Sydney sparkles with spectacular lookouts, from the cliffs above Bondi Beach to the top of towering inner-city skyscrapers. Hungry for a meal with a view? Then book a table at one of these eight rooftop restaurants around Sydney.
Café del Mar for sunset views of Darling Harbour
Restaurant, Bar, Cafe, Mediterranean, $$$
Café del Mar has views across Darling Harbour | Courtesy of Café del Mar
The original Café del Mar is the most popular sunset spot on the party island of Ibiza, and the Sydney edition isn’t too shabby, either. Grab a couch under the blue-and-white shades and appreciate the water views over Darling Harbour from this spacious outdoor terrace, the perfect place for a long lunch or an after-work drink as the sun slinks below the horizon. Graze on something from the Mediterranean tapas menu or feast on one of the lavish sharing platters loaded with king prawns, grilled octopus, spiced calamari and appetising antipasto.
The Rook for burgers and lobsters atop a skyscraper
Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Sydneysiders flock to the Rook for its colourful cocktail list and selection of craft beers, but the food menu is every bit as good. Sitting on the rooftop of a nondescript CBD skyscraper, this atmospheric atrium plates up a creative array of burgers and lobster dishes – don’t miss the ‘Deep South Surf and Turf’, which smothers fried chicken in lobster mayo. Remember to book ahead to guarantee a table – the Rook gets mighty popular for both lunch and dinner.
The Light Brigade for panoramic views and gastropub classics
Gastropub, Pub Grub
This gastropub with panoramic views of the Sydney skyline has been open since 1887 | Courtesy of Light Brigade
This grand old Art Deco pub has been pouring schooners for the thirsty residents of Woollahra and Paddington since 1887, before it was dragged into the new millennium by a change of ownership and major renovations in 2015. The facelift revamped the first-floor bistro and created an intimate cocktail lounge on level two, but the addition of a scenic rooftop bar stole the spotlight. The Brigade Rooftop offers panoramic views of Sydney’s skyline from 83 metres (272 feet) above sea level, as well as a classic gastropub menu loaded with burgers, schnitzels, wood-fired pizzas and fish and chips.
This harbourfront oasis is a landmark of Sydney’s exclusive Eastern Suburbs, attracting the Harbour City’s rich and beautiful to its al fresco terrace like bees to a honeypot. Just a 20-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay, the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel brings a glamorous yacht club vibe to the golden shoreline of Watsons Bay. Order a fresh seafood platter, sashimi tasting plate or a Beach Club classic like crab sliders and fish pie, washed down with an Aperol Spritz or a glass of rosé.
Towering seven floors above the Sugarmill Hotel, Sweethearts Rooftop BBQ has given the balcony of the old Kit and Kaboodle nightclub a new lease on life. This Kings Cross rooftop has been kitted out with leafy greenery, festive lights and long benches to share with new friends, creating a restaurant-bar with a casual party vibe. Sweethearts’ short menu knows what it does and does it well – grab a pizza or burger to nibble on while you’re splitting a slushy or cocktail jug with your mates.
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar for Italian fare and uninterrupted views of the Bondi coast
Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
Courtesy of Icebergs
Hovering high above the iconic ocean pool that juts out into Sydney’s most famous beach, the Bondi Icebergs Dining Room and Bar enjoys water views that will make your jaw drop. Uninterrupted vistas over the Bondi coastline and the Pacific Ocean provide the backdrop to your meal, so it’s no surprise that seafood dominates the menu. Director Maurice Terzini infuses fresh Australian fish with modern Italian flavours, including an elegant eight-course tasting menu that celebrates caviar, marinated tuna, blue swimmer crab and potatoes in anchovy butter.
This Neutral Bay rooftop restaurant-bar embraces its southern Californian surf vibe, bringing a slice of Venice Beach to Sydney’s Lower North Shore. Palm trees, fairy lights and laid-back decor fill this covered rooftop, which specialises in Latin American street food designed to be shared. The menu is loaded with smoked meats, house-made sauces and traditional barbecue sides like slaw and charred corn salad, which all pairs perfectly with SoCal’s range of sweet cocktails and fridge full of imported American and Mexican beers.
Coogee Pavilion for ceviche and sashimi and all the seafood in between
Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
The beachside Coogee Pavilion is a favourite of Sydneysiders for its indoor-outdoor bars and rooftop | Courtesy of Coogee Pavilion
If the million-dollar location wasn’t enough of a reason to visit the Coogee Pav, the mouth-watering food and drink coming out of the kitchen should convince you. As you’d expect from a beachfront venue where you can practically taste the salt water in the air, the menu is teeming with seafood. Choose from raw dishes like sashimi and pink snapper ceviche, upscale meals like clam spaghetti and roasted rainbow trout, plus pub favourites like lobster rolls and beer-battered fish.