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The term 'fine dining' evokes all kinds of images. Some think of crisp white tablecloths, waiters in tuxedos, candlelight, good service, great wine, and exquisite food. Others think of teeny-tiny portions, pretentious ingredients like white truffle and caviar, and hungry tummies that require a stop at Macca's on the way home.
Whether you're a fan of fine dining or not, there's no denying that Sydney has plenty to offer in the way of it. So if you've got a Good Food Gift Card burning a hole in your pocket and you're hoping to use it on something special, you're in luck. Sydney has a great selection of fine dining restaurants to choose from – and these destinations will be sure to hit the spot whether you're salivating for fresh sashimi or craving a sensory Italian feast.
Since opening its doors in 2009, Ormeggio at the Spit has been a chef hatted restaurant. These days it has two chef hats in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and is one of Australia's most-loved Italian restaurants.
Ormeggio at the Spit is located at D'Albora Marinas in Mosman, a spectacular waterside setting. Executive Chef Alessandro Pavoni heads the kitchen, combining Italian tradition with modern techniques and a hunger to push the boundaries. Don't go there if you're craving spaghetti bolognese and tiramisu as Ormeggio's signatures are more about salted cod, wagyu beef and carrot and fennel seed gelato. The Ormeggio wine list reflects a well-rounded selection of local and international wines, and has three wine glasses in the prestigious Gourmet Traveller's WINE awards.
One of five iconic locations, Sake Restaurant & Bar Double Bay is one of Australia's best Japanese restaurants. A dynamic culinary experience, Sake brings Japanese culture to life through mouthwatering food creations like hiramasa kingfish with soy dressing and lime and jalapeno kosho. The venue has a distinctive flair that oozes style and sophistication, and with a range of dining options you can relax, entertain, or impress. The sushi counter allows you to interact with sushi masters, while the bespoke menu offers you the chance to taste a specifically crafted specialty made just for you. Sake's new open plan Japanese Robata grill adds another dynamic dimension to the scene.
One of Australia's most iconic destination restaurants, Catalina is designed to pay homage to the beauty of Sydney Harbour. Offering unobstructed water-level views, distracted only by the comings and goings of a working harbour, diners can enjoy a truly spectacular experience. Catalina's is inspired by the classics – French, Italian, Spanish and Mediterranean. Mains include Saikou Salmon with Quinoa, Confit Duck, and Roasted Suckling Pig. For dessert, diners can experience white chocolate semifreddo and coconut tapioca pudding with pineapple and papaya salad. Think fresh, exciting flavours complimented by a premium and award winning wine list.
Locations don't get more iconic than the Sydney Opera House, and with Australia's most iconic chef Peter Gilmore at the helm, Bennelong is the icing on the cake. Bennelong showcases the flavour, diversity, and quality of Australian produce in a spectacular setting. The Sydney Opera House and its extraordinary architecture is the perfect compliment to Peter's food philosophy, which is to bring the very best.
The food at Bennelong isn't overly complicated or technical and tricky – it's robust and direct, allowing the pure flavours of the ingredients to sing. The menu is crafted in partnership with the best farmers, breeders, and providores in the country, and changes with the seasons to reflect the best of Australian food.
Nour is built on a dream of presenting classic Lebanese flavours in a fresh and innovative way. If you think you know Lebanese food, you're in for a surprise. Falafels, baba ganoush and tahini only scratch the surface of what is a truly exciting cuisine.
At Nour, classic Lebanese flavours are playfully teased out to their full potential. Food and cocktails are bold and vibrant, yet familiar and comfortable. Treats from the garden include charcoal eggplant and wood-fired honey figs, and large plates of lamb shoulder, snapper and corn fed chicken excite. If you're a fan of cheesecake, you'll fall head over heels for the spiced pumpkin cheesecake with halva ice cream and honey pepitas. As for the decor, you'll be seduced by the pretty pastels, the tiles, the rose pink tubular chairs and marble and wooden-topped tables. It all just fits.
Restaurants don't get much more special and exclusive than Jonah's, located on the cliffs between the Pacific Ocean and Pittwater. Whale Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia, and serves as the perfect spot for Jonah's luxurious and multi-award winning dining room. Think 180-degree views, impeccable service, and contemporary Australian cuisine with a strong emphasis on seafood.
For a wine lover, Jonah's gets even better – housing more than 1600 wines from around the world in its cellar. Jonah's carries a three glass rating in the Gourmet Traveller Wine Awards and a three-star rating in The World's Best Wine List. It's been voted Best Wine List NSW the last two consecutive years.
Jonah's is more than just lunch or dinner – it's a coastal experience like no other.
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar is just as famous as the beach in which it sits these days and people flock from all over Sydney to go there. Its ever-evolving menu guarantees excitement every time and focuses on regional Italian cuisine and seasonal flavours. The intimate and elegant dining room takes in views of the world's most famous beach and by day or night it's spectacular. Director Maurice Terzini and his lifelong passion for Italian hospitality makes Icebergs a restaurant every Sydney visitor or resident should try.
Voted the Good Food Guide's RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR, three-hatted The Bridge Room is the place to be in 2017. Highly acclaimed Ross Lusted's baby, he was involved in every part of the concept and development of The Bridge Room, from the kitchen design and architectural specifications to the custom made ceramics. Sunny Lusted is the General Manager, and with more than 20 years in the luxury hotel and resort business, you can imagine that together the Lusted's make a formidable team.
Lusted's menu continuously evolves and is influenced by his travels throughout Asia and Europe. Many dishes are prepared over binchotan charcoal and slow smoked in the Japanese Robata style. Whether you opt for lunch, dinner or the pre-theatre special, you're in for a treat should you spend your Good Food Gift Card here.
With sweeping views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, three-hatted Quay is one of Sydney's best location restaurants and one of the country's most awarded and celebrated. Executive Chef Peter Gilmore is at the helm, steering diners through course after course of exquisite food that explores harmonies of flavours and contrasts in textures. The menu is a continually evolving repertoire; some classics, some reworking of old favourites, and new dishes for each season. Choose between lunch, dinner or a tasting menu (available at certain times only) and be sure to finish with Peter's Snow Egg, his signature dish.
Otto's Executive Chef, Richard Ptacnik's ethos is unashamedly simple and focuses on his classic Italian roots, but don't let this fool you. Otto Ristorante reinvents the flavours of Italy in stylish new forms and you've never really tried gnocchi, spaghetti, and risotto until you've tasted it at Otto.
Otto Ristorante is located on Cowper Wharf, Wooloomooloo and is renowned for its ambience and style. Ask any local where to eat Italian and they'll point you in the direction of Otto's. It's modern, friendly, and oh so tasty.
Sydney is full of consistent performers of good food, so slip your fine dining hat on today and spend that Good Food Gift Card. It sure beats cooking at home!