Six Sydney restaurants worth the hype

Savour Sydney dining at its very finest.
Savour Sydney dining at its very finest.  Photo: Quay.

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There's a reason why these restaurants are showered with awards and praise: they're spectacular. Be sure to book a table and savour Sydney dining at its very finest.

Bennelong

Bennelong is more than equal to its magnificent location.

Bennelong is more than equal to it's magnificent location. Photo: Bennelong.

Intended by its acclaimed executive chef Peter Gilmore as 'a great Australian restaurant for our greatest building,' Bennelong is more than equal to its magnificent location. In the cathedral-like interior of Sydney Opera House, Gilmore and head chef Rob Cockerill weave magic from the very essence of Australia; this country's stunning seafood and meats, native plants and finest wines.

The $160 à la carte three-course menu is packed with showstopper dishes such as the Tasmanian rock lobster with half tail lobster gnocchi, coral butter and baby leeks, and the deservedly famous pavlova, served as an exquisite mini replica of the Opera House. A total of six Chef Hats over three years from the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide bears witness to Bennelong's enduring excellence.

Where? Bennelong Point, Sydney CBD

Ormeggio at the Spit

Ormeggio at the Spit is a southern Italian cuisine at the waterside oasis.

Ormeggio at the Spit is a waterside oasis offering delicious southern Italian cuisine. Photo: Ormeggio at the Spit.

Since 2009, Lombardy-born chef Alessandro Pavoni has enchanted diners with his southern Italian cuisine at this waterside oasis. Last year, Pavoni, co-owner Victor Moya and head chef Gianmarco Pardini unveiled a beautiful refurbishment and an all-seafood and vegetarian menu, brimming with spectacular, sustainable fresh catch brought by local fishermen right to their door.

Ormeggio's Signature Chef's Picks menu ($209 with six matching wines for $90 or six matching deluxe wines for $180) is a feast of creative, irresistible share plates, including Mooloolaba Moreton Bay bug cooked over charcoal with piadinas (Italian flatbreads), crustacean emulsion and anchovy infused Pepe Saya cultured butter, and Queensland Mud crab steamed on tomato carnaroli risotto.

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Where? D'Albora Marinas, Spit Road, The Spit, Mosman

Bentley Restaurant + Bar

Bentley Restaurant + Bar continues to dazzie in their beautiful CBA space.

The dazzling Bentley Restaurant + Bar is a must-visit for food and wine lovers. Photo: Bentley Restaurant + Bar.

With so many awards they could be forgiven for losing count, chef Brent Savage and sommelier Nick Hildebrandt continue to dazzle in their beautiful CBD space by architect Pascale Gomes-McNabb.

Savage's food never ceases to surprise and delight, with endless delicious riffs on native ingredients, while Nick Hildebrandt's famous wine list of more than 1000 outstanding drops transports you to the world's finest vineyards as well as the exciting terroir of small and cult producers.

Bentley's tasting menu ($180 plus $100 for matched wines or $200 for premium matched wines) showcases captivating seasonal flavours: from potato damper with kangaroo and muntries (a delicious native fruit) to coral trout with Cape gooseberry, wakame and trout roe.

Where? Ground Floor, Radisson Blu Hotel, 27 O'Connell Street, Sydney CBD

Quay

Quay is famous far beyond the Australian shores.

The breathtaking view from Quay is unlike any other. Photo: Quay.

Famous far beyond Australian shores for executive chef Peter Gilmore's celebration of nature and ingredients, Quay is a poem to Australian produce, artisans, farmers and fishermen, as well as Gilmore's own fascination with creating beautiful food from the soil up.

His dexterity with flavour and texture shines in combinations such as raw scallops served with the heirloom greens minutina and agretti, with fresh squash seeds, liquorice kombu and an oyster cream distilling the perfect briny flavour from the mollusc – all presented with a handcrafted mother of pearl spoon. Quay's dining experience is as breathtaking as its Circular Quay postcard surroundings.

For the full thrill, choose the eight-course lunch or dinner menu, for $290 (with a $180 or $230 wine pairing, or the $105 'temperance' non-alcoholic pairing).

Where? Upper Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, 5 Hickson Road, The Rocks

Sokyo

​Sokyo is a sleek, sultry dining experience.

​Sokyo is an unmissable experience in Pyrmont. Photo: Sokyo.

San Francisco-born chef of Sokyo, Chase Kojima presides over the theatre of his open kitchen along one side of a sleek, sultry dining room, where the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio have feasted on an innovative menu of bold, complex flavours.

Served in the traditional kaiseki – or multi-course – style, the hot and cold dishes are designed to share, which is just as well because there are so many treats to choose from: sashimi, sushi, tempuras and meats flamed over the Robata grill and the flagship Essential Dishes, such as Dengakuman – miso glazed toothfish, Japanese salsa and pickled cucumber ($67), and a succulent 200g wagyu flank steak with shio koji marinade, wasabi and garlic ponzu ($85).

Where? Level G, The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont

Yellow

The Potts Point restaurant Yellow.

Sydney's first fine dining vegan and vegetarian restaurant, Yellow. Photo: Yellow.

In 2016, this Potts Point restaurant from the stellar Bentley team, Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt, became Sydney's first fine dining vegan and vegetarian restaurant. Savage believes in the endless flavour potential of plant foods, and makes his point profoundly with a menu that's transformed the way diners feel about vegetarian cuisine.

Deceptively simple in writing, Yellow's dishes such as sweet corn, chilli and tomatillo with rye brioche roll and butter are exquisitely nuanced expressions of technique and knowledge. The five-course ($85 with $8o for wines) and seven-course ($105 plus $100 for wines) tasting menus change with the seasons, and even the diehard carnivores keep coming back for more.

Where? 57 Macleay Street, Potts Point

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