Tastemakers: Raja’s Ahana Dutt on Where to Find Sydney’s Best Food

best restaurants sydney ahana dutt

Welcome to The Latch Tastemakers, where we sit down with people who know a city’s scene like the back of their hand to ask their must-try restaurants, cafes and bars. Dive into our Tastemakers series and curate your ultimate hit-list, whether you’re exploring your own city or venturing somewhere new.

Ahana Dutt is one of Sydney’s best-known Indian chefs. She has more than a decade of experience across India and Sydney, where she worked at Keystone Group venues, Firedoor and, most recently, Raja, which closed in May 2024 after nine months of operation.

“I always think of Sydney as — because it’s such a big city — I can compare it to Mumbai, as a melting pot of different cultures,” says Dutt. “What I like about Sydney is it’s so widespread, the more you go into the suburbs, you can see the different ethnicities. But then you come to the CBD and it’s a mix of everything.”

best restaurants sydney ahana dutt
Image: Instagram @ahana08

Ahead, Dutt shares some of her favourite restaurants across the CBD and Sydney’s suburbs. From a restaurant she says does some of the best-cooked veggies she’s ever tasted, to another that’s a recent favourite doing some of the city’s best Malaysian, this is Dutt’s edit of the places to dine in Sydney.


First on Dutt’s Sydney restaurant hit list is Longshore. Housed in The Old Clare Hotel in Chippendale, the restaurant features a menu inspired by the Australian coastline.

“I’m very much a creature of habit,” says Dutt. “If I like something, I just keep going there. I love Longshore as a dining space. Their food and hospitality are amazing.”

While Dutt says she likes almost everything on the menu, she says their snacks, bread and seafood, including fish head when it’s on the menu, are particularly tasty.

“I’ve only been for dinner, and it’s such a beautiful venue at nighttime,” she says.


Next is Parisian-style bistro Porcine on Oxford Street in Paddington, which opened in 2021. Dutt says, in her eyes, it’s a long lunch kind of venue.

“If you can preorder their duck press [canard a la presse], do it,” she says. “It’s so worth it. Otherwise, I always look forward to – they do two vegetable, salad numbers, which are super yummy, or anything that’s in a pastry is delicious.”


Dutt also mentions Surry Hills restaurant Firedoor, where she spent six and a half years. She says it’s where you should head if you want a “little fancier” dinner. As its name suggests, Firedoor focuses on cooking with fire, in all its forms.

“They have two kinds of set menus currently,” Dutt says. “You just sit down and they take you on this journey. But I always, even when I was working there, looked forward to the most: the vegetable course. No one does vegetables like them. There’s just something different about a cabbage cooked over coals.” 

Malacca Straits on Broadway

Dutt says her newest favourite place to eat in Sydney is Malaysian restaurant Malacca Straits on Broadway, headed by chef-owner Chef Tan who brings more than 50 years of experience to its kitchen and opened the spot in 2010.

“My best friend took me there the other day, and it’s maybe some of the best Malaysian food in Sydney,” Dutt says. “We got quite a bit. They have a special menu, and they will tell you what is good and if what you’ve ordered is correct and enough or not. And I would say the best way [to experience the restaurant] is to take their recommendation.”


When Dutt craves Indian food, she usually cooks it at home, grabbing ingredients at Indian grocery stores MGM Spices in Surry Hills and Radhe in Harris Park. But when she doesn’t have time to cook it, she’ll get takeaway from Faheem in Enmore.

“They’re like Indian-Pakistani food,” she says. “They do really good lamb brains. Everything is delicious there.”


Another Indian food favourite of Dutt’s is Chatkazz, which has spots in Sydney’s Bella Vista and Harris Park, Adelaide and Canberra. The restaurant has over 200 dishes, inspired by food from all over India, including dosas, puri and Indian-Chinese meals.

“They’re vegetarian and really fast-paced service,” Dutt says. “You get that feel of India, the feeling of a busy street vendor. It’s a big venue, and they’ve expanded in the last couple of years. You feel like you’re in India.”

Related: Danielle Alvarez’s Favourite Places to Eat and Drink in Sydney

Related: Matt Moran’s Two Favourite Restaurants in Canberra (Apart From His Own)

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.