Once the late-night last-resort option for weary travellers, Sydney’s hotel restaurants are now dining destinations in their own right, with some of our top chefs leading the charge. We love that if you’re too full to go home, you can simply check in, or if you’ve already eaten your way through your weekly wage, just lounge in the lobby and imagine you’re a guest at these luxurious establishments.
Not only is this the best hotel restaurant in Sydney, it’s one of the best restaurants in Sydney, period. In a city obsessed with ‘who’s new’, Glass, under the direction of Chef Luke Mangan, is proof that not all the action is at new establishments. Mangan refuses to rest on his laurels, offering an ever-changing menu that sings of seasonality and a focus on premium Australian ingredients. Plus, there’s a wine list that boasts over 1,000 drops, which are displayed in an impressive glass column at the centre of the restaurant. A visit to Glass is not just about eating and drinking. This is dining in style.
The best fine dining establishments understand that the experience is not just about what’s on the plate; it should really come with a view. And views don’t get much better than the 36th floor of the Shangri La, which overlooks Sydney's iconic attractions, including the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Altitude is all about reaching culinary heights, too, so the menu’s as impressive as the view.
The latest hotel restaurant to hit Sydney, Stockroom takes up residence on level one of the glamorous InterContinental Double Bay. Under the helm of executive chef Julien Pouteau, Stockroom’s dining philosophy pays homage to Double Bay’s farming legacy, way back when the bay was a popular haven for fisherman and farmers. Gin lover? Stop by the Stillery (next door) for a Two Sips and It’s Gone (I’m giving no clues - you’ll have to drop in to find out what it is yourself).
The Dining Room displays all the glitter and clout one would expect from the Park Hyatt. The open plan dining room faces the Sydney Opera House, where guests are offered uninterrupted views of the harbour through floor to ceiling windows. Treat yourself to a private dining experience at the Chef's Table.
Housed within the breathtaking 19th century building that is the InterContinental, Café Opera takes buffet dining to another level with live cooking stations and theatrical dessert displays. Not a fan of self-serve dining? Sample the delights of the restaurant's French-inspired à la carte menu.
From Chef Stefano Manfredi, Balla is a swanky restaurant that prides itself on delivering authentic Italian food. Start with a drink at the aperitivi bar before retreating to the dining room for a bowl of lobster tagliatelle with capers and oregano or a traditional 800g Florentine T-bone. Roast rosemary potatoes are a must.
Mark Best, of Marque (Surry Hills) and Pei Modern (Melbourne), is at the helm of the Four Seasons’ restaurant, Pei Modern Sydney. With 180 seats, the dark and moody space can seem somewhat vacant, that is, until food hits the table. Rustic dishes such as the Milly Hill lamb shoulder and O’Connor T-bone steak seem a far-cry from the foams and mousses of Marque, but don’t be deceived by their apparent simplicity, these are technique-driven dishes, certainly worth your while.
Start with a biscuit-infused vodka cocktail before being swept inside to Sokyo’s sushi bar, where you can watch the chefs flaunt their skills. If skewers of charred kurobuta pork belly, flakes of caramelised miso cod and hay smoked bonito don’t whet your appetite, we’re not sure what will. Chase Kojima is one of Sydney’s top chefs and he makes this one of the city’s must-visit Japanese dining destinations.
Kent Street Kitchen sounds like a casual neighbourhood eatery but we’d advise you to don your Sunday best if you want to pop in - you’re in for a very European fine dining experience. Recently refurbished as part of a $30 million hotel makeover, the lavish dining room plates up fancy fare that is artfully constructed and fortunately, don’t disappoint in the taste stakes, either.
Nestled in the lavish surrounds of QT Sydney, Gowings Bar & Grill is a European brassiere, with an edgy, contemporary aesthetic. The restaurant focuses on wood-fired rotisserie cooking techniques, and offers a specially curated wine program featuring exciting young winemakers.