Here at Quisine, we believe Sydney’s restaurant scene can match the ones found in the culinary capitals of the world. Thanks to a number of world-class chefs and high levels of creative hospitality, we think the city can hold its own when compared to the likes of New York, Paris and Tokyo.
No group of restaurants showcase this world-class quality more than the hatted restaurants of Sydney. The prestigious “hats” are awarded by the Good Food Guide, Australia’s leading restaurant guide first established in 1979.
Despite the Michelin Guide covering nearby Singapore, it has never established itself in Australia. The Good Food Guide is thus Australia’s equivalent, following a similar three-tier scoring system that results in the awarding of Chef’s Hats, and not Michelin Stars.
Eagerly anticipated by restaurateurs across Australia, the 39th edition of the Good Food Guide was released in October 2018. The panel of critics visited more than 500 restaurants throughout the country to create the 2019 guide, and it’s safe to say that the full list of restaurants all underwent a rigorous review process.
Staying true to form, Sydney’s dining scene was an inspiration. There were 3 three-hatted restaurants, 25 two-hatted restaurants and 50 one-hatted restaurants in the guide. The culinary rivalry with Melbourne’s hatted restaurants, meanwhile, was electric as always. The Victorian capital narrowly beat Sydney in the one-hat category, earning 51. However, Melbourne trailed in the other two categories with only 14 two-hat and 2 three-hat restaurants.
To celebrate the many hatted restaurants Sydney has to offer, we want to recognise Quandoo’s best restaurants that earned the sought-after accolade. We’re proud to list some of the top restaurants in Sydney in this article.
Ormeggio at The Spit
Ormeggio at The Spit is one of Sydney’s all-time leading restaurants, both for its stunning waterside location and its contemporary Italian cuisine. Whether you choose to dine for lunch or dinner, be prepared for a memorable meal to savour.
Located at D’Albora Marina, Ormeggio has been a hatted restaurant ever since it opened back in 2009. It continues to proudly hold that accolade in 2019, with two Chef’s Hats and an ability to continually impress the critics of the Good Food Guide (see here for one of their detailed reviews).
The menus at Ormeggio take a fine dining yet inventive approach to Italian food. It’s clear that executive chef Alessandro Pavoni and head chef Victor Moya have the ability to playfully showcase originality, all while still respecting the simplicity of Italian traditions.
The combination of Pavoni and Moya results in high-quality Australian ingredients being creatively used in Italian recipes. This can be seen in dishes like Piedmonte-inspired kangaroo battuta, or Roman-style carbonara with seafood instead of the traditional cured pork.
Ormeggio’s set and à la carte menus show strength in their seafood dishes, especially. Whether it’s fresh red scarlet prawns with finger lime or cuttlefish risotto in squid ink, the dishes are culinary gems. Beyond the food, the wine list is curated by an expert sommelier and features a wealth of different Italian grape varieties.
As for Ormeggio at The Spit’s legendary waterside location… What can one say? It’s dazzling at all hours of the day. Visitors can wine and dine right on the jetty, taking in the beautiful Sydney harbour view. It’s fair to say, sunset dinners at Ormeggio come highly recommended.
L’esperienza Degustation: $159 (6 courses) or $189 (8 courses)
– Vegetarian degustation also available
– Wine matching from $85 to $170
À la carte: $85-95 (2 courses) or $105-115 (3 courses)
Open Wednesday to Sunday
Lunch: from 11:45am
Dinner: from 5:45pm (from 6:30pm on Sundays)
d’Albora Marinas the Spit, Spit Road, Mosman, Sydney 2088
If Ormeggio at The Spit was the distinguished older sibling, Sotto Sopra would be the playful younger brother. Despite Sotto Sopra being from the same restaurant family as Ormeggio, this Newport restaurant has firmly established itself as an original dining concept on Sydney’s restaurant scene. Since opening in 2017, it has quickly caught the attention of the Good Food Guide.
Compared to the fine dining style of Ormeggio, Sotto Sopra is instead dedicated to the more casual and informal style of Italian trattorias. When you eat at Sotto Sopra, the warm service and friendly hospitality radiates from within their modern, well-lit dining room inside The Palms.
