From soon-to-open waterfront restaurants to new intimate bars tucked away in the Sydney CBD, it seems there is a new Sydney opening every week. Here, we’ve picked the most noteworthy venue openings to have on your radar.
Whether you’re keen to know about the hotly anticipated Sydney restaurant from a leading hospitality group or looking for a new neighbourhood wine bar to visit, we have you covered.
The Swillhouse group has swung open the doors to Le Foote, a Mediterranean-esque wine bar and restaurant in The Rocks. “When we saw this site, two and a bit years ago, we fell in love with the façade. It could be in Paris or London,” says co-owner Anton Forte. The wood-panelled front now bears a glossy black paint job with gold lettering, and behind it is a veritable treasure map of drinking and dining nooks.
The intimate first section is anchored by the original Phillip’s Foote bar and surrounded by art, vintage coasters and knick-knacks straight from the Forte bothers’ personal collection. Up the narrow staircase you’ll find plenty more tables for drinks (perhaps a two-sip Negroni or a big Italian red from the 300-strong wine list) and small plates, with charcoal portraits by artist Allie Webb. There’s also a verandan and tree-dotted courtyard which leads to the restaurant, where a Roman mural-tiled semi-open room beholds pressed white tableclothes, ceramic carafes and suited waitstaff.
“The concept is Mediterranean grill. I know we’re not in the Med, but Circular Quay is just down there. There’s a real sense of place here, especially with all of the old sandstone and the laneway,” says Forte.
Fabbrica Bread Shop
From a lockdown pivot pop-up to a soon-to-open bakery, Fabbrica Bread Shop is back – and this time it’s here to stay. From the brains behind Fabbrica Pasta Shop, Fabbrica Bread Shop is a tested success that will open in Rozzelle permanently this August. It promises sandwiches, pastries, and baked goods that gained cult status in the pop-up’s previous short run in 2021 – think pork and fennel sausage rolls, chocolate-filled bomboloni and banoffee tarts. On the savoury side, there will also be golden Pithiviers, cross-laminated masla croissants stuffed with spiced potato and spicy vindaloo pies, plus loaded focaccia slices and stacked sandwiches for takeway lunches. For sweeter treats, it promises pillowy Roman cream buns, decadent chocolate tarts and neatly coiled morning buns. Naturally for a self-identified bread shop, the Rozelle iteration of Fabbrica will also peddle freshly baked loaves of sourdough.
It’s set to open inside an upmarket grocer on Darling Street in Rozelle and will be led by Aniruddha Bhosekar, head baker of the Love Tilly Group – the hospitality collective behind Fabbrica and other popular Sydney spots such as Ragazzi, La Salut and the newly opened Palazzo Salato.
Fabbrica Bread Shop is set to open as part of Maloneys Grocer at 733 Darling Street Rozzelle. It’s slated to open in August 2023
Down the southern end of the city, Bistro Nido is a new French-Japanese fusion spot from the team behind Devon Cafe, and will be the brunch purveyor’s first venture into after-dark dining. Located in Regent Place, the 40-seat restaurant will see head chef Andrew Lee (formerly Kitchen by Mike and Aalia) focus on a seasonal French menu with Japanese ferments and condiments. It may include a buckwheat galette with confit duck leg, egg and Gruyère paired with a bright citrus shoyu; hibachi-grilled Murray cod with saffron soubise and potato mille-feuille; or bone-in steak frites.
Lola’s Italian & Bar
In restaurant refreshesm Baharat is the rock ‘n’ roll reincarnation of Tombik in Barangaroo. Chef Somer Sivrioğlu will steer the 50-seater towards being more of a neighbourhood bar, with a drinks list crafted by two of Türkiye’s most respected bartenders. Emre Bilgin and Berk Abdullahoglu, who have moved here to oversee the bar. The menu – both snacks and cocktails – will interweave spices central to Türkiye. Thhink sumac and black salt Margaritas and barrel-spiced Negronis, alongside flatbreads with muhammara and mujver) herbed zucchini fritters.
In Bondi, ChouChou is a new casual-chic neighbourhood diner. Being one of the beachside ‘burb’s first wholly French devoted restaurants (with Parisian owner Arthur Gruselle and French staff) the bistro is serving up hand-cut potato chips and well-seasoned beef tartare; pistachio-dotted pork terrine with crusty baguette; side salads with classic vinaigrette; and a plump round of camembert baked with honey and thyme, all to a soundtrack of Sébastien Tellier and Cœur de Pirate.
