Yes, crisp pig's head sandwich is on the list ...
Bentley Restaurant and Bar
Bentley has settled beautifully into its big-time city digs, evolving into the perfectly pitched CBD dining – and wining – room. Kick off with seasonal cocktails and little snacks – maybe it'll be a grissini finger furled in cured wagyu. Or an excellent sandwich, some salumi and chips. The world is your lush warmed oyster with caramelised milk and scampi roe here.
Corner Pitt and Hunter streets, Sydney, 02 8214 0505
Anchovy, lardo and confit tomato on toast. Photo: Supplied
Set yourself up with a seat at the bar at this new Redfern gem, and order whatever's on the regularly changing specials board. Hopefully there'll be some iteration of the anchovy on toast. Tonight, it's a piece of thick-cut sourdough, confit tomato, just-warm lardo, draped with a white anchovy. It's all the flavours of a bite-sized supreme pizza and no enemy to a smoky mescal-laced margarita, either.
92 Pitt Street, Redfern, 0402 567 134
Baked eggplant at Big Poppa's. Photo: James Alcock
We're not sure how the late, great Biggie Smalls – for whom this fun cocktail lounge and late-night restaurant is named – would be down with the offering here but there's plenty for everyone to dig when it comes to the tunes. Not to mention the creamy burrata with cherry tomatoes, toasted farro and fig vincotto. As the Notorious B.I.G. once said, if you don't know, now you know.
96 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, 0499 052 201
Charcuterie and cheese plates at Continental Deli in Newtown. Photo: Daniel Munoz
"Yes, we can", and yes they do. There's Cake in a Can, Cocktails in a Can (the Mar-tinny, Can-hattan and Cosmopoli-tin) and Fish in Can. Behind the bar, staff shake cocktails, pop corks and slice mortadella before you. Pick at platters of fragrant, fat-fringed culatello, or just order a plate of good bread, very thickly buttered, and all of their cheeses. Can you leave? No you can't.
210 Australia Street, Newtown, 02 8624 3131
Row row row your boat: The roe boat is a two-bite win. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer
Here's Matt Swieboda's (Love Tilly Devine) new wine bar where refreshment is on hand at all times. Roll onto Llankelly Place, take a seat at the burnished copper bar and get the team to pour whatever's exciting them at that second. Maybe you'll order a serve of malty Iggy's sourdough, or a serve of ''roe boats'' – a little snack of trout roe scattered over crisp potato rosti. Get lightly toasted and waddle home.
5/29 Orwell Street, Potts Point, 02 9326 9745
The Dolphin's soft roll with blood sausage and egg is a winner of a bar snack. Photo: James Brickwood
Last year, star restaurateur Maurice Terzini took one of the worst pubs in Surry Hills and turned it into a multi-tiered fun house of pizza, wine, tiny snacks and tiny beers. Out the back, the wine bar offers up an esoteric mix of natural-leaning wines, cracker cocktails and snacks like the crisp pig's head sandwich.
412 Crown Street, Surry Hills, 02 9331 4800
Hartsyard's sibling, the Gretz. Photo: Cole Bennetts
Enmore looks to be gearing up again, thanks to a few new openings on the strip. And the Gretz keeps on keeping on, delivering Inner Westies smashed patty melts on rye – a squishy mess of melted cheese, juicy burger patty and sauerkraut – and soft New England style crab rolls. A sharp cocktail list and plenty for craft nerds on tap makes for all round booze-fuelled fun at this Hartsyard sister bar.
125 Enmore Road, Enmore, (no phone)
Baccala croquettes at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar in Bondi. Photo: Brendon Thorne
Few things sparkle the way Bondi Beach does on a perfectly calm and clear day. And few places nail bar snacking in such elegant surrounds. Take a stack of crisp polenta fingers – a bar menu mainstay – salty and finger-scorchingly hot, ready to be dipped into a side of sour cream. Or a crazily rich ham and cheese smoosh on soft white bread. Just the ticket to explore the depth and breadth of the wine list.
1 Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach, 02 9365 9000
You'd think a giant pub opened by some of the industry's most notor ious troublemakers would be a recipe for mayhem. And it definitely can be, when the pub fires up and the beers flow freely. The daily steak from Rangers Valley, comes in thick-cut rosy red slices and a choice of sides and sauces, though it's very hard to go past crinkle cut fries and a blanket of Diane sauce. If you do, arm yourself with a chicken schnitzel – bone in, mash, gravy – and get ready for further good times.
106 Oxford Street, Paddington, 02 9360 3554
Fried eggs and foie gras at Wyno. Photo: Christopher Pearce
Chefs Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate offer up rich, salty snacks that make you want to order more from Joe Valore's broad and eminently drinkable wine list. Whipped pork fat is served with a chunk of cake-like focaccia, perfumed with rosemary and layered with baked grapes. A single baby witlof leaf is filled with creamed potato, draped with a single Ortiz anchovy. And goddamn if this isn't the best plate of fried eggs doing the rounds in a Sydney bar right now. Foie gras: nature's answer to the perfect transeasonal garment.
4/50 Holt Street, Surry Hills, 02 8399 1440
The Good Food Guide goes national this year with hats awarded across Australia. The Good Food Guide 2018 will be launched in October with our presenting partners Citi and Vittoria and will be on sale in newsagents and bookstores.