Led by Italian head chef Mattia Rossi, Sotto Sopra offers a seasonal menu which is designed to be shared in a traditional Italian way. The produce-driven dishes are flavoursome and hearty, blissfully showcasing Italian cuisine in its most pure and simplistic form.
Their wood-fire oven, imported from Italy, is central to Sotto Sopra’s cooking style. Because of this you can taste deep caramelised flavours throughout the menu in wood-fired dishes like prosciutto and rosemary flatbread, polenta beef pie, eggplant melanzane, black Angus rump or the seasonal tart for dessert.
Dining at Sotto Sopra is all about sharing a feast. This relaxed, family-friendly restaurant hopes to bring people together around one table. For that reason, customers can enjoy one another’s company and indulge in mouth-watering food and drink, just like the Italians do.
Although fully licensed (with a superb drinks list of Italian aperitifs and wine), Sotto Sopra also offers BYO wine. And better yet, like a growing number of vegan-friendly restaurants in Sydney, they also provide vegan and vegetarian menus.
Banquet: $69.50 per person (10 sharing dishes for the whole table)
À la carte: primi dishes $19, secondi dishes $36.50
– Vegan and vegetarian menus available
Open Wednesday to Sunday
Lunch: from 12pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Dinner: from 5pm
316-324 Barrenjoey Road, G04 The Palms, Newport, Sydney 2106
More Italian-style trattorias in Sydney
If you’re after more casual dining from the Ormeggio restaurant group, Via Alta and Chiosco by Ormeggio are also quality options. Both are beloved BYO restaurants in Sydney and offer Italian-style feasts inspired by the welcoming trattorias of Italy.
In contrast to Ormeggio and Sotto Sopra, Via Alta focuses on cuisine from the north of Italy and is located in North Willoughby. Chiosco, meanwhile, is situated right on the water at The Spit in Mosman. To complement their location, Chiosco’s menu therefore concentrates on seafood and reflects Italian cuisine from seaside areas like Sicily and Venice.
Another gem we would like to mention is Baccomatto Osteria in Surry Hills. This local favourite lost their hat in the 2019 guide, but was included in 2018 and previous years for good reason. It also featured as one of Quandoo’s Top Restaurants in Australia for 2018.
Their rustic food follows simple recipes and features high-quality Italian ingredients, consequently resulting in humble and delicious fare. Above all we love their handmade pasta, indulgent formaggi and spuntini starters – all perfect for enjoying alongside their stellar wine list.
Hatted Restaurants in Sydney
THE FULL LIST
Momofuku Seiobo, Quay, Sixpenny
Aria, Automata, Bennelong, Bentley Restaurant and Bar, Bert’s Bar and Brasserie, The Bridge Room, Cirrus, Ester Restaurant, Est., Firedoor, Fred’s, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Lucio’s, LuMi Dining, Monopole, Mr Wong, Ormeggio at The Spit, Oscillate Wildly, Pilu at Freshwater, Porteno, Restaurant Hubert, Rockpool Bar and Grill, Saint Peter, Tetsuya’s, Yellow
10 William St, A1 Canteen, Acme, The Apollo, Bacco Osteria, The Bathers’ Pavilion, Billy Kwong, Bistro Guillaume, Ble Restaurant, The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay, Bodega, Buon Ricordo, Catalina, Chin Chin, China Doll, Cho Cho San, Continental Deli Bar Bistro, Cottage Point Inn, The Dolphin Hotel, Felix, Fratelli Paradiso, The Gantry, Glass Brasserie, Hartsyard, Hotel Centennial, Izakaya Fujiyama, Jonah’s, Kepos and Co, Kepos Street Kitchen, Lankan Filling Station, LP’s Quality Meats, Nomad, Otto Ristorante, Paper Bird, Poly, Queen Chow, The Restaurant Pendolino, Rising Sun Workshop, Rosetta Ristorante, Sagra, Sake Restaurant and Bar (Double Bay), Sean’s Panaroma, Sokyo, Sotto Sopra, Spice Temple, Stanbuli, Sushi e, Three Blue Ducks (Bronte), Uccello, Yan