Nutritionists may argue that breakfast is the most important meal in the day, but when it comes to a post-boardroom bite, these dinner dining options are definitely a bigger deal.
Here are the best restaurants in Sydney’s CBD to grab dinner.
It may be named after the Roman god of new beginnings, but the deity must have acquired all mythological powers in that area, because we didn’t know where to start when deciding what to order at this beautiful Italian bistro. While the aperitivi will whet your appetite, be sure to set aside a spot for homemade pizzas, daily-rolled pasta, and the tiramisu. Sure, you could technically travel to Italy for amazing rustic cuisine but you could also save yourself the $2,000 airfare and (almost) 20 hour flight by logging off your computer and starting with an equally authentic eat that’s a little closer to home (or work!).
The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room
New York may be a “concrete jungle where dreams are made” for Jay Z, but it seems that Mr. Knowles forgot one verse – the one where he raps about how the Big Apple is also the inspiration behind this slick big city Sydney brasserie. Located between the CBD and The Rocks, The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room is the perfect place for an in-one-hand bite (oysters being an excellent example) or a sit-down dinner. One hand in the air (not the one holding the shellfish) for The Morrison.
The Lemon Tree
When life gives you lemons (say for example, a last-minute project by your supervisor), head to The Lemon Tree in the piazza of Australia Square. Apparently the people who made Pelicano Bar and Catalina as awesome as they are, also have a hidden talent for establishing eateries which serve delicious Italian fare and classic cocktails. While we can’t help you deal with a supervisor that’s a bit of a lemon, we can suggest the veal Milanese, Tuscan lamb cutlets and grass-fed scotch fillet to show him or her who’s the boss!
Mordeo Bistro & Bar
Our atlas defines Southern Europe rather broadly – encompassing Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. Fortunately for those who haven’t accrued enough annual leave to make it to these Mediterranean countries, we have a CBD setting in the Assembly of Deutsche bank that’s worth putting on the map. The menu at Mordeo (meaning bite or devour) has been pretty accurately imagined as “an homage to the quintessential southern European bistro”. And we would say a resounding yes if our mouths weren’t full of little bites of panini. From food delivered by energetic waiters to a beautiful pressed tin bar offering boutique wines and homemade artisan beer, even your boss will have to approve this one.
Tapas may be as Spanish as Rafael Nadal but the varieties served in Sydney restaurant Fino Par hit the ball out of the court when it comes to creatively fusing traditional tastes with incredible local produce. The partnership between Brett Harris (El Topo and Hello Sailor) and Nelson Burgos (Mamasita and Foley Lane) has seen the creation of innovative new combos like pickled white anchovies and fennel, octopus carpaccio and smoked oysters with tomato granita - all served on bright, handcrafted tiles to a backdrop of Spanish street art and tunes. We love this place. And (for the sake of including one more tennis pun) we nominate it as an absolute ace for a CBD dinner option.
Laksa goes luxe at this traditional Malaysian-style restaurant on King Street Wharf. Sure, you might be feeling a little bummed at having to work through lunch, but treat yourself to an afterhours order of the rice vermicelli and bean sprouts topped with king prawns and served in a spicy coconut milk soup, and suddenly skipping that food court special won’t sound so regrettable.
Swine & Co.
While the odds of an early escape are about as likely as pigs flying, you can keep yourself motivated with an out-of-office promise to this palace of pig. Featuring a bar, deli and restaurant – with a menu designed and dedicated to the fine swine (including suckling and slow roasted cuts) ¬– it’s time to pack up that presentation and get some pork on your fork.
Ole! While siestas are popular in Mexico, Sydney-siders have not quite cottoned onto the afternoon sleep. They have, however, embraced the edible offerings of the Latin world; and one of the most popular among city-slickers on the search for after-dark dining options is Mejico in Pitt Street. With a market-to-table menu that features street-style corn lollipops, chorizo salsa and a signature peanut cajeta flan, we recommend giving your colleagues the (Mexican) wave good night and swapping Microsoft for mezcal margaritas immediately.
Chinese takeout gets a bad rap. To be clear, we’re not advocating picking up a greasy Styrofoam bowl of hokkien noodles when you finally get off the train at Lidcombe station at 11.48pm for dinner. We do however, encourage consumption of the modern take on traditional Chinese flavours offered at this Angel Place Asian diner. Where once stood sweet and sour pork, you will now find a myriad of twists on your favourite classics including five-spice drunken lamb with pickled relish and spring onion, duck pancakes with hoi sin, cucumber and shallots and pork belly with chilli caramel (fortune cookies included).
If we wore a hat to work, we’d take it off to this one one-fatted French bistro, nestled in Sydney's Ash Street laneway. Instead, we’ll have to settle for shrugging off our jacket, replacing our sensible shoes with sexier stilettos and making the transition from boardroom to bar by relaxing with a drink from Felix’s extensive wine list. Authentic touches include walls featuring real Parisian subway tiles, imported French chandeliers, and a super special steak tartare.
Named after the oldest thoroughfare in Manhattan (which connected farmlands and estates on the outskirts to Wall Street in heart of the city), Bowery Lane in Sydney has assembled a collection of local flavours and textures reminiscent of industrial-era New York – and you definitely don’t have to be an investment banker to appreciate the menu. Heavy on rustic seasonal salads, hearty sides and succulent grilled meats (the pork collar and scratching with spice pear chutney are out of this world), it’s perfect for a Big Apple kinda bite.
Image credit: China Lane