Right on Manly Wharf where the ferries arrive from Sydney, Hugo’s is a fabulous waterside spot for a casual lunch or dinner. Its owners are a pair of Aussie celebrity chefs, Pete Evans and Massimo Mele, and their pizzas are considered among the best in town. Other popular items on the menu are seafood such as oysters served with sherry vinegar, fried calamari, seared scallops with tomato and basil and delicious pastas such as homemade gnocchi with roasted zucchini, garlic and basil pesto and spinach pappardelle with scampi, sea urchin, broccolini and garlic and lemon.
Tip: There are no reservations accepted for dinners on the weekends so if you want to be sure not to have to wait for a table, book for lunch Monday to Sunday or dinner Monday to Thursday.
The latest venture from the Hemmes family, whose empire includes hotspots like Est and The Ivy, this on-point modern Cantonese den pays homage to yum cha (dim sum). The 240-seater, two-level, French Colonial-inspired restaurant has group tables, private dining rooms and the occasional table for two, and serves up Cantonese classics such as Chinese-roasted duck, along with riffs on old favorites, like the “faux” shark fin soup. But, of course, the dim sum selection is the star: expect to be plied with an array of delicious morsels like steamed barbecue pork buns, seafood dumplings, lobster rolls and turnip cakes.
Propped up on Manly Wharf, Papi Chulo sits on the water’s edge and offers a tasteful but relaxed ambiance ideal for an easy lunch or dinner. With checkered tile floors, copper fixtures and wicker-style benches, the space feels at once chic and comfortable. The menu features a variety of small plates, including seafood and shellfish, but diners rave most about its sophisticated execution of comfort food classics like six-hour smoked lamb ribs or wagyu brisket with roasted cauliflower with romesco and parmesan.
Public Dining Room
Set in an off-the-beaten-path location in the suburb of Mosman, Public Dining Room is an elegant local eatery with its own swimmable beach and pier with boat access. The dining space is bright, airy and flooded with natural light thanks to floor-to-ceiling retractable glass windows, which on a sunny day, make up for the restaurant’s lack of outdoor seating. The menu combines seasoned technique with fresh produce, and dishes might include seared scallops with pancetta and black pepper caramel and homemade tagliatelle with king crab and baby zucchini.
The dining room is relaxed and Scandinavian in style, making use of materials like oak, marble and steel. Unlike many of the well-known restaurants downtown, here you’ll find local suburbanite families dining on the weekends and young families and businesspeople for lunch during the week. Public Dining Room’s best asset though, is its location on Balmoral Beach. The restaurant boasts a modestly sized but lovely sandy beach set on a protected section of the bay, so kids can splash in the water and cannonball off the pier while parents linger over a glass of wine or flat white (Sydney’s answer to a cappuccino), before walking out to the dock to board their boats for a last few hours of afternoon at sea.
There are two legendary restaurants on Bondi Beach, Icebergs and Sean’s Panorama. Whichever one you choose to dine at, you will not be disappointed. In fact, you may just feel that you are eating with the coolest crowd around yet they are wildly different. Sean Moran’s beach shack-cum-restaurant feels quaint and neighborhoody. The menu changes daily here with a focus on fresh ingredients and Italian home cooking so you will likely find a pasta and grilled seafood dishes scrawled on the blackboard menus.
Tip: Sunday brunch here is a Sydney institution for many.
A welcome addition to the Bondi dining scene, this Middle Eastern restaurant breathes new life into traditional Levantine meze dishes like humus, haloumi cheese and roasted eggplant. Try fragrant, spice-laced dishes like pumpkin fatteh with chickpeas and sour yogurt or snapper fillet with tahini and broccolini, and finish off with melt-in-mouth riffs on Turkish Delight.