Sydney, the star of Australia’s east coast, is a metropolis that surrounds the world’s largest harbour. The city by the wharf has boasts breathtaking scenery, a melting pot of cultures, and of course, a vibrant dining scene. Indeed, foodies are thoroughly spoilt for choice, with Sydney’s smorgasbord of award-winning restaurants and idyllic alfresco spots.
While dining with a direct view of the Opera House or Sydney Harbour Bridge is on every visitor’s to-do list — not to mention a picture-perfect moment for your Instagram feed — that’s not all there is to the city. After all, Sydney, like the rest of Australia, has a variety of gastronomic experiences that can’t possibly be discovered in just one trip.
Lucky for us, the Land Down Under is never too far away. If you’re in Sydney for the summer, alfresco dining is an essential pastime in the city. From outdoor garden cafes to trendy hidden bars, check out these places on your next trip.
(Featured image credit: The Commons Eating House)
This garden oasis features potted plants and cosy wooden tables in its courtyard, deeming it a hotspot during summer. The Commons is set in a rustic Darlinghurst heritage farmhouse, with a gorgeous entrance and back gardens. Priding itself on using the freshest produce from local suppliers, the eatery boasts an impressive lunch and dinner menu. If you’re up for drinks, a selection of both local and imported wines is also available.
There are speakeasy bars, and then there are bars completely modelled after 1920s prohibition dens. Palmer & Co is just that. Situated along Abercrombie Lane, this underground bar has a roaring ’20s theme with leather chesterfields to boot.
While the bar specialises in signature and classic cocktails, its food menu is just as tempting, with offerings such as charcuterie, cheeses, and sharing plates of meatballs and mac and cheese.
Spearheaded by French-Canadian celebrity chef Serge Dansereau, The Bathers’ Pavilion is a restaurant and cafe housed in a striking building on Balmoral Beach. The restaurant sits on one side of the pavilion, while its sister cafe sits on the other.
Pairing beautiful harbour views with Dansereau’s passion for local seasonal produce, the restaurant is popular with both visitors and locals alike. The menu is features tasty dishes the likes of seared ocean trout and roasted beef tenderloin, and the extensive wine list — which changes according to the seasons — presents a wide range of Australian and imported wines.
For a relaxing waterside meal, check out Mosman Rowers. The restaurant is located in a beautiful heritage timber building at Mosman Bay. End your day of exploring the bustling city with a cold drink and a Rowers Tasting Plate of marinated vegetables, cold meats, cheeses with grilled chorizo, risotto balls and calamari fritti with sourdough bread. Just thinking about all this food makes us hungry.
One of Sydney’s original hidden bars, Baxter Inn is a dimly-lit whisky bar hidden in a basement down a quiet laneway. The bar was ranked amongst the World’s 50 Best Bars last year — alongside Black Pearl in Melbourne and Bulletin Place in Sydney — and for good reason. Here, you can choose from over 300 types of whisky. But if that’s not to your liking, the bartenders can whip up cocktails, spirits, beer and wine as well.
On the iconic Bondi Beach, perched on top of Campbell Parade at North Bondi, is Jo and Willy’s Depot. Run by Olympic sprinting legend Heather Turland and her son, this local hotspot is just a few minutes away from the beach, and is a great place to watch surfers riding the waves. The cafe serves an all-day breakfast menu, along with lighter fare such as salad and pastries.