Time Out Sydney

Sydney voted with their pie-holes and they chose... wisely

1. Duke

Once again, Sydney, you’ve voted with your cake holes. This year you’ve crowned Duke – the Flinders Street restaurant serving smart, exciting snacks till late into the night – your People’s Choice Winner for 2011. Nice work. If you haven’t been then you’ll find Duke up a separate staircase to the side of the Flinders Hotel – where boozy dreams really do come true and healthy livers go to die. The menu, by co-chefs and winners of this year’s Best New Talent award Tom Lim and Mitch Orr, offers big bang for reasonable bucks. The all-star cast doesn’t stop at the pass, either. Props must also go to floor manager Kylie Javier, sommelier ‘King Hippy’ Joel ‘Magic’ Amos and bartender Luke Ashton. Javier (ex-Bentley Bar) is running the floor here, juggling cocktails and a whole lot of no-punches-pulled food with equal enthusiasm. Ashton is shaking some great stuff. Get him to make you a blue drink. Y’know, for fun. If you were after starched tablecloths scented with rosewater and virgin’s tears you’d be eating elsewhere. Instead, you’re here for fried chicken. Or toast piled with raisins and whipped lard. Or pulled cuttlefish. Or all three. Orr and Lim are also offering a tasting menu every Tuesday – $60 for six courses – of things they’re experimenting with in the kitchen. No fuss, no muss. It’s hard to look past Duke when it comes to an honest restaurant run by a talented young crew offering the thing we all want most when we eat out – a damn good time. Darlinghurst 2010. (02 9332 3180). Tue-Wed 7pm-12 midnight; Thu 7pm-1am; Fri-Sat 7pm-2am.   

Tastevin

2. Tastevin

At this French bistro the food is refined and comforting, the vibe is great, the service fantastic and the wine list inspired. If you go easy on the wine you can get away with eating quite well for not much dosh and, best of all, they're open till 2am. Darlinghurst 2010. (02 9356 3429). Wed-Mon 12 noon-2am.

 

Bilson's

3. Bilson's

A breath of fresh air has given life to this Sydney stalwart. If Bilson's is the fine diner you've been avoiding, check it out now - new chef Diego Munoz has made it exciting, innovative, shiny and new. Sydney 2000. (02 8214 0496). Lunch Fri 12 noon-2.30pm; 6-10pm; dinner Tue-Fri 6-10pm. 

 

District Dining

4. District Dining

Check out this casual eating house for bar snacks and some very smashable wines. It's a good place to have dinner before you hit Ding Dong Dang next door for karaoke. Surry Hills 2010. (02 9211 7798). Lunch Tue-Thu & Sat 12 noon-3pm; dinner Tue-Thu & Sat 6-11pm; Fri 12 noon-11pm.

 

Bentley

 

 5. Bentley Restaurant & Bar

One of the greatest collaborations in Sydney's ever-evolving restaurant scene is that of sommelier Nick Hildebrandt and chef Brent Savage. Each on their own is a force to be reckoned with, but together, they're unstoppable. Surry Hills 2010. (02 9332 2344). Tue-Sat noon-late.

 

The top 10 restaurants based on your votes were:

Bentley Restaurant & Bar
Bilson's
District Dining
Duke
Fix St James
Ms G's
Pilu at Freshwater
Porteño
Rockpool Bar & Grill
Tastevin

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