When it comes to fine dining, Sydney offers a smorgasbord of mouthwatering culinary delights. The city is awash with talented chefs well-versed in serving up the fanciest of hatted cuisine.
But when you're presented with a menu that's as captivating a read as the latest Miles Franklin winner, whittling down your final food choice (or getting the waiter to transcribe it) can be a difficult task, to say the least.
So if, like us, you find it impossible to choose between the seared scallops or the chargrilled Wagyu sirloin, then a degustation is the only way to go. That way, you get to try a little taster of the restaurant’s favourite dishes, to be enjoyed over time (and with plenty of wine). To help with your decision making, we've compiled our pick of the most standout degustations Sydney has to offer. Bon appétit!
Focussing on vegan cuisine, every plate at Yellow features produce grown by local suppliers. Set inside a converted 1950's art gallery, this eatery is as achingly hip as it is healthy. The restaurant is a-la-carte during the week, and offers five- and seven-course tasting menus on Saturday nights. You can choose between vegan or vegetarian – either way, you are in for a delicious time. Save room for dessert as the Honeydew Sorbet with Yuzu Curd, Young Coconut and Peppermint will convert even the most fervent dairy lover.
57 Macleay Street, Potts Point
This two-hatted restaurant delivers ‘haute cuisine’ with a gastronomic artistry rarely matched in Australia. Just steps away from the Opera House, Aria advocates local produce, and in every dish you can expect full flavour and impeccable presentation. While two, three and four course options are available ($90-$170) the Chef’s seasonal tasting menu ($205) is the sensible option for those looking for the full experience – think Smoked Buffalo Milk with Pear, Onion, Walnut and Molasses and Wagyu, Pumpkin, Parsley, Wood Ear and Sesame.
1 Macquarie Street, Sydney
Hatted waterside venue, The Gantry, provides endlessly elegant drinking and dining options for those vying for a degustation experience. Serving up three different six-course tasting menu's (depending on your dietary preferences), there's plenty to choose from. For meat and seafood lovers the tasting menu – with dishes featuring Kingfish, Murray Cod, Chicken and Kangaroo – provides a deliciously, succulent feast. The Gantry’s Vegan and Vegetarian Tasting menus are six-plate meals loaded with wholesome nourishment. Our favourite for each would have to be the desserts as they provide the perfect sweet note to finish.
11 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
A highly sought-after dining destination, Momofuku Seiōbo's three-hatted restaurant specialises in Caribbean-fusion cuisine. The menu is edgy and exclusive, with crowds lining up to sample Executive chef Paul Carmichael’s showstopping tasting menu ($185). Serving approximately ten-courses, expect to be wowed from the very first dish, as the menu takes you through the restaurant's well-loved signature creations.
The Star- Level G, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont
Voted one the world's top 50 restaurants, (it's secured a spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List every year dating back to 2009), this fine dining mainstay is situated in one of the city’s most impressive locations. Quay teams incredible vistas with exceptional cuisine, for an entirely indulgent experience. Helmed by local legend Peter Gilmore, the menu is inventive and nature-focused, and the dishes that sail out of his kitchen are truly works of art.
To sample a bit of everything, the six-and ten-course tasting menus provide diners with an exclusive insight into Gilmore's culinary world. Starting off with an Oyster Intervention and finishing up with his signature dessert White Coral (saying 'thank you, next' to the Snow Egg), each course will only go further to excite your tastebuds and imagination.
Upper Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks
Waterfront views, a chic dining space and modern Italian cuisine, OTTO has it all. There is no better way to linger over a leisurely seven-course degustation ($159) at their wharf side terrace. Sample delcious morsels of Angus beef carpaccio with truffle dressing, aoili, capers, parmesan and rocket, and then move onto Seared scallops with corn, mushrooms, and pancetta. But why not do it right and add the matching sommelier selected wine list for $80. You won't regret it.
