Living Well

Sydney's Best Business Restaurants


With the Australian dollar’s rise, Sydney is now an expensive place to dine by global standards. Thankfully, creative chefs, fresh ingredients and spectacular settings mean diners aren’t short changed.

From brain-spiked fish to dry-aged steak, the city’s kitchens mix techniques and flavors from around the world to create the ‘modern Australian’ experience. Here are our choices, in alphabetical order, for business dining in Sydney.

1. Aria: 1 Macquarie St., East Circular Quay, Sydney. Information: +612-9252-2555; http://www.ariarestaurant.com
What: Contemporary Australian.
Why: Matt Moran is a household name in Australia thanks to his television shows. Fortunately, his day job hasn’t suffered. Aria remains one of the best places to dine, especially for international guests who can nibble crisp-skinned barramundi or roasted venison with cabbage and black pudding in view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
Where: Overlooking the Sydney Opera House.
When: Lunch Monday to Friday, dinner Monday to Sunday.
Bar: Yes.
Private Room: Yes.
Sound level: Closely packed tables mean conversations of fellow diners can intrude: “Oooh! Look at the view!”

2. Azuma: Level 1, Chifley Plaza, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney. Information: +612-9222-9960; http://www.azuma.com.au/
What: Japanese, popular with bankers.
Why: Deliciously fresh sushi and sashimi, with plenty of more substantial offerings. Downstairs for the likes of UBS and Morgan Stanley, Azuma is ideal for quick quality lunches.
Where: In Chifley Tower.
When: Lunch Monday to Friday, dinner Monday to Saturday.
Bar: No.
Private Room: Yes.
Sound level: Chatty.

3. Bilson’s: Radisson Plaza Hotel, 27 O’Connell St., Sydney. Information: +612-8214-0496; http://www.bilsons.com.au
What: Contemporary French.
Why: Tony Bilson, the “Godfather of Australian cuisine,” offers a menu is bursting with surprising flavors. His waiters are among the city’s most knowledgeable, and his dining room among the city’s classiest. Together with Chef de Cuisine Diego Munoz (fresh from a stint with El Bulli’s Ferran Adria), Bilson has revamped his menu with five degustation offerings, from the 15-course, four-hour ‘Epiphanie’ (A$405 per-head with wine) to the seven-course ‘Petit’ (A$145 without wine).
Where: In the Radisson Hotel, opposite Australia Square.
When: Lunch on Friday, dinner Tuesday to Saturday.
Bar: No.
Private Room: Yes.
Sound level: Reserved and refined, with comfortable spacing between tables for hushed negotiations.

4. Bistrode CBD: Level 1, Corner of York and King Street, Sydney. Information +612-9240-3000; http://www.merivale.com/#/cbd/bistrodecbd
What: Modern British.
Why: A more casual alternative to some of the other options on this list, with the jovial mood of the downstairs bar flowing to the chic eatery upstairs. A playful menu adds to the appeal, with ‘The Other Bits’ offering dishes like ‘Hearts and Minds’ (lamb heart and crumbed brain), luring diners into more adventurous selections.
Where: Close to the retail end of town.
When: Lunch and dinner Monday to Friday.
Bar: Yes, downstairs.
Private Room: No.
Sound level: Noisy on some Friday lunch visits, with a bar- like feel and chatter.

5. Cafe Sydney: Level 5, Customs House, 31 Alfred St., Circular Quay. Information: +612-9251-8683; http://www.cafesydney.com
What: Contemporary Australian.
Why: This rooftop eatery has influences from around the globe, allowing diners to jump from offerings such as grilled quail with pear to Tandoori-roasted Tasmanian Ocean Trout, all while enjoying the harbor views.
Where: On top of the Customs House building near Circular Quay train station.
When: Lunch Monday to Friday and Sunday, dinner Monday to Saturday.
Bar: Yes.
Private Room: Yes.
Sound level: Comfortably chatty, with backing vocals from the occasional ferry horn.

6. Chophouse: 25 Bligh St., Sydney. Information: +1300-246-748; http://www.chophouse.com.au/
What: Steak.
Why: Exposed beams and stripped-back decor appeal to your inner carnivore. Flavor-packed steaks, speedy service and the hum of conversing diners give this New York-inspired eatery a comfortable feel that will have you planning your next visit as soon as you pick up the check.
Where: Close to the bank-filled Chifley and Governor Phillip Towers.
When: Lunch Monday to Friday, dinner Tuesday to Saturday.
Bar: Yes.
Private Rooms: Yes.
Sound level: On the noisier end of the spectrum, with closely packed tables of predators devouring prey.

