As we launch the Good Food Guide reviewing season, experts reveal where they love to dine.
Neil Perry, Margaret
At the moment, and I know I'm probably biased, but I love what Mike Clift (my son-in-law) and Dan Pepperell are doing at Bistrot 916. It's great to see young folk really giving it a red-hot go and winning in this tough environment.
22 Challis Avenue, Elizabeth Bay, bistrot916.com
Crumbed pig's head with shiso leaves at Banh Xeo Bar. Photo: Supplied
Jordan Toft, Mimi's
Banh Xeo Bar is freshness personified. Pig makes its way across the menu in the form of pig's head nuggets, fried trotters in a buttery, chilli, fish sauce thingy, and sometimes you're lucky to catch the last pork chop, aged and grilled perfectly.
Shop 11, 61-71 Mentmore Avenue, Rosebery
Lauren Eldridge, Berowra Waters Inn
I've only recently moved to Blakehurst so I have a very new local – Imperial Peking Restaurant. The restaurant has been around for more than 20 years and has this grand entrance that always makes me smile. Sunday yum cha is insanely popular (for good reason), but I love popping in for a weeknight dinner and watching the front-of-house staff chat with all the locals who have been going there for years.
979 King Georges Road, Blakehurst
Matty Hirsch, GFG reviewer
Screw the watermelon cake, it's all about the Japanese curry pie at Black Star. And how could I forget every piece of chicken that flies out of the kitchen at Ayam Goreng 99?
Josh Niland, Saint Peter
One restaurant I have found myself frequenting is Charcoal Kingdom. Ali and his brother are producing such delicious, wholesome food that is perfect for our young family. The rotisserie chicken, tabouli, pickles, toum and flatbread are absolutely worth the drive and also worth the wait in the line out the front. Luxuries are sometimes seen as something unattainable or expensive, but luxury to me is Charcoal Kingdom proving on countless occasions how deeply they care for those they are feeding.
451 Princes Highway, Rockdale, charcoalkingdom.com.au
Terry Durack, GFG senior panelist
When you're working from home, the office lunch takes on a special significance. I am perfectly capable of making a sandwich for myself, but I would never make them as big or as smashable as the ones at Mrs Palmer Sandwich. Nor would I think of stuffing thick white slices of Sonoma bread with three cured meats – wagyu pastrami, spicy salami and mortadella – as well as caramelised onion chutney, horseradish, butter lettuce, purple cabbage, cheese, pickles, crisp shallots, hot sauce and chipotle mayo.
81 Stanley Street, Darlinghurst, mrspalmersandwich.com
Pandan custard on toast at Boon Cafe. (Photo by Christopher Pearce/Fairfax Media) Photo: Christopher Pearce
Alex Pritchard, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar
In Sydney my favourite currently is Boon Cafe. When I think about what the future of eating out should look like, I love that Palisa Anderson's food is always nourishing and shows that affordable, accessible and casual food can also mean incredible produce. Down in Gerringong, I think about Blue Swimmer at Seahaven for similar reasons. There's a lot of love and you leave feeling nourished. They care a lot about local produce.
Katsu sandwich at Cafe Monaka. Photo: James Brickwood
Peter Gilmore, Quay
Cafe Monaka is my go-to local cafe. They serve great Single O coffee, simple Japanese dishes and the atmosphere is always friendly.
Shop 2, 24 Waratah Street, Mona Vale
Pilar Mitchell, GFG reviewer
The popiah – a Fujianese/Teochew-style fresh spring roll – at Sharon Kwan Kitchen is excellent. Sharon hand-makes the wrappers, which are springy and chewy and filled with tofu, shiitake and vegetables.
726 Parramatta Road, Petersham, sharonkwankitchenonline.com.au
Callan Boys, GFG senior panelist
Fish and chips haven't been this good in Sydney since there was a Greek milk bar on every corner. More and more chefs are giving England's gift to the world the respect it deserves, bypassing imported basa fillets to showcase local flathead, dory and whiting in a golden sarcophagus of crunch. Fich at Petersham does particularly magical things with ling, such as southern-fried fish sandwiches and beer-battered snack packs perfect for inner-west parks.
Shop 3, 98-106 Audley Street, Petersham
Roast chicken with corn and leeks at the Argyle Inn in Taralga. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer
Mike Eggert, Totti's
Some of the best meals I've eaten in the past 12 months have been at the Argyle Inn. Hugh Wennerbohm and his family just nail it. House-made bread and charcuterie and simple mains: it's the only place I want to eat repeatedly.
80 Orchard Street, Taralga, theargyleinn.com.au
Dan Puskas, Sixpenny
For a delicious bowl of pasta and a glass of wine, Ragazzi is my go to. The vibe is always fun and the staff are always friendly.
1 Angel Place, Sydney, ragazziwineandpasta.com
Jill Dupleix, GFG senior panelist
Sunday night is now curry night at my place, courtesy of the venerable Malabar Indian Cuisine. If I were to dine there, I wouldn't miss their signature crisp roll of masala dosai, but at home it's all about the goat mappas curry. Or the Goan fish curry. Or the south Indian vegetable curry. Served in warm bowls, with my own fresh herbs and wilted spinach on top, and lime pickles and raita on the side, it's easy to forget that I haven't cooked it myself.
Shop 1, 274 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, malabarcuisine.com.au
Mother-in-law salad with cabbage, maple mayo and sesame caper leaf at Barzaari. Photo: Christopher Pearce
Brent Savage, Bentley Group
My favourite local is Barzaari. Darryl Martin is an awesome cook with his own style of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food. It's a small, family-run restaurant that offers genuine hospitality and has a great brunch offering.
65 Addison Road, Marrickville, barzaari.com.au
Anna Ugarte-Carral, Brasserie Fitz
My favourite local restaurant is Gaku Robata Grill. I love it because it's Japanese [so] you can go to for a special occasion and get something special, like the live lobster in three courses, or you can just go for a bit of sushi. Also, their presentation is immaculate.
Shop 2, 132 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst, gakurobatagrill.com.au
The focus at Pipit is seasonal and sustainable food. Photo: Sabine Bannard
Darren Robertson, Three Blue Ducks
One of my favourite places at the moment is Pipit. In a time when many chefs are pushing for simple, quick, and cost effective, chef Ben Devlin goes against the grain and surprises with complex, elegant bites that are thought-provoking and tasty. With great service and a punchy little wine list to match, Pipit would stand up in any city, but we're lucky to have it up the road in Pottsville in northern NSW.
Shop 4/8 Coronation Avenue, Pottsville, pipitrestaurant.com
Matt Moran, Aria
Sean's Panaroma is the one restaurant that feels like home. It is home-style cooking in one of my favourite places in the world, Bondi Beach. Sean's is iconic and the roast chook takes me back to childhood being on the farm.
270 Campbell Parade, North Bondi, seansbondi.com
Myffy Rigby, GFG National Editor
If there's one thing I've spent a lot of time enjoying over the past 12 months, it's dining al fresco. Especially when you can wander down the street and grab a few interesting bottles of wine from PnV, and pre-order the excellent pizza from Newtown newbie Westwood. The garlic, honey and mozzarella – with its charred, puffy base and gooey, sweet-yet-bitey top – is the winner.
The Good Food Guide, presented by Vittoria Coffee and Citi, will be out in November.