Behold, North Sydney’s New Dining Scene, With More Than Just Cafés and Takeaway Shops

North Sydney is classified as a business district. Lunchtime any day of the week, you’ll find it crawling with office workers who’ve ducked out from one of its many skyscrapers. Weekends are a different story. Aside from Kirribilli Markets on Saturdays and Sundays, and a handful of cafes and takeaway shops, it’s a sleepy place.

But all that’s about to change with a recent restaurant boom in the area. Hatted Mediterranean restaurant RAFI opened on Mount Street in 2022. Italian-Australian eatery Bar Lettera opened on Walker Street in April 2024. And in mid-June, the same street will also welcome four new venues by Etymon Projects.

Other new North Sydney hotspots include Poetica Bar and Grill on Denison Street, which opened August 2023 and serves modern Australian, and Glorietta on Mount Street, which opened in 2020 and serves Italian.

best restaurants north sydney bar lettera
Image: Bar Lettera

“’Dining hot spot’ is not what you’d call North Sydney 10 years ago,” says Lisa Hobbs, CEO of Etymon Projects, the group behind Poetica and the upcoming, four-venue precinct. “However, over the past three years, it’s been pleasing to see more great hospitality operators move north of the bridge, and this is continuing to grow.”

Ben Carroll, co-founder of Applejack, the hospitality group behind RAFI, says the restaurant’s clientele is diverse, including friends visiting on the weekend for a casual brunch, professionals for weekday business lunches and family celebrating special occasions.

best restaurants north sydney RAFI
Image: RAFI

He says the suburb’s rapid transformation can be attributed to a range of factors, including a shift in demographics, with an influx of young professionals and culturally diverse residents, wanting innovative amenities.

“While the new metro stop [Victoria Cross Station, opened February 2024] has undoubtedly catalysed development, other dynamics are also at play,” Carroll says. “The area’s strategic location — its proximity to the city and the north makes it central — and its growing population density has created a ripe environment for investment and urban renewal.”

Best restaurants north sydney Una
Image: Una, Etymon Projects

Hobbs attributes the transformation to more residential development and the number of great operators coming to the area. She predicts the new precinct at 168 Walker Street will become a neighbourhood go-to for those who live, work and visit North Sydney.

Sol is a bakery, café and wine bar. Una will be an artisanal providore, selling cheeses, meats and handmade pasta. Soluna will be open all day, serving breakfast, coffee and cake in the morning, through to a full menu for dinner. And Genzo is a modern Japanese.

“There isn’t anything quite like this in North Sydney, and so it’s bringing something entirely new to an area that’s on an incredibly exciting trajectory,” says Hobbs.

Related: Tiny Restaurants Are Taking Off in Sydney and Melbourne

Related: 7 Luxe-Feel Melbourne Hotels With Rooms For $250 or Less

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