Ananas Bar and Brasserie. Click for more photos

Sydney's 'hot & new' restaurants

Ananas Bar and Brasserie. Photo: Edwina Pickles

ANANAS BAR & BRASSERIE
18 Argyle Street, The Rocks 02 9259 5668

Classic French gets a classy lift from chef Paul McGrath (ex-Bistro Ortolan) in a sexy, baroque dining room, complete with champagne bar and ornamental pineapple motifs. (Yes, ananas is French for pineapple.)

Sydney Morning Herald restaurant critic Terry Durack says: "Prices aren't low, but neither is this the sort of place you can pay $36 for a main course and still go home hungry. A whole flounder, for instance, really is a whole, fair-sized flounder, complete head-to-tail, and Frenched-up with an oozy lemon caper butter and a bed of velvety, buttery, mash that rivals that of Guillaume Brahimi at Bennelong."

Crispy eggplant with "fish-fragrant" sauce from Mr Wong.
The service, the wine, the decor ... A dish from Mr Wong. Photo: Jennifer Soo

Read: the full review

CAFE NICE
Level 3, 2 Phillip Street, Circular Quay 02 8248 9600

The latest in the Fratelli Fresh/Cafe Sopra line-up is a pastel-pretty, provencal bistro perched above Circular Quay. The Riviera-led menu includes a rich pissaladiere and a glorious red wine and octopus risotto.

Terry Durack says: "The menu is cleverly balanced with simple staples, and even the richest dishes are cooked with a light, almost delicate, hand."

The Sydney outpost of MoVida.
The Sydney outpost of MoVida. Photo: Jennifer Soo

Read: the full review

CIPRO PIZZA AL TAGLIO
21 Fountain Street, Alexandria 02 9698 4183

Pizza may be the drawcard – great, gorgeous slabs, served by the slice. But the main course menu is comfort food par excellence, a gift to this up-and-coming neighbourhood and beyond.

Casual with serious credentials ... Cipro Pizza al Taglio.
Casual with serious credentials ... Cipro Pizza al Taglio. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Terry Durack says: "A stand-and-order counter...is stocked with slabs of artfully assembled pizze. Toppings are gastronomic and seasonal, so instead of capricciosa and Hawaiian, there's zucchini with mint and ricotta, chargrilled peppers, tuna and olives, and my new fave, sausage and peperonata - clumps of chorizo and 'ndjuja plopped on a squish of tomato and roasted red peppers."

Read: the full review

GOWINGS BAR & GRILL
QT Hotel Sydney, 49 Market Street, Sydney, 02 8262 0062

One of the city’s newest boutique hotels is something of a period piece. Its old-meets- new brasserie pays due respect to carefully sourced meat and seafood, with a terrific, global wine list.

Spiced rump of veal with ricotta and pimientos from Monopole.
Making casual dining a serious proposition ...Monopole. Photo: Jennifer Soo

Terry Durack says: "[The] menu is trend-buckingly vast, running from New York deli staples such as matzah ball soup and a pastrami and brisket sandwich to steaks, oysters, crudo, and good old-fashioned comfort food including beef bourguignon and Holstein schnitzel. It's brasserie food updated with the latest kitchen trendlets such as beer-steaming and detox salads."

Read: the full review

KEPOS STREET KITCHEN
96 Kepos Street, Redfern 02 9319 3919

Speaking to our inner Italian ... Osteria Di Russo & Russo.
Speaking to our inner Italian ... Osteria Di Russo & Russo. Photo: Steven Siewert

This may be the restaurant of the future: a great cafe by day, with good coffee and delicious mod Israeli/Middle Eastern salads, one-plate meals, fabulous cakes. The theme continues through dinner.

Terry Durack says: "At dinner things step up a gear, kicking off with lamb kibbeh neah...Several dishes come in pans: gentle gnocchi tumbled with slow-cooked veal shoulder ($26), and a terrific dish of monkfish kefta that looks set to be a signature - the lightly cooked patties teamed up with baba ghanoush and tangy pomegranate balsamic."

Read: the full review

MOVIDA
50 Holt Street, Surry Hills 02 8964 7642

The universal hit opening of the year has brought Melbourne’s Frank Camorra to town, with all his Spanish flavours and flair. If anything, we think his Surry Hills restaurant is his very best yet.

Terry Durack says: "MoVida brings something special to the Sydney dining landscape - a fusion of great cooking, spot-on judgment and a very Melburnian sense of how to run a restaurant."

Read: the full review

MR WONG
3 Bridge Lane, Sydney 02 9240 3000

Dim sum, roast duck and superb steamed fish with ginger and shallots are just three reasons we’ve fallen for this oriental gentleman. Then there’s the service, the wine, the decor…

Terry Durack says: "...they have created what is in essence a self-contained Chinatown, complete with dim sum kitchen, roast meats counter, downstairs banquet hall and a moody colonial dive bar that could have been plucked from the backstreets of Hong Kong."

Read: the full review

MONOPOLE
71a Macleay Street, Potts Point 02 9360 4410

We’ve been totally won over by Brent Savage’s house-cured meats, Nick Hildebrandt’s wine list, a fun mix of bistronomy-styled dishes (cute riffs, original pairings) and a vibey, busy, exciting room.

Terry Durack says: "Monopole is a gorgeous thing, a classy, wine bar with an intriguing dichotomy at its heart – an emphasis on both natural wine of minimal intervention and cleverly manipulated food. Together, they make supposedly casual dining a serious proposition."

Read: the full review

OSTERIA DI RUSSO & RUSSO
158 Enmore Road, Enmore 02 8068 5202

Because it speaks to our inner Italian. Because it’s tongue-in-cheek homestyle but deep down, just a little bit hipster. And because it’s all happening in Newtown/Enmore. Hooray.

Terry Durack says: "Traditionally, an Italian pasta dish is all about the pasta, with the sauce secondary. Here, the trofie with hare ragu is more of a synthesis; the tiny hand-rolled spindles of beetroot-coloured pasta deliberately fused with the hearty, dense, long-flavoured ragu, cleverly bolstered by ham hock and brussels sprouts. It's a great dish, and should be kept on all winter long."

Read: the full review

TAPAVINO
6 Bulletin Place, Sydney 02 9247 3221

Is it a bar? Is it a restaurant? Do we care? Tapavino channels an authentic Iberian vibe, from the huge sherry list to a perfect tapas selection.

Terry Durack says: "Need a holiday in Spain? Here's a cheaper alternative. If this little laneway gem doesn't have you feeling as though you're kicking back in the cobblestoned, sangria-soaked alleyways of Madrid or Barcelona, then you need another sherry."

Read: the full review

 

The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2014 is launched on Monday September 2. Follow @goodfoodguide on Twitter for the results as they happen. Or keep an eye on the hashtag #goodfoodguide. See the results from around 8.30pm on goodfood.com.au.