Restaurants

Slim’s Quality Burger Sydney

Restaurant

Serving up burgers under $10 and freshly churned thickshakes, this burger joint’s neon signs and sky-blue tiles are a vibrant ode to ’50s American diners.

Ragazzi

Restaurant

A sexy wine bar from the team behind Love, Tilly Devine, where the pasta menu changes almost daily and comes supplied by its retail sibling, Fabbrica a few blocks away. You might order cavatelli with pippies and house-made pork sausage one day, and goat ragu mafaldine the next.

Alpha

Restaurant

Following a stunning makeover, this beloved Greek restaurant reopened in 2021. A handful of old favourites remain on the menu, but everything else – from the sprawling open kitchen to the roaring woodfire oven – is brand new.

Seta

Restaurant

An ambitious, opulent multi-part Italian restaurant and bar inside Australia's first bank – with an executive chef who ran a Michelin-starred Italian restaurant. Take a seat in the main dining room, crudo bar or chef's table. There's Venetian-style bite-size snacks, 30 varieties of raw seafood and a three-metre-high wine fridge.

Book a Table

Shell House Dining

Restaurant

This art deco drinks-and-dining complex has three seductive bars, but the heart and soul of the building is the spectacular ninth-floor restaurant. Take your time with a lengthy menu of seafood, pasta and protein-heavy mains, and a wine list highlighting French classics and new world naturals.

Restaurant Leo

Restaurant

The laneway CBD eatery is plating up veal saltimbocca, tiramisu and lobster maccheroncini (with shaved truffles if you want it).

Cafes

Banksia Bakehouse

Cafe

A one-stop shop for celebration cakes, savoury lunch-time pastries and croissants made with a recipe that took 15 months to perfect. From the street, you can watch the team prepare all of the above inside the glass-encased kitchen.

Dopa Donburi and Milk Bar

Cafe

A former Zumbo pastry chef is behind the elaborate desserts at this Japanese cafe and milk bar by the Devon team. It’s one of the few places in Sydney you’ll find popular Japanese date-night dessert, Kakigori, along with cheeseburger-inspired rice bowls, curries and more.

Joe Black X

Cafe

Hidden behind the heritage-listed Louis Vuitton building, this tiny espresso bar has no seats – just good coffee, pastries and ready-made paninis for a quick getaway.

Cabrito Coffee Traders

Cafe

A coffee nook that rejuvenates Sydney's laneways.

Sammy Junior

Cafe

This is the younger sibling of Maybe Sammy (arguably Sydney’s most acclaimed cocktail bar). It’s an all-day cafe and bar, where you can have cocktails at 10am and coffee ‘till 10pm. Come for half-serve cocktails on tap, strong coffee and a tight menu of versatile snacks.

Cross Eatery

Cafe

Proof that CBD cafes don't need to be cramped.

Bars

Library Bar

Bar

To find this open-air oasis above the State Library's historic Mitchell Building, make your way through a grungy corridor and up a goods lift. You'll be met by a handsome bar serving cocktails and sublime views of the Domain and Sydney Harbour.

Clocktower Bar

Bar

A timelessly beautiful bar set within a hollowed-out 400-tonne clocktower atop Shell House. Ascend for high-end yet relaxed service, plenty of whisky and fresh, crushable cocktails. Also, snacks befitting the space's old-world glamour: caviar, freshly shucked oysters and truffle toasties.

Menzies Bar

Bar

The first of three stunning venues to arrive at the refurbished Shell House building. This one draws inspiration from the grand eateries of Europe, in the form of a daily Martini hour, lobster rolls, and a 2am licence.

Sky Bar

Bar

With views across the city and an open-air terrace, Shell House’s spectacular rooftop bar evokes Mad Men crossed with a ’30s Milanese speakeasy. Lofty snacks, well-named drinks and inimitable style make this a CBD bar like no other.

About Time

Bar

Nostalgia for the ‘90s and classic Australian fuel this CBD pop-up by a Sydney hospo dream team. Think Frosty Fruit-inspired slushies, roast-dinner rolls and the king of ‘90s desserts, the Vienetta.

Old Mate's Place

Bar

Locate the discrete ground-level entrance, then climb four levels of steep, narrow stairs to reach this hidden rooftop. It’s completely worth it – you'll be rewarded with a killer cocktail bar set against a backdrop of towering CBD highrises.

Shops

Wholegreen Bakery

Shop

People with coeliac disease and those who have to avoid gluten, rejoice. You can get it all here: gourmet pies, sausage rolls, sandwiches, pasta, loaves, chocolate eclairs and croissants.

Books Kinokuniya

Shop

Sydney’s art-lovers, design geeks, illustrators and photography buffs practically live in Books Kinokuniya. Its range of niche titles is unparalleled – and that’s not to mention the incredible manga and comic book selection. As far as Sydney’s best book shops go, this one is vying for best-in-show.

Fabbrica

Shop

A deli, wine store and by-the-gram pasta shop from the Ragazzi team. You can also take a seat inside for a quick aperitif and sandwich.

Mecca Cosmetica The Strand

Shop

The Mecca Cosmetica flagship store is a personalised oasis.

Abbey’s Bookshop

Shop

If you’re going past the Queen Victoria Building, this longstanding independent is worth a visit. It stocks a wealth of Australian crime fiction, and if it’s true crime you’re after, history is another speciality.

Growing Friends

Shop

The Royal Botanic Garden is huge, so you can be forgiven if you’ve never noticed this small retail nursery set on the eastern boundary, near Woolloomooloo. Outdoor plant seedlings are the thing here – more so than full-grown specimens, anyway – with prices starting from as little as $5. The stock is largely propagated from the RBG’s own collection and those of its counterparts in Mount Annan and the Blue Mountains. That means rare and exotic flowers, shrubs and creepers often pop up for sale, alongside a steadier supply of natives.