still serving up delicious seafood in the heart of the city. The whole baked barramundi is to die for.
  32. Billy Kwong: Starting out on Crown Street in 2000 and moving to Potts Point in 2014, chef Kylie Kwong’s focus on local produce has had Sydneysiders returning in droves ever since. 
  33. Diethnes: No doubt you’ve seen this iconic Greek restaurant in the CBD. Pop in for a mixed grill and see why it has stood the test of time.
  34. Cj’s Restaurant: Definitely the best cheese fondue in Sydney, this Neutral Bay restaurant will make you a regular after one visit.
  35. La Grillade: Simple, honest food is on the menu at this classic Crows Nest restaurant. Be sure to try the duck breast.
  36. Bar Reggio: All-you-can-eat pizza and pasta? No wonder these guys have had customers arriving in droves for over 20 years.
  37. Had To Happen: Yes, it’s adorned with sombreros and frozen margaritas are flowing, but you can’t argue with a delicious, sizzling plate of fajitas.
  38. Bistro Moncur: You can find this delicious restaurant and its French Bistro classics in Woollahra Hotel, where the prime fillet steak with béarnaise sauce is always satisfying.
  39. Pino’s: You’ll be hard-pressed to resist the capricciosa pizza at this Crows Nest nook.
  40. Caffe Roma: Whether it’s 6pm or 2am, Caffe Roma can sort you out with some of the best pesto gnocchi this side of Italy.
  41. Una’s: We’ve been chowing down on their deep fried camembert and oversized schnitzels for as long as we can remember.
  42. Machiavelli Ristorante: 25 years on, these guys can really serve up a jaw-dropping feast. It may just be the home of Sydney’s best tiramisu.
  43. Lee’s Fortuna Court: One Peking duck, please. The team at this Crows Nest Chinese restaurant really know how to put on a feast. Pink lemonade mandatory.
  44. Marilyna’s Famous Pizza: You can find these guys in Cremorne and Freshwater, but you simply cannot share.
  45. Macleay St Bistro: There is simply no other place to dig into a bowl of French onion soup or coq au vin than this French bistro in Potts Point.
  46. The Bather’s Pavilion: You could pop by this Balmoral Beach institution for breakfast, a quick lunch, or a complete fine-dining experience. Whatever you decide, these guys are masters of their craft.
  47. China Doll: Haven’t been here? Go book a table, now. Enjoying their Peking duck pancakes by the water while sipping on cocktails is one of life’s greatest gifts.
  48. Café Sydney: Watch the sunset then settle in for a candlelight dinner over delicious cocktails and incredible wine at this beautiful Sydney restaurant.
  49. Yoshii: Established over a decade ago, Yoshii restaurant will give you the traditional Japanese experience with a modern touch.
  50. Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse: They say they possess one of the best steaks in Australia, and we couldn’t agree more. Be sure to try the crab legs too.

Image credit: Lisa Brooke for Onde Restaurant

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