Fine dining in Sydney is an experience, made better by eating with a view. If you’re looking for finesse, elegance and quality in your food, then checking out the best Circular Quay restaurants is an absolute must. To stretch things down a historical route, the twisting and turning pathways may take you to a nearby suburb The Rocks, another staple for foodies in Sydney. The journey through some of the world’s finest restaurants begins on the steps of Sydney Opera House, taking you down the garden path of stunning scenery on your way to some of the best places to eat in this neck of the woods. Circular Key restaurants with a view are just around the corner.
Here is a list of the best Circular Quay restaurants Sydney has to offer.
1. Quay Restaurant
Located in the heart of Sydney, with a spectacular view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, Quay Restaurant’s executive chef Peter Gilmore’s innovative cooking and dining experience pay homage to Australia. The ocean decorated floor couples with Gilmore’s adoration for nature, inspiring his dishes, and giving notice to his attention to detail. This three hatted restaurant transports you to a world filled with exquisite textures, colours and flavours and is truly one of the best restaurants Circular Quay has to offer. The six-course set menu ($260) is available for lunch and dinner, with a focus on fish, pork, and duck. You can treat yourself to experiencing the tastes of the sea paired with indulgent paired wines for $140. Desserts are fresh and light, leaving you feeling a sense of pure bliss as you soak in the scenery before you.
Located in: Sydney Cove Overseas Passenger Terminal
Address: Upper Level Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks NSW 2000
Hours: Sat & Sun (Lunch): 12pm — 1:30pm, Thurs to Sun (Lunch): 6pm — 8:45pm (Booking required)
Phone: (02) 9251 5600
Bennelong is the definition of a Sydney Harbour staple. Located in the shell of the Opera House, the Circular Quay restaurant is home to true artistry thanks to, you guessed it, executive chef Peter Gilmore. This venue and bar is a part of Gilmore’s Fink restaurant group and its excellence is up to standard. You’re spoiled for choice here between having a casual drink/quick bite or getting immersed in a culinary experience. The restaurant offers a choice of an À La Carte or set menu ($180 AUD) with both leaning heavily towards seafood and Aussie favourites such as Lamb and Duck. Those who are looking for a quick drink before a show at the Opera House can go straight to The Bar for a drink beneath the sales.
Located in: Sydney Opera House
Address: Bennelong Point, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Wed-Fri 5:30–8:45pm, Sat 12-2:15 & 5:30-8:45pm, Sun 12-3:30pm
Phone: (02) 9240 8000
With two hats and the background of the harbour, ARIA owners Matt Moran and Bruce Solomon have created one of those Circular Quay restaurants you have to see to believe. Prioritising Australian produce revitalises the Aussie spirit of every guest, while executive chef Tom Gorringe crafts a seasonal menu that is designed for the enjoyment of the whole table. Flavours are delicate, precise and perfectly balanced, allowing you to have an authentic fine-dining experience. Located at the cusp of the Opera House, ARIA gives you some of the best views you’ll ever get at a restaurant in Sydney.
Address: 1 Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Wed-Thurs 5:30-9:30pm, Fri 12-3pm & 5:30-9:30pm, Sat 5:30-9:30pm
Phone: (02) 9240 2255
The site of Whalebridge might look familiar, however, the elegance and atmosphere is fresh, vibrant, and speaks to the return of Circular Quay dining like no other. Directed by Executive Chef Will Elliott – formerly of Melbourne’s Cumulus Inc., ST JOHN, London, and most recently Restaurant Hubert in Sydney, this new venture from Sydney Collective is making a splash. This Cicular Quay restaurant boasts a deliciously French-inspired menu where guests should expect to find traditional takes on fresh local seafood, including bouillabaisse de Marseille and lobster thermidor. Mains like stuffed zucchini, duck confit and steak or mussel frittes will have you salivating from the moment you walk in.
Address: 8 & 10 East, NSW 2000
Hours: Mon-Thurs 12-3pm & 5-9pm, Fri-Sun 12-9:30pm
Phone: (02) 9240 2255
5. The Meat & Wine Co Circular Quay
The Meat & Wine Co Circular Quay is found in the InterContinental Hotel and it’s one spot you don’t want to miss. Wood, leather and a misty ambience don’t begin to describe the experience you’ll have here. It’s self-proclaimed ‘Afro-centric’ dining, paired with being described as having ‘Sydney’s favourite steak’, this Circular Quay restaurant gives you everything a meat-lover needs. Sophisticated presentation, flavour and an innovative wine list are what you can expect. The atmosphere is dark and mysterious with affordable, high-quality food. What more could you want? Their extensive menu caters for a range of eaters, and they provide every cut of Australian farmed steak.
