An evening spent along the piers of Walsh Bay or within the heritage-rich alleys of Millers Point, is sure to make you fall back in love with Sydney. Saturated by the arts, Walsh Bay and Millers Point was once dominated by public housing and flanked by the rather industrial precinct that is now Barangaroo. With crowds now descending on the area to see the best of Sydney’s theatre and ballet industry on show, the dining scene has been quick to assume the mantle of feeding the ravenous patrons – and boy, is the area flush with excellent dining choice. Below we’ve explored the best venues the area has to offer for food and drink, from white tablecloths to BYO Japanese, there is a restaurant suited to everyone in this historic quarter of Sydney.
This contemporary Italian eatery is a favourite for those frequenting the harbourside suburb, featuring antipasti, pasta and pizza aplenty. The Tagliere misto ($37) platter provides a great starting point, with prosciutto di Parma, Buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, olives and homemade woodfired bread. The papardelle with lamb ragu ($26) and the risotto with zucchini flower, saffron and stracciatella ($27) are utterly moreish while the chargrilled, butterflied spatchcock ($32) is a must for those who aren’t racing to get to the theatre. Their Sunday pizza e birra night means you can indulge in a pizza and glass of house wine or Italian beer for just $25.
21 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Setting the standard for glamorous Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dining, El-Phoenician is a favourite for lovers of high quality Lebanese cuisine in the most refined of venues. The trio of dips is a strong starting point, with Labne, Homous and Baba Ganouje ($26) paving the way, while the tabouli ($17) and Warak’aresh - stuffed vine leaves ($17) round out the starters nicely. An extensive range of meat, poultry and seafood dishes fill the menu, with the Combination Platter ($69 a person) a popular favourite; dips, salads, chicken, lamb, oysters, squid and prawns flood the hearty dish.
7 Towns Place, Millers Point
Hickson’s Food and Wine
A relaxed, casual atmosphere where the focus remains on serving impeccable food and wine to loyal guests. Situated on the charming Pier 7, those nibbling on a charcuterie board ($20) or a half-dozen oysters ($3.50 each) are equally represented as those settling in to try the set menu ($60). Offering the best of the restaurant’s work, the set menu boasts Creole tuna, spiced chicken, veal and pork meatballs and snapper, and ever-obliging staff will guide you through their extensive wine list accordingly.
5/17 Hickson Road, Dawes Point
The Gantry Restaurant & Bar
Hatted waterside venue, The Gantry, provides endlessly elegant drinking and dining options for those vying for a degustation or a pre-show snack. Our pick of the menu starts with the duck, malt, mead, sour pear and perilla entrée ($26), followed by the succulent Holmbrae hen with panisse, legumes and apricot ($36). The Rangers Valley beef with smoked beets, bone marrow and blue cheese ($40) also helps to lead into a selection of artisan cheese from Robertson NSW (from $15).
11 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Within the ever-elegant Langham Hotel on Kent Street, Bistro Remy provides the area with a much-needed upmarket French bistro. Guided by the very experience hand of Chef Dave Whitting, this luxe venue manages to keep every main at $40 or less, with entrées ranging up to $20. Try the black ash tortellini filled with potato crème, or the Golden Plains pork belly accented with apple and potato crème. Dessert-wise, you cannot go past the Valrhona chocolate puff pastry with dark chocolate sorbet.
89-113 Kent Street, Millers Point
Lotus Dumpling bar
Providing an impressive offering of Pan-Asian inspired fare, this Walsh Bay venue is flocked to by theatre lovers before they bustle off to their seats. Arrive a little after 7.30pm and you’ll have a much easier time of finding a prime seat to get stuck in to some delectable cuisine. With over ten varieties of steamed, blanched or friend dumplings, your favourites are no doubt provided; order the peking duck pancakes ($20) and spring roll ($9) appetisers to nourish your thinking while you deliberate over the dumpling question.
3/16 Hickson Road, Dawes Point
Immaculately blending the classic with the contemporary, Sydney Dance Lounge boasts views of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and offers a dining experience like few others across Sydney. A curated range of International and Australian beers and wine ensure that every dish has its ideal accompaniment. The barramundi brioche burger with pickled cucumber, tomato, lettuce, tartare and chips ($18.50) is a favourite, while the green pea and cauliflower kofta with chana dal, basmati rice and eggplant chutney ($18.50) is perfect for those wanting something lighter. You must try the passionfruit brulee tart with frozen yoghurt and gingerbread crumbs ($14.50).
The Wharf Pier, 4-5 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Regardless of the occasion, Walsh Bay Kitchen’s sleek new fit out perfectly complements their inventive menu offering. A two or three course Pre-Theatre dining option ensures that patrons will make it to the show with plenty of time to spare, while the à la carte menu satisfies those looking for a more personalised experience. We’re all about the chicken liver pâté ($16) and pulled pork shoulder ($19) starters while the steamed salmon on banana leaf with leek, shallot, ginger, and soy ($31) is completely intriguing. There is no way we’d be leaving without trying the caramel mousse and dulce de leche ($14).
22 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Offering a moreish range of Tapas dishes as well as a full à la carte selection, Lavana is as impressive as a quick stop in as it is for a full meal. We’d struggle to choose a single dish or two from their Tapas menu, with lamb ribs marinated in wild honey, thyme, chilli and olive oil ($16) and the fresh mussels poached in spicy tomato, garlic, chilli basil and herbs ($16) just begging to be eaten. The linguini with scampi, king prawns, garlic, chilli and cherry tomato ($29) is a must, while the grilled seafood platter for two ($75) seems completely sensible given the location.
