Nestled in the heart of Sydney, the restaurant scene in Surry Hills has become an unparalleled dining destination.
While Sydney is no stranger to incredible eating experiences, Surry Hills stands as a testament to the city’s unique culinary landscape, and promises an epicurean adventure of diverse flavours, aromas and experiences. Each of Sydney’s revitalised precincts has something wonderful to offer, and Surry Hills restaurants’ cater to every taste and budget, making it a gastronomic haven. Whether you’re visiting for the first time, or are a seasoned local, Surry Hills invites you to savour the extraordinary. Here are our top picks for where to eat.
Best for: Seasonal cuisine cooked over coals
Fire is the blazing focal point of Firedoor restaurant, awarded three hats in this year’s Good Food Guide Awards. Dinner here is a particularly unique experience as everything is cooked by fire, with the flame’s embers used to enhance the natural characteristics of the seasonal ingredients on offer.
Pull up a chair inside Firedoor restaurant. (Image: Nikki To)
The open-plan kitchen encourages diners to watch on and marvel as food is prepared, encouraging the same sense of wonder and fascination with fire that drives owner and chef Lennox Hastie to do what he does best.
Watch Chef Lennox Hastie as he prepares the food. (Image: Nikki To)
Address: Firedoor, 23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills
Best for: Sydney skyline views and modern Australian cuisine
Kiln is a marvel, positioned 18 stories high above the Ace Hotel and with glittering views extending out over Sydney. The open kitchen and woodfire hearth nod to the restaurant’s namesake as one of the colony’s earliest kilns, and the native timbers and earthy palette capture the colours of the Australian landscape.
Dine at Kiln and enjoy rooftop views over Sydney . (Image: Anson Smart/Destination NSW)
While diners may come curious to try the Australian classic with a twist, Jatz biscuit with smoked butter and anchovy, they also find a contemporary menu featuring seasonal produce and woodfire cooking.
The restaurant’s interior is filled with native timbers and earthy palettes. (Image: Anson Smart/Destination NSW)
Address: Kiln, 53 Foy Lane, Sydney
3. The Rover
Best for: East London classics
The Rover offers the best of both worlds, with an inviting restaurant upstairs that combines liveliness with a sense of intimacy, and a vibrant cocktail floor on the ground floor downstairs to either begin or end the night.
Start or end your meal in the downstairs bar. (Image: Dominic Loneragan)
The menu showcases refined East London classics, bistro staples, and seafood specials reflecting produce in season.
Get your seafood fix at The Rover. (Image: Dominic Loneragan)
Complemented by attentive service and a thoughtfully curated wine list and world-class cocktails, dining here feels like you’ve stepped into the charming coast of the British Isles.
The dining interior at The Rover exudes class and charm
Address: The Rover, 75 Campbell Street, Surry Hills
4. Chin Chin
Best for: Contemporary South East Asian cuisine
The Sydney outpost to Melbourne’s original restaurant, Chin Chin in Surry Hills captures the imagination from the moment you enter the heritage-listed Griffiths tea building.
Chin Chin evokes vibrant and eccentric vibes. (Image: Steven Woodburn)
Chin Chin’s buzzy ambience is unparalleled, creating a space where industrial warehouse chic, music, and pink neon lights seamlessly collide. The creative, extensive menu focuses on offering South-East Asian bold flavours, and sharing plates is recommended. Attentive staff and a dynamic drinks menu make this a high-energy experience to be remembered.
Feast on Southeast Asian flavours at Chin Chