Let’s face it: sometimes the restaurants with the best views come with underwhelming food. With our attention diverted to the outdoors, the kitchen can slack off a little when it comes to what’s on the plate. Luckily, however, Sydneysiders can lay claim to some of the world’s most notable chefs in the land, so whether you’re looking to dine over classic NSW waterscapes or inner-city skylines, we’ve complied a guide to the Sydney restaurants with a view that serve up spectacular sights alongside damn good food.
As summer approaches, getting a table at some of these dining hotspots can be a challenge, but Westpac Concierge members can tap into the dedicated team of dining experts on call to them 24/7. If you’re a Westpac cardholder, you may already be eligible.
- Sydney restaurants with a view of the water
- Sydney restaurants with a view of the city
- Sydney restaurants with a view of a garden
Sydney restaurants with a view of the water
Worth the price tag: Oncore by Clare Smyth, Barangaroo
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve just walked into Clare Smyth’s own apartment, albeit pitched on the 26th floor of the Crown Sydney, where you’re treated to some of the most indulgent views over the harbourscape. The award-winning British-born chef has executed a sense of homeliness in an unmistakably white-gloved dining room. But that’s where the familiarity ends because nothing on the menu is reminiscent of a home-style meal.
In homage to Smyth’s childhood spent on a Northern Ireland potato farm, the centrepiece on the menu elevates the humble potato. But belying its equally humble name ‘potato and roe’ (in which a lone spud is poached in butter for eight hours, topped with little roe bubbles, and served swimming in a silky beurre blanc), there’s nothing humble about this experience, which is no doubt a fancy meal at $300 a pop for seven courses, or $260 for three.
📍1 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo
The fish and chips shop: North Bondi Fish, North Bondi
Swapping its Middle Eastern winter stint as North Bondi Kepos for its summer friendly fish-and-chips roots, North Bondi Fish is back for a sun-drenched Bondi summer. With the beach stretched out ahead, you’ll savour the deep-fried whiting tacos, zingy Ora King salmon tartare and – of course – classic market-style beer-battered fillets served with a mound of satisfyingly crunchy chips. It’s modern but effortless, with that kind of sand-covered barefoot style Bondi calls for. There’s a particular joy to being sat right in front of the beach, spritz in one hand, taco in the other, soaking in the best parts of an Australian summer arvo.
📍 120 Ramsgate Avenue, North Bondi
The beach house: Barrenjoey House Palm Beach, Palm Beach
Admittedly, Barrenjoey House is slightly separated from its sea views by a stretch of road and car park, so you might have to break out your specs to get a good view of Pittwater, but it’s injected with the spirit of the Northern Beaches, which more than makes up for its separation from sea. Sit on the shaded terrace where you really get to luxuriate in the Palmy spirit. This Palm Beach mainstay is a heritage house and dishes complement the beachy ethos with highlights including seared barramundi and lobster risotto.
📍 1108 Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach
For the families: The Newport, Newport
Kids chase across the deck at this laid-back four-in-one foodie haven. There’s the Kiosk and Seafood Market menus, which have plenty of options that adults will love, while the Shack and Vinnie’s Pizza have dedicated menus for little diners (plus even more options for the grown-ups). All this means you get to sit back to a satisfyingly good al fresco lunch while the kids are kept entertained – courtesy of the modern games room – and the Pittwater views add to the general ambience. Weekends mean live music, $7 schooners, and $10 seltzers for a suitably fun end to the week.
📍 2 Kalinya Street, Newport
Old fave, new look: Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Bondi Beach
This Bondi institution closed for a winter refurbishment and is set to reopen this season with a hot new look. There’s been little said about what changes diners can expect, but we doubt beloved dishes such as the gamberetti will disappear from the menu. Owner Maurice Terzini has enlisted the help of Roman architecture firm Lazzarini Pickering, who’ll be stripping the old dame of its stuffy details and adding fresh details and new features such as an airy modern terrace. What won’t change, though, is its absolute prime position on the cliffs of Bondi, where it presides over Sydney’s most photographed pool.
📍 1 Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach
The pre-theatre treat: The Gantry, Dawes Point
It seems spring is indeed the time for a refresh as this hatted harbourside stalwart also undergoes a wintertime reno with plans to reopen this season. Dinners here come with a backdrop of gently lapping water, but the covered deck protects from those harbour winds, too. Recently appointed head chef Rhys Connell showcased some inventive new dishes in the brief opening between March and June this year, with a seafood-forward modern-Aus-meets-Japan menu to complement its maritime setting. His dishes – such as the brilliantly green salt, ginger, tofu, and cucumber – are like art on a plate and theatrical in their execution, which is fitting, given this restaurant’s proximity to The Wharf and Roslyn Packer theatres.
📍 Pier One, 11 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Take it up a notch: Altitude Restaurant, The Rocks
With vertigo-inducing views over Sydney Harbour, this award-winning restaurant in the Shangri-La Sydney hotel is a statement dining destination. The menu is modern Australian with international touches, with vegetarian options also available. Beautifully tender braised short ribs or charred winter carrots need only a creamy mashed potato side to complete a simple yet sensational meal. The Australian cheese selection is a must for those who still have room.
📍 Shangri-La Sydney Hotel, 176 Cumberland Street, The Rocks
Two from Peter Gilmore: Quay and Bennelong
Peter Gilmore is a something of a savant when it comes to Australian dining, and no good restaurant-with-a-view list would be complete without a mention of Quay and its neighbour across the way, Bennelong. Both have earned three AGFG Chef Hats (Quay’s been maintaining that status for 18 years now), and that’s down to the quality and treatment of produce, which Gilmore cultivates with a handful of trusted fishers, famers, and producers.
