Surry Hills is the heart of Sydney’s food identity. Whether it’s an Italian joint on the buzzing Crown Street or a moody Japanese bar hidden in its narrow laneways, this hilly suburb is our favourite place to dine for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and every meal in between.
The choices here span across the globe from Vietnamese to French, Egyptian, and Mexican. There are wine bars, trattorias, stylish restaurants, and holes in the walls. Have a craving? Satisfy it with our top picks of restaurants in Surry Hills.
The Blue Door is an ambitious 24-seater with a producer focus, secret drinks menu, and salts from around the world. Expect a tasting menu emphasising local produce used to create fish pie dumplings, confit-duck sausage rolls, and Newcastle pippies. There is a secret drinks menu, which is rumoured to hold some impressive drops. On arrival, you’re treated to bread and house-made butter with salts from four countries. Wines are also local and dedicated to showing the diversity of NSW regions.
Literally, everything on the menu passes through a flame in one form or another. There are two wood-fired ovens, three grills, and a wood-burning hearth, all visible to diners through the open kitchen. They source ingredients from local producers, including aged meat such as lamb, pork, and beef. Shellfish is killed (for lack of a better word) to order from the fish tank on site. The focus is on food in its purest form, so the menu is simple but executed so well. Expect a five-course chef’s menu showcasing Cowra lamb rump with fermented onions, John Dory with burnt tomato, and Kangaroo with radish, red currants, and pepper berry. The menu is constantly changing, so don’t hold us to these exact dishes.
Across the road from Firedoor is Gildas, Lennox Hastie’s second venture, which is a Basque-inspired wine bar offering share plates, Spanish wine, cherries, and vermouth. The restaurant is intimate, with seating for 60, and the light is dim—reminiscent of wine bars in San Sebastian. Diners can expect the same exceptional food quality you would find at Firedoor, with a much smaller price tag.
On Surry Hill’s coveted Crown Street is Mille Vini, a luxe Italian restaurant and wine bar serving impressive Italian bites and even more impressive wines. The expert team have curated one of the largest ranges of Italian varieties, pulling from Puglia, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Sardegna, and other notable wine-growing regions. The mood is romantic at night, with candlelit tables, dim lighting, and crystal chandeliers. During the day, it’s casual and fun. The sommelier and general manager, Ando, is an expert and more than happy to recommend tipples by the glass according to your taste and preference. Don’t leave without trying the food, either. They have light bites for grazing, or the dinner, many accompanied by a wine pairing, is the ideal date night.
When Bodega opened, it quickly became a tapas hotspot; now, it has been reimagined as a wine bar after taking over the bottle shop next door. Combining Bodega’s legendary flavours with Wyno’s tipples, Wyno X Bodega is an unstoppable hospitality force. The moody bar has an air of romance at night, with couples and friends sharing stories over a bottle of wine. The food menu changes quickly, but it draws on Spanish flavours. Think Gildas, marinated sardines, scallop Crudo, and spicy eggplant with stracciatella. Then, scour through a 17-page global wine list, including tipples from Australia, New Zealand, Italy, France, and of course, Spain.