6 unique restaurants and bars reshaping Sydney’s dining scene

Longshore’s sustainable seafood menu is elegantly presented. Credit: Longshore
Black tiger prawn tart with perilla and finger lime at Longshore in Chippendale

“Give it a go” could be the mantra that defines Sydney’s dining scene, where innovative chefs and bartenders push the envelope, experiment with flavours, and put their spin on centuries-old cuisines. The city’s culinary masterminds are on a mission to offer Sydneysiders meals they’ve never had before.

Try Japanese-Peruvian food at a waterfront diner, sample the surprise menu at Sydney’s only Korean omakase spot, or dig into seafood at a restaurant so committed to a zero-waste philosophy that cocktails are made with kitchen leftovers. 

Read on for a list of six unique restaurants in Sydney vto book right now on OpenTable

The most unique restaurants in Sydney to book right now – read on for a guide.

For Sydney’s first Korean omakase – book a table at Kobo in Sydney CBD

Shellfish in chilli oil at Kobo, one of the most unique restaurants in in Sydney’s CBD.
The exquisite dishes at Kobo come from hatted chef Jacob Lee. Credit: Kobo

Only chef Jacob Lee knows what will be on the menu each night at his eight-seat chef’s table. Kobo is Sydney’s first Korean omakase and not knowing what you’re going to have is half the fun. Lee guides diners through the night’s theme, which is often based on his personal history as a Korean-born chef who is just as inspired by childhood kitchen memories with his grandmother as he is by various stints around the world. Fittingly, the unique and always-changing menu takes cues from all over the globe. A meal focussed on Lee’s parents’ native Jeolla province could consist of seafood-forward dishes like thin slices of swordfish marinated in mandarin, crisp seaweed rolls with wagyu, or blue mackerel with brown butter and pickled ginger. The result is story-driven spectacular—and one of the most unique meals in Sydney.

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For a taste of Sydney’s maritime history – visit Sailors Home Precinct at The Rocks

Grilled brie, pickles, and sourdough at Sailors Home Precinct in The Rocks, one of the most unique restaurants in Sydney.
The various venues at Sailors Home Precinct translate into an exciting all-day dining experience. Credit: Sailors Home Precinct.

Since opening in 1864, Sailors Home Precinct has worn many hats. Today, it’s home to a handful of excellent food venues that have the full day covered. Have an organic Australian coffee with brekky at the café; in the afternoon, head to The Keel for rum cocktails at a sustainability-focussed bar that supports local charities. For dinner, Izy.Aki Omakase is a go-to for a unique, native-ingredient-heavy experience—think red claw yabbies with ponzu infused-vegetables, two-year house fermented miso and caviar, or wagyu beef tartare with pickled wasabi leaf and curls of Parmigiano Reggiano. It adds up to a versatile all-day dining experience you won’t find anywhere else in the city.

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For sustainable seafood – visit Longshore in Chippendale

A snack flight of oyster, octopus skewer, and black tiger prawn tart with perilla at Longshore in Chippendale.
Sample a wide range of flavours at Longshore with the snack flight of sustainable seafood dishes. Credit: Longshore

Longshore is a sustainable seafood joint by Dot Lee and Jarrod Walsh, the acclaimed team behind revolutionary American-ish diner, Hartsyard. The two bring their expertise in pickling, fermenting, and curing to the new Chippendale restaurant and wine bar. Longshore’s playful menu is inspired by the Australian coastline and includes winners like flaky party pies filled with abalone, plus a 10-course snack flight featuring black tiger prawn tart with finger lime and shiso, octopus skewer in smoked soy glaze, and more. The restaurant’s commitment to sustainability even pops up on its drink menu, where many cocktails are crafted from kitchen leftovers. Case in point: the strawberry old-fashioned, which uses agave and strawberry trimmings to make the blushing strawberry whisky, or the lychee spritz that’s infused with shiso stems leftover from the melon panna cotta dessert. 

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For a taste of Nikkei cuisine – try Lima Restaurant & Bar in Walsh Bay

Lobster ceviche at Lima in Walsh Bay, one of the most unique restaurants in Sydney.
Walsh Bay’s Lima celebrates Nikkei, a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines. Credit: Lima Restaurant & Bar

Lima Restaurant & Bar spent its first few months in an experimental phase, splitting its focus between two cuisines that are largely unknown in Sydney: Chifa (Chinese-Peruvian) and Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) when it first opened in 2023. The restaurant now fully embraces Nikkei and is one of a handful of Sydney spots to do so. Japanese cooking techniques meet Peruvian ingredients in dishes like octopus tiradito, a sashimi-inspired dish served with leche de tigre (citrus marinade) and avocado, and wagyu nigiri topped with anticuchera, a Peruvian citrus, garlic, coriander, and beer sauce. Cocktails follow suit, and include inventive must-tries like the Old Fashioned Nikkei, a combo of bitters, whisky, and lucuma, a pulpy Peruvian fruit.

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For a unique ramen bar – head to Rising Sun Workshop in Newtown

Ramen with seaweed, greens, bamboo, and marinated egg at Rising Sun Workshop in Newtown, one of the most unique restaurants in Sydney.
Rising Sun Workshop is an excellent ramen joint in a motorcycle workshop.
Credit: Rising Sun Workshop

Rising Sun Workshop is a one-of-a-kind ramen joint and community motorcycle workshop hidden in Newtown’s side streets. The workshop provides tools, space, and even tutorials on how to fix a bike. If all that tinkering makes you hungry, head upstairs to the restaurant where you can fill up on ramens whose broths are named for their colour and opacity. “The Light ” is made from organic chicken and three-fish dashi, topped with free range pork belly, greens, bamboo, and a marinated egg. “The Darkness” combines chicken with pork bones, shiitake, and smoked hocks to create its rich broth. In the evenings, Rising Sun turns into a quirky date-night spot, thanks to an extensive wine list that’s heavy on the naturals.

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For Hunan specialties – book at The Chairman in Darlinghurst

A spread of Asian inspired dishes at The Chairman, one of the most unique restaurants in Sydney.
Explore centuries-old Hunan cuisine at The Chairman. Credit: The Chairman

Andrew Bao and Dingjun Li had a devoted following at their first restaurant, Chairman Mao, counting chefs Matt Moran and Neil Perry as regulars. When they closed the modest Kensington spot in 2021 and reopened The Chairman opposite Hyde Park months later, fans flocked to try the pair’s pitch-perfect ode to centuries-old Hunan cuisine. It’s one of the only places in Sydney to sample the region’s classic smoky, tart, sweet, and extremely spicy flavours. They surface in dishes like smoked pork, tofu, and bamboo over toasted rice, crisp okra slices with sea salt and shiso.

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Still can’t decide? Explore more great restaurants to try in Sydney on OpenTable
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