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The Most Popular Lunch Spots in Sydney

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Author
Emmelyn Khoo Marketing Executive
15 minutes Apr 21st, 2022
three women dining out at a restaurant enjoying lunch together

From the waterfront to the laneways and outer suburbs, there is one place with no shortage of great options for lunch; Sydney.

So whether you feel like dining by the Harbour, the beach or surrounded by the concrete jungle, you’ll enjoy great food and even better surroundings.

We’ve compiled some of the best venues, suitable for a weekend catch-up with friends or a mid-week client lunch that will undoubtedly impress. Our only criteria are amazing food, clever cocktails and a spot conducive to fantastic conversation. The lunch scene here makes it almost too easy, but to shorten your search, read on for the best lunch Sydney can offer.

Margaret

a close up photo of a dish off the menu at margaret

While our list of Sydney lunch spots is in no particular order, this Double Bay location is a fan favourite. You’ve likely heard of Neil Perry’s collection of dining spots, and this is one of the finest on offer. Run by Perry’s daughter, Josephine, and spearheaded by executive chef Richard Purdue you’ll find a range of Mediterranean and Asian flavours with a modern Australian touch.

The Mediterranean/Asian mix has a twist. For example, the agnolotti stuffed with spanner crab blends Italian flavours with hints of Thailand, topped with makrut lime leaf with a pour-over broth of fresh chilli and lemongrass.

The cocktail list is also a highlight. Every good lunch needs a supporting Martini; the option at Margaret is one of the best. Named after Perry’s late mother, Margaret is a stylish affair where the who’s who like to be seen, and a great place for your next lunch catch-up.

Website: www.margaretdoublebay.com
Address: 30-36, Bay Street, Sydney

Cafe Sydney

a dessert featured on the menu of the restaurant cafe sydney

If you want the finest lunch Sydney CBD can offer, the appropriately named Cafe Sydney will tick the box. You’ll find it on the top floor terrace of the Customs House at Circular Quay, offering an amazing view of the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Sydney Harbour.

Menu standouts include the creamy king salmon belly tartare complete with bug tail, shiso and lemon creme fraiche. The carrot puree, eggplant and sheep’s milk labneh is certainly worth a look, and you can wrap it all up with a yuzu cream, blood orange jelly with macaroon crumbs.

Grab a balcony seat to really soak it all in and kick things off with an espresso martini paired with a plate of Sydney Rock oysters. The modern Australian menu leans towards flavours from the sea, but the ricotta gnocchi truly steals the show. Pair your lunch with one of the finest views in Sydney at Cafe Sydney today.

Website: https://cafesydney.com/
Address: 5th Floor, Customs House, 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay

Sean's

a close up photo of a bowl of linguine

Let’s pop over to Bondi Beach for another of the best lunch spots Sydney dishes up with Sean’s. If you are in the mood for some beachfront fine dining, Sean’s is the spot locals have frequented for over 25 years.

A popular menu option is a bowl of the linguine topped with rocket, lemon and chilli, and we recommend Moran’s signature white chocolate and rosemary nougat, which is only available on request (if you know, you know).

You’ll find a modern Australian menu stacked with local produce and the perfect views over Bondi Beach. Your decisions will be made easy with their set three-course set menu, bread and appetisers at just $100 a head. Award-winning chef Sean Moran supplies most fo the menu fresh from his farm in the Blue Mountains farm, so trust whatever is listed under “Chef’s Choice” when you visit.

Website: seanspanaroma.co
Address: 270 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach

Pilu

a close up photo of a dish from pilu's

When you are thinking about lunch places, Sydney locals will demand that you head to Freshwater Beach and visit the little weatherboard cottage known as Pilu. This seaside spot has two chef hats and a menu inspired by the flavours of Sardinia, Italy, all made with local produce.

The fregola is handmade, toasted in a wood-fried oven, and then smothered in prawn sauce and butter. Pilu uses West Australian scarlet prawns with a sweet flavour, making this dish a true standout. However, the trickiest part about lunch at Pilu is strategically selecting a main that will leave enough room for the dessert menu. If you can pull this off, your tastebuds are in for a wild ride.

Website: https://pilu.com.au/
Address: On the beach, Moore Road, Freshwater

Otto Ristorante

Stracciatella with roast pickled grapes, balsamic, pistachio, tarragon and crostini

We’ll head back over to Sydney Harbour for another of the finest lunch spots Sydney CBD can offer, Otto Ristorante. Also known in Brisbane for their other popular dining location; the Sydney version is placed nicely in the middle of the action.

As the revolving menu changes seasonally, you never quite know what to expect here, but you will experience inspiration from modern Italian flavours and local produce. The grilled Tajima wagyu scotch fillet topped with foie gras and truffled mash is as popular as the caprino with creamy Woodside goat’s curd and truffled honey if you are having trouble choosing.

Book the outdoor terrace, and make it a long lunch with the six-course degustation with paired wines. You won’t regret it!

