Modern Australian

Cafe Sydney

Cafe Sydney is spectacular. Sitting atop the historical Customs House at Circular Quay, this casually elegant fine diner encompasses cutting edge design, million dollar views and a menu of contemporary classics that defines Sydney's love of drinking and dining. The super-stylish Cafe Sydney Lounge beckons with a tempting list of cocktails and a birds-eye view of the action in the open kitchen. Yet it is on the main dining floor and through to the open air terrace that the inspired menu and breathtaking views of the harbour await.

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The Mind blowing location pales into insignificance beside Quay's sculptural food. Chef Peter Gilmore's cooking is bold and evolutionary yet never tricky, served with finesse and pride by polished staff.

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Set within a beautiful heritage dining room with soaring white columns and luxurious accoutrements, est. delivers dining on a grand scale. Executive head chef Peter Doyle is renowned for his trademark contemporary Australian food, which is uncluttered, seasonally driven and executed with French-influenced precision. Add award winning service and an acclaimed wine list personally selected by Franck Moreau MS, and you just know est. is going to be a dining experience not to be missed and long remembered.

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It's only fitting that the very best of Australia's produce and wine take centre stage at the iconic Sydney Opera House's Bennelong restaurant. Celebrated Australian chef Peter Gilmore steers the diner through the diversity of the nation's home-grown flavours introducing what he envisages as the essence of Australian cuisine.

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Icebergs Dining and Bar

Towering over the surfers below and with wraparound Tasman Sea vistas, Icebergs has Bondi's - and arguably one of the world's best restaurant views. It would be impossible to focus on the food if it wasn't nearly as stunning - and it is. Freshly grilled, Italian-style fare is the main event, from chargrilled quail with grape salad, verjuice and Salmoriglio to a selection of seasonal fish with your choice of almond aioli, Murray River salt, soft herbs or virgin olive oil.

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Catalina's executive chef, Paul McMahon, offers guests a seasonal Mediterranean-influenced menu. While it is not strictly a seafood menu, there is a strong aquatic representation, including decadent Sydney rock oysters, shucked on the premises. The virtually uninterrupted views, framed by the floor-to-ceiling windows, offer diners the pleasant distraction of the entertaining pelicans that frequent this section of Sydney Harbour. This is a stunning venue for whiling away the lunchtime hours, but it is during the early evening that it truly shines, when the Rose Bay harbour is set afire with the majestic reds, oranges and purples of a Sydney sunset.

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Flying Fish

With Harbour Bridge views, Flying Fish was always destined to be a big production. The stocky timber building has been transformed into something magical with the myriad lights echoing the sparkles on the water. The food is a triumph of mod-Oz seafood and ranges from the raw tapas plate to perfect, fragrant snapper curry.

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Located on the Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo, this select restaurant commands a prime harbour side location, with views stretching across the water to the Botanic Gardens and the city skyline. The Mediterranean-influenced menu is simply crafted from the finest ingredients and changes daily depending on what is available. Freshness and quality are assured, with all the seafood bought direct from the Sydney Fish Markets each morning. The wine list is equally impressive, with around 350 labels on offer. The list changes on a regular basis to ensure diversity, but there is always a good selection of high-class drops available.

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Nick's Seafood

The Nick's crew has built a small empire out of serving the freshest seafood without fuss and with the minimum of adornment. Shunning Asian fusion, molecular gastronomy and other food fads, Nick's has mostly stuck to a simple display of the fruits of Sydney waters. Try fresh grilled fish, naked but for a slice of lemon, a surf and turf plate featuring a succulent prawn lounging suggestively atop a grilled steak, or tackle the seafood platter - a daunting tower of both fresh and fried produce. Elevated slightly, Nick's offers an expensive view out over scurrying tourists on the promenade and posh cruisers shunting about Cockle Bay Marina.

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For almost 20 years, Neil Perry's Rockpool has been one of the brightest stars on the Sydney dining-scape. Super-fine dining is a brutal game, but despite dabbling in a more casual structure, Perry's name is unavoidably synonymous with the ultimate posh eating experience. Fish is the focus here, with the menu beginning with a mission statement about supporting responsible fishing practices, then moving onto a jam-packed list, dominated by juicy local seafood.

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Tucked away in a heritage-listed stone warehouse overlooking Circular Quay across to the Opera House, the Waterfront is oh-so-idyllic. Fishing nets, anchors, rudders and all kind of nautical paraphernalia adorns the restaurant, adding to the breezy setting. Tables and chairs overflow onto the outdoor terrace and offer up a tranquil spot to enjoy the restaurant's panoramic vista. The menu boasts an impressive range of seafood, meat, poultry and pasta. Try the whole baby snapper, chargrilled with lemon capers and parsley; or the 'ship and shore': an Angus beef fillet served with king prawns, roast tomato, beans and bearnaise sauce.

