34 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
By day, the Tratt's terrace balcony is a great spot to take in Bondi Beach. At night, it's cosier inside while facing down a puffy pizza or hearty pasta. There's more than your fair share of comfort food here, such as grill-marked spatchcock with marinated fennel and yoghurt sauce, but the locals love the signature angel hair pasta with lightly cooked tuna. Fresh, warm and light, it lands on the table, twirled like the curling Bondi waves.
PRO TIP You can BYO wine Monday to Thursday.
Cirrus restaurant at Barangaroo. Photo: Christopher Pearce
23 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo
Holy smoked mackerel, it's finally happened. Sydney has a world-class seafood restaurant by the water. Sure, Pyrmont Bay isn't as pretty as Bondi, but with chef Brent Savage putting a delicious new spin on familiar seafood favourites, we don't mind one bit. Catches of the day include Moreton Bay bugs, buttery Cone Bay barramundi and a seafood platter laden with oysters, tiger prawns, pickled mussels, kingfish and scallop tartare.
PRO TIP There's a big-ticket caviar selection for birthdays and blow-outs.
The picturesque Clareville Kiosk. Photo: Anna Kucera
27 Delecta Avenue, Clareville Beach
Getting to the far neck of the northern beaches can be such a trek that any stop feels like a summer holiday. But this beach cottage is custom-built for getting away from it all. With frangipanis out the front and a sunlit dining room, the mellow mood keeps everything bright and cheery. A brown paper bag of blistered pork scratchings kicks off like a chilled-out fish and chippery, while the treacle tart offset by a slightly sour creme fraiche is the perfect parting gift.
PRO TIP Keep an eye out for special events such as the season truffle dinner.
The Coogee Pavillion rooftop in full swing. Photo: Supplied
169 Dolphin Street, Coogee
"A creche with drinks" is how some describe this raucous culinary fun park. It's a fair point, given the ground floor games space is perfect for letting children run loose as parents find solace in a pina colada. On the food front, there are burgers, steaks and seafood dishes such as pot-roasted mud crabs. There's an oyster bar, too, and a wood fire pumping out pillowy pizzas. The rooftop is adults-only and more about the drinks.
PRO TIP Head to the rooftop balcony for sea breezes and views of Coogee.
The Dolphin Hotel in Surry Hills. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer
THE DOLPHIN HOTEL
412 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Last year, star restaurateur Maurice Terzini took one of the worst pubs in Surry Hills and turned it into a fun house of pizza, wine, tiny snacks and beers. Hit the pub out the front for snack plates of mortadella and deep-friend olives, while out the back it's cracking cocktails and snacks such as crisp pig's head sandwich. Meanwhile, in the dining room, the breezy Italian deliciousness produces squid ink spaghetti and pizza.
PRO TIP This is the best first-date venue in town, fromno-strings Tinder hook-ups to pizza and hand-holding.
The views are as mouth-watering as the food at Pilu at Freshwater. Photo: James Brickwood
PILU AT FRESHWATER
End of Moore Road, Freshwater
"Modern Sardinian" are two words that could mean two things. But here, they only mean one thing: gutsy, regional flavours executed with solid technique. Head chef Jason Saxby fills intricately folded ravioli with salt cod, finished with fresh broad beans, while hand-rolled fregola is served with a sweetcorn puree. Yes, the tender roast suckling pig is still on the menu, while a little raw vegetable and Puy lentil salad lends reprieve from all that richness.
PRO TIP Barretto, the little cafe below the restaurant, now opens for dinner.
On song: Rocker restaurant and bar in Bondi. Photo: Anna Kucera
Shop 5, 39-53 Campbell Parade, Bondi
At this Bondi newbie, chef Darren Robertson has taken the world's greatest savoury dish – Welsh rarebit – and smooshed it, breaded it, deep-fried it and draped it in lard. And it's very good. For something sweet, the rye and treacle tart – its dark bitter sweetness overridden by a light anglaise – is reason enough to come back.
PRO TIP Rocker is open all day. Go for lunch, drink through to dinner.
Saint Peter restaurant, in Sydney's Paddington. Photo: Nikki To
362 Oxford Street, Paddington
Here owner-operator Josh Niland, a young chef with a fin-to-tail sensibility, is unapologetically serving an entirely seafood menu. And he's having fun with it, too. There's a "part-y" pie with all the bits of a mirror dory leftover from filleting, yabbies are split and grilled, while a straight-up delicious fish and chips sees dusky flathead fillets captured in deeply crisp umber batter and paired with outrageously crunchy chips.
PRO TIP Weekend brunch here is a time and half. Go hard and order the uni crumpet.
Sean's Panaroma in Bondi is the home of comfort food and views across north Bondi. Photo: Supplied
270 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
If you haven't visited this eastern beaches restaurant, a salty mainstay since 1993, prepare for mega comfort. Chef Sean Moran specialises in simple, seasonal dishes, offering only a handful of daily changing blackboard items. Creamy celeriac soup, say, with plump Balmain bug tail meat, or rye cannelloni filled with ricotta. The dining room is a simple tiled affair, lit by candlelight of an evening and southern sun during the day.
PRO TIP The white chocolate and rosemary nougat is an unmissable menu mainstay.
Patrons drinking and dining at the Unicorn Hotel. Photo: James Alcock
106 Oxford Street, Paddington
You'd think a giant pub opened by some of the industry's most revered lovers of trouble – it's a combination of the Porteno, Mary's and Young Henry's crews – would be a recipe for mayhem. And it definitely can be, after dinner when the upstairs pub fires up. But downstairs in the dining room, things are more civilised, with thick-cut daily steak from Rangers Valley with a choice of sides and sauces a must-eat.
PRO TIP Friday nights sees piano singalongs in the dining room. You have been warned.