7. Est.: Level 1, 252 George St., Sydney. Information: +612- 9240-3010; http://www.merivale.com
What: Contemporary Australian.
Why: Along with Bilson’s, this is international top-end dining at its finest. No need for harbor views or tricky flavor combinations when the ingredients are this fresh and deftly handled. A varied menu with items such as steamed snapper fillet with shaved abalone or pan-roasted lamb rib eye and an extensive wine list should please all palates.
Where: Just down from Martin Place.
When: Lunch Monday to Friday, dinner Monday to Saturday.
Bar: Downstairs.
Private Room: Yes.
Sound level: A dignified hum.

8. Guillaume at Bennelong: Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney. Information: +612-9241-1999; http://www.guillaumeatbennelong.com.au
What: Contemporary French.
Why: Paris-born Chef Guillaume Brahimi’s fare lives up to the setting within Jorn Utzon’s famous building. Booths and well-spaced tables give privacy, while dishes like scallops with pea and smoked ham hock puree delight the taste buds. No other Sydney restaurant can match the sense of occasion one gets from dining here, especially for visitors to the harbor city.
Where: Inside the sails of the Opera House.
When: Lunch Thursday or Friday, dinner Tuesday to Saturday.
Bar: Yes.
Private Room: Yes.
Sound level: Mezza voce. The sail-setting gives a cathedral-like serenity to the chatter of fellow diners.

9. Number One Wine Bar: 1 Alfred St., Sydney. Information: +612- 8252-9296; http://www.numberonewinebar.com
What: Half bar, half cozy diner.
Why: This is Tony Bilson’s informal offering and he’s filled the gap between the city’s high-end dining scene and overcrowded pub market perfectly. Shared meat platters, great- value mains and an affordable wine and drinks menu make this a great alternative when seeking a relaxed meal or late night glass of scotch.
When: Lunch Monday to Friday; dinner Monday to Saturday.
Sound level: Buzzing when crowded at peak times.

10. Pier: 594 New South Head Road, Rose Bay. Information: +612- 9327-6561; http://www.pierrestaurant.com.au
What: Seafood.
Why: The only non-CBD (Central Business District) restaurant on this list, Pier justifies the 10 minute cab or ferry ride east of the city center. The owner and chef, Greg Doyle, is famous for giving up his top status in Sydney’s leading good-food guide so he could simplify the menu and service and bring back local customers from the restaurant’s wealthy neighborhood. Fish are brain-spiked to ensure optimum freshness, and deftly handled in the kitchen to speed them to your plate.
Where: Overlooking the glittering waters of Rose Bay.
When: Lunch and dinner Monday to Sunday.
Bar: Yes.
Private Room: Yes.
Sound level: The long, narrow shape mean diners are positioned on either side of a main walkway, keeping out the conversations of fellow diners.

11. Quay: Upper Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, West Circular Quay, The Rocks, Sydney. Information: +612-9251-5600; http://www.quay.com.au
What: Modern Australian.
Why: Chef Peter Gilmore has cemented Quay’s status as Sydney’s No. 1 diner, with a lengthy waiting list to prove it. Textures are mixed as adroitly as flavors, with liberal use of nuts, seeds, flowers and pulses juxtaposing succulent quail, fish or milk-fed lamb. If that’s not enough, it also serves up Sydney’s best view.
Where: At the top of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, across Circular Quay from the Opera House.
When: Lunch Tuesday to Friday, dinner seven nights.
Bar: Yes.
Private Room: Yes.
Sound level: Average.

12. Rockpool Bar & Grill: 66 Hunter Street, Sydney. Information: +612-8078-1900; http://www.rockpool.com/sydney/bar-and-grill
What: Steaks, Seafood.
Why: Chef Neil Perry has created the eatery for all occasions. One of Sydney’s most versatile and extensive menus accommodates Sterling caviar with toast and creme fraiche (125 grams for A$600), with beef and Guinness pie and mushy peas (A$29). The 167-page wine list is just as diverse, from a A$49,600 1971 Romanée-Conti to a 2009 Hunter Valley Chardonnay for A$46.
Where: In a former black-spot of Sydney’s culinary map, near the Wentworth Hotel.
When: Lunch Monday to Friday, dinner Monday to Saturday.
Bar: Yes.
Private Room: A good selection of them.
Sound level: Stone surfaces and an open kitchen make this a noisy place to dine.

13. Tetsuya: 529 Kent Street, Sydney. Information: +612-9267- 2900; http://www.tetsuyas.com
What: French/Japanese
Why: No list of Australian eateries would be complete without Tetsuya Wakuda’s Japanese-inspired cuisine enlivened by French techniques. There’s the freshness of chilled cucumber soup with sheep yoghurt ice cream, or the depth of slow-roasted breast of duck with smoked eschallots and foie gras.
When: Saturday lunch, dinner Tuesday to Saturday.
Bar: Yes.
Private Room: Yes.
Sound level: Average.

Malcolm Scott writes for Bloomberg News.

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