What to eat in Sydney in a day: 15 best places you can’t miss

By Sarah Chua June 23, 2023
What to eat in Sydney in a day: 15 best places you can’t miss
Breakfast begins at 7.30am at The Grounds of Alexandria, a photogenic cafe, restaurant and event complex. Photo: The Grounds/Instagram

Knowing what to eat in Sydney or where to eat in Sydney can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the Harbour City. 

One of Australia’s biggest cities, Sydney is known for its diverse food scene. But with rising costs, you can feel quite the pinch when dining out as a traveller. 

You probably also wouldn’t want to spend too much time pondering what to eat in Sydney, and would instead prefer to expend your energy exploring and soaking in Sydney’s vibes. 

Well, you’re in luck, because we’ve found 15 Sydney eateries, across different meals and budgets, that you shouldn’t miss while you’re there. 


Sydney breakfast spots 

1. The May Flower 

2/303A Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst
Open: Monday (7am to 3.30pm), Tuesday to Saturday (7am to 9pm), Sunday (7am to 3.30pm)

Shop R1106, 488 Pacific Highway, St Leonard’s
Open: Monday (7am to 3.30pm), Tuesday to Friday (7am to 9pm), Saturday (8am to 9pm), Sunday (8am to 3.30pm) 

What to eat in Sydney
Photo: The May Flower/Instagram

Why visit? The May Flower is a dainty, Instagram-worthy cafe, replete with flowers, butterflies (don’t worry, they’re not real!) and mesmerising visuals across the space. Whether you’re at the Darlinghurst cafe or the St Leonard’s one, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported into a picturesque oasis of fun colours and mouthwatering dishes.

Its elevated breakfast and lunch items look as good as they taste, so it is no surprise this cafe sees quite the crowd and should be top of mind when looking for what to eat in Sydney. Make a reservation before you go to avoid a wait! 

Price range: $$

Crowd favourites: At both outlets French toast (A$22, or S$20); at Darlinghurst ocean trout gravlax (marinated beets, salmon caviar, whipped ricotta, fresh horseradish, A$23); at St Leonard’s green breakfast (hummus, chargrilled broccolini, asparagus, green goddess, poached eggs, crisp kale, sourdough, A$21) 


2. The Grounds of Alexandria  

7a/2 Huntley Street, Alexandria
Open: Monday to Friday (7am to 9.30pm), Saturday (7.30am to 9.30pm), Sunday (7.30am to 9pm)

What to eat in Sydney
Photo: The Grounds/Instagram

If you have time for just one breakfast place, then The Grounds of Alexandria should definitely be on your list of restaurants to try in Sydney. The Grounds of Alexandria is an all-in-one space with a cafe, restaurant (The Potting Shed) and an event complex, all ensconced within a garden setting. There’s also a roastery, organic garden, petting zoo and coffee research facility on-site. 

There’s a Grounds of the City in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, but it has a different, more old-school vibe compared with the sprawling, thematic Grounds of Alexandria space. 

The Alexandria location also has varying themes at different times of the year (some examples: Beauty and the Beast and Disney’s 100th). So go when you’re in Sydney next and see what’s in store at this multifunctional spot! 

Price range: $$

Crowd favourites: Grounds spice brekkie (beans, chickpeas, tomato stew, labneh, eggs, tomatoes, olives, cheese, cashews and toast, A$24), 3-stack buttermilk pancakes (A$24). 


3. Bills

Multiple stores across Sydney
Open: Operating hours vary across stores 

What to eat in Sydney
Bills’ ricotta hotcakes. Photo: @beccaseow/Instagram

Why visit? Bills is a classic Sydney breakfast spot that dishes up casual, hearty modern Australian breakfasts. Opened by Bill Granger first in Darlinghurst, Sydney, in 1993, the brand has since expanded. It has four outlets across the city, including one near the iconic Bondi Beach.

It’s a great spot to dine at before you head to Bondi Beach or if you’re planning to embark on the popular Bondi-to-Coogee coastal walk. Do note that breakfast stops at noon, so plan well if you’d like to get those hotcakes in before or after your sightseeing. 

