With the sun, harbour and sea at its doorstep, Sydney is the quintessential city for fantastic dining experiences. With plenty of world-class restaurants throughout the city, there are going to be a few that turn out some pretty amazing seafood.
Australia is lucky to have access to some of the world’s best local produce coming from its coasts. Team this with amazing chefs and the quality of restaurants and dishes being served up around Sydney is beyond belief. It was a tough task, but we’ve managed to come up with a list of what we believe are the best seafood restaurants Sydney has to offer. From harbourside fine dining to inner-city fish and chipperies, this list will see you feasting on the fruits of the sea!
North Bondi Fish is an iconic spot with views sweeping out across world-class Bondi Beach. There are floor to ceiling windows that open up out onto the balcony, meaning you can enjoy some of the best cooked seafood in Sydney along with a chilled glass of wine only steps from the beach’s golden sands. Headed by celebrity chef Matt Moran, this spot was originally only intended to be a six-month pop-up, but has remained due to its popularity.
The menu leans towards fresh, light and modern dishes, with the talented kitchen team offering up crispy fried calamari, fresh sashimi, fish tacos and crab sliders. If you’re with a group, the whole tempura Murray cod and spanner crab cocktail are must tries. The space offers seaside casual dining with a luxe finish and fills up quickly all year round. It’s the perfect place to ease into an afternoon with DJs on the decks and a cocktail list designed for summer sipping.
Alessandro Pavoni’s iconic restaurant sits right on the water of The Spit’s Middle Harbour and transports its diners to the Italian Riviera, with seafood, wine, gelato and incredible views being the star of the show. The menu is exclusively seafood, and they do this as good as anywhere in Sydney, if not the country.
Dining here is a pure pleasure. Start with some fresh market oysters with chardonnay vinegar or Oscietra caviar, the Ormeggio signature bottoni pasta filled with basil pesto and king prawn crudo, and Abrolhos Island scallops with white Asparagus. For mains, the squid ink spaghetti with charcoal rock lobster, and risotto with Tasmanian abalone are all exquisite. The tuna cotoletta is the restaurant’s take on schnitzel, with a tuna fillet rolled in seafood powder, dipped in egg and grissini breadstick crumbs and sure to impress.
The list of crisp Italian wines complements the food and the surroundings exquisitely and the best way to finish a meal at Ormeggio is with gelato, with each flavour inspired by a classic dessert. A stone’s throw away sits Chiosco by Ormeggio, Pavoni’s more relaxed but no less brilliant counterpart to Ormeggio at the Spit.
It’s a casual affair at this local Petersham favourite, but don’t let that make you underestimate how good the quality of food is that they serve. With a focus on sustainable Australian and New Zealand seafood and a relaxed setting, Fich brings Sydneysiders the essence of a good fish and chip shop mixed with what you would find in a fine dining restaurant. The restaurant isn’t too far from Veriu Camperdown, if you’re looking to stay somewhere nearby.
If you’re with a group, Fich is the perfect place to visit as the menu leans itself towards sharing dishes. This is good because you will want to try a bit of everything. The sharing set menu is reasonably priced and includes beer battered fish tacos, Spring Bay mussels, pan-roasted calamari, and steamed fish along with a side of green beans and portuguese tart for dessert. If you choose to go rogue, there are some real winners to be found, particularly the raw tacos, spiced fish skewers with flatbread, seasonal seafood chowder and southern fried ling burger. A fish and chip shop wouldn’t be a fish and chip shop without the classics, and they are all to be found here for dining in and take-away, including grilled salmon fillets, calamari rings, and good old fish and chip packs.
This North bondi spot attracts both a chic and salty Bondi clientele, and they all come with one thing on their minds, Rocker’s quality seafood offerings. The spot was dreamed up by Three Blue Ducks owner Darren Robertson along with his industry mates Cameron Northway and Ian Clarke, creating a fun space with a European coastal feel.
The kitchen focuses on the best of what’s coming out of the water year round, with permanent favourites and an ever changing menu meaning there’s always something fresh and creative on the specials board. Among the staples here are the cured king salmon with tomato XO, tagliatelle with spanner crab and steamed mussels, and swordfish fillet with parsnip puree.
Rocker is the perfect place for a quick snack or laid back afternoon session with cocktail in hand. Keep an eye out for some of the venue’s weekly specials, including taco Tuesday, all you can eat mussels, bottomless brunches and Sunday roasts.
Saint Peter’s Chef and owner Josh Niland has become a seafood chef with an almost rock star status bigger than his restaurant itself. Championing head-to-tail seafood and claiming “anything you can do to an animal, you can do to a fish” Niland is single-handedly leading the way for a seafood revolution. If you’ve never heard of or seen a fish charcuterie board, then you will have after a visit to Saint Peter.
This is the kind of place where every dish is unique and can stand alone on its own. The best way to dine here has to be via the seven-course tasting menu, which takes you on a journey through the wild world of Niland’s mind using the best local and seasonal produce available on the day. The staff at Saint Peter definitely know what they are doing and can effortlessly guide you through the menu, pairing wine to suit each dish.
Be sure to check out the Niland family’s other operations, including Fish Butchery which offers take away fish and chips as well as retail and frozen, ready to cook home meals. The Fish Butchery also doubles as the production base for Saint Peter and his more casual diner Charcoal Fish, where you can get a cheeseburger-style fish burger. Needless to say Niland has his finger right at the heart of Sydney’s seafood pulse.