6/17 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Fratelli Fresh Walsh Bay
The infamous Fratelli Fresh brand set up shop in Walsh Bay just a few years ago, but with such roaring success, it’s hard to imagine the area without the gourmet Italian grocer and café churning through pizzas and pastas at a gobsmacking rate. A serious antipasti selection is on offer for those only in need of a nibble, while the Roman-style pizza menu lists all the classics (who would dare to turn down a Diavola?!) and with freshly made pasta at the ready, you’d be mad to steer clear of the duck pappardelle with chilli, bitter chocolate and orange ($28).
8/16 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Low key, high quality Japanese fare on Kent Street, Tago-An is the fuss free option to a quick dinner in this western hub of the CBD. Agedashi tofu ($10), chicken Kara-Age ($12) and salmon/tuna/kingfish/scallop carpaccio tick all the entrée boxes, while the Rangers Valley wagyu strip loin with house sauce ($29) and the Vegie Hot Pot ($23) ensure that you’ll have consumed an elegant sufficiency by the meal’s end. A range of Bento Boxes are also available and the restaurant allows BYO for dinner.
25 Kent Street, Millers Point
This pop up food shack has set up shop within Pier One’s grounds over summer. Mouth-watering barbeque dishes including slow cooked lamb, pork ribs, smoked brisket and ‘chook wings’ mean you can take in one of the city’s most exclusive vista’s while tucking in to some hearty, no-frills fare. The black forest smoked sausage served on a roll with sauerkraut, cucumber and green chilli pickle ($12) or the charred king prawns skewered with chorizo and black garlic mayo ($15) are must-trys. Wash it all down with a local brew and you’ll be questioning whether you’re at your mate’s for a bbq or on Sydney Harbour.
Pier One, 11 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Perfect for those who’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed, the Bitter & Twisted team will bend you back into shape with an espresso (or four) and some breakfast staples. We’re all about their New York style bagels with cream cheese ($5.50) or the smashed avo with feta and cherry tomatoes ($8.50). If something more substantial is on your mind, the grilled haloumi and poached eggs with spinach, cherry tomatoes and balsamic on sourdough ($18) will have you feeling a million bucks.
9 Towns Place, Millers Point
Laid back in décor but a step up in the brunch stakes, Pier 8’s sweeping views of the Harbour and industrial-chic fitout is completely charming. All day brekkie on weekends means you can take your time before tucking in to a Pier 8 special of Shakshouka spiced tomato sauce, poached eggs, Persian feta, almonds, za’atar, baby spinach and toast ($18) or the berry ricotta hotcakes with fresh strawberries maple ricotta and berry compote ($18). Add a piccolo or two and your Saturday is in good stead.
8/9 23 Hickson Road, Millers Point
Zupano Espresso Bar
With an arsenal of Pablo & Rusty’s coffee beans, Zupano do the café basics to perfection. A full brekkie menu will keep those early hunger pangs at bay, while a lunch offering including pastas, soups, salads and mains will give you an excuse to stay away from your desk another 15 minutes. If it’s a mid-afternoon break you’re after, Zupano’s fruit, chocolate, and coffee frappes are uber refreshing.
9/21A Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
The Theatre Bar at the End of the Wharf
While it is naturally loved by theatre-goers looking for a glass of red before the bells start ringing and they’re ushered to their seats, the Bar at the End of the Wharf holds serious appeal in its own right. 180 degree views from Balmain across the Harbour to Luna Park and over to the Opera House, the Bar is housed at the tip of Pier with high ceilings and chic styling and with a full menu offering small dishes and sharing boards to mains you’ll feel compelled to linger. A jug or two of Aperol Spritz ($25) is probably all the convincing you’d need anyway.
Pier 4, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Saturated in history, the sandstone walls of this revered pub hold secrets from over 170 years of service. Live music is scheduled every weekend, and with a full menu including classics and more creative dishes you won’t feel the need to depart until closing time. If you’re after a table on the weekend, you’re best bet is booking ahead as the crowds often spill out onto the pavement during peak times.
81 Lower Fort Street, Millers Point
This lovingly refurbed boutique hotel is a favourite for those looking for a refreshingly chic place to kick off Friday night drinks. The Public House on the ground floor boasts 10 tap beers, a full wine and spirit offering and two entire pages dedicated to cocktails of both the classic and more inventive varieties. We’d head straight for the Bettington St. Smash ($18) with beefeater, crème cassis, lemon juice and cucumber before giving their ‘On Tap’ cocktail a spin. If you manage to arrive before the crowds, score yourself a seat upstairs at Henry Deane for an unparalleled view of the sunset over the Harbour.
35 Bettington Street, Millers Point
An oldie but a goodie, The Lord Nelson was restored to its original charm with the much-welcomed addition of the microbrewery that produces award-winning natural ales. Holding on tight to its title for being Sydney’s oldest continually licensed hotel, this local watering hole still draws the crowds, be it midweek lunchtime or in the evening. The food here is just as worthy of a mention, whether you’re after some classic pub grub or a much fancier affair in the Nelson Brasserie – you can’t go amiss. Pull up a stool at the bar, because here, you can’t help but feel part of history.
19 Kent Street, Millers Point