First dates. The worst - and also best - of all dates. It's a jungle out there but the Good Food Guide's got your back. Here are 10 of our favourites.
This pint-sized restaurant and bar has three strengths when it comes to a brand new date. It's dark (everyone is good looking in the dark), there's wine (everyone's good looking when there's wine) and there are delicious balsamic glazed ribs (everyone looks good when they're eating ribs… don't they?)
4/50 Holt Street, Surry Hills, 02 9699 1582
Will your romance blossom like this blooming onion at Bar Brosé? Photo: Dominic Lorrimer
What could be more romantic than splitting a carafe of wine, a late night sandwich and a blooming onion? Very few things. And if that doesn't do it for you, hedge your bets and order the carbonara.
231a Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, barbrose.com.au
Dark and moody with a short and very classic cocktail list, this is a winner for first and fourth dates alike. Order a few Portuguese-inspired snacks, a round of Old Fashioneds and see where the night takes you.
7 Bay Street, Double Bay, 02 9362 4680, bibowinebar.com.au
Unsure about your date? Feeling nervous and have run out of conversation? This loud and lively tapas bar is your answer. It's fast, it's furious, it's delicious and regardless of how successful your date, you'll still have a fun dinner.
216 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, 02 9212 7766, bodegatapas.com
Check in for a Mar-tinny cocktail at Continental Deli Bar Bistro. Photo: Hollie Adams
Sometimes the thing you need most is a third party to help carry the conversation, or at least kick it off. Get comfortable at the bar, order a round of Mar-tinnies and a cheese plate, and let your friendly bartender do the rest.
210 Australia Street, Newtown, 02 8624 3131, continentaldelicatessen.com.au
It's the ultimate first date pub where you can get a round of beers, some interesting Italian wine and a pizza all in the same 10 minutes. And depending which way it's going, you can move through for dinner or more wine. Big failure? The footy'll probably be on too.
412 Crown Street, Surry Hills, 02 9331 4800, dolphinhotel.com.au
If you're the type of revolutionary that's by-passing the first date drink and heading straight for a full-on dinner (more power to you), this might happily tick off both. Grab a table on the street, order some risotto, a little wine and let an army of swarthy Italian waiters look after you.
12-16 Challis Avenue, Potts Point, 02 9357 1744, fratelliparadiso.com
There's a wall of miniature bottles at Restaurant Hubert - and a huge amount of fun in store for patrons. Photo: Steven Siewert
Caveat lector: you'll want to either get here super early or super late. This French bistro and bar has all the ingredients for a successful date (dim lights, banging cocktails, a menu of food that won't run down your face) along with being the most popular new opening in town.
15 Bligh Street, Sydney, restauranthubert.com
Love, Tilly Devine
Wine + a modest food menu + great lighting and a fun soundtrack = great potential for romance. Plus, if all else fails, sommelier Gabrielle Webster is a deadset legend. If your date doesn't entertain you, she definitely will.
91 Crown Lane, Darlinghurst, 02 9326 9297, lovetillydevine.com
The signature roast chicken is not the only drawcard at The Paddington. Photo: Michele Mossop
Start in the bar and work your way through the cocktail list for a bit of Dutch courage before heading through to the restaurant for some truly exceptional roast chicken. Clear eyes, full stomach, can't lose. 380 Oxford Street, Paddington, 02 9240 3000, merivale.com.au/thepaddington
The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide awards night, presented by Citi and Vittoria, is on September 5. The Guide will be on sale in newsagents and bookstores from September 6, with all book purchases receiving free access to the new Good Food app.