With a rustic farmhouse feel right on Paddington’s bustling Oxford Street, Fred’s offers fine dining that won’t break the bank. The aesthetic here leans towards farm-to-table dining, with seasonal, locally sourced produce and carefully hand-selected wine. The kitchen is in full view for patrons to watch on as the chefs do their magic, serving up some of Sydney’s best dishes, in particular seafood.
Whilst meat dishes are among some of the best food on the menu here, the real star is the seafood. You can begin your Fred’s seafood experience with Dom Perignom Oscietra caviar on potato crisps and scallop tartlet canapes before moving onto fresh Sydney rock oysters and coral trout carpaccio. The mains and entree’s boast dishes rich with flavour such as the Skull Island prawns cooked in the wood oven and served on Spanish calasparra rice, and the bass grouper fillet is served with stuffed zucchini flower, summer squash and lemon.
Sitting on Circular Quay with views across the harbour to the Opera House, waterfront dining doesn’t get much more Sydney than this. Executive Chef Saiful Islam brings his experience working at Bill’s, 12-micron and Orso Bayside to the kitchen, marrying quality and locally sourced seafood with Australian native ingredients to produce classic dishes with a contemporary touch. Harbourfront is the perfect place for a date night or special occasion as it sits right next to the Harbour Bridge.
The menu offers up the best of what the Australian coast has to offer. You can expect to find dishes such as Humpty Doo Barramundi with a roasted tomato ragu, grilled Moreton Bay bugs served with dashi and oyster butter, and seafood linguine with a lemon and soft shell bisque. If you really feel like going all out, the seafood platters are next level. There’s both cold and hot options and the platters come overflowing with battered fish, scallops, barramundi, king prawns, oysters, bugs and octopus.
Location: Campbell’s Stores Bay 1-3, 7-27 Circular Quay W, The Rocks NSW 2000
Affordable and sustainable seafood on a waterfront setting, this popular Barangaroo spot is popular among seafood loving Sydneysiders. Dining at love.fish means dining with a clear conscience, as all the seafood at this restaurant is sourced from local and environmentally responsible fisheries.
The kitchen offers an approachable, uncomplicated and most importantly delicious menu that focuses on the best available and in season produce. The menu spans the best of what can be done with seafood, starters include char-grilled octopus, panko-crumbed salmon hash cakes and tuna crudo. For larger dishes, there’s Maloolaba swordfish fillets, clearwater scallops and southern ocean hapuka, all cooked over the grill. Or for something a little more refined, you can get the Spring Bay mussels with saffron risotto and spinach linguine with king prawns and swordfish.
love.fish offers flexible dining for all occasions. You can sit in the slick, modern dining room while enjoying wine from their exclusively Australian wine list, or if it’s a lovely day, you can grab take-away and head down to eat on the grass overlooking Darling Harbour.
We’ve mentioned this place before in our guide to the best spots in Sydney for a business lunch, but we couldn’t help but mention them again here, as Cirrus is definitely up there when it comes to seafood dining. With a wine list designed to pair effortlessly with the seafood dishes and million dollar harbour views, every meal at Cirrus is memorable.
This extravagant Bangaroo spot has a menu made for sharing. Using sustainably caught seafood and seasonal produce, chef Brent Savage serves up some of Sydney’s most elegant seafood dishes. Think steamed Murray cod with shitake and golden seaweed, rainbow trout with prawn XO sauce, and whole southern lobster cooked over charcoal to name just a few of the amazing items on offer.
Cirrus is part of the Bentley Hospitality Group, which also has fine Sydney restaurants Bentley, Yellow and Monopole among its impressive stable.
Based within the bustling Coogee Pavilion’s second level, Mimi’s pays homage to the ocean it looks out across with a focus on high quality Australian seafood. Mimi’s vast and beautiful European-style dining space gets plenty of natural light from the big arched windows the pavilion is famous for. This restaurant puts on an elegant show for its guests, with a caviar trolley making the rounds for those wanting to dabble during their meal.
The menu here has a Mediterranean style and comes with the same old-world service you would find in the best European hotels and bistros. Salt baked mud crab is prepared at the table by way of being smashed open, and the whole John Dory is expertly filleted before your eyes. With such great execution in all facets of the dining experience, Mimi’s definitely justifies its “special occasion” price tag. Veriu Randwick is not too far inland from Coogee if you’re looking for somewhere to stay nearby.
Located at the northern tip of Northern Beaches territory, this restaurant is little out of the way from inner Sydney, but definitely worth the trip. Whale Beach’s boutique hotel and fine dining spot Jonah’s does seafood as good as anywhere in Sydney. This place is gourmet dining and white tablecloth service at its best. The only thing that could possibly take your eyes away from the view are the spectacular dishes coming from the kitchen. With accolades and awards preceding them, Jonah’s is a place reserved for very special occasions.
The menu from head chef Matteo Zamboni has some Italian flair to it, with coastal pasta dishes and wild-caught fish among the favourites. The grilled prawns with bisque bechamel are a must try, as are the seafood platters with sashimi, oysters, scallops,octopus, lobster and prawns flowing over the edges.
Dining here is an incredible experience, with floor to ceiling windows looking out across the Dolphin Bay. Many bottles of wine have been ordered alongside weekend afternoons gazing out to the horizon.
We’re pretty lucky here in Sydney, with sun, seaside and seafood options all over town. With all the amazing spots we’ve listed across Sydney, you’re going to have your calendars full trying them all out. If you’re in town for a visit and planning on getting your seafood fix, Veriu Central and Veriu Broadway are located right in the heart of the city and close to nearly all of the restaurants listed above. That way you can enjoy Sydney’s best accommodation and get to more than one of the restaurants while in town.