This all leads to wonderfully rich and complex dishes such as Bennelong’s funky mud-crab custard, an emulsion of fermented shiitake and roasted sour koji, or Quay’s perfectly sliced pasture-reared Maremma duck, which comes with abalone, fermented fish sauce, and oyster mushrooms. Of course, the views from both are some of the best by the water, with Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House visible from the window seats at Quay, and the Circular Quay and The Royal Botanic Garden from Bennelong.
📍 Quay: Upper Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks
📍 Bennelong: Bennelong Point, Sydney Opera House, The Rocks
The grown-up beach shack: Bathers’ Pavilion, Balmoral Beach
Thai food maestro Ty Bellingham and ex St Claude’s chef Cameron Johnston have taken the culinary reins at this beach spot. The dining room is casual yet elegant, with sizeable windows that invite the sea breeze in so you’ll get swept up in the nautical ambience – a far cry from the changing room it once was. In the upstairs bistro, the Bather’s breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and toast is a cracking contender for your Sydney brunch, complete with seaside views. The restaurant is ideal for more formal dining.
📍 4 The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach
Sydney restaurants with a view of the city
The architecture arrival: AALIA, CBD
Architecture is a theme that runs from the bones of this building through to the presentation of the food – which can only be described as sculptural. And, boy, is it difficult to make a lamb shawarma look sculptural. AALIA is set within the 1970s Harry Seidler-designed MLC Centre, so the views here are all about the contemporary look of the dining room. The menu pays tribute to Middle Eastern flavours and techniques, and executive chef Paul Farag interprets this in dishes such as Murray cod masgouf, or beef nayyeh, an Arabic spin on a classic steak tartare. Given its sophisticated good looks, this is an excellent choice for a business lunch.
📍 25 Martin Place, Sydney
The newbie: Rafi, North Sydney
Just opened this past October, this rooftop restaurant terrace has been generating a lot of buzz – and it’s set to be a beast, covering 300 seats across the dining room, bar and terrace, just made for springtime cocktail in the glow of the afternoon sun. But the zone we’ll be making a beeline for is The Arbor, a modern conservatory in the centre of the rooftop. Peruvian chef Matías Cillóniz and his team will be grilling seafood and veg over charcoal in inventive combinations such as South Coast tuna with avo and yuzu, and dry-aged duck crown with plum and mustard leaves.
📍 99 Mount Street, North Sydney
The rooftop jungle: Green Moustache, North Sydney
If there’s one thing we learned in 2020 and 2021, it’s that plants are nothing short of therapeutic. That’s what makes this little rooftop spot a dose of genius on the Northside. Given its location, this address is going to attract the after-work set, who’ll find it a suitable palate cleanser to all the high-rise concrete of the buzzy Northpoint Tower. Greenery cascades from the ceiling and the sustainably led dishes complement the overall ambience. There’s a clearly curated drinks list with a decent selection of local craft beers and wines as well as some special house-aged ales. And if the food and views don’t lure you to the north in your downtime, the two-hour weekend bottomless brunch just might.
📍 100 Miller Street, North Sydney
For an after-work spritz: The Butler, Potts Point
The view from The Butler just never gets old, does it? Framed by leafy greenery, the vista pans over the treetops of Hyde Park out across the eye. It’s one of the best vantage points in the city and that’s what makes this our pick for an after work spritz, drinking in crisp bubbles over the sun setting behind the cityscape. Chef Amber Doig’s Iberico-American menu – which features casual bites such as tacos and empanadas next to mains like roast barra and lamb barbacoa – ensures you won’t go hungry after a few glasses of Prosecco-charged cocktails.
📍 123 Victoria Street, Potts Point
Sydney restaurants with a view of a garden
The garden setting: Botanic House, Royal Botanic Garden
What more scenic place for a weekend walk than Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden? Even better: finish it off with dumplings and loose-leaf tea (or cocktails if you prefer) at Luke Nguyen’s Botanic House. Nguyen brings together plenty of Asian influences for his menus, which include native ingredients and are just as revitalising as the dose of O2 outside (tip: add dumplings onto your meal for a hit of pocket-sized perfection). But no matter how good the food, the view out to the gardens – from the big glass windows that frame the restaurant – will steal your attention to the outdoors.
📍 Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney
Pet-friendly and plant-filled: Centennial Homestead, CBD
Centennial Park’s established trees surround this lovely eatery just by the bird sanctuary. It’s a draw for families and dogs, who head straight to the deck for breakfast or lunch. There are delicious options for vegetarians (try the spiced fried eggplant) and irresistible ones for meat lovers, too. It’s not a quiet spot thanks to big groups, kids and families gathering around for lively brunches and lunches, but the service is reliably good, even when it’s busy, which is most weekends through spring and summer, so make sure to book in advance.
📍 Centennial Homestead, Grand Drive, Centennial Park
The designer greenhouse: The Botanica Vaucluse
While this chic Eastern Suburbs restaurant fits right into its posh surrounds, it’s also a wholesome dining experience. The menu is authentically veg-driven, having sourced produce from its very own Jamberoo Valley Farm. The interior could have come right off the pages of Vogue Living, with pretty pink armchairs, billowy drops of curtain and eyepopping botanical wallpaper. Outsized pot plants sprouting strelitzias, lilies and palms give it a tropical injection, while the glass windows show off the verdant outdoors. It’s a peaceful spot that calls for respite, which you’re invited to experience at the adjoining spa.
📍 2 Laguna Street, Vaucluse