Pidzaria is the reincarnation of Pazar Food Collective. The Canterbury collective will showcase wood-fired “pidza”, a take on Middle Eastern pide, perhaps with kale, tumeric, chickpeas, cream and kasar cheese; cheese and egg; or spiced beef and minced lamb.
In Sydney CBD, Oti – an Italian sandwich and pizza bar by the chefs behind Totti’s – will soon open in the former Lorraine’s Patisserie site.
“It’s a fast little corner spot where we’ll be making Roman-style pizza by the slice,” says chef Mike Eggert. “There will also be freshly baked schiacciata bread, for simple fresh Italian-style sandwiches, with meat sliced straight into the sandwiches or onto the hot slab pizza.”
Kei Tokiwa (ex-Chaco Bar and Sekka Dining) is bringing his love and knowledge of sake and snacks to Darlinghurst with the opening of Amuro. Drawing on his time living in Tokyo, Tokiwa oversees this intimate 20-seat spot, where a hand-written menu may behold chicken karaage, Hokkaido scallops with umeboshi dressing and sobacha (buckwheat tea), and ama ebi (sweet prawn) with yuzu and wasabi stem. You won’t find a sake list, but instead the opportunity to chat through your tastes and wants with the team to find a sake to suit you, drawing upon the “Ichigen-san, o-kotowari” style of service common in Japan.
In more Japanese openings, Chatswood has welcomed a high-end shabu shabu restaurant, Hanasuki. Chef Takashi Yamamoto showcases five protein options (like kurobuta pork belly or marbled wagyu sirloin) alongside unlimited organic veggies, each to be swished around in a rolling dashi broth, flavoured with kombu, bonito and dried shiitake mushrooms. This can be joined by seared bonito or cuttlefish sashimi; and finished off with zosui, a Japanese-style congee made using the broth.
Coyoacán Social is overseen by head chef and co-owner Roman Cortes, who – through his lived experience of addiction – is ready to help with Plate It Forward’s giving ethos. Food is central to this, with Cortes bringing recipes from his family to the menu. Drawing upon his time growing up in Mexico City and his mother’s birthplace of Coyoacán, the menu will explore how food fosters connection and how it helped Cortes on his own recovery journey. Think birria tacos, served with a rich accompanying beef dipping broth; cochinita pibil, which sees a corn tortilla topped with pickled onions and pineapple and habanero sauce; and flautas deep, where tortillas are stuffed with cheese, salsa verde and chipotle chicken then deep fried.
Armorica Grande Brasserie
Over in Surry Hills, Armorica Grande Brasserie is the third restaurant from Andrew Becher, the owner of Franca and Parlar in Potts Point. Taking over the former Toko space on Crown Street, the 150-seat venue is underscored by North of France flavours and wood-fired cooking. Executive chef José Saulog is on board again and devotes a hunk of the menu to steak frites, showcasing different cuts of Australian beef and lamb from Gundagai.
While it’s a slightly more casual affair than Becher’s first two restaruants, you can still expect glitzy seafood towers, intimate booths and schmick interiors, including timber ceilings, brass gantries and original art by The New Yorker illustrator David Plunkert.
Tokki, Soot and Leemix
Along with a swag of new venues, Sydney is also getting a new hospitality collective focused on Korean dining. Going by the name of Kolture, the group is led by David Bae and has popular restaurants Kinhboy, Kobo, Kogi Korean BBQ and Honey already under its belt. But in the next few months, Kolture is expanding with the opening of three new venues.
First, the group is relaunching Tokki in Surry Hills as a modern Korean Anju bar where you’ll be able to get bar snacks and booze in a fun, cosy space on Foveaux Street. The bar will stock small-batch soju, makegeolli and cheongju as well as Korean craft beer (maekju). Of course, there’ll be cocktails – including concoctions using Jeju Island mandarin or Korean pear. Food-wise, there’ll be seafood pancakes with octopus, squid and shallot, loligo squid sondaw (stuffed squid), fermented black bean pork ribs, and mulhwe – Korea’s answer to sashimi – of spicy and icy raw kingfish.
Tokki is slated to reopen as an Anju bar in mid-April 2023.
