Pasta meal.
Pasta meal.
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Cafe Paci

Sydney

The Best Casual Restaurants in Sydney

The best choices in Sydney for an easy-going lunch or dinner.

Updated on Feb 14, 2024 | World of Mouth team

Sydney's casual dining scene blends together top-quality food with laid-back charm. In this guide, we introduce the best casual restaurants in Sydney, where the commitment to an excellent, affordable meal makes them perfect for any occasion. All spots here are based on the personal recommendations from top chefs and food writers like Pat Nourse, Lennox Hastie and Palisa Anderson. From shared plates and wine at Cafe Paci to the delicious wood fired cooking at Ester, find these and other hidden gems below.

Cafe Paci

131 King St

131 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

With a relaxed atmosphere and a menu that blends traditional and innovative cuisine, Cafe Paci is a place where you can enjoy shared plates and wine at the bar, or savor aged steaks and fantastic seafood at a table. The restaurant, run by acclaimed chef Pasi Petanen, offers an interesting selection of dishes and a wine list focusing on biodynamic and natural wines. Not only is the food and drink top-notch, but the service is attentive yet casual, making for a truly enjoyable dining experience.

Recommended by

The mighty Finn. Lovely restaurant in Newtown with superb cooking by chef Pasi Petanen. A place to drop in to the bar and have shared plates and wine, or a table full with aged steaks and fantastic seafood.
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Cafe Paci

Cafe Paci

131 King St

131 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Ester Restaurant

46-52 Meagher St

46-52 Meagher St, Chippendale NSW 2008, Australia

With a focus on ingredient-driven cuisine, Ester Restaurant offers a unique dining experience featuring wood-fired dishes. The menu highlights include the salt-baked crab and the potato bread, which are both popular among visitors. The restaurant also has a curated selection of natural wines to complement their modern Australian food.

Recommended by

Sunday lunch Cracking meal, Matt and team cooking delicious wood fired, ingredient focused. Casual service with personality.
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Ester Restaurant

Ester Restaurant

46-52 Meagher St

46-52 Meagher St, Chippendale NSW 2008, Australia

Bar Vincent

174 Liverpool St

174 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia

This cozy bistro, Bar Vincent, offers a shared dining experience with a menu that frequently changes to reflect the seasons. The restaurant is known for its simple but beautifully prepared Italian dishes and its selection of natural and minimal wines. Whether you're looking for a place to dine in a small or large group, you can always expect a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Recommended by

Simple but beautiful Italian neighbourhood restaurant. I love Bar Vincent it’s a no fuss simple Italian restaurant that always delivers the most delicious food! Always a great vibe, good for smaller or larger tables the friendliest restaurant in Sydney.
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Bar Vincent

Bar Vincent

174 Liverpool St

174 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia

Firedoor Restaurant

23/33 Mary St

23/33 Mary St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

With a unique approach to cooking, Firedoor Restaurant offers an amazing dining experience powered solely by wood fire. The open kitchen, equipped with two wood-fired ovens, three grills and a wood-burning hearth, allows guests to watch the culinary action unfold. The menu changes daily, featuring the finest seasonal produce and dishes cooked to order, such as the standout 139-day dry-aged grass-fed rib of beef and live marron with sunrise lime & sea blite.

Recommended by

Amazing dining experience Jumped into firedoor with a good mate and absolutely crushed the tasting menu . Amazing flavours and produce , attention to details is second to nun.
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Firedoor Restaurant

Firedoor Restaurant

23/33 Mary St

23/33 Mary St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

Bar Copains

67 Albion St

67 Albion St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

With an impressive selection of Australia's finest wines, Bar Copains offers a thoughtful and delicious food menu in a superbly vibey setting. The spot is known for its wine-friendly salumi, chicken liver parfait, and whippy cod's rose with potato crisps, all served in a natural, textural, and moody atmosphere. In addition to their wine and food, the bar also hosts various events, making it a dynamic and engaging place to visit.

Recommended by

A wine bar with care. A wonderful local wine bar that has some of Australia’s best wine selections. Food that is thoughtful and delicious. Super hosts and superb vibe.
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Bar Copains

Bar Copains

67 Albion St

67 Albion St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

Mr. Wong

3 Bridge Ln

3 Bridge Ln, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Mr. Wong is a Chinese-style diner that offers an extensive selection of up to 80 Cantonese dishes. The restaurant is known for its exquisite dim sum, pipis in XO sauce, and roast duck, which are often enjoyed during all-in dinner experiences at large round tables. The setting is large and lively, and the service is notable, complemented by an extensive wine list and an excellent bar.

Recommended by

Dumplings and duck and pipis, oh my! An all-in dinner shared with family and friends at one of the big round tables, complete with a lazy susan, immediately makes any 23 hour journey home worth the effort. The largely Cantonese menu is up to 80 dishes strong, deeming selection a precarious process. However, the dim sum is exquisite, the pipis in XO sauce can give Golden Century a run for their money and it's hard to go wrong with the roast duck. A larger than life setting, food that hits all the right notes more often than not and service you wouldn't usually associate with a Chinese-style diner. The extensive wine list and excellent bar are an added bonus.
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Mr. Wong

Mr. Wong

3 Bridge Ln

3 Bridge Ln, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Poly

74-76 Commonwealth St

74-76 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

This restaurant and wine bar, Poly, offers a unique dining experience with a kitchen powered by fire. Known for its clever and delicious dishes, it serves a variety of food, including subtly-infused 'bloodcake' and bold scarlet prawns with prawn salt, reflecting the influence of Australia's southeast Asian immigrants. Poly's wine list is a compilation of remarkable wines produced by passionate winemakers, driven by organic and biodynamic principles.

Recommended by

My favourite go-to with family or friends for a casual dinner. Sister to Ester, Poly is clever, delicious and precisely what I love to eat with friendly staff who know the fab wine list well.
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Poly

Poly

74-76 Commonwealth St

74-76 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

Continental Deli Bar Bistro

210 Australia St

210 Australia St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Continental Deli Bar Bistro offers a casual and intimate dining experience with a large selection of wines. The menu includes a variety of flavorful and balanced small plates, with a standout dessert option being the 'Flan in a Can', a unique and fun treat prepared on-site. In addition to dining in, the bistro also provides an array of tinned fish available for purchase to enjoy at home.

Recommended by

Casual, intimate bistro with small plates and a large wine list Every dish was super flavorful and balanced. My favorite part of the meal was dessert; they offer a Flan in a Can, which they make on site. They open the can and press the flan custard out, letting rhe caramel spill over the sides and onto the plate. Very clever and fun. You can purchase a wide selection of tinned fish to take home as well.
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Continental Deli Bar Bistro

Continental Deli Bar Bistro

210 Australia St

210 Australia St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Ho Jiak Town Hall

125 York St

125 York St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Offering an intelligent modern take on authentic Malaysian cuisine, Ho Jiak Town Hall is a place where you can enjoy the delightful flavors of dishes like nasi lemak, curry laksa, chicken satay, chilli crab, and wagyu beef rendang. Chef and co-owner Junda Khoo brings his inspired touch to these dishes, ensuring a memorable dining experience. The restaurant's top recommendation is the laksa dumplings, a unique fusion that's worth trying.

Recommended by

Intelligent modern take on real down-home Malaysian With its mound of fragrant coconut rice, crisp anchovies, peanuts, spicy sambal and chicken curry, the nasi lemak here is like having the buffet all to yourself (the only way to have a buffet these days). Chef and co-owner Junda Khoo brings his own inspired take to all the Malaysian dishes we’ve been missing, from curry laksa and chicken satay to chilli crab and wagyu beef rendang. Best dish: laksa dumplings.
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Ho Jiak Town Hall

Ho Jiak Town Hall

125 York St

125 York St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Lana

Level 1/5-7 Young St

Level 1/5-7 Young St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Lana offers a unique blend of modern Italian dining with Asian flavours, using the finest Australian produce. The restaurant is located in the historic Hinchcliff House near Circular Quay, providing an effortless and comfortable dining experience. The menu offers a range of options, including a 2 or 3 course set menu and an express lunch, with accommodations for common dietary requirements.

Recommended by

A house that has it all. A classy restaurant with fun at its core, Steve Seckold’s bringing his years of experience in creating a restaurant with care and commitment suitable for all types of occasions. Don’t forget to have a drink in the cocktail bar downstairs pre or post dinner.
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Lana

Lana

Level 1/5-7 Young St

Level 1/5-7 Young St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Lankan Filling Station

Ground Floor/58 Riley St

Ground Floor/58 Riley St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia

This restaurant is known for its vibrantly spicy food, meticulously prepared by the skilled O’Tama Carey. It's a place where you could find yourself wanting to eat every day of the week. The restaurant also offers a range of services including dine-in, takeaway, and gift cards, ensuring a convenient and enjoyable experience for all customers.

Recommended by

Deliciously spicy food cooked by the talented O’Tama Carey. Deliciously spicy food cooked by talented, talented O’Tama Carey. Could eat here at the Lankan Filling Station every day of the week.
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Lankan Filling Station

Lankan Filling Station

Ground Floor/58 Riley St

Ground Floor/58 Riley St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia

pina Potts Point

4/29 Orwell St

4/29 Orwell St, Potts Point NSW 2011, Australia

This eatery offers a classic Australian café experience, with a menu featuring smashed avos, scrambled eggs, flat whites, and more. The food selection is diverse, with options like the bunless chicken sandwich, sourdough pancakes, and an array of salads and sandwiches. The café is situated in a lovely part of town, ideal for people-watching and leisurely strolls.

Recommended by

Classic Australian Breakfast. A classic Australian cafe to get your smashed avos, scrambled eggs and flat whites. In a lovely part of town to people watch and stroll the streets.
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pina Potts Point

pina Potts Point

4/29 Orwell St

4/29 Orwell St, Potts Point NSW 2011, Australia

Ragazzi

1 Angel Pl

1 Angel Pl, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

This modest-sized spot boasts big flavors, with the staff being well-informed and capable. The drinks list is comprehensive, offering a wide range of options for every taste. Known for its exceptional pasta, it is currently considered one of the best in Australia.

Recommended by

Small place, massive flavours. The front of house is smooth and knowledgeable, excellent drinks list. The food is fucking insanely good. Seriously. Best pasta in Australia right now, hands down, see ya later.
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Ragazzi

Ragazzi

1 Angel Pl

1 Angel Pl, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Re -

Shop 8/2 Locomotive St

Shop 8/2 Locomotive St, Eveleigh NSW 2015, Australia

This restaurant, known as Re -, is focused on sustainability, making use of recycled materials and waste products. The establishment prides itself on its innovative approach to recycling, with the interior featuring materials recycled from 84,000 milk bottles and lamp shades made from discarded mushroom casts. The food and drinks menu is just as inventive, incorporating waste products from the local community, such as cake trim, tasting wines, and fruit and vegetable scraps.

Recommended by

Clever Drinks in a Clever Space with an important message. Matt Whiley has always been known gor World Class cocktails. Coming to fame with Scout London then Scout Sydney, Whiley has now woven an important and inspiring message into the day to day of a new world bar. Re is all about re using and re cycling in the name of a better world. The whole place is clad with a material which recycled 84’000 milk bottles. The lamp shades from discarded mushroom casts… it doesn't stop there tho… the cocktails also masterfully utilises waste products from the community around it. Cake trim, tasting wines, fruit and vegetable scraps all find a home on this truly ingenuitive menu via the Re lab aka distillery. The food is as creative and delicious as the drinks, this place should be on your list for Sydney, just like its on the Worlds 50 best bar list!
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Re -

Re -

Shop 8/2 Locomotive St

Shop 8/2 Locomotive St, Eveleigh NSW 2015, Australia

Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney

481 Crown St

481 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney is a unique social enterprise that serves free, nourishing three-course lunches to those in need, created by chefs and volunteer staff. The restaurant, part of a global initiative founded by Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore, also offers the public an opportunity to experience the same vegetarian dinner on certain occasions. The restaurant's philosophy is centered around zero waste, transforming rescued ingredients into gourmet vegetarian meals, reflecting its commitment to fighting food waste.

