The sun is out, the birds are chirping and Sydneysiders are awakening from a winter slumber. Life is good again. With the days getting longer, we no longer feel the need to rush home from work. A cheeky after-work spritz or dinner is back on the cards, and Sydney’s outdoor dining spots are ready for us.
So, to help you make the most of the warmer, brighter months, we’ve compiled a list of Sydney’s best outdoor restaurants, from rooftop perches to harborside beach clubs that will make you feel like you’re in Positano.
Crossing the bridge is near impossible for some Sydneysiders, but trust us, you’ll want to make the jaunt across for this European-inspired restaurant. Rafi is a multidimensional venue, offering a semi-alfresco glass house named The Arbor, which wraps around an outdoor tree-lined terrace. The inside is dressed in fresh pastels, marble mosaics, and terracotta tiles. But it’s the menu that has us coming back for more. Think Australian, with a Mediterranean twist, such as fresh tuna tossed in a simple tahini and fragrant chilli oil. Everything is fresh and light, perfect for those balmy summer days. The bar menu plays with native Australian ingredients and wines.
Picture this: sizzling saganaki bathing in honey by the water with a direct sightline to the Sydney Opera House. Sounds dreamy, right? Well, it’s exactly what you get at Ploos, a Peter Conistis venue. Serving specifically South Aegean and Modern Greek, diners can expect to feats Greek style by the famous harbour scene. On the menu, expect everything from Abrolhos octopus to spanakopita filled manti, and pressed lamb shoulder. All dishes are designed to be shared, so invite the family or a group of friends and make a day of it.
Sitting on the same strip as Ploós is 6HEAD, Sydney’s premier destination for the best steak. Ask anyone who’s been there, and you will get the same, if not similar, response. Pull up a chair outside and enjoy the sun and views, or take shade inside with the same iconic views. As for the menu, steak is the name of the game, and they’re the masters of it. Choose your preferred steak, add some sides, and a glass of wine. You can’t go wrong with a dining experience at 6HEAD.
Is there any other spot in Sydney more iconic than Opera Bar? Perhaps the Sydney Opera House itself? As soon as the weather starts warming up, locals flock to the tables of Opera Bar for sunset aperols, live music and a seasonal menu. Graze on cheese, or tuck into a pizza, or there’s always a seafood platter.
Soak up the sunny weekends with brunch or lunch at St Siandra, a Mediterranean-inspired waterfront restaurant and bar plopped on a private strip of beach. We told you it has Amalfi vibes. The food has a heavy focus on seafood, but meat lovers will find everything from short rib skewers to smoked spatchcock. There are plenty of veggies on the menu and some sweet treats, including ricotta fritters dusted in cinnamon sugar. The cocktails are named after yachts.
Whether you’re grabbing a cocktail at House Bar or nipping at an omakase experience with chopsticks at Rekodo, you’ll always find Barangaroo House buzzing in the summertime. On the first level, nab a table on the balcony for water views. You can still order the omakase menu or choose your own adventure with a la carte.
Want a taste of the Middle East but set within a leafy, shaded terrace? Ezra serves a slice of Tel Aviv in the heart of Potts Point. The menu is packed with flavoursome dishes, including their addictive Jewish bagels best consumed dipped in hazelnut muhammara with pomegranate for a pop of sweetness. The menu is designed to be shared, so gather the group. The cocktails are unique or a spin on a classic like a white negroni and the Tel Aviv Batida.
The team behind NOMAD works the same magic at Beau. Though the narrow bar and restaurant are predominately inside and tucked in a laneway, if you get lucky enough to nab the outside tables, you’re in for a treat, especially on a balmy day. The wine list is seriously impressive, as are the cocktails. The menu is seasonal, but you can expect to see beef tartare, roasted artichokes, and flatbreads with dip.
Spend your weekend at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel for lively parties by the harbour and beach, live music, and views of Sydney’s iconic landmarks. The Beach Club has striped sun umbrellas, a bar serving frozen margaritas and rose wine, and delicious food like fish burgers and seafood platters.