6 Of Sydney’s Best Sustainable Cafes And Restaurants

By Sammy Preston
1st Feb 2020

This month we're raising awareness about simple changes you can make in your life to live more sustainably. We're also giving you the chance to win an amazing seven-night stay at a luxurious Bali resort, all for you changing a few habits along the way. Find out more about Challenge For Change here, and don't forget to take the quiz to go in the running for our great prize.

It's pretty simple really: Saturday brunch, your unmissable morning espresso or a mid-week dinner out with your mates shouldn’t have to cost the earth.

In 2019 sustainability has become a permanent mindset for a lot of chefs, restauranteurs, sommeliers, winemakers and coffee roasters. While the term itself is pretty broad, encapsulating a mixed bag of culinary philosophies like paddock to plate, seasonal, ethical and vegan—these Sydney venues are driven by sustainable principles from the ground up, using innovative methods (fish offal that is actually delicious) and full-circle strategies (partnering with like-minded farmers, suppliers, growers and contractors) to reduce their carbon footprint across the board.

The good news is, and as the following restaurants and cafes prove beyond a doubt, sustainable strategies tend to result in more delicious food.  

Here are the most sustainable and environmentally friendly restaurants in Sydney.


Surry Hills

NOMAD is one of Sydney’s most impressive restaurants for a few reasons. For starters, the wine list is as long as it is epic, they create their own charcuterie in house, as well as their own jersey milk haloumi, goats chevré, brioche, lavosh and flatbread. They also have a very solid sustainability ethos, covering everything from wine through to design choices within the restaurant space and staff remuneration.

Produce is sourced as closely as possible to NOMAD’s Surry Hills location, they follow a whole-beast approach, water is carbonated on site, the recycle glass using the BOTTLECYCLER system, all cooking oil is collected and recycled to make biodiesel fuel and all the lighting in the restaurant is LED instead of iridescent or halogen globes. You can read more details on NOMAD’s sustainable strategies, right here.

And if you love animals as much as we do, you’ll be pleased to know NOMAD is RSPCA-approved, and is featured on their animal welfare friendly Choose Wisely database.

Single O

Surry Hills, CBD, Carriageworks Markets

The world of coffee is a troubled one when it comes to both ethics and sustainable practices. For Sydney’s OG coffee heroes Single O, sustainable practices have always been front of mind—but they’ve really cemented that dedication in the last year or so. In 2018 they hosted a panel called “No Death To Coffee” alongside the World Coffee Research organisation to draw attention to bad farming practices, climate change and lack of farm profitability.

As well as fronting the conversation on climate resilient coffee and introducing special future-proofed, environmentally friendly blends—Single O’s roastery is run on solar energy and they’ve been involved in creating cafe tech to encourage reusable cups and less waste: “The Juggler” is the world’s first milk on tap system, removing six million bottles from the waste stream and counting, and “Rinsey” is the world’s first reusable cup rinser. Did we mention their coffee is super tasty?

Saint Peter


Chef Josh Niland has won multiple (like, heaps) of awards for his seriously impressive pioneering approach to sustainable and ethical cooking. Saint Peter is his fine diner and—arguably—one of the most innovative sustainable fish eateries on the planet. Here, Niland and his crew will serve you Australian sustainably sourced seafood, processed in the restaurant’s custom-designed fish butchery minutes down the road in Paddington. They follow a whole-fish approach, so yep, offal is used—but in unexpected and actually delicious ways.

The menu changes daily, but you'll find things like Royal National Park long spine sea urchin crumpets, 9-day-aged Murrumbidgee Murray cod with burnt tomato and garlic mayonnaise, Clarence River octopus and Corner Inlet greenback flounder. 


Southern Highlands

If you count yourself as a true foodie, a trip to the Southern Highlands (or New South Wales even, if you're from further afield), wouldn't really be complete without experiencing Biota's degustation menu. This cosy spot in one of the state's prettiest regions is a must-do. Chef James Viles champions sustainable cooking, foraging, local produce, seasonal botanicals and a close affiliation to nature with wonderful results. Biota has influenced many Australian kitchens since opening in 2011. Best part? The restaurant has adjoining accommodation so you can indulge and spend the night. They've also just revealed a farm stay dining experience called BARN. Check it out here



Love.Fish kicked off in Rozelle in 2010, serving Sydney a hyped menu of fuss-free, tasty and totally sustainably caught fish. Since then, the ethos hasn't changed—but the restaurant has shifted over to a harbourside spot in Barangaroo, meaning you can soak up some water views while you enjoy Australia’s best locally-sourced oysters, raw fish, whole fish, platters and crustaceans. Owners and co-founders Michael Milkovic and Michelle Grand-Milkovic choose to only work with suppliers, growers and contractors that share the same ethical and environmentally-focused principles as they do, which means fewer food miles, packaging with a conscience and plenty more fish in the sea.  

Three Blue Ducks

Bronte, Byron Bay, Rosebery

The Ducks started as beachy brunch spot set on the cliffs of Bronte; these days it's a full-blown lifestyle, spread across the East Coast of Australia and centred squarely on a more sustainable approach to life and food. From their on-site cafe vegetable garden (featuring bees) in Bronte to their picturesque 80-acre working farm in Byron Bay, Three Blue Ducks prove that sustainable is tastier. 

For more meaningful dining experiences, check out Sydney's best cafes with a cause

Image credit: Three Blue Ducks

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