Alfresco is the way forward, Sydney.
I’m surprised that we’re only now seeing a push towards alfresco dining, to be honest. I’ve always thought that Sydney, such a city graced with beautiful weather most of the year, would benefit from more outdoor dining options and not just restrict it to those locals with the space to provide it themselves. (Featured image: glass_island)
Then again, I also didn’t think Sydney would go through with the lockout laws like it did. But all of this is changing now, and Sydney is now embracing the night and on its way to transforming itself into a truly global city on par with, say NYC, which is also looking to Europe for alfresco dining inspiration.
With the City of Sydney and the NSW Government launching its twelve-month pilot programme for alfresco dining in the CBD and The Rocks districts, here’s our pick of restaurants taking over terraces, laneways, and any outdoor space we let them as well as some others that are just great outdoor eateries.
1. Bodhi, Sydney
Bodhi is a vegan restaurant but any discerning food lover, especially those with a bent for dim sum, needs to make a visit this summer. And not just for the food either, which emphasises locally-sourced produce as well as organic farming for their seasonal menus.
This summer, the hottest spots up for grabs will be under the ancient Moreton Bay fig trees overlooking Cook and Phillip Park.
Find Bodhi in Cook and Phillip Park at 2/4 College Street
2. acre, Camperdown
It doesn’t get much fresher or more alfresco than a farm-to-table restaurant inside Camperdown Commons. You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve driven hours to reach such a place, and you’ll probably be thinking it quite often, possibly every time you return to sample or try to eat their entire menu which changes every month to highlight the freshest of ingredients.
Due to covid, the garden terraces at acre are for walk-ins only.
Find Acre Camperdown at 31A Mallett Street
3. Glass Island, Sydney Harbour
Forget about staying in the same spot all afternoon because you can no be ferried around on a luxury yacht with fresh air kicking up your hair and blowing far far away all the nasty stuff we’re trying to avoid.
Glass Island’s large open plan middle and top deck is open for group bookings every Saturday and Sunday so that you and your crew can enjoy the city’s most spectacular views while sipping on cocktails and picking at salumi platters, rice paper rolls, and, of course, oysters. They’ve got cheeseburgers too if that’s more your grub.
Find Glass Island at 37 Bank Street, Pyrmont
4. CC Babcoq, Cronulla
The ethos behind CC Babcoq is for simple, hearty meals to be shared among friends and family. And the best part is the Meditteranean vibes you get when sitting in the sun and tucking into a rotisserie chicken, lamb shoulders, Greek village salads, and tzatziki dips.
Can’t find the time for a sit-down meal, then try one of their take away options like the Porky roll.
Find CC Babcoq at Shop 5, 66-70 Cronulla Street
5. Ricos Tacos, Rosebery
Toby Wilson of Ghostboy Cantina and Taco King fame found himself one kitchen short in March when The George in Waterloo closed its doors.
But Toby’s now got a kitchen on wheels from where he’ll be slinging three types of tacos meant to be eaten on the side of the road, which is perfect since Ricos Tacos will be parked permanently in Gelato Messina’s Rosebery carpark. That means only one thing: gelato after taco.
Find Ricos Tacos at 58 Mentmore Avenue
6. The Rocks Precinct
As part of the twelve-month pilot programme, The Rocks has been given special treatment when it comes to alfresco dining with up to nineteen bars and restaurants taking over space outdoors.
There’s the Doss House, which has extended its outdoor courtyard into Unwin’s Square; Sergeant Lok that has moved onto George Street; The Glenmore has taken over space on Cumberland Street; and Caminetto, which is slinging its pizzas and pastas on Playfair Street.
Maybe Sammy, the world’s most welcoming bar, has also added extra seating on Harrington Street.
Find all the bars and restaurants that have extended their alfresco options in The Rocks here.
7. Ash Street and Angel Place, CBD
Restaurants taking over small streets and laneways is what we want to see (so long as there’s still space to pass). Three such eateries are Restaurant Leo serving up modern Italian fare, Ash Street Cellars dishing out European flair, and Felix transporting Sydneysiders to Paris because we’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
Find Restaurant Leo at 1/2-12 Angel Place, and Ash Street Cellars at 1 Ash Street and Felix next door at 2 Ash Street