Nestled on the edge of Sydney Harbour, The Rocks is one of Sydney’s most iconic and historic neighbourhoods. It’s no surprise the charming suburb also boasts a vibrant dining scene, from up-and-coming eateries to those with a brilliant waterfront view. Whilst there may be lots to choose from, we’ve rounded together our tried and true favourites that never disappoint.
It’s the newest bar and restaurant in The Rocks on everyone’s lips, by the ingenious team behind Alberto’s Lounge and Restaurant Hurbert. Le Foote is a multi-level Mediterranean grill and European-inspired wine bar, with the promise of great wine and live music. The menu is fresh, delicate and celebrates the flavours of modern Euro cuisine, with Cantabrian White Anchovies, Scallop Carpaccio and Rainbow Trout for starters. Moving onto main dishes, you can feast on much heartier selections like Roasted Lamb Belly, Coral Coast Barramundi and Black Tide Rib Eye, all prepared over charcoal. On the list is more than 300 unique bottles of wine, built around interesting drops you might find whilst on your next European adventure, whether it be the tropical islands of Greece or desert Morocco.
Owned by the culinary master behind beloved venues including Alpha, Omega, Eleni’s and Cosmos, Chef Peter Conistis has set out to emulate the South Aegean region and transport guests through atmosphere and taste at Ploos. The original building structure provides an Aegean feel with sandstone walls, marble detailing and gold finishes. With Conistis at the helm of the kitchen, expect an authentic menu with a particular focus on the cuisines of Cyprus, Crete and the surrounding Middle East. Start off light with Consistis’ interpretation of the classic Greek Nissiotiki Salad, as well as Grilled Halloumi, perfectly seasoned with fennel glyko, lemon and isot pepper. Signature dishes include Zucchini Fritters with eggplant hummus, Halloumi Tart with rock lobster and grilled leeks, and Grilled Chicken with carob, black figs, anthotyri and heirloom tomatoes.
Step into Sake’s renditions of Japanese cuisine, brought to you by the brilliant minds behind Sydney’s renowned dining gems – Rockpool and Spice Temple. It’s a play on traditional cuisine with modern elements. Expect the unexpected like kingfish jalapeno, nori crisps with tuna and kingfish with white soy and mirin. There’s also a variety of steamed dumplings you can choose from, and of course, the freshest sushi platters using the best cuts of fish from local suppliers. Sake wouldn’t be called ‘Sake’ without having one of the best sake offerings in Sydney, with more than 40 varieties you can choose from. Savour each sip with your favourite one, or go for gold and match each dish with their perfect drink (just ask the friendly staff for recs if you’re unsure).
With a prime waterfront position, grand views of Sydney Harbour and delicious cuts of steak on offer, what more could you ask for? Led by chef Sean Hall, 6Head’s menu is primarily meat driven, with seafood playing a minor role. Take your pick between 6 delicious cuts of meat; rump, rib-eye, T-bone, eye fillet, scotch fillet and sirloin. Hall prides himself on the art of aging beef, so its no surprise 6Head also do the same, dry aging their meat in house with a limited rotating selection available to try. If you don’t feel like placing too much emphasis on the steaks, there are also burgers and pies to enjoy on the menu, as well as XO Prawns with fermented chilli sauce and lime and Hokkaido Scallops seared with cauliflower purée.
If you’re looking for a luxe date night option without having to think of what to eat, Bay Nine Omakase might just be up your alley. You’ll walk into an intimate 10-seater chef’s counter, where head chef, Tomohiro Marshall Oguro, will prepare 11 courses of delicious traditional Japanese cuisine and nigiri for your enjoyment. Oguro is one of the youngest omakase head chefs in Sydney, having trained under Naoki Fukazawa (Yoshii, Sushi-E) and Founder of Manmaruya, Hideki Goto. There’s a new omakase menu every day depending on the freshness of fish and seasonality. If you’re opting for something more casual, take a seat in a separate dining area where you’ll order from a set menu (with some omakase dishes also making an appearance).
Formerly a heritage warehouse, Hickson House Distilling Co is now The Rocks’ favourite craft spirit distillery offering a gin-dominated cocktail list and botanically-inspired Australian menu. The back bar shelves over 600 bottles of spirits from around the globe, highlighting Australian-made spirits on the menu including rare whiskies and the distillery’s very own gin.Hickson Rd. Gins are distilled in 800L copper pot stills and custom-made by local craftsmen in Griffith NSW. The range includes Australian Dry, London Dry and Harbour Strength and is showcased throughout the cocktail menu, taking the classic Gimlet and Martini to new heights. The food menu follows the modern Australian theme, with highlights including Oysters with gin, apple and river mint vinaigrette, Kangaroo Tartare with horseradish, Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder and 250g Full-blood Wagyu Rump (MBS 9+) with smoked bone marrow butter.
Quay has certainly earned the accolade of being regarded as one of Sydney’s best restaurants. The 3-hatted restaurant is not just a meal — it’s an experience and a culinary journey, to say the least. Executive chef Peter Gilmore leaves no stone unturned, showing off texture, flavour and the freshest ingredients used to the best of their abilities. Choose from a 6-course menu or a slightly fancier 8-course, with a heavy focus on seafood. There’s Oscietra Caviar with katsuobushi cream and sea cucumber crackling, Native Marron served alongside Koshihikari rice, and Bone Marrow Noodles with mud crab, sour koji butter and walnuts. And if that doesn’t wow you, the dining room’s 270-degree views of Sydney Harbour certainly will.
Some of Sydney’s best dining experiences can be found within luxury hotels, and The Dining Room at Park Hyatt is the perfect example. Expect an exceptional experience helmed by Australian chef James Viles, offering a reflection of Australian fare with a particular focus on locally sourced seafood. The menu is constantly evolving to highlight hand-picked ingredients from Viles’ home farm and lesser-known native ingredients. There’s an entire section of meats cooked over the coals and each piece takes on the natural essence of the wood it’s cooked on to produce a delicate, smoky flavour. Try the Dining Room’s signature BBQ Maremma Duck sourced from Southern Tablelands in NSW, served with house-made condiments or their market fish, cooked with pops of acidity from green tomato and grilled & pickled peppers.