Located in: InterContinental Sydney, an IHG Hotel
Address: Shop 12, InterContinental Sydney, 117 Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Tues-Sat 12-10pm
Phone: (02) 9252 7888
6. Bar Patrón
With salsa, tacos and tequila, Bar Patrón has it all and more! The favourite Circular Key establishment reopened its doors in 2022 after a three-year hiatus and we’re pleased to say the restaurant is back serving Authentic Mexican food for Sydneysiders. A part of the famous Sydney restaurant collective Rockpool Dining Group and Patrón brand, this restaurant and bar is one that strives for excellence with every dish.
Their dining experience has that Mexican flare where each fresh ingredient pays tribute to traditional and contemporary recipes; starting with a seafood driven entree menu with Scallop Ceviche, Tuna Ensalada and Octopus Huarache. House-pressed tortillas become hand-held tacos that are plump with light, flavour-packed fillings, including Soft Shell Crab, Chicken with Black Mole and Carnitas Eggplant, all paired with house-made sauces and salsas. Main dishes include Tajima Wagyu Rib Eye with Epazote Chimichurri and Aged Mango Mole; Lamb Shoulder Birria; and Lobster al Patrón, served with a creamy tequila sauce.
Address: 2 Phillip St, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Tues-Sat 12-3pm & 6-11pm, Sun 4-11pm
Phone: (02) 9189 1957
7. Cafe Sydney
Cafe Sydney has been a pillar of excellence for more than 20 years and understandably so. Often hailed as one of the best restaurants in Circular Quay, let alone the world, its impressive menu is filled with delicate meats and seafood, truly encapsulating the essence of Sydney, but we can’t discount their breathtaking views of the harbour. Located on the rooftop of Customs House, Cafe Sydney is iconic and quintessentially Australian.
Located in: Customs House
Address: Level 5 Customs House, 31 Alfred St, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Mon-Sat 12-10:30pm, Sun 12-4pm
Phone: (02) 9251 8683
8. Mode Kitchen & Bar
Mode Kitchen & Bar defines modern Australian dining, offering classics with a modern twist. Making a name for itself as one of Circular Key’s best restaurants by perfectly balancing business and casual diners with fine dining and bistro. Located in the atrium of the Four Seasons hotel, this venue has delicious, mind-blowing flavours and the friendliest staff. You’ll get transported back in time with their warm lighting, leather seats and mahogany tables. If you want something rich you can go for their signature 1kg T-Bone or if you want something light, their Duck Breast that’s dry-aged and roasted, with radicchio, pomegranate and soubise is a sure-fire winner. Everything you taste at Mode Kitchen and Bar is locally produced, their hand-crafted stoneware plates are made in Melbourne, and their signature cocktails plus beautiful desserts will make you want to never leave.
Address: Ground Floor, 199 George St, NSW 2000
Hours: Mon-Fri 6:30-10:30am & 12-3pm & 5:30-10pm, Sat-Sun 6:30-11am, 12-5pm, 5:30-10pm
Phone: (02) 9250 3160
9. Saké Restaurant
Saké restaurant is probably the best place to find contemporary Japanese cuisine in The Rocks. Each dish is made from fresh ingredients with a unique twist, and guests can enjoy an innovative culinary experience as the team combines modern Japanese flavours with classic ones in a quest to delight your tastebuds. Sake’s classic menu has everything you need, from their Himachi Kingfish with coriander infused ponzu or their raspberry jelly goma. Fall in love with each bite and drink all the saké you want with their long beverage list.
Address: 12 Argyle St, The Rocks NSW 2000
Hours: Tues-Weds 6-9pm, Thurs 12-3pm & 6-9pm, Fri-Sat 12-3pm & 5-10pm, Sun 12-3pm & 5-9pm
Phone: (02) 9259 5656
10. Pony Dining The Rocks
Pony Dining at The Rocks gives you locally sourced produce, beautiful meat and seafood dishes which you can down with Australian wine or their signature cocktails. Executive chef Neil Nolan’s passion for cooking is definitely translated in his dishes, where every meal is cooked to perfection. The brick walls and earthy tones set the scene as you enjoy small plates of delicious food. They even offer brunch, so that you can enjoy a fine-dining experience at any time.
