Sydney Restaurants: Top Picks

As I’m sure you can tell, we are always on the look out for healthy cafes whether it be in Sydney or during our travels. What you may not know is that when we are not eating acai or sipping green juice, we also love exploring the Sydney restaurant scene. We are lucky enough to be located near the city, so we are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out. We’ve complied a list of some of our top picks for celebrating special occasions or for when we are in a ‘treat yo’ self’ kind of mood.

The Apollo, Potts Point 

Apollo is a multi award-winning Greek restaurant located in the heart of Potts Point. We love sharing some of the vegetarian small plates (the saganaki cheese with honey and oregano is an absolute must), along with the warm pita bread, split pea dip and baked eggplant salad. For something a little more substantial they also have a great selection of mains. My go-to cocktail is the “Pickled Greek” with cucumber, lime and chilli – perfect for those who like their drinks not too sweet.

The Apollo – Pita, Split Pea Dip and Saganaki

Sefa Kitchen, Bondi

Sefa Kitchen is a Mediterranean restaurant just slightly up the road from Bondi Beach. The stunning interiors are reminiscent of the Middle East which really enhances the dining experience.

This is another restaurant that is ideal for sharing. The menu changes seasonally but if available we recommend the crispy brussel sprouts (can never go past these!), the probiotic labne with coconut dukkah and the halloumi with honey and za’atar.

Aside from the delicious food, Sefa Kitchen also have an emphasis on sustainability, sourcing grass-fed and hormone-free meat from local butchers. They also grow a lot of their own herbs and have a strong focus on seasonal produce.

Photo credit: Sefa Kitchen – Crispy Brussel Sprouts

Lox Stock and Barrel, Bondi

This ‘deli’ style restaurant located near Bondi Beach has a “farm to plate” philosophy, offering lots of healthy, seasonal dishes. You can choose from their selection of small plates to share or a more substantial main. Otherwise if you’re in the mood to just graze and sip on cocktails they have a great range of platters… The veggie platter with 3 daily dips, olives, fermented vegetables and sourdough is delicious (with a Jalapeño Margarita on the side, of course).

Some small plate recommendations include the sprouted mixed grain falafel with red lentil dahl and coconut sambal, the warm mushroom salad with cashew purée, crispy brussels and a soy-lime dressing and/or the slow roasted pumpkin with cayenne, pine nuts and cavalo nero. It is one of those menus where you just want to try everything so you may need to factor in a few visits!

Tequila Mockingbird, Paddington

This is a local favourite of ours with perhaps the best selection of cocktails I’ve come across in Sydney. Their signature “tequila mockingbird” cocktail is a must-try, as well as their “Coco Mo” – a coconutty cocktail  with lime juice, mint and a toasted coconut rim. We ask for no sugar/agave in our drinks and the friendly staff are always very happy to accomodate.

From the food menu, we love the ceviche tacos and the guacamole with quinoa crackers. It is quite expensive so we prefer to go when we are not overly hungry and just sip on cocktails and share a few small dishes.

It has a beautiful courtyard so it is an ideal location for a lazy afternoon session.

Tequila Mockingbird Ceviche Tacos

“Tequila Mockingbird” Cocktails

Chiswick, Woollahra

Chiswick is known for its beautiful gardens and emphasis on local, seasonal produce. The quality of ingredients is apparent as soon as you taste the food. I don’t think you can go wrong with this menu but some of our go-to’s are the local beetroot salad with honeycomb and the roasted pumpkin salad with seasonal mushrooms. The sashimi tuna is also delicious.

Note: The menu changes seasonally so you may want to look up the menu in advance.

Chiswick Pumpkin and Mushroom Salad

Public Dining Room, Balmoral 

Although not located in the East (so no longer a local for us) this was one of our favourites when we lived on the North. It is located right on Balmoral Beach so it is the perfect setting to celebrate a special occasion. They have delicious salads and side dishes and the main salmon dish is to-die-for.

Shuk, Bondi

Another Bondi favourite featuring delicious Mediterranean inspired dishes (this one is also great for brunch).

You’ve probably guessed by now we love sharing small plates… it is just a great way to get to try lots of different dishes and experience lots of different flavours. Here we love the falafel with charred eggplant, coconut labne and dukkah as well as the hummus with warm pita bread. They also have a great new vegan menu.

From the mains, the house made gnocchi with mushrooms, truffle oil and ricotta is hard to go past.

Photo credit: Shuk – Dinner spread

Italian Bar, Paddington

As we often say, our food philosophy is all about balance so that means sometimes indulging in a delicious pizza. Italian Bar is up there with the best pizza we’ve ever had in Sydney, and even competes with pizza we’ve had in Italy.

We love the “Tartufo” pizza with mushrooms, truffle oil and parmesan although it is usually served with sausages so we request without to make it vegetarian. They also have a great wine menu for wine-drinkers!

It is an ideal location for dinner in Summer because they have a stunning courtyard out the back. The inside dining area is also very nice and has a very ‘Italian’ feel. Even more so when you speak to the lovely staff members with their warm, welcoming nature and Italian accents!

Raw Bar, Bondi

A Japanese restaurant using the freshest, highest quality produce right on Bondi Beach. For any sushi-lovers this place is a must. Their “Raw Bar Salad” with spinach, seaweed, avocado, tomato, carrot, lettuce, cabbage and cucumber with a sweet and tangy Japanese dressing is also delicious.

 

Photo credit: Raw Bar – Sashimi

Photo credit: Raw Bar – Raw Bar Salad

Fred’s, Paddington

This is definitely one for a fancy occasion (and prices to match) but it is worth it for the delicious food and the ambiance. The menu changes frequently but you can guarantee whatever they have on offer will be great. What is almost always available is the wood oven fougasse (bread) with olive oil and I can assure you it is no ordinary bread.

Below Fred’s is another restaurant called Charlie Parker’s which is also fantastic. The underground vibe really adds to the experience and it is a great place to relax with friends.

Coogee Pavilion, Coogee 

Coogee Pavilion is another one I love, especially in Summer. It is a huge multilevel restaurant overlooking beautiful Coogee Beach. There are a few different menus depending on what section of the restaurant you are in but I highly recommend trying a Vinnie’s wood fire pizza.

Otherwise the main menu showcases a great selection of small dishes to share, as well as some salads and a “raw” bar with a delicious range of sashimi. The cocktails are also fab – try the “cravado” with lychee, mint and coconut water!

Aki’s, Woollomoolo Wharf

I’ve always had a soft spot for Indian cuisine and this place really delivers the goods. My go-to dish is Palak Paneer, a puréed spinach dish with cubes of cottage cheese, with a side of roti and brown rice. Lentil dahl is another favourite of ours. This restaurant is in such a fabulous location, ideal for celebrating special occasions.

Otto, Woollomoolo Wharf

Also located on Woollomooloo Wharf, Otto is a fantastic Italian restaurant. As well as having delicious traditional Italian dishes such as pasta and risotto, they also have an entire dedicated vegan menu (not something you typically find at an Italian restaurant). We were lucky enough to attend a dinner hosted by Zomato, showcasing the vegan degustation menu (read more about it here). Some of the stand out vegan dishes include the beetroot ravioli with walnut cheese, and the ‘cheese’ platter for dessert. We were impressed by how closely these dishes replicate dairy cheese.

Photo credit: Otto Ristorante – Dinner spread