When the sun’s out, and you want to enjoy a quintessentially Sydney dining experience, head to one of the city’s best al fresco dining spots.
From fine dining experiences backdropped to Sydney Harbour views, to casual beachside feeds with the sand between your toes, these are the best spots in Sydney to enjoy dining al fresco on a sunny day.
Rafi, North Sydney
Located on North Sydney’s Mount Street, Rafi draws from Applejack Hospitality’s wealth of experience, igniting this often-overlooked Sydney suburb, with a new sense of culinary adventure.
Dine under The Arbor – a semi-al fresco glass house, or perhaps take a seat on the outdoor tree-lined terrace for a sunny al-fresco lunch. Floor-to-ceiling aneeta windows and sliding glass doors create an abundance of light throughout the internal spaces for a truly unique setting in the sun or under the moonlight. Find out more here.
Luna Lu, Campbells Cove
Luna Lu is the latest no-expense-spared eatery to join the ranks at Campbell’s Cove. The newly restored waterfront dining destination hopes to offer a new indulgent choice for long business lunches and memorable experiences, all set to unsurpassable views.
Experience Luna Lu’s offering from The Dining Dome – a striking, standalone Dome situated on the terrace with panoramic views of the Bridge and Opera House, available for private bookings. Find out more here.
Alegre, Darling Harbour
Inspired by memorable meals in Tulum, the trio behind Wild Sage at Barangaroo, Miller’s Kitchen in Cammeray and Whitton in South Eveleigh heritage Locomotive Workshop have opened their doors at King Street Wharf with their dream venture, Alegre.
Enjoy beats, barbacoa, mezcals and Mayan food techniques infused with distinctly Australian native ingredients backdropped to the iconic darling harbour. Find out more here.
Kiln, Surry Hills
Featuring two open-air terraces complete with retractable roofs, floor-to-ceiling windows, and hanging 18 floors above Surry Hills’ mosaic rooftops, Kiln offers a rarely-seen vantage of Sydney.
Sitting atop the recently opened Ace Hotel, the restaurant’s name is a nod to Ace Hotel Sydney’s previous history as Australia’s first discovered pottery kiln paying tribute with a spectacular wood-fired hearth, Chef Mitch Orr applies the hearth’s open flame and smoke to regional produce, meats and seafood, delivering vibrant seasonal dishes designed to share. Find out more here.
Home to two bespoke private dining rooms – including one with direct waterfront access and a terrace – Sala’s 160-seat space offers a stunning harbourside backdrop led by Mediterranean design cues and a love of Australian produce. Bright white clay, stone and marble embellish the 100-year-old, heritage-listed space, perfectly juxtaposed with dark timber accents of the building’s original bones. The result is a coastal-chic backdrop to enjoy the best of Australian seafood this summer. Find out more here.
The Sussex Rooftop, Barangaroo
Adding to The Sussex Hotel’s existing ground floor pub and beer garden, the new rooftop space offers a serene sanctuary, perched above the bustle of Barangaroo, where Sydneysiders can relish the warmth of the summer sun with a signature cocktail in hand and a selection of meze style dishes. Find out more here.
Iceberg’s Dining Room & Bar, Bondi
Bringing Sydneysiders a dose of modern Italian eats, Icebergs Dining Room is the perfect spot for a memorable dining experience. With sweeping views across the waters of Bondi Beach, expect an innovative menu inspired by Maurice Terzini’s Italian heritage. Enjoy a rotating selection of seasonal ingredients showcasing sustainable seafood, artisanal produce and even a hint of native Australian flavours.
Jung Sung, Chippendale
Jung Sung’s spacious terrace wraps around the entire restaurant showcasing the Sydney city skyline. The styling is modern and romantic to set the scene for what’s to come. From the moment you’re greeted by the waiters in suits, you know this isn’t going to be the Korean BBQ experience you expected. Find out more here.
Ploos, Campbells Cove
The heritage-listed warehouse provides a unique space which is further complemented by the sparkling backdrop of Sydney Harbour. Taking up residence on the promenade, 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. Find out more here.
Whale Bridge, Sydney Cove
Lobster thermidor, caviar and harbour views – these are a few of our favourite things! Whalebridge adds ‘Harbourside French Restaurant’ to the repertoire of Sydney Collective, serving up produce-driven dishes rooted in traditional French techniques and the articulation of those flavours. Find out more here.