Located in: The Rocks Centre
Address: Cnr Argyle Street and, Kendall Ln, The Rocks NSW 2000
Hours: Tues-Thurs 5:30-10pm, Fri-Sat 12-10:30pm, Sun 12-4pm
Phone: (02) 9252 7797
11. Altitude Restaurant
Located in the Shangri-La Hotel, this Circular Quay restaurant has arguably the best view of the city. ‘Dine in the sky’ is their motto and with a glass jewel private box you really will – it ‘floats’ 36 levels above the water, giving you views you’ve never seen before. Serving contemporary Australian cuisine, Altitude offers every meal from breakfast to dinner to high tea, paired with an excellent wine list. You can try their signature dishes, like the butter-poached WA marron with herbs with a sliced fennel salad or their pana cotta. If you are after one of the best restaurants in Circular Quay and aren’t opposed to a view, this recently two-hatted restaurant is for you.
Located in: Shangri-La Sydney
Address: 176 Cumberland St, The Rocks NSW 2000
Hours: Sun-Thurs 7-10:30am & 12-2pm & 6-10pm, Fri-Sat 7-11am & 12-2pm & 5:30–10pm
Phone: (02) 9250 6000
12. Mr. Wong
A part of the Merivale company, Mr. Wong offers modern Cantonese-style food which you will definitely come back for. One of the best restaurants in The Rocks, executive chef Dan Hong puts all his energy and passion into each one of their 80 dishes. Their intimate fine-dining experience is complemented by soft jazz and dimmed lights which will have you and your guests transported back to the 20s. Their crowd favourite is their BBQ Duck (a must-try) as well as their stir-fried garlic prawns.
Located in: Establishment Hotel
Address: 3 Bridge Ln, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Mon-Sun 12-3pm & 5:30-10pm
Phone: (02) 9114 7317
13. Kid Kyoto
Kid Kyoto is non-traditional in the best way, they serve up dishes that have native Australian ingredients paired with Japanese flavours that will have your tastebuds soaring. Downing this with one of their Japanese whiskeys or signature cocktails will make your night even better. This modern take on Japanese flavours is what brings Rhys Watson-Lamb’s cooking to the next level.
Address: 17-19 Bridge Street entry, Bridge Ln, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Tues-Sat 12-10pm
Phone: (02) 9241 1991
14. Opera Bar
A list of the best Circular Quay restaurants would not be complete without Opera Bar. One of the most memorable restaurants this is the perfect go-to before or after a show, or even just to enjoy the harbourside views, Opera Bar’s signature Sangria jugs and their extensive wine and beer lists will make for the perfect night out. The venue offers a range of meals from cheese plates, sit down dishes and desserts. Opera Bar is a must for any tourists or non-Sydneysider, the instagrammable views will make your followers green with envy, while you enjoy the run and sea salt breezes. If you’re looking for a restaurant during the annual Vivid festival, we recommend getting in early.
Located in: Sydney Opera House
Address: Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30am-11pm, Fri 11:30am-12:30am, Sat 11am-12:30pm, Sun 11am-11pm
Phone: (02) 8587 5900
A premium waterfront steak restaurant in one of Australia’s most picturesque locations, it doesn’t get much better than that. 6HEAD is one of those venues you simply can’t go past. With a focus on local produce and meat sourced from respected local purveyors, the Circular Quay restaurant has emerged as a favourite in Harbour City. Throw in the hand-selected wine list and an assortment of spectacular desserts and you’ve got a recipe for a good night out.
Address: Bay 10 & 11, Campbell’s Stores, 7-27 Circular Quay W, The Rocks NSW 2000
Hours: Wed-Sun 12-10pm
Phone: (02) 8629 8866
What's the easiest way of getting to Circular Quay?
Depending on where you are coming from determines the easiest way to get to Circular Quay. The most common way is via Central Station by catching a City Circle train to Circular Quay. You can also catch a train through Museum which also goes to Circular Quay.
What is the best restaurant in Circular Quay?
Quay Restaurant, Bennelong Restaurant and Bar, ARIA and Opera Bar just to name a few.
Are there any hatted restaurants in Circular Quay?
Yes, Quay Restaurant and ARIA.