PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Some restaurants spend years investing their time and energy to be part of the exclusive chef hat club, while others prefer to devote their resources in keeping their customers happy, such is the case at Sydney's Aqua Dining. The restaurant, which opened in 2000, is part of the AQUA Dining Group, owned by Bill Drakopoulos. As well as Aqua Dining, Drakopolous also owns the four restaurants that bare the "Ripples" moniker at striking waterside locations such as Milson's Point, Chowder Bay, Sydney Wharf and Whale Beach.
Aqua Dining offers 180-degree water views through floor-to-ceiling windows. Photos just don't do the vista at this restaurant justice. To one side, you can watch as fitness fanatics energetically swim lengths of North Sydney Olympic Swimming Pool. Or, for those who have forgotten to exercise that day and prefer to eat their meal and sip their wine guilt-free, guests can angle their seats out towards Sydney Harbour, where the Harbour Bridge and the iconic Sydney Opera House loom impressively overhead. Renovations by renowned architect Sidney Koh in 2011 have transformed the dining room into a fresh, uncluttered space with pearl white tables and chairs with natural beech framing. Drenched in natural light, with a relaxed and casual vibe, Aqua Dining combines everything that a waterside restaurant should.
Food is still the most important component in a meal out, of course, and Aqua Dining has that area covered, too. The 2011 renovations also instigated a new Italian-influenced menu under Executive chef Anthony Redondi. Before his time at Aqua Dining, Anthony was Head Chef at Trattoria La Vigna in Camden and prior to that, Executive Chef at the Stamford Hotel in Circular Quay. On the day we visited, Anthony had just returned from a two week trip to the United States where, together with Drakopolous, the duo explored new ideas for the restaurant and menu.
The effort that the Aqua team invests in ensuring that the restaurant stays at the cutting edge of the hospitality industry shows. From the $39 "White/Red Wine Flight" dining special to the restaurant's sleek aesthetic, all elements of the Aqua experience have been well researched and professionally implemented.