10 Sydney Restaurants to Take Out-of-Town Guests

The White Horse Sydney restaurants

As an American living in Sydney for more than a decade, I have a steady stream of overseas visitors. I’ve also been put in touch with countless friends of friends who are visiting Sydney and wanting recommendations.

So, the question of what Sydney restaurants best showcase the city is constantly on my mind. They’re the venues with the best views, chefs and experiences. The spots locals go to regularly or for special occasions. What they’re far from are tourist traps.

Ahead is my current edit, though, by no means comprehensive. These are just a few restaurants I’m always taking or recommending to out-of-towners. They’re the places that will, in my eyes, give them the best understanding of what makes Sydney so special.

Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Bondi

In my eyes, no list of restaurants that capture the essence of Sydney would be complete without a mention of Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. Opened in 2002, the restaurant sits above the world’s most famous ocean pool with floor-to-ceiling windows that let diners take in scenes from below and across to North Bondi. The seasonal Italian set menu lets you choose your two or three courses.

Image: Icebergs Dining Room and Bar

Sean’s, North Bondi

Walk five minutes past Campbell Parade’s main drag and you’ll reach the pink and red-painted exterior of Sean’s by chef Sean Moran. The restaurant has been serving lunches and dinners since 1993, though now it’s set menu only. Inside, its décor features sea shell chandeliers, gallery walls of framed artwork and a chalkboard with the daily food offerings. Sydney locals love Sean’s for a long lunch.

Image: Sean’s

Manly Wharf Bar, Manly

If you’re getting to Manly Wharf Bar, or ‘Wharfy’ as the locals call it, by ferry, you’ll likely spot it as you come in. The restaurant and bar spill onto an overwater terrace next to the wharf, so you can watch the ferries and private boats roll in and, if you’re here at sunset, catch a yellow, pink and purple sky. Pub food and drinks are on the menu.

Aria Restaurant, CBD

Aria Restaurant is one of Australia’s best fine-dining restaurants, as proven by its countless awards. Opened by chef Matt Moran in 1999, the restaurant is set a stone’s throw from the Sydney Opera House with the landmark viewable from its floor-to-ceiling windows. Choose from a tasting menu, four-course menu or pre-theatre offering.

L’Heritage, Chowder Bay

Dining at French restaurant L’Heritage feels like you’re in a rich friend’s country house, with white-painted panel boards, glass cupboards filled with wine bottles and framed artwork on every spare space wall. Easily the décor highlight and what makes it work taking out-of-towners is its view of Chowder Bay and Clifton Gardens from opened windows. The menu is inspired by the offerings at Parisian bistros.

Image: L’Heritage

The White Horse, Surry Hills

The White Horse Hotel on Crown Street is an institutional pub in Surry Hills, open since the 1930s. But in 2024, it underwent a complete refurbishment, emerging as a two-storey site with a modern Australian diner downstairs and a bar, function space and outdoor terrace upstairs. For a complete Surry Hills experience, after dinner or a drink, take your out-of-towner a few doors down for some scoops at Gelato Messina.

Image: The White Horse

Epicurean at Crown Sydney, Barangaroo

Name a breakfast or lunch food and Epicurean at Crown Sydney probably has it. The buffet restaurant inside Crown Sydney has nine live kitchens, a seafood counter and a dessert station. It serves cuisines from Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Italian and Australian, and even has a dedicated gluten-free station for those with dietary restrictions.

Barrenjoey House, Palm Beach

If you’re taking your out-of-towner on a day trip, consider heading to Palm Beach, an hour’s drive north of the CBD. The town in the Northern Beaches shows a much slower-paced way of living, with a focus on the sea. Barrenjoey House encompasses this ethos with its coastal décor, indoor-outdoor dining and seafood-heavy menu. Before or after a meal here, hike to Barrenjoey Lighthouse for aerial views of the area.

Image: Barrenjoey House

Fratelli Paradiso, Potts Point

Fratelli Paradiso opened in leafy Potts Point in 2001, intending to bring a slice of Melbourne dining to Sydney. The menu is Italian, and the wine is extensive and updated weekly. Grab a seat facing Challis Avenue so you can catch glimpses of how the locals in the area live. The owners also run 10 William St in Paddington, another must-visit Sydney restaurant.

Bar Totti’s, Sydney CBD

The newest venue on this list, Bar Totti’s opened at the Ivy precinct in 2020 after the success of Totti’s in Bondi. The venues share an Italian menu, with its flatbread and burrata easily the most ordered dish. Bar Totti’s is on George Street with some street seating so you can watch all the CBD comings and goings.

Image: Bar Totti’s

Related: How Restaurants Are Making It Worth Your While to Dine In

Related: The Latest Croissant Hybrid Is Here, and It’s Japanese-Influenced

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