Darlinghurst is a suburb located just south-east of Sydney’s CBD, and was originally known for its debauchery and as Sydney’s red-light district. It has since been gentrified and has become one of the prime residential areas of the city. Darlinghurst is also known as Sydney’s gay district, with many venues for the LGBT community. Read on to discover the best restaurants in this inner-city suburb.
During the couple of decades from the 1980s to the 1990s, Darlinghurst underwent urban renewal in order to transform it from a slum and a red-light district into the cultural, cosmopolitan inner-city suburb it is today. Bills is one of the few businesses still running from this era. Having opened in 1992, this small kitchen and dining room underwent a lot of changes before becoming a breakfast and brunch hotspot in the suburb. Fresh flavours and produce are what make this café so popular, along with cooking techniques and different ingredients from around the world.
Bills, 433 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst NSW, Australia, +61 2 9360 9631
Cafe, Restaurant, Australian, $$$
The expertise of Finnish-born chef Pasi Petanen and the experienced sommelier Dennis Roman is a great combination. Café Paci offers a modern, fine dining experience in a fun and approachable environment. The décor is set out almost like a futuristic sci-fi movie, monotonic yet bright, using straight-lines and not much in way of decoration (but you could argue that the food is decoration enough). The dégustation menu, which changes seasonally, is a great representation of the chef’s skill, and the wine list is comprehensive and contains many fantastic wines from around the world.
Café Paci, Level 195 Riley St, Darlinghurst NSW, Australia, +61 2 9368 7000
The Owl House
Located on Crown Street, the street that intersects Darlinghurst from north to south, is The Owl House, a bar and restaurant serving modern Australian cuisine with influences from around the world, along with a range of original cocktails that use top notch liqueurs and infused spirits. You can try the dégustation menu that matches the best that the kitchen can offer with great wines and cocktails from the bar, for a perfectly rounded eating and drinking experience.
The Owl House, 97 Crown St, Darlinghurst NSW, Australia, +61 2 9357 5060
Bar, Restaurant, Middle Eastern, $$$
Almond Bar offers authentic Syrian flavours in this bar and restaurant in a way that is common in Middle Eastern cultures, and that is by sharing. Almond Bar invites you to try a range of their mezza and tabkha dishes, which are traditional Middle Eastern sharing plates. Or maybe try one of the set menus, which provide a balanced combination of dishes which are great for groups. Their drinks menu includes a selection of wines from Europe, Morocco, Lebanon and South America as well as local Australian and New Zealand wines. Or perhaps try one of their signature cocktails that utilise classic Syrian flavours.
Almond Bar, 379 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst NSW, Australia, +61 2 9380 5318
Spice I Am
Restaurant, Thai, $$$
Spice I Am
The intricate flavours of Thai cuisine are brought together in an elegant and classy environment at Spice I Am. This restaurant strives to maintain authenticity while also offering a modern dining experience by using only the best and freshest spices, herbs and ingredients to create stunning Thai dishes. If you’d like to learn how to create these flavours and take those skills home with you, Spice I Am also offers a cooking class where you can learn how to create these authentic Thai dishes in a professional yet relaxed atmosphere.
Spice I Am, 296-300 Victoria St, Darlinghurst NSW, Australia, +61 2 9332 2445
Onde is a small provincial style French bistro on Liverpool Street, a short walk from the busy corner of Oxford Street and Victoria Street, where you can find a reasonably priced meal that is served with quality produce, honestly, simply and quickly. This is one of the few restaurants in the country where you will be able to find more European wines on the menu than Australian. The menu offers a modest selection of traditional provincial style dishes, with a modern twist.
Onde, 346 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst NSW, Australia, +61 2 9331 8749
The Colonial Darlinghurst
Bar, Restaurant, Indian, $$$
The Colonial Darlinghurst
The Colonial Darlinghurst is a British colonial style bar and restaurant that serves primarily Indian cuisine as a throw back to India’s colonial times, when this type of cuisine received its first mas exposure the West. This venue uses classic and simplistic Indian cooking techniques, wherein the meat and vegetables are marinated with authentic Indian herbs and spices and then cooked at high temperatures to maintain their tenderness and succulence. Cooking in this fashion ensures that the food maintains a rustic feeling and traditional flavours.
The Colonial Darlinghurst, 118 Crown St, Darlinghurst NSW, Australia, +61 2 8084 6700
The Burger Joint
Since coming into existence the humble burger has gone through many changes, and now the limits of flavours and ingredients are almost endless. The Burger Joint is a small fast food restaurant on Liverpool Street that serves incredible gourmet burgers that absolutely don’t skimp on size. You may have to take lessons from snakes to get out mouth big enough to get one of these giants in your mouth, but when you do, you will definitely be glad you did.
The Burger Joint, 393 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst NSW, Australia, +61 2 9380 2575
Restaurant, Australian, German, European, $$$
The cuisine from Central Europe is all about comfort food – warm, heavy and meaty dishes. Una’s Restaurant provides this chunky kind of cooking in Darlinghurst, and what’s on the menu is a range of choices inspired by the cuisine of Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Hungary. The most important meal of the day in this part of the world is obviously breakfast, which is why Una’s Restaurant has a wide range of breakfast options on top of their lunch and dinner menu, which is packed full of schnitzels and German sausages.
Una’s Restaurant, 340 Victoria St, Darlinghurst NSW, Australia, +61 2 9360 6885
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
You can expect something a bit different from your average food-court sushi shop at Sushi Yachiyo, where each dish is perfectly displayed to look good enough to be mistaken for a piece of art. This restaurant uses only the freshest Australian fish, selected personally at the Sydney fish markets by the Japanese chef Mitsuhiro. The focus at this restaurant is to keep those brilliant authentic Japanese flavours in a casual dining environment with friends, where the food is fresh and the company is fun.
Sushi Yachiyo, 1/13 Kirketon Rd, Darlinghurst NSW, Australia, +61 2 9331 8107