Spoilt for choice between sandy beaches and innumerable harbour vantages, our love of outdoor dining is no surprise. Summer may be behind us but that does not mean we need to stop basking in the beautiful blue-skies and take in the great view of our beaches whilst indulging in a delicious meal. Here are the top picks of Sydney restaurants that allow us to enjoy summer all year round.
Living in Sydney’s East, makes my trips over the bridge almost non-existent. That was however, until I hopped on a ferry for the sole purpose of dining at Papi Chulo. It was beyond worth it. The menu features a range of dishes boasting a northern and southern American flare, complemented with a hint of Asian influence. Papi Chulo is ideal for a very long lunch. The menu is extensive and the options are incredible, making it a tough choice. It is the perfect place for share plates so you don’t have to limit your options.
Jumbo king prawns, lemongrass and coconut dressing. The jumbo prawns were perfectly cooked, having the right balance of lemongrass and coconut dressing to give the prawns a nice kick of flavour without being too overpowering.
Southern calamari, sorrel, sour cream, bacon, crispy potato. The inspiration of this dish stems from Mennonite soup called somma borscht. Cooked to perfection with the varying flavours dancing off your palette; you will be licking the plate for more.
You also can’t go wrong with the BBQ platter.
The dessert menu is also impressive and even had me (usually a savoury fan) salivating just reading the options.
I went for the choc-chip cookie, warmed through so that chocolate is melted. It is plated with malted caramel ice cream on top, butterscotch sauce and shards of macadamia nut brittle. Unfortunately, I ate it all before remembering to take a photo- proof of just how darn good it is.
It is to be expected that Papi Chulo boast a very impressive wine list and the best part is that they have categorised it to help you select from fun & aromatic to smoky & meaty etc. You cannot go past the cocktails either, fresh and unique.
Calypso: Named after the Caribbean music that imitates the songs of the famous goddess of the same name. Plymouth Gin, lime juice, lemon myrtle briskly shaken & served straight up.
Peligro: A tropical Bellini of passionfruit, mango, Absolut Citron topped with Proseco, served in a champagne flute.
Prices are on the higher end of the spectrum but you are paying for quality, making it worth every cent and more. Open 7 days for lunch and dinner. I would highly recommend making a booking as they are quite busy all year round.
22-23 Manly Wharf, Manly, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 9240 3000
Built into the hill at St Alfred park right next to central station. Meadow Café is a hidden oasis, making it the perfect spot to unwind on your lunch break, or have a bite to eat after you go for a refreshing dip in the pool- open throughout the year makes it a great winter option. The menu leans towards Mediterranean influence with the appearance of the usual café brunch suspects. The large meal portions make it the perfect place for hungry swimmers.
Poached eggs with sage-burnt butter, natural yoghurt and paprika crumbs. The eggs are perfectly poached with egg oozing out with a slight nudge of the fork.
Bircher Muesli- Often it can be a hit or a miss, but this birches is a big hit. Meadow café has nailed the balance of flavours. A generous portion of bircher muesli placed in a puddle of light almond milk with chia seeds, fruit and poached pear.
The fish tacos are absolutely delicious. Three to a serve, the fish is cooked perfectly, and the avocado, tomato and lime salsa with sour cream; create the perfect balance of flavours to satisfy your tastebud senses.
The veggie burger: I generally steer clear of veggie burgers but it was recommended so I thought I would give it a go and it is the best decision I have ever made. The combination of ingredients made it for a taste sensation and the texture and size of the mushroom made it more satisfying than a meat patty ever could.
The coffee is by Campos and the teas are by The Rabbit Hole. A pot of nice well-balanced chai tea does the trick as do their other tea selections. They also feature more indulgent drinks such as the salted caramel hot chocolate as well as very fun flavoured milkshakes- the flakeshake: cornflakes and malted milk. Refreshingly healthy frappes are also available in varying combinations such as the pineapple, ginger and mint.
The pricing is standard for the area and with the quality and portion you are really are getting your money’s worth. Meadow Café is open for breakfast and lunch, 7 days a week.
Prince Alfred Park Pool, 105 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 8399 1198
Aqua Dining offers a dining experience like no other; nestled between Luna Park on one side and the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the other; the view is absolutely spectacular. The two hatted restaurant is run by head chef David Rebeccato.
Aqua Dining is open for lunch and dinner and features a selection of contemporary Italian dishes that change from season to season, based on available fresh produce. The menu celebrates Rebeccato Italian heritage, and also features many unique dishes Rebaccato comes across whilst travelling that inspire him to recreate and add his own twist back in Sydney.
The scallops with yuzu dressing and lumpfish roe currently available on the autumn menu stems from a trip to Peru, where Rebeccato was “inspired by all the delicious ceviche”. And although this scallop dish is not a proper ceviche it follows a similar method and creates those same amazing flavours that work together.
Tomato and chilli tagliolini with Moreton Bay bugs, bottarga and celeariac. The mortean bay bug creates a juicy offset to the chilli. The addition of bottarga (caviar of the south) gives the dish a traditional Italian flare, making it simple yet delicious.
Kingfish with green peas, brown buuter and buttermilk
Kurobuta pork belly, apple chutney, turnip, vincotto. This is the idyllic winter meal. The pork belly is cooked to perfection and each condiment on the plate enhances that pork flavour we all love.
If you are sweet tooth you cannot go past the Amedei chocolate budino with passionfruit parfait, chocolate and hazelnut crumble.