Recommended by

This is a restaurant for those who cannot even dream of looking up a special place to dine on World of Mouth. Restaurants are meant to restore, to feed, to nurture. Refettorio OzHarvest is a very special social enterprise in Sydney (part of a wider global group founded by Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore) that charges its diners nothing. Chefs and volunteer staff create nourishing three-course lunches - and a lot of cappuccinos - for those in need. And at regular intervals the paying public can book for dinner and eat the same vegetarian dinner as they do. And it's delicious! Put your money where their mouths are, and help spread the joy of hospitality.
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Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney

Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney

481 Crown St

481 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

Sang by Mabasa

98 Fitzroy St

98 Fitzroy St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

This cozy, family-run Korean spot, Sang by Mabasa, is all about authenticity, flavor, and technique. The dining room is small and homely, setting the stage for a meal that's delicate, refined, and deeply nourishing. The team, led by Kenny Yong Soo Son and his partner Youmee Jeon, with his parents Jin Sun Son and Seung Kee Son in the kitchen, focuses on presenting authentic Korean flavors in a contemporary style.

Recommended by

A small and homely, family run Korean spot where authenticity, flavour and technique are the driving force. From the moment you arrive the anticipation and excitement builds as you may wait or are taken straight to your table in the small considered and homely dining room. A thoughtful and considered non-alcohol drink lists sets the tone - acidic, sweet, sharp and balanced with creative touches. Then the food arrives, it’s delicate, refined, artful and just so nourishing, flavourful and comforting that you can’t stop eating it. Your eyes widen with excitement as every dish is dropped on the table and your palate expands with such depth from the food. With Kenny Yong Soo Son and his partner Youmee Jeon working the floor and his parents Jin Sun Son and Seung Kee Son cooking, Sáng by Mabasa is a place that has you planning your next visit as you’re walking out the door.
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Sang by Mabasa

Sang by Mabasa

98 Fitzroy St

98 Fitzroy St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

Sean's

270 Campbell Parade

270 Campbell Parade, North Bondi NSW 2026, Australia

With a location right on Bondi Beach, Sean's offers comforting home-style food with a modern twist. The restaurant is a small, intimate space, with eclectic art and shell decorations, and some tables offer ocean views. The menu changes daily, focusing on the freshest local, ethical seafood, poultry, and livestock available, and is served as a three-course meal with two options for each course.

Recommended by

A Sydney institution, not many better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon with friends . Plus you can BYO.
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Sean's

Sean's

270 Campbell Parade

270 Campbell Parade, North Bondi NSW 2026, Australia

XOPP by Golden Century (金唐XOPP)

Level M, Shop 31/1 Little Pier St

Level M, Shop 31/1 Little Pier St, Haymarket NSW 2000, Australia

Offering a fresh take on Cantonese cuisine, XOPP by Golden Century is a new addition to the dining scene. The restaurant is known for its signature dish, XO Pippies, and other standout items include the har gau, siu mai, and crisp-skin chicken. With a dining and bar area, it caters to a variety of dining experiences, from casual lunches to dinner gatherings.

Recommended by

The newest chapter in the Golden Century restaurant story, XOPP turns out to be a fantastic new addition to the Sydney dining scene, and serves a very tasty take on Cantonese food. The har gau and siu mai are ace, as is the crisp-skin chicken. The namesake pippies, meanwhile, are fantastic, the vermicelli/clam/sauce ratio bang on. I’ll be back.
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XOPP by Golden Century (金唐XOPP)

XOPP by Golden Century (金唐XOPP)

Level M, Shop 31/1 Little Pier St

Level M, Shop 31/1 Little Pier St, Haymarket NSW 2000, Australia

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