Sydney / Eat & Drink / Our Pick of Contemporary Australian Fine Dining in Sydney

Our Pick of Contemporary Australian Fine Dining in Sydney

While strictly speaking, a couple of the establishments listed may not tick the white table cloth box, but every restaurant on the list boasts accolades upon accolades that provide any justification for a mention. Contemporary Australian fare – though loosely defined in our rich hospitality industry – plays as much attention to the provenance of produce as to the presentation, making for exceptional dining.

Rockpool Bar & Grill

With accolades aplenty, there is little that remains unsaid about this spectacular restaurant in the heart of Sydney’s financial district. The stunning dining room sits within the Art Deco Emil Sodersteen designed City Mutual Building and the simple and uncomplicated fare offers ‘perfectly wood fire grilled meats and seafoods’ that team handsomely with an extensive wine list. Get started with a touch of caviar (from $275) or freshly shucked oysters (from $5.50 each) before moving on to the Redgate Farm partridge cooked over fire with roasted chestnuts and pancetta, or a hearty serve of dry aged rib eye, fillet or sirloin beef cooked on the wood fired grill.

66 Hunter Street, Sydney

Bennelong

Set within the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House, Bennelong takes advantage of their multi-level layout with three dining options available for seating ensuring that every patron takes in a full view. A heavy focus on food provenance sees that each dish is tailored to the best that producers have to offer, all of which you’ll sample in a three course à la carte dinner seating for $130. The royal red prawns with potato, saffron and broth of rock cod or the grilled Tasmanian octopus with radishes, smoked almonds, aioli and sherry caramel will whet the appetite, followed by the Macleay Valley suckling pig or the roasted master stock duck with fresh currants, kampot pepper, ume, shiso and pink turnips exhibit the best of Bennelong’s culinary prowess.

Bennelong Point, Sydney Opera House, Sydney

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This Merivale haunt helmed by Peter Doyle delivers seasonally driven, uncluttered Australian dining within one of Sydney’s most dramatic dining rooms, boasting floor to ceiling white columns and modern styling. Franck Moreau oversees the wine list, with an impressive array of Australian and international drops. With a tasting menu ($195) and chefs menu (from $105 for two courses) you can indulge as extensively as your appetite sees fit – our bet is that once you start toying with the idea of rose veal tartare with Jerusalem artichoke, glazed partridge with creamed sweet corn, harissa and persimmon or the Moreton Bay bug tail with fermented pumpkin, black garlic and pepitas you won’t need much persuading to add a fourth course for dessert.

Level 1, Establishment, 252 George Street, Sydney

ARIA Sydney

The swansong of Matt Moran and Bruce Solomon, the two-hatted restaurant delivers ‘haute cuisine’ with a gastronomic artistry rarely matched in Australia. Head Chef Moran is an advocate for local produce and ensures the quality of the produce rings true in every dish. While two, three and four course options are available ($115-$170) the Chef’s seasonal tasting menu ($205) is the sensible option for those looking for the full experience – think cured kingfish with mascarpone and lime dressing, smoked duck breast and roasted lamb loin with Jerusalem artichoke.

1 Macquarie Street, Sydney

Automata

A new favourite on Chippendale’s buzzing Kensington Street, Automata serves a regularly changing five-course menu ($88) designed to exhibit the best seasonal produce in a contemporary Australian style, with an optional beverage paring for $60. Dishes including lamb rump, celeriac, smoked salt and fine herbs, or cuttlefish with water kimchi, ginger and lemon oil await you, while a full wine list from Australian reds to Japanese Sake and Italian Amaros will undoubtedly have you favourite tipple amongst it.

5 Kensington Street, Chippendale

Bentley

Just another hatted restaurant calling this list home, Bentley is renowned in Sydney for its eclectic wine list, perpetually chic setting of the Radisson Blu Plaza and naturally, exceptional cuisine. The eight course tasting menu ($150 plus wine) is the go to for those struggling to commit to a solitary dish, while the à la carte menu brings temptations including a the cured kangaroo, plum, onion and freekah ($25), pork cheek with garlic and yoghurt puree, radicchio and jamon ($30) and duck with pickled muntries, comte and kohlrabi ($30) to a comprehensive range of seafood, birds and meat and beef grilled over charcoal together for a meal that hits all the high notes.

Corner of Pitt & Hunter Streets, Sydney

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Set in a bunker-esque space in Sydney city, the only thing you will need to do at this restaurant is choose what to drink while Head Chef, Nelly Robinson takes care of the rest. The inventive modern Australian eight-course degustation menu ($108) with matching wines (plus $99) changes every six weeks to showcase the best seasonal produce Australia has to offer. The wine list is extensive but no visit to nel. is complete without a look in at the cocktail offerings; o-zen your mind with archie rose gin, mancino ($20) or to finish off the night with the boss, archie rose vodka, maple, chocolate bitters and cherry ($22).

75 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney

Catalina

Situated on the harbour overlooking the beautiful waters of Rose Bay, Catalina has in its own right, defined Australian fine dining. The A La Carte menu has a strong penchant for seafood. It would be sinful to not start with a serving of freshly shucked Sydney oysters ($5 each with minimum of six) before moving onto the Poached Western Australian marron tail with rockmelon, prosciutto, green peas and lime aioli ($38). No dining experience at Catalina's is complete without ordering their signature dish, Roasted suckling pig with apple and pear chutney and rosemary jus ($120).  If it's too hard to decide which dessert to round out the meal with, then opt for the dessert selection to share ($75), trust us, you won't regret it. 

Lyne Park, Rose Bay

Monopole

The relaxed dining room setting occupied by Monopole makes way for an impressive dining experience crafted to deliver high quality dishes accompanied with over 500 wines offered by the glass, carafe and bottle. The Monopole Menu comes at a very attractive $70 a head plus wine. It includes a starter of David Blackmore bresaola, Kurobuta pork neck and Rangers Valley Tri Tip to help you settle in followed by the raw beef, spotted mackerel and pork belly dishes with a rye pudding with malted milk sorbet and poached quince to close. If a set course extravaganza is a marathon you’re not prepared to get stuck into, the à la carte menu has you covered.

71a Macleay Street, Potts Point

Sixpenny

Delivering refreshing dishes focused on fresh produce and crisp yet earthy tones with undeniably homely Australian flavour notes, Sixpenny in Stanmore is a must-visit. At $115 or $145 for either the small or large menu choices (not including wine), you’ll be treated to dish after dish of high quality fare with matched wines available.

The spanner crab with clam butter and Yarra Valley trout roe is unexpectedly decadent, while the venison tartare, Spanish mackerel and the aged lamb rump with roasted leek and caramelised pumpkin juice are utterly delicious.

83 Percival Road, Stanmore

Sydney

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