This funky all-day eatery in Redfern has the locals lining up. Taking style cues from the vibrant streets of Miami, Southside Charmers is exactly that: charming. From the beautifully designed bar and touches of pink, to the footpath dining and friendly service, this casual café-restaurant-bar also has the menu to back it up. Hispanic-fusion cuisine reigns supreme with the breakfast tacos, complete with scrambled eggs, smokey black beans and charred corn, a popular brunch choice.
Affectionately dubbed ‘The Woolie’ by locals, this pub is famous for its Thursday night trivia, which fills up early every week. If trivia’s not your thing, order some classic pub food to the streetside dining area, or head to the bookshelf-lined back area to crack open a craft beer – the pub has a huge range on tap.
Pitt St Diner
Halfway between Redfern Park and the train station, Pitt Street Diner is the kind of laidback local you’ll keep returning to. The French bistro serves hearty classics – think croque madames, steak frites and fish – and brings the European tradition of an aperitif to Redfern. In true French style, there’s a dedicated cheese menu and a 150-strong wine list.
For an impeccable fusion of Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine, Isaac in Redfern brings punchy flavours and euro decadence together for a meal you won’t be forgetting any time soon. The fit out is luxurious with the floor being made of smashed pieces of marble and the bar of concrete.
When we say this Viking-themed whiskey bar and restaurant has gone all out, we mean it. It’s a true treat for the senses, from the waiters wearing fur, jewels and Viking helmets to the tables set with Viking horns and swords. Interiors aside, there are over 400 whiskies from around the world, plus Nordic-inspired cocktails. The carvery is where the chefs work their magic on meat, fish and veg.
A lively local, The Norfolk enjoys a prime corner position on Cleveland and Walker Streets. The pub has a few main attractions: its buzzy, dog-friendly beer garden, Taco Tuesdays, and a sports bar. It’s also home to the House of Crabs, a seafood restaurant that puts on an unbeatable Southern-style crab boil.
At Nourishing Quarters, every plate is packed with superfoods, veggies and other nourishing ingredients, and free from gluten, meat, dairy and refined sugar. The menu is tapas-style, so you can try a bit of everything. Be sure to book, as the restaurant operates with two-hour sittings every night.
Fatima's Lebanese Restaurant
All hail the kebab kings! Fatima’s is a no-frills spot that’s been giving locals a taste of Lebanon for over 40 years. Our advice? Make it your last stop of the night, so you can truly enjoy your dish with toum, Fatima’s famous garlic sauce. On the weekends, belly dancers descend to kick the ambience up a notch.
Named after the world-famous restaurant in Spain, El Bulli serves some of the most authentic tapas this side of the equator. The menu is homely and divided into sections: ‘cosas de picar’ (things to nibble), ‘cosas de pinchar’ (skewered eats); and ‘cazuelas’ (smaller plates), all of which is best enjoyed with a side of live Latin music.
An Argentinian restaurant that has made Surry Hills its home, Porteno uses traditional Parilla (barbeque) and Asado (pit of fire) to prep their meat – so you know it’s going to be juicy and succulent. Pair it with their selection of South American, Italian and American wines.
Refn Courtyard Cafe
The best seat at this café is outside, in the big, beautiful courtyard. From 6.30am-3pm, Refn whips up hearty breakfast and lunch plates. Come the afternoon, it switches gears and turns into Teppan, a bustling and BYO Japanese restaurant that’s a solid choice for group dinners as well as fun date nights.
This Sicilian pizzeria is as colourful as the southern Italian island itself, with decorative tiles, a buzzy vibe, and plenty of character. With the help of its woodfired oven imported from Italy, La Coppola doles out Sicilian-style pizza, which has a crisp base and a puffy, doughy crust topped with the freshest of ingredients.
At this glossy restaurant-slash-bar, the ‘misfits’ of the silver screen are celebrated: you can’t miss the three-metre high poster of Twiggy, or the photos of AD/DC on the coasters. The interiors are vibrant, with green velvet stools, patterned booths, gold brass tables and greenery aplenty, and the wine list is just as interesting.
Located next to a kebab shop in Redfern, behind an unassuming glass door is Ron's Upstairs. You might get the feeling you've stumbled into somewhere you're not supposed to, but rest assured - if the bright red and green neon sign says OPEN, then you're good to go. The Mediterranean eatery is decked out in nostalgic kitsch reminiscent of a 70's diner (think fairy-lit plastic grape vines strung from wall to wall, lacquered tables and red carpet.) Order the rotisserie ...
The name says it all and this popular café joint has courageously taken Bondi’s clean eating scene outside the postcode. Bondi Wholefoods has an extensive smoothie range that makes it a perfect stop off between meals, which are gluten-free, dairy-free and always organic.
Doytao has venues scattered all over Sydney, so your fix is never too far. All of them dole out fresh, flavoursome Thai food that can be tweaked to tingle your tastebuds. Along with the usual Thai classics, there’s an ‘Only at Doytao’ menu, which features dishes like Volcanic Chicken and Nutri Fried Rice.
Everything Luke Mangan touches turns to gold, and his newest venture, Luke’s Kitchen, is no different. On the old Mojo site, the eatery is casual and unpretentious – but with the same sky-high standards we expect from the celebrity chef. The menu is a little Asian, a little French, and a lot of fun.
Kepos & Co
A foodie destination within itself, Kepos & Co is where chef Michael Rantissi has mastered his own brand of Middle Eastern food. The menu is made for sharing, and bursting with flavour: think hummus, haloumi, woodfired goodies and falafel – which is so good here, the team wrote a book about it!
Erciyes opened twenty years ago as a Turkish takeaway shop. Fast forward to today, and it’s a 150-seat restaurant that dishes up kebabs, pide, mezzes and baklava with a side of smiley service. It’s still run by the same family, and there are belly dancers on Friday and Saturday nights.
This dimly-lit, chic spot in Surry Hills dishes up Mediterranean delights all day. Located on Crown Street, it’s cosy and inviting, and shines brightest when weekend brunch rolls around. You can expect to feast on snack-size plates, main meals and meze platters, plus prettied-up desserts that taste as good as they look.