From Palm Beach to Woolloomooloo, there are dozens of waterside restaurants to choose from in Sydney and here is a guide to our favourites.
Whether it’s the iconic waters of the Sydney Harbour or the deep blue of the ocean, Sydneysiders are blessed with an incredible array of seaside views. For the times when the sun is out, the water is glistening and a long, lavish meal is calling your name, look no further than our guide to Sydney’s best waterfront restaurants.
This place takes us right back to dining on the Amalfi coast with waterfront views, friendly Italian hospitality and authentic Italian dishes. Il Pontile, meaning ‘the pier’ in Italian, is nestled on the Finger Wharf, Sydney’s most adored waterside dining precinct. Diners can choose from charming alfresco or indoor seating. Mario Percuoco brings four generations of Italian culinary techniques to the table. Find out more here.
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, be sure to catch a glimpse of the stunning views across the northern end of Darling Harbour to Pyrmont and Goat Island.
Retaining its two hat status since 2004, Head Chef Giovanni Pilu and his team are certainly doing a thing or two right on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Maybe it’s the impeccable Sardinian menu. Or perhaps the waves crashing before you on Freshwater beach. Whatever the reason, if you haven’t yet dined at Pilu, put it on your foodie bucket list.
With sweeping views of the Hawkesbury River, it’s easy to forget you’re only an hour away from the bustle of Sydney’s CBD at Berowra Waters Inn. Glenn Murcutt, the man responsible for the sandstone building’s redesign in the 1970s described it as a “veranda by the water” – a place to sit, dine and watch the world drift by. He wasn’t wrong.
The waterfront restaurant is only accessible by the water, so you already know it’s going to be a memorable dining experience before you step off the boat. On the menu, you’ll find modern Australian dishes that celebrate organic and local produce. Find out more here.
Taking over the beautiful heritage sandstone dining precinct Campbell’s Stores built-in 1839, 6HEAD is Sydney’s newest waterfront steakhouse by The Seagrass Hospitality group (Butcher & Farmer, Hunter & Barrel). Although 6HEAD serves six signature cuts of steak (all dry-aged onsite). you don’t need to love steak to dine here. They have a wide range of fresh, raw seafood including ceviche, tuna tartare, a seafood platter and premium beluga caviar. So sit back and soak up the uninterrupted views of Sydney Harbour while you indulge in an unforgettable dining experience. Find out more here.
Could this be Sydney’s most Instagrammable dining location? Hoards of tourists and locals pop up in Bondi to capture a snap of Bondi Icebergs Club pools and the adjoining ocean. Who can blame them? Make the most of the unrivalled ocean views at Icebergs Dining Room where the Italian menu has everything from cured meats to seafood and handmade pasta.
Tucked away behind an inconspicuous boating dock (stay with us) is another restaurant that has been hatted since it first opened back in 2009. At the helm of Ormeggio is Executive Chef Alessandro Pavoni, who alongside his team produces incredible contemporary Italian and Spanish cuisine. As the sun glistens over Middle Harbour, sip on a Vermentino or a Pinot Grigio teamed with Ormeggio’s signature degustation menu.
Not only is Quay renowned as one of the best restaurants in Australia, but it also comes with some of the best waterside views of Sydney Harbour, with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge surrounding you. Head Chef Peter Gilmore delivers a truly unique and expertly crafted dining experience, exploring harmonies of flavours and contrasts in textures.
Once reserved for secret military operations to defend Sydney Harbour, Ripples Chowder Bay is situated on a particularly historic site. It’s also one of those beautiful waterside restaurants that is the ideal setting for a long boozy lunch. With a contemporary Australian-inspired menu and BYO option, Ripples is certainly worth a visit.
A few short strides from the iconic Bondi Beach is the relaxed eatery, North Bondi Fish. It is the perfect spot for dressing up and enjoying lavish long lunches or keeping it casual with a post-swim bite. Fresh seafood teamed with steaks, salads, sliders and more are on offer. Listen to the waves crashing in the background in between sips of your rosé and bites from your seafood platter.
Situated in Rose Bay, Catalina is a Sydney dining institution. Panoramic views of the Harbour? Tick. Top-notch service? Tick. Luxurious seafood menu? Triple tick. Catalina has been a Sydney icon for the past 25 years with Michael and Judy at the helm. Judy, James and Kate continue to run Catalina, keeping Michael’s vision alive. With a cocktail in hand, watch as the seaplanes glide across the water.
This waterside restaurant opened its doors in July 2016, making it fairly new to the waterfront restaurants scene. Set on the beautiful grounds of Nielsen Park in Vaucluse, on any given sunny weekend you’ll find it bustling with picnics, birthdays, people sunbaking and giant inflatable toys. Not a frown in sight, this Harbour beach is an absolute gem. Find out more here.
You’re truly spoilt for choice when it comes to waterfront restaurants at Woolloomooloo wharf. Situated about halfway along the wharf is one of Sydney’s most established restaurants. With a focus on contemporary Italian cuisine, Otto offers not only an a la carte menu but a full vegan and vegetarian menu as well. Keeping your veggo and vegan friends happy has never been easier.
Looking for more vegetarian-focused menus in Sydney? Click here to read our guide.
Refined elegance meets relaxed beachside hangout at Bathers Pavilion. On any given sun-soaked weekend, you’ll struggle to find a spare table, so make sure you book in advance. For $125pp, take your pick from the three-course menu, or for $175pp, enjoy the full six course degustation experience.
After much anticipation, Merivale’s The Collaroy has opened its doors. Providing a laid-back and relaxed hangout, The Collaroy takes much of its inspiration from its striking locale. In the words of Executive Chef Jordan Toft, the food is “simple, yet elegant food for a community that loves the sun, surf and sand”. Think freshly shucked oysters, woodfired pizzas and handmade pasta, delicious seafood and more.
Harbourside dining doesn’t get much better than at Sails, the modern Australian restaurant offering iconic views of our glistening harbour. Seafood is the star of the fine dining menu that has been expertly crafted by Head Chef Saro Derderyan. Plus, the impressive wine list features over 130 Australian and International wine varietals. The seven-course degustation with matching wines is the perfect way to celebrate special occasions or to impress your out-of-town friends.
The iconic China Doll on Wolloomooloo’s Finger Wharf is an award winning waterfront restaurant that is a must-try for Sydney-siders. The Asian-fusion menu takes culinary inspiration from China, Hong Kong, Japan and South East Asia, resulting in a delicious culmination of everything we love about Asian food. With cold share plates, dim sum and large plates to choose from, indulge in dumplings, seafood and meat dishes showcasing fresh, local produce.
Situated beneath the sails of the iconic Sydney Opera House, Bennelong is without a doubt one of the city’s best waterfront restaurants. With Executive Chef Peter Gilmore behind the multi-award winning fine dining menu, a dining experience at Bennelong is truly unforgettable.
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