Website: https://ottoristorante.com.au/sydney
Address: 8/6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo

LuMi Dining

a selection of menu items on the table from lumi dining

The closest you’ll dine to Darling Harbour is LuMi which is surrounded by glass, so you’ll be surrounded by water as you eat! LuMi draws its design inspiration from mid-century-Italian with a fusion Italian-Japanese menu.

A unique and popular menu option at LuMi is the Dauphine, a neatly balanced tower of caviar, scallop, and smoked bone marrow that sits on a pomme dauphine potato mixed with choux pastry deep-fried to perfection.

Chef Federico Zanellato for his elaborate tasting menu that runs a $195 price tag but is one of the most sought-after fine dining experiences in town. From the stunning food to the amazing views, you’ll want to make your next lunch booking at LuMi; just be sure to plan ahead.

Website: www.lumidining.com
Address: 56 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont

Icebergs Dining Room And Bar

local lobster spaghetti, vin jaune, chives & lemon verbena butter at icebergs dining

It may seem as though we are listing a lot of water and beachside restaurants, but who doesn’t want jaw-dropping views as they enjoy their lunch? So, add Icebergs Dining Room And Bar to the list as this spot in Bondi has a great view of the waves while you enjoy an Italian-inspired menu.

The menu highlight? A mascarpone-vanilla and raspberry tart that is served with a grappa-laced raspberry covered with rosewater consomme and chocolate pearls – true indulgence at its finest! The modern interior is home to chef Maurice Terzini, known in both Sydney and Melbourne as a local favourite thanks to his delicious dishes from the homeland that have an enjoyable local twist.

Website: https://idrb.com/
Address: 1 Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach

Mimi's

Crisp artichoke skin & honey vinegar & salmon roe

Mimi’s also sits on the coastline specialising in a seafood menu with a casual 600 wines to accompany your meal. The view from the arched windows is the perfect lunch companion as you enjoy chef Jordan Toft’s Mediterranean menu.

A top menu pick falls under the charcoal-fuelled grills section, such as the skewer of bay with finely sliced blacklip abalone topped with house-made pancetta. However, the chickpea pita stuffed with eggplant may be the true standout and is a strong recommendation.

You can also start or end your lunch at Will’s, Mimi’s additional cocktail bar that serves up a range of fun and flavoursome drinks to make lunch a bunch more fun!

Website: https://merivale.com/venues/mimis/
Address: 130a Beach Street, Coogee

Saint Peter

a close up photo of a seafood dish

Keeping along with the seafood vibe, Saint Peter in Paddington will sit you and your lunch companions down at their long marble-topped counter for the finest choices from the sea in Sydney. The popular seafood charcuterie is a unique experience that will give you a good sampling of what this place has to offer.

The charcoal-grilled rock flathead comes with a delicious bush tomato harissa and the salt-and-vinegar-seasoned Murray cod that’s been dry-aged for two weeks is not to be missed.

You can also pop a few doors up the road to Fish Butchery, which is the place that prepares the seafood for Saint Peter. If you are looking for quality seafood to take home, visit here or Saint Peter’s Fish & Chips for a range of quality takeaway options after lunch.

Website: www.saintpeter.com.au
Address: 362 Oxford Street, Paddington

The Winery

a selection of dishes sitting on a table at the winery restaurant and one dish being passed to another person

We certainly haven’t forgotten about Surry Hills, and our favourite spot is The Winery, a garden wine bar perfect for lunchtime feasting. Naturally, you would expect an impressive wine list considering the name of the spot, and that’s exactly what you will get!

The best lunch option is a seafood brunch that features shucked oysters, Harvey Bay scallops and Cloudy Bay prawns, a true tour of the ocean’s delights.

Choose from lunchtime bubbles, whites, reds and more with modern Australian share plates or larger plates for those who are hungry. If you simply refuse to do lunch without a pop-up prosecco fountain, The Winery has you covered.

Website: https://thewinerysurryhills.com.au/
Address: 285a Crown Street, Surry Hills

NOLA Smokehouse And Bar

rotisserie chicken with apple-cider pulled pork, Milly Hill lamb, and Oakey Reserve brisket

Bringing the flavours of New Orleans and Louisiana to Barangaroo, NOLA Smokehouse And Bar sits on Darling Harbour, ready to tempt your tastebuds. The Smokehouse has perfected southern-style roasting, or you can class it up in the French Quarter, a secret room that serves premium whisky.

We recommend saving yourself time perusing the menu by choosing the Pit Master’s Picks which includes pork sausage, brisket and a dollop of chimichurri sauce all smoked to a melt-in-your-mouth point.

Open four days a week, NOLA’s secret American Whiskey Bar features a 600+ collection that is constantly changing, inclusive of limited edition and hard-to-find single bottles. So if a little whiskey with lunch sounds like an excellent idea, you’ll find the best of the best here.

Website: https://www.nolasydney.com/
Address: Level 1, One International Towers Sydney, Cnr Barangaroo Ave & Shipwright Walk, Barangaroo South

As you can see, there is no shortage of Sydney lunch spots to choose from, and the list above is a great spot to start. If lunch happens to be with a special someone, and things are going well, we recommend reading our article about the most romantic date spots in Sydney as well. This way, you are armed with the right info to keep the good times rolling.