Area 8, 6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomoolooo
A flavour-filled romance that marries European flavours with Japanese cooking – Finnish chef Tomi Björck and Australian Samuel Cole are the talented chef duo behind the enterprise. While all of the food on the menu is designed to be shared, Blanca’s ten-course tasting menu ($93) allows guests to tuck into the chefs’ favourite dishes. From Sydney Rock Oysters and Raw Beef & Sesame Leaf, to the signature Blanca Black Bun and Grilled Fremantle Octopus, there's so much to love about this inventive menu. If ten courses is too much, opt for the seven courses ($77) instead, and for herbivores, there are vegetarian variations for both tasting menus.
75 Hall Street, Bondi Beach
Monopole has gained a reputation for having one of the best well-priced degustation menus in the city – a seven-course ($70) offering of elaborate flavours and plenty of meats. It would be a shame to miss out on the wine pairings ($65), particularly when Monopole has 500 to choose from – a lengthy list that's won the venue more than a few awards (as has the food).
71A Macleay Street, Potts Point
The fanciest of degustations along Kensington Street, Automata, in the Old Clare Hotel, offers an elaborate five and seven-course tasting menu. Each dish draws on local, seasonal produce, which encourages constant innovation in the kitchen. The restaurant’s fit out is industrial and minimalist, leaving experimentation and colour for your plate. Get your tastebuds around the Steamed Hapuka with Bonito Butter, Hispi Cabbage and Wakame, and be sure to add the cheese course.
5 Kensington Street, Chippendale
Italian with an elevated Japanese twist, LuMi overlooks the rippling waters of Pyrmont Bay. With only degustation menus available, commitment to the meal is mandatory – and honestly, this is a relationship anyone would be desperate to marry into. Each dish is nothing less than a work of art (Moreton Bay Bug Tart is where it's at), and do we even need to remind you to add the wine pairings?
56 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont
Those with a sweet tooth may find just the kind of degustation they have always dreamed of. Barangaroo restaurant, 12-Micron is a suave, bronze-hued eatery offering five- and seven-course tasting menus, featuring dishes like Murray Cod, Zucchini and mussels, alongside Pork Belly, Leek and Potato. To make the most of the intrinsic desserts on offer, skip savoury all together and go for the three- or five-course dessert tasting menu. Hello, Milk Chocolate & Honeycomb sphere with Banana, Caramel and Honeycomb!
2/100 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo
Housed in a corner terrace near Stanmore station, Sixpenny oozes elegant dining with its a cosy venue and array of innovative dishes. The ever changing menu plays on seasonal produce, with diners making their way through the seven-course tasting menu; delivering thoughtful and aesthetically pleasing dishes. Make the most of the experience and include the matching wines.
83 Percival Road, Stanmore
A true culinary experience by Chef and Restaurateur Luke Mangan. Housed in Hilton Sydney, Head Chef Peter Cassidy has created a seven-course degustation menu that uses local and seasonal produce, prepared using classic French techniques. The hardest choice you'll have to make is deciding on your cheese course. Of which are there are two, naturally. To make it even harder.
Level 2, 488 George Street, Sydney
A must-visit for Japanese food lovers. Head Chef Tetsuya Wakuda knows his stuff when it comes to Japanese fine-dining. He's created a degustation menu ($240) using natural, seasonal Japanese flavours prepared using classic French techniques. The Roasted Scampi Tail with Vanilla kick starts your culinary adventure; indulge in beautifully prepared dishes like Tuna with Daikon and Wasabi, Wagyu Beef Sirloin with Chestnut Mushroom and WA Truffle, and Cucumber and Finger Lime Sorbet with Crème Fraiche.
529 Kent Street, Sydney
You only need to look to est.’s numerous awards to know that this is one of Sydney’s most impressive dining experiences. Choose from two, three, four-course or tasting menu options for a contemporary Australian, French-influenced dining experience. Take our advice, round out the experience and add either the matching wines or alcoholic beverages.
Level 1. Establishment, 252 George Street, Sydney