Restaurants in Sydney That Should Have a Michelin Star

Sydney is home to many fine-dining experiences
Sydney is home to many fine-dining experiences | © redbrickstock.com / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Kylie McDowell
3 November 2020

The Michelin Guide has made its way as far across the globe as Asia, but the influential European food guide hasn’t arrived in Australia – yet. The French tyre company’s food guide has rated over 30,000 restaurants since its inception in the 1900s. With a food scene as big as ours, it’s surprising there aren’t any Australian restaurants on the list. Here are seven Sydney restaurants that should definitely have a Michelin Star.

Firedoor

Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
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Award-winning chef Lennox Hastie takes traditional BBQ and open-flame cooking to the extreme at his rustic Surry Hills restaurant, Firedoor. Taming hot coals to create striking dishes of vegetables, seafood and meat, the restaurant is a dining experience that comes with entertainment. Guests have a clear view of the open kitchen and can watch the masters at work among the 900C flames.

The $140-per-person five-course menu changes daily depending on the seasonal ingredients available, and only the highest quality produce making the cut – Firedoor works with farmers and small-scale producers to grow bespoke vegetables, rare ingredients, and aged meat for the restaurant.

Hastie honed his skills in Michelin Star restaurants across France, Spain and the UK before returning to Australia where he is critically acclaimed. Since opening Firedoor in 2017, Hastie published his debut book, Finding Fire, which features 80 of his best recipes. Hastie also features in an episode of the latest Chef’s Table: BBQ series on Netflix.

Check out Firedoor on Instagram for the Sydney restaurant’s daily top menu selections.

Automata

Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
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Chef Clayton Wells worked for some of Sydney’s top fine-dining restaurants before opening his independent venue, Automata, in Sydney’s Chippendale neighbourhood. After a stint at iconic Sydney harbour-side restaurant Quay, Wells opened the first Momofuku restaurant outside the US with David Chang and Ben Greeno, Momofuku Seiōbo. Automata has been awarded two “Chef Hats” by the Australian Good Food Guide and has been voted one of the “Best 50 Restaurants in the World” by Diners Club.

The industrial-style space on Kensington Street features pared-back interiors, high ceilings and long communal tables that create more relaxed environment. Automata explains, “To put it simply, Clayton is combining the fine dining style of food that he likes to cook with, with the casual restaurant feel that he enjoys eating in.”

The $165-per-person tasting menu changes monthly and can be viewed on their website. Reservations are released on the second Saturday of the month.

Momofuku Seiōbo

Restaurant, Caribbean, $$$
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Part of David Chang’s empire, the first Momofuku outside of New York City, Momofuku Seiōbo is currently ranked as the number two restaurant in the country by Gourmet Traveller Magazine, and Barbados-born head chef Paul Carmichael was awarded Chef of the Year for 2020. The two-hatted dark and moody restaurant inside The Star casino takes guests on a journey of the Caribbean, serving up plates inspired by tropical ingredients and cuisines from Barbados, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. Carmichael worked for some of America’s best restaurants including Chang’s former Má Pêche before relocating to Australia to take over his Sydney location.

The $215-per-person tasting menu is interactive and all-encompassing. Momofuku Seiōbo says, “Come with an open heart, an open mind and an empty belly. Just like at your grandma’s place, we like things to be fluid and heartfelt so that you can experience the menu in the moment.”

The menu changes regularly, but is always accommodating to dietary requirements: give the restaurant advance notice for a customised menu.

Tetsuya's

Restaurant, Japanese, French, $$$
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The list of awards given to Sydney chef and owner of Tetsuya’s restaurant, Tetsuya Wakuda, is pages long. Although the Michelin Guide hasn’t yet made it to Australia, Wakuda has been awarded two Michelin Stars for his Singapore restaurant of the same name. The traditional Japanese-inspired restaurant sits within a refurbished heritage-listed building in Sydney’s Central Business District.

Best known for its confit of ocean trout with salad of apple and witlof, the Sydney restaurant serves a degustation menu from $180 to $250 per person that is “based on the Japanese philosophy of using natural seasonal flavours, enhanced by classic French technique”.

Sixpenny

Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
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Unassuming Sydney restaurant Sixpenny is one of the most raved-about restaurants in town. Named after the sixpence restaurants that operated in the late 1800s, its $175-per-person tasting menu is rooted in modern Australian cuisine. Seasonal ingredients are sourced from small local farmers, producers and fisherman.

The small three-hatted Stanmore restaurant is owned and run by award-winning head chefs Daniel Puskas and Aaron Ward. Sixpenny has been in the top 10 for the Australian Financial Review’s ‘Australia’s Top 100’ restaurants.

The menu changes constantly and they’re happy to provide options for those with allergies and dietary requirements when notified at the time booking.

Porteño

Restaurant, Argentina, Gluten-free, Fast Food, Australian, $$$
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Argentinian barbecue restaurant Porteño is a Sydney favourite that has risen from the ashes after it caught on fire in 2015. Chefs and owners, Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz, have been named ‘Chef of the Year’ by the Sydney Morning Herald and awarded with “Chef Hats” among other awards in the 10 years since they opened the original restaurant.

The Porteño concept is based around the traditional Parrilla and Asado style of Argentinian cooking, and the menu has been designed to share. Although the tapas restaurant is predominantly a meat-lover’s dream, it does have delicious seafood and vegetarian options.

Rockabilly-styled interiors, music and staff add to the upbeat flavour.

Rising Sun Workshop

Restaurant, Cafe, Continental, $$$
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This Newtown hardware store turned independent motorcycle workshop and restaurant is an unexpected location for some of Sydney’s most photogenic food. The casual two-level Rising Sun Workshop was partly crowdfunded, making it a true community hotspot for locals. Chef Nick Smith serves up his take on Asian-inspired Australian food in a relaxed setting and has been awarded a “Chef Hat”.

Rising Sun Workshop buys produce only from small local growers, roasters, smokers, brewers, winemakers and distillers. The restaurant is open all day with the chef’s dinner menu from $80 per person.

These recommendations were updated on November 3, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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