Price range: $$ (for breakfast)

Crowd favourites: Ricotta hotcakes (A$28), chilli fried egg brioche roll (with watercress and tamarind chutney with bacon or halloumi, A$18.50).


Lunch places in Sydney

4. Nomad 

16 Foster Street, Surry Hills
Open: Monday to Thursday (12pm to 2pm, 5.30pm till late), Friday to Sunday (12pm to 2pm, 5pm till late)

What to eat in Sydney
Nomad’s spatchcock chicken dish. Photo: Nomad/Instagram

Why visit? Nomad in Sydney is a hatted restaurant Australia’s version of the Michelin Star system — that serves food made from the best produce from Australian growers. Its dishes are inspired by the team’s travels around Spain, Morocco and the Middle East. 

While its price point is on the higher end, Nomad delivers on taste, service and value, and would make a great option for lunch or dinner, depending on what your plans are for the day.  

Price range: $$$

Crowd favourites: Zucchini flowers, truffle honey and pecorino cheese (A$30), spatchcock chicken with harissa, Lebanese garlic sauce and guindilla pepper (A$55).

The restaurant also has a menu costing A$110 or A$150 per person for a predetermined selection of its classic and signature items respectively. 


5. District Brasserie 

2 Chifley Square
Open: Monday to Friday (6.30am to 11pm)

What to eat in Sydney
Photo: District Brasserie/Instagram

Why visit? Firing up as early as 6.30am, District Brasserie is an all-day spot that’s also one of the best Sydney lunch places within the CBD. 

With its polished look, you might think District Brasserie is a posh location best saved for fancy dinners. But District Brasserie eschews that, saying it’s committed to providing “affordable luxury” to the CBD crowd. 

In spite of its fine-dining label, breakfast starts from a very reasonable A$8 for its pastry selection. You can even opt for a sneaky mimosa with prosecco at A$12, while its lunch menu has mains from A$37. 

Price range: $$$

Crowd favourites: Steak frites (A$53), potato gnocchi (A$38), Peruvian ceviche (from A$29).

6. Tao Restaurant & Bar Sydney 

178 Clarence Street
Open: Monday to Saturday (11.30am to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm), Sunday (12pm to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm) 

What to eat in Sydney
Photo: Tao Restaurant/Instagram

Why visit? Tao Restaurant is one of the best Asian restaurants in Sydney to hit if you find yourself craving something Chinese or Cantonese during your trip. The place opened fairly recently, in April 2021, and has already amassed a strong following.  

Located in Sydney’s CBD, Tao first draws you in with its bright, modern-minimalist interior and keeps you there with its eye-catching, delicious modern Cantonese dishes. It opens till late (10pm), too, so feel free to swing by for some dim sum and cocktails if that’s what you prefer. 

Price range: $$

Crowd favourites: Truffle xiao long bao (mini pork-and-truffle soup buns, A$19 for four), braised e-fu noodles (A$24), wok-fried clams with XO sauce on crispy vermicelli noodle (A$38)


Sydney eats for teatime

7. Bourke Street Bakery 

Multiple stores across Sydney
Open: Operating hours vary across stores 

What to eat in Sydney
Bourke Street Bakery’s legendary ginger creme brulee tarts. Photo: Alan Benson

Why visit? Given its many stores across Sydney, it’s hard to imagine that Bourke Street Bakery started as a small quaint corner store in 2004 selling handmade bakes. Chef-turned-bakers Paul Allam and David McGuinness, who own the bakery, wanted to share their love of all things handmade.

Fans who swear by its ginger creme brulee tart say it’s the best tart in Australia and one of the top Sydney things to eat, while others make a beeline for its savoury pies. 

Its shops are usually smallish corner units and can fill up quickly owing to its popularity, so go early if you’d like to dine in. Or grab a few pastries, a cuppa and sightsee while you munch! 

Price range: $

Crowd favourites: Ginger creme brulee tart (A$6.50), beef pie (A$8), pork and fennel sausage roll (A$7.50).