Corner Paul Street & Northcliff Street, Milsons Point, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 9964 9998
As a local, I was so excited when Merivale group refurbished the old Palace Hotel and opened the Coogee Pavilion. Having opened the pavilion last year, Merivale has continued its multi-storey redevelopment of the former hotel, with the rooftop opening early this year. The rooftop has an exotic feel about it and capitalises on the spectacular location, giving you the perfect view of the Coogee shoreline.
The food and beverage menu channels that summer vibe that the pavilion exudes. Chef, Jordan Toft has opted for a Mediterranean share menu of charred meats, fresh salads, grilled veggies and smoked seafood’s.
Cucumbers, vinegar, dill, salt, sesame- crisp and refreshing
Hummus, pine nuts, cumin, Lebanese. Simple but delicious and great to fight off the hunger if you are enjoying a few cocktails.
Charred octopus, harissa powder, and burnt orange- big pieces of tender octopus teamed perfectly with the harissa and burnt orange flavours.
Zhough lamb chops, chilli oil, yoghurt- exactly how chops should be, with the charcoal aroma on the outside, and beautifully juicy and tender inside.
The cocktails should not go unnoticed, there is even a cold-pressed cocktails, perfect for your health nuts. My picks are the: Pomegranate cosmopolitan- Absolut Citron, pomegranate, orange liqueur, lime and Beachside fizz and the Beacside Fizz -Beefeater, cucumber, mint, soda.
The rooftop is open Wednesday to Sunday from 120m-12am. It fills up very quickly on evenings, so get there early if you want a table with a view.
169 Dolphin Street, Coogee, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 9240 3000
There is no doubt one of the main attractions to Iceberg is the location; resting above the beautiful ocean pool, diners lookout to Bondi Beach. The light hits the window creating that warmth with the turquoise interior very befitting to set that coastal feel. The menu is said to reflect regional Italian cuisines yet still embodies the oceanic surroundings.
Ostriche- it only seems appropriate to order oysters when in such a setting. The oysters are plump and salty, complemented perfectly with a drizzle of cold pressed organic lemon dressing. Insalata di Piesli (Peas)- This may seem odd that I put them on the ‘top picks’ list, but let me assure you that these are no ordinary peas, they are the ultimate peas. Full of flavour with Bio-dynamic Faroo, celerey, mint and salted ricotta.
Top picks for the mains is a hard choice, but I would recommend opting for a seafood based dish- it is appropriate to the setting after all. Iceberg states that all their fish is sustainable and procured from Australia premium fishing grounds, so there’s another plus. You generally can’t go wrong with their Daily market dish selection with the option of it being grilled or roasted in two preparations: Grilled Radiccihio, Basil, Grapefruit and Olive Oil. Or if you needs some carbs in your meal I would recommend selecting the Spaghetti Aglio Oluo e Granchio-fresh eff spaghetti, smoke blue swimmer crab, black garlic and seaweed pangratto. Icebergs is priced on the higher end, similar to Aqua Dining and Papi Chulo’s. Icebergs is from 5pm on weekdays and from 12pm on weekends. I would strongly suggest making a reservation.
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar
1 Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 9365 9000
Nestled on the side of Woolloomooloo wharf, Criniti’s offers dining with a view and serves up some of the best Italian Pizzas going. Criniti’s restaurant is headed by John Lanzafame, the award-winning chef has been a leader in the development of the gourmet pizza market in Australia for many years. The main menu, features rustic Italian dishes; Lanzafame favourite dishes are pizza and pasta with a focus on less is more and he places emphasis on earthy flavours. Photo: supplied
Recently opening for breakfast, you can now start the day right with a full belly; and full you will be, with the breakfast menu serving up dish sizes similar to the lunch and dinner menu. You can opt for a breakfast board that has everything you want and more: eggs your way, bacon, cured meats, cheeses, avocado, you name it, it’s there. If you need little sugar in the morning, you will be delighted with the stacked pancakes or if you want to be ‘good’ there are a range of healthier menu items such as the deliciously fruity Bircher muesli. Photo: supplied
Pistachio Pizza- San daniele prosciutto, mozzarella, ricotta, pesto, rocket, semi-dried tomatoes & grated pistachio.
Three metre long pizza. And that’s just the starter! @crinitis #crinitis (photo by #iatemywaythrough contributor @jesss_leigh) 🍕🍕🍕 A photo posted by I Ate My Way Through ™ (@iatemywaythru) on
Napoli bella Calzoni – Fried pizza, folded & filled with double smoked ham & mozzarella “traditional Neapolitan street food”.
Italiano brekkie board: Eggs your way w/ bacon, porchetta, wood fired tomato, Italian house sausage, prosciutto, mortadella, salame, provolone, crumbed eggplant & Italian toasted bread (chilli optional).
Double stacked ricotta pancakes: Honey, choc chip, ricotta and pistachio.
You definitely get what you paid for at Criniti’s with their very generous servings and quality ingredients, used to create their dishes. Criniti’s is now open for breakfast lunch and dinner. I would highly recommend booking for dinner as it packs-up quickly.
Criniti’s – Woolloomooloo
Shop 2, 6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo, Sydney NSW
Phone: 1300 274 648
Summer may be over but that does not mean we have to stop indulging in the delights of some of Sydney’s best beach-side and poolside restaurants.
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of the above establishments