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Bambini Trust

Set in a gorgeously grand sandstone building, Bambini Trust is sleek and stylish. The Italian food has a distinctly modern edge, served by professional staff who are more than happy to assist with wine selections. It's worth keeping room for dessert if you can.

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Beppi Polese has created a warm, traditional-style Italian restaurant that continues to pull diners even after 50 years. Simple, flavour-packed dishes such as osso bucco with polenta, and veal fillet with porcini mushrooms are hits on the menu. Similarly, classic desserts such as mascarpone e savoiardi (layers of savoiardi, mascarpone, marsala and coffee zabaglione) are well worth saving room for.

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Located in the historic Strand Arcade, the Pendolino complex includes a restaurant, a cafe and wine bar and a specialty olive oil store. Headed by Nino Zoccali, famed former chef of Otto and Nove, this new kid on the block will no doubt leave a mark on the Sydney fine-dining scene. Zoccali's menu utilises Italy's most coveted olive oils and produce, and features an incredible selection of fine Italian wines. The restaurant is very chic - dark stained wood and rich, dark colours.

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Buon Ricordo

Buon Ricordo has built dedicated following among Sydney locals and overseas visitors alike over the last 18 years. Excellent service, combined with a fresh, seasonal menu influenced by both northern and southern Italy, has maintained Buon Ricordo's popularity. Chef Armando Percuoco's signature dish, fettuccine al tartufovo (fettuccine with cream sauce and lightly-fried, truffle-infused egg), is regarded as one of Sydney's best pastas

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Otto Restaurante Italiano

If you're fed up with trudging through mediocre Sydney takes on classic Italian cuisine, then Otto may be the one to surprise you, delight you and secure a special place in your heart. With its unbeatable food and chic dark wood finishes, views across the water to the Botanical Garden and Woolloomooloo, the place has been attracting its fair share of the A-list for some time now. Admirably, it does so without intimidating the rest of us, meaning we can comfortably tuck in to delicious dishes like strozzapreti, taleggio, cauliflower panna cotta and quail saltimbocca salad.

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I'm Angus

I'm Angus Steakhouse is an award winning steak house boasting the finest Australian beef and freshest seafood on the waterfront in Darling Harbour. The open chargrill brings the passion of the 1980s into the modern century with a flair that is unsurpassed in the industry. If you are a ribs lover, I'm Angus will "wow" you with their giant pork or beef ribs that always turns heads when coming out of the kitchen

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Wolfies is an antidote to the plethora of seafood restaurants clustered around Sydney's iconic harbour. While the city's reputation for great seafood is well deserved, it's good to know that one can get a decent meal from the turf as well as the surf. The focus here is on the grill, which works overtime to cook a selection of grain-fed beef, pork ribs, plump sausages and more. For those who can't skip the seafood after all, there is a small selection of fish and, of course, rock oysters.

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Voted as the Best Steak Restaurant in Sydney for the past 14 years; GPO Grand's Prime Steak Restaurant in Sydney, NSW offers a first-class dining experience. With New York style interiors, heritage listed sandstone & exceptional sommelier on hand - Prime Restaurant in Sydney is the ideal venue for the most discerning client.

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Meat and Wine Co.

Located in the lobby of the iconic InterContinental Sydney, Macquarie Street, The Meat & Wine Co has spared no expense in bringing this spectacular steakhouse to Sydney Harbour. The Meat & Wine Co is intimate and sophisticated inside the heritage-listed hotel, where contemporary interior design paired with subtle African influences make the restaurant enticingly unique. Rustic wooden walls, original arched windows, luxurious leather seating, and stone features make this the ideal setting for business meetings and romantic dinners alike.

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Rockpool Bar and Grill

After the riotous success of its Melbourne sibling, Neil Perry's Rockpool Bar and Grill has opened in the gorgeously art-deco City Mutual building in the thumping heart of Sydney's CBD. With an equally glam art-deco fit-out, the dining space is pure elegance, with marble and dark woods creating an alluring spot to wine and dine. The menu is a profusion of pure Perry passion with an emphasis on quality produce that aims to steal the culinary show. Cardinal dishes which proved popular at Rockpool Bar and Grill's Melbourne satellite, such as the Four Raw Tastes of the Sea and Perry's classic interpretation of the prawn cocktail, are all on the Sydney menu, as are some of the most sought after cuts of wagyu from renowned beef doyen David Blackmore.

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SESA 2014

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