8. Black Star Pastry

The Galeries, Shop 26, Ground Floor, 500 George Street
Open: Monday to Friday (8am to 6pm), Saturday and Sunday (9am to 6pm) 

1/325 King Street, Newtown
Open: Monday to Sunday (8am to 4.30pm) 

C1/85-113 Dunning Ave, Rosebery
Open: Monday to Friday (7.30am to 4pm), Saturday and Sunday (7.30am to 5pm) 

210 Bent Street, Moore Park
Open: Monday to Sunday (8am to 3.30pm)

What to eat in Sydney
Black Star Pastry’s star strawberry watermelon cake. Photo: Black Star Pastry

Why visit? If you’re in Sydney and a fan of pastries, then it would be remiss of you not to visit Black Star Pastry, said to be the home of the world’s most Instagrammed cake. The cake in question, Black Star’s strawberry watermelon cake (A$11), has earned its spot as a must-eat in Sydney

The origins of this accolade are unclear, but what’s clear is that the bakery has embraced this status and sells Instagrammable bakes that taste as good as they look. 

Price range: $$

Crowd favourites: Strawberry watermelon cake and raspberry lychee cake (A$11 a slice; available in various sizes), all-star box with seven of its popular creations (A$65).


9. Kurtosh 

Multiple stores across Sydney
Open: Operating hours vary across stores

What to eat in Sydney
Chimney cakes at Kurtosh. Photo: Kurtosh/Instagram

Why visit? Come to Kurtosh if you’d like a teatime snack with a difference. 

Its star item, as its shop name suggests, is its kurtoskalacs, or chimney cakes, which are a traditional Hungarian pastry with a caramelised, crispy exterior and a soft interior. The cakes are handmade and customised right in front of customers.

Kurtosh opened in 2011, and despite its expansion across Sydney, has managed to retain its warm and homely atmosphere. Another unique aspect of the shop? It sells its slab cakes by weight (yes, you read us right). So all you pastry lovers can try many flavours without breaking the bank or worrying about the calories (too much). 

Price range: $

Crowd favourites: Nutella kurtosh (A$12), tiramisu (A$6.90 per 100g).


Best restaurants in Sydney for dinner 

10. Poly

74-76 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills
Open: Monday to Saturday (5pm to 11pm) 

What to eat in Sydney
Fried potatoes. Photo: Poly/Instagram

Why visit? Poly in Surry Hills calls itself a wine bar, but take a quick look at its Instagram page and you’ll see that its food takes centrestage. The spot opened in 2018 and has earned a following for its inventive dishes and selection of natural wines. 

Its menu style gravitates towards sharing plates, so it’s best to go there with a group so as to try everything you have your eye on. Its set menu, at A$95 per person, is a good starting point. But, hey, if solo dining’s your thing, it also serves half-sized portions.

Price range: $$$

Crowd favourites: Fried potato with salted egg yolk and chives (A$16), twice-cooked Maremma duck breast with plum sauce (A$60)


11. Kindred 

137 Cleveland Street, Darlington
Open: Tuesday to Thursday (5.30pm to 10pm), Friday and Saturday (12pm to 2pm, 5.30pm to 10pm) 

What to eat in Sydney
Campanelli on the chef’s tasting menu. Photo: @beccaseow/Instagram

Why visit? When you step into Italian restaurant Kindred, you’ll feel as though you’ve entered chef Matt Pollock’s home, with its quaint, homely vibes and small seating capacity. Well, the thing is, you have — Pollock bought the building, turned the upstairs into a home with his family, and made the downstairs a living-room space.

You’ll see that with Kindred, it’s not just the space that makes it homely. Its Italian-inspired dishes are prepared with homegrown produce and ingredients that are made from scratch. The food at Kindred is best described as old-meets-new, where familiar pasta favourites are served with new, unique flavours you can’t quite imagine working but somehow do. 

If you’re ever at a loss for what to eat in Sydney, ask for Kindred’s chef’s tasting menu and Pollock will take the lead — trust us, you won’t regret it. 

