All eyes are on the food or the view at ARIA.
All eyes are on the food or the view at ARIA. Photo: Supplied

1 Macquarie St Sydney, NSW 2000

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Opening hours Lunch Fri noon-3pm; Dinner Wed-Sat 5.30-9.30pm
Features Views, Accepts bookings
Prices Expensive (mains over $40)
Chef Matt Moran, Joel Bickford
Phone 02 9240 2255

This is a grown-up restaurant, for grown-up people with grown-up occasions to mark, and grown-up wallets to pay for the pleasure. The grand entrance and corporate-style foyer lead into a spectacular dining room overlooking the Quay, the Opera House and Bridge. Choose two, three or four courses from a varied menu of smallish plates or go the whole hog with a seven-course tasting menu and matching wines. Some dishes are spectacular; warm marron tail with bella rosso tomatoes and lemon verbena is at once fresh and silky. Others didn't quite get there; Kurobuta pork neck is a savoury wonder but struggled against a puree of salty Persian feta. Small quibbles are made up for with a spectacular dessert of black sesame parfait, its arrangement almost as elegant as the view. And service is fast, cheerful and a beguiling mix of casual and restrained.

And … Great cocktails, champagne and artisan beers in the very Mad Men bar.

Muted, comfortable, all eyes on the food or the view.
Best bit View, service, little touches such as locally made dashi butter. 
Worst bit The bill can mount up.