Matt Moran on the Sydney Restaurant Everyone Should Visit at Least Once

matt moran restaurants sydney

Matt Moran is one of Australia’s best-known chefs, with stints on prime time shows like MasterChef and Junior MasterChef and a cooking career that spans more than 30 years. He’s also the restauranteur behind some of the country’s most celebrated dining destinations, including Aria, Chiswick and North Bondi Fish.

And though he’s often on the move, most recently spending time in Canberra to open sister venues Compa, a 116-person Italian steakhouse, and &Sando, a sandwich shop next door, he’s a long-time Sydney local.

He’s the perfect person to ask about the one Sydney restaurant that best showcases the city. A venue every local and visitor should try at least once.

“Look, I’m going to say something like Sean’s Panorama,” Moran says. “And the reason being, Sunday lunch [at Sean’s] is just really simple, well-cooked food with great produce. The dish I love at Sean’s the most is the roast chook.”

Seans Bondi
Image: Sean’s Panorama

The restaurant on Campbell Parade in North Bondi has been operating since 1993, serving a set, three-course menu for dinner from Mondays to Thursdays and lunch and dinner Fridays to Sundays.

Moran says Sydney restaurants stand out for their food. They work with some of the best produce and seafood in the world, owing to our climate, farmland and coastlines. One of his favourites is fine dining Italian restaurant Icebergs, which he recommends for a Sunday lunch. He always orders the caviar, which comes on a little wafer with crème fraiche. The restaurant serves your choice of a two- or three-course set menu.

Neil Perry’s Margaret in Double Bay is another of his Sydney restaurant favourites, where his love for a clean, simple piece of grilled fish is met with the restaurant’s King George White.

Margaret Double Bay
Image: Margaret

“Sydney brunch, I would recommend Lox Stock and Barrel in Bondi Beach,” Moran says. “Love it. I always order the bagels.”

His favourite cheap eat in Sydney is ready-made food, franchise restaurant Chargrill Charlie’s, which has locations around the city, including Annandale, Randwick and Neutral Bay. He always orders the roast chook, calling it a guilty pleasure.

Finally, of Moran’s own Sydney venues, which is his favourite? “That’s like picking your favourite child — very hard to do,” Moran says. “But Aria is my baby and will always be my baby. Aria’s menu changes quite frequently — Tom [Gorringe], who is the head chef, is absolutely brilliant.”

why isn't michelin guide in australia
Image: Aria

Moran opened the fine-dining restaurant Aria in 1991 at 1 Macquarie Street in the CBD, with views of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. Its menu champions local produce, with a tasting menu or four-course dinner available every night except Sunday and weekday lunches on offer from Thursdays to Saturdays.

“And I love what Chiswick stands for and the philosophy behind it with the paddock-to-plate theme,” Moran says. “A must-order dish has to be the lamb shoulder.”

Related: Matt Moran Says These Are the Restaurants and Bakeries Not to Miss in Regional NSW

Related: 11 of the Best Restaurants In Bondi, According to Someone Who Eats There Once a Week

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