The 10 Best Restaurants In The Rocks, Sydney

View from the Quay dining room
View from the Quay dining room | © Nikki To / Quay
Tom Smith

Perched right on Sydney’s glittering harbour, The Rocks was one of the earliest British settlements in Australia — and the historic precinct is now one of the Harbour City’s biggest tourist drawcards. Looking for somewhere to eat while you’re there? Check out these 10 tasty Rocks restaurants.

1. Quay

Restaurant, Contemporary

Dish at Quay © Nikki To / Quay
© Nikki To / Quay

Head to the upper level of the Overseas Passenger Terminal for some of the best modern Australian cuisine you’ll find anywhere in the Harbour City. Feast on Executive Chef Peter Gilmore’s envelope-pushing menu with a side serving of water views, including panoramic views of both the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge that match the upscale dishes on offer.

2. Saké Restaurant & Bar

Restaurant, Japanese, Contemporary

Sake dining room © Sake
© Saké

Saké has pocketed award after award for its contemporary Japanese cuisine, with an à la carte menu as well as a generous banquet option, making the most of fresh seasonal ingredients. This high-end establishment is found at five locations around Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, but this buzzing split-level dining room on Argyle St is perhaps its most atmospheric.

3. Pony Dining The Rocks

Restaurant, Contemporary

Pony Dining The Rocks dining table © Pony Dining
© Pony Dining

This trendy Australian restaurant lays claim to being the pioneer of the wood-fired grill in Sydney, proud of the Argentine barbecue that produces much of the menu. Soak up the ambience of Argyle St and Kendall Ln in this converted bond warehouse in the heart of the historic precinct, pull up a seat at the 10-metre-long (32 feet) alfresco dining table, then enjoy some of the creations coming out of the open kitchen.

4. Munich Brauhaus

Craft Ale Bar, German

Steins of German beer © NYC / Flickr
© NYC / Flickr

Formerly known as the Löwenbräu Keller, this Bavarian-style bier hall aims to bring a little taste of Munich to the historic laneways of The Rocks. The Munich Brauhaus has benefitted from a recent makeover that hasn’t compromised any of its signature German cheer, dishing up huge plates of sausages and pork knuckle best washed down with a one-litre stein of Bavaria’s finest.

5. The Cut Bar & Grill

Restaurant, Steakhouse

Cut of steak © Taryn / Flickr
© Taryn / Flickr

Located in an old cellar, this steakhouse takes its meat seriously. The Cut is named partly for its location next to The Rocks’ historic sandstone tunnel, the Argyle Cut, and partly for its finger-licking selection of premium cuts of prime Australian beef, and generates an intimate, sophisticated atmosphere that’s half New York steakhouse, half speakeasy bar.

6. The Australian Heritage Hotel

Budget Hotel

One of The Rocks’ several historic watering holes, this pub began life on George St in 1824 before a plague outbreak in 1900 forced the government to tear down the building, and made the licensees shift their business to a site on nearby Cumberland St where the Australian Heritage Hotel remains today. The Australian Hotel also offers some of the best pub grub in the neighbourhood — don’t miss the ‘Coat of Arms’ pizza featuring kangaroo and emu meat for a patriotic meal.

7. Wild Ginger

Restaurant, Asian

Vietnamese pho © Nick Nguyen / Flickr
© Nick Nguyen / Flickr

The sandstone architecture of The Rocks isn’t what you’d typically associate with exotic Thai cuisine, but it provides a unique backdrop for Wild Ginger’s Southeast Asian restaurant and bar. The Wild Ginger philosophy is “beauty in simplicity”, perfectly balancing sweet, salty, sour, and creamy, as well as offering a lengthy list of vegetarian and vegan options for non-meat eaters.

8. William Blue Dining

Restaurant, Contemporary

Grilled eggplant © woodleywonderworks / Flickr
© woodleywonderworks / Flickr

Occupying the space that used to be filled by Neil Perry’s iconic Rockpool, William Blue Dining offers fine dining on a budget. The 60-seat restaurant is run by vocational students who are learning the hands-on skills needed to run an upscale hospitality business, meaning diners can feast on a classy three-course menu prepared by chefs in training for only $43, or a range of affordable dishes off the à la carte menu.

9. Pancakes On The Rocks

Restaurant, Dessert

Pancakes on the Rocks entrance © Pancakes on the Rocks
© Pancakes On The Rocks

This Rocks institution isn’t fine dining, but their buttermilk pancakes are renowned throughout Sydney. Pancakes On The Rocks first opened way back in 1975 and dishes up some of the city’s premier pancake desserts 24 hours a day, as well as a savoury menu of pizzas, steaks, and seafood, in a large and laid-back dining space on Hickson Rd.

10. Appetito Pizza Pasta Bar

Restaurant, Italian

Pizza © Yoshihide Nomura / Flickr
© Yoshihide Nomura / Flickr

If you’re looking for authentic Italian fare in The Rocks, look no further than Appetito, which serves up traditional Italiano right down to the red and white checkered tablecloths. The sandstone walls and friendly service at this George St restaurant provide the perfect accompaniment to the classic Italian menu, which offers a wide range of traditional pastas and wood-fired pizzas.

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