Price range: $$$

Crowd favourites: Campanelli with pork and porcini ragu, oyster mushrooms and hazelnut thyme on the chef’s tasting menu of seven dishes (A$69 per person, minimum of two people per table), carrot triangoli with goat’s cheese, pistachios and brown butter (A$22)


12. Kid Kyoto 

Entry via 17-19 Bridge Street, Bridge Lane
Open: Tuesday to Saturday (12pm to 10pm) 

What to eat in Sydney
Kid Kyoto’s assortment of small plates. Photo: @beccaseow/Instagram

Why visit? Calling itself Sydney’s rebellious Japanese izakaya, Kid Kyoto is a new hidden eating and drinking spot in the CBD. Its neon lights and vertical green pillars, which are reminiscent of Kyoto’s signature Arashiyama bamboo forest, add to its too-cool-for-school vibes. 

Kid Kyoto’s menu is a fun and playful take on Japanese dishes with fresh Australian native ingredients. The dishes, inspired by those you’d find in Tokyo and Kyoto eateries, make this a must-visit spot for Sydney eats

Price range: $$$

Crowd favourites: Corn ribs with smoked chilli miso and togarashi (A$16), or opt for a classic feast of dishes selected by the chef (A$75 per person, minimum of two persons) 


Sydney night spots for drinks & nibbles 

13. Bar 83

Westfield Sydney, Level 4/108 Market Street
Open: Monday to Thursday (3pm to 11pm), Friday and Saturday (2pm to 12am), Sunday (12pm to 11pm) 

What to eat in Sydney
Photo: Bar 83 Sydney/Instagram

Why visit? Bar 83 is Sydney’s highest bar, 83 storeys above the city’s business district, within Sydney Tower. It’s a great spot for views of the city, whether in the day or at night, with great food and drink options to boot. 

It’s a popular spot so reservations are recommended, though walk-ins are also accepted. There’s a minimum spending of A$30, but if you’re feeling a little indulgent, opt for its guaranteed window seat package starting from A$160 for two. The two-hour package includes food and drinks. 

Price range: $$$

Crowd favourites: Premium cheese plate (A$36/A$60 depending on the number of cheeses), coral trout ceviche (A$32) 


14. The Barrie 

107-109 Regent Street, Chippendale
Open: Wednesday (4pm to 1am), Thursday (4pm to 2am), Friday (4pm to 4am), Saturday (11.30pm to 4am) 

What to eat in Sydney
Lineup of drinks at The Barrie. Photo: The Barrie/Instagram

Why visit? The Barrie is a late-night cocktail bar that gives part-Employees-Only, part-Frankie’s-Pizza (a popular Sydney pizzeria) vibes. This is on account of the owner Chris Garner’s experiences in those establishments. It’s somewhat hidden, fancy yet welcoming all in one. 

While cocktails dominate the menu (as it should), those feeling peckish can order charcuterie and other bites that it gets from neighbouring joints. 

Price range: $$

Crowd favourites: Smoked maple old fashioned (A$24), house margarita (A$21)


15. Nakano Darling 

14 Steam Mill Lane, Haymarket
Open: Sunday to Wednesday (5pm to 12am), Thursday to Saturday (5pm to 2am) 

What to eat in Sydney
Have Nakano Darling’s famous chicken karaage, available with five toppings. Photo: @kimlow.photo/Instagram

Why visit? If you’re craving a pint and some Asian nosh in the late evening while in Sydney, then head for Nakano Darling, an izakaya-style restaurant in Darling Square. 

Its famous chicken karaage, which goes extremely well with its specialty highballs, not only comes in five variations. The eatery also offers the karaage and its gyozas in multiple serving sizes. So you can snack away without feeling (too) guilty. 

Nakano also has a secret menu, so ask for it when you’re in store to see what’s available for the night. 

Price range: $$

Crowd favourites: Handmade Japanese fried chicken or karaage (A$11.90 per serve of five pieces), corn butter cheese (A$12) 

For more ideas on where to eat on your travels, check out GirlEatWorld’s must-eats in Kyoto, Japan, and our pick of 11 aesthetic Jeju cafes

Sarah Chua-HungryGoWhere

Sarah Chua


Sarah is constantly seeking out new coffee spots and cocktail bars around the world, and should probably drink more water while at it.

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