Tequila Mockingbird, Paddington
Flock to Paddington’s Five Ways and you’ll stumble upon the humble Latin American-influenced bar-meets-restaurant, Tequila Mockingbird. Finding its home in an unassuming Paddington terrace, the space has been lovingly restored to incorporate an open-air rooftop terrace up on the first floor.
Expect tapas-style share plates featuring everything from ceviche tacos and nachos to flame-grilled dishes like charcoal chicken, slow-roasted lamb shoulder and grilled Tasmanian salmon. Plus, as the name would suggest, this is certainly a spot to nab a delicious tequila-based cocktail (or two).
The Rooftop, The Shelbourne Hotel CBD
Taking inspiration from the relaxed and lavish style of The Hamptons, The Rooftop in Sydney’s CBD is a luxury garden terrace situated by the glorious harbour. As you relax in one of the plush hanging chairs, gaze through the retractable roof at the boats passing by on the water. Brought to life by the pops of tropical plants, graze on delicate share plates of seafood, premium meats, salads and pizzas. Find out more here.
Giuls, Surry Hills
Situated amongst the main thoroughfare of Crown Street, Surry Hills, Giuls has a buzzy but relaxed vibe; the perfect tempo for laid-back dining. The décor inside is simple and cheerful, while outdoors you’ll enjoy the Surry Hills buzz under bright red and white umbrellas. Find out more here.
Barangaroo is home to a plethora of Sydney’s best rooftop bars, and the chic Untied is no exception. Untied welcomes the flavours and ambience of the tropics to the CBD. With the dim thud of tropical tunes, pick your way through a menu devoted to modern Australian cuisine. The slick urban outlook is almost as cool as the drinks menu which consists of classic and inventive cocktails. Find out more here.
Backdropped to the heritage-listed Parramatta Park, Misc. proudly caters to a multitude of dining experiences from elevated restaurant dining, to al fresco events on the terrace.
At the landmark venue, diners can choose their culinary experience with anything from a boujie picnic-to-go from the curated retail section of local and international produce to a luxe long brunch to remember in the modern courtyard restaurant. Find out more here.
The Light Brigade, Woollahra
Sitting 83 metres above sea level, this rooftop bar provides an inner-city oasis, with a stunning view of the Sydney skyline. You’ll find a mixture of lounge and dining spaces, with a signature curved bar. Similar to a New York-style terrace, there is plenty of lush greenery with a casual Australian twist.
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, Watsons Bay
Watsons Bay’s Beach Club is one of our favourite al fresco dining spots in Sydney. With the sparkling ocean in the foreground and beautiful harbour views, this is the ideal location to share a seafood basket under the afternoon sun. Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel are renowned for its quality food and drink offering and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The New Brighton Hotel, Manly
Another beachside Manly pub that is perhaps one of the lesser known but popular Sydney rooftop bars is The New Brighton Hotel. The newly renovated pub does dining, drinking, dancing and an intimaterooftop bar is the cherry on top. Look down onto the lively Manly Corso and people watch or stare straight ahead at the beautiful ocean. Find out more here.
Located 26 floors above the Crown’s waterfront location, CIRQ offers world-class views of the Sydney harbour and a dining experience you don’t want to miss. Relax on the luxurious light-filled terrace while you enjoy an expertly crafted menu of bespoke cocktails and share plates.
Bathers’ Pavilion, Balmoral
With views across Sydney’s sparkling Balmoral Beach, the much-loved Bathers’ Pavilion is the spot to be during summer. This beachside venue is bringing with art deco charm. Plus, make sure to grab a seat on their first-floor Louis Terrace with breathtaking vistas of the sand and sea below. Find out more here.
Cirrus Dining, Barangaroo
Barangaroo is now home to a raft of incredible waterside restaurants including Cirrus Dining. Here, Head Chef Brent Savage and Sommelier Nick Hildebrandt favour fresh, sustainably sourced seafood, with the fruits of the sea the stars of the menu. In between freshly shucked rock oysters, mud crab and grilled rock lobster, catch a glimpse of the stunning views across the northern end of Darling Harbour to Pyrmont and Goat Island from their outdoor terrace.