First published on 16 Feb 2010. Updated on 16 Jul 2012.
Universal (pictured above)
The menu is made up of flavour-packed small plates. The idea is to choose four or more per person, with the menu travelling from light to more substantial dishes. Four works out about right, but be sure to include one of Manfield’s outstanding desserts.
If you are looking for beautifully executed pasta dishes that don’t break the bank, you’re in for a treat at A Tavola (Italian for ‘to the table’).
Simple Italian mum dishes are perfect for a quiet dinner. A decent wine list and friendly service are all part of the Alio charm.
While this newish restaurant is a little looser than big brother Azuma, it’s still a fairly corporate scene: dark wood, clean lines, quiet service and situated right in the heart of the CBD.
This is the first carbon neutral restaurant to have opened in Sydney. And it’s not all hot air – Kylie Kwong’s organic Chinese food tastes as good as it ever has.
Marked by the amazing view over Rose Bay and exceptional wine list, they specialise in seafood but also do gutsy French classics like pig’s head with sauce gribiche.
Peter Doyle, mad-keen surfer and chef of chefs, cooks flawless food at this double clother overlooking George Street. Things get even better with sommelier Franck Moreau pouring the wine.
Steve Hodges has a more in-depth knowledge of seafood than just about anyone in town. The room’s a hot shoebox and you’ll be charged $40 for mains with pub-level service but if you can score a seat outside you’ll be happy.
The giant, wall-sized blackboard menu may indeed be written completely in Italian, but it’s pretty easy to get the gist – especially when you’re having it explained to you by a bunch of good-looking Italian men dressed in figurehugging black.
Guillaume at Bennelong
Guillaume is better than ever right now. Craig Hemmings, award-winning maître d’ and all-round nice guy, is back from Melbourne and the menu is bangin’.
It’s no wonder Longrain have done so well for so long – the combination of killer cocktails and flavour-packed Thai dishes is a winner.
With the wine and dishes priced as they are, you could easily spend some serious dough – it’s a great place for a business lunch on expenses.
Woolloomooloo’s finger wharf is dotted with fine boats and restaurants to match. The wine list at Manta is fantastic, as is the house-made pasta.
Whether you’re having the $45 Friday lunch special or you go the ten-course degustation, Marque Restaurant is bells and whistles the entire way.
North Bondi Italian Food
NBIF has been seducing golden-skinned Sydneysiders for some years now with laid-back charm and tasty bar food.
Peter Gilmore cooks some of Sydney’s most exciting food in one of Sydney’s most picturesque locations. Try the likes of Queensland mud crab congee while watching the ferries chug through the harbour.
Rockpool Bar and Grill
Neil Perry’s restaurant serves up boutique steaks and one of the best burgers the city’s ever seen.