Soot is Barangaroo’s first Korean barbecue joint that takes “the usual Korean BBQ experience up a notch”. There are DIY grills built in to every table and the menu will see premium and aged Wagyu cuts as well as Australian beef, plus seafood, galbi (soy-marinated short-ribs) and plenty of banchan.
Lastly, Leemix – a Korean chef’s table experience – will open in Circular Quay by June. It’ll be the group’s second omakase-style venue (Kobo being the other) and have executive chef Jacob Lee at the helm. Leemix will be Lee’s “remix” on traditional Korean food, guiding diners through Korea’s culinary history and culture.
Leemix is slated to open in May 2023.
St Siandra has opened at The Spit in Mosman, where head chef Sam McCallum takes inspiration from the ocean and the Amalfi Coast. The day-to-night eastery has St Dreux coffee and pastries from Seaforth’s Staple Bakery in the morning before switching to long lunch and tasting menu mode in the afternoon.
The coastal Italian menu is joined by cocktails named after superyachts and the natuical motif continues with the restaurant being accessible by boat.
The Love Tilly Group have opened Palazzo Salato, which takes over a former beer hall on Clarence Street. Executive chef Scott McComas-Williams and the team hope to fill a culinary gap here.
“It’s the best part of the city to drink – but there’s not a great deal of food and wine around there,” says McComas-Williams. As a bigger sister venue to Ragazzi, expect fresh handmade pasta and excellent wines. Upstairs a more casual bar will focus on the four great Roman pastas (cacio e pepe, all’Amatriciana, carbonara and alla gricia).
Downstairs will still feature Roman signatures (including trippa alla Romana), but also look to wider Italy and beyond. Expect a raw bar (where you may find scallop tartare and just-shucked oysters); cotoletta or porchetta; and grilled seafood.
“We’ll be doing bugs and prawns on the plancha – keeping with my Spanish style,” says McComas-Williams. There’s a bigger emphasis on filled pastas with scaprinocc and agnolotti del plin with duck or pork from Tathra Place or goat by The Gourmet Goat Lady. When it comes to mains there will be a tight few options: “A beautiful fish; a couple of steaks to share – it’s a really nice way to eat.”
Drawing on methods like curing, smoking, fermenting, preserving and pickling, Savage’s menu promises to go beyond the traditional brasserie trio of oysters, soup and choucroute. “The menu is our take on an Australian brasserie,” says Savage in a statement.
Yes, there are oysters – Sydney Rock from Merimbula and Pacific from Tasmania – but there are also more inventive appetisers like the raw Paradise prawn with fermented chilli mayonnaise. Starters consist of Flinders Island scallops with brown butter and finger lime and spanner crab alla chitarra with sea urchin sauce. As for mains, much is cooked on the theatrical charcoal grill seen from the dining room into the open kitchen – think coal-roasted Murray cod with pepperberry butter, lobster with finger lime and tarragon, whole roasted duck and three cuts of steak.
Promenade Bondi Beach
The group behind Hinchcliff House has dished up Australia’s largest beachside restaurant, with the opening of the impressive Promenade Bondi Beach. The sprawling 900sqm beachside restaurant has taken up shop in the historic Bondi Pavilion after a multimillion-dollar restoration. There are nods to the past, like a fresco sign of its Turkish bath origins, as well as the present day with the new restaurant’s slick interiors.
The venue has been divided into distinct spaces – the main dining room with an ocean-facing verandah; two semi-private dining rooms; small coffee kiosk window; and a huge 140-person outdoor courtyard with prime views of the iconic Australian beach.
Food-wise, crumbed trevalla comes served with gribiche and jazzed-up kipfler potato scallops; mud crab comes cooled and picked, served on perilla leaves; while king prawns are doused in bright and aromatic curry leaf butter. Other dish highlights include sesame bug toast; toothfish skewers with sambal; lamb neck turnover with mango chutney; and agrodolce pork chop with charred radicchio.
Clam Bar Restaurant and Grill
There are choose-your-own condiments (think house-made butters and sauces (wasabi, mustards and twists on classics); oysters, crustaceans and shellfish on ice; and a large raw bar selection. There’s also steak tartare; sizzling garlic prawns; crab cakes; baked scampi casino style; clam coconut ceviche; and a spanner crab gratin. These bold entrees are matched by mains including a cheeseburger; New York strip and porterhouse steaks; and a whole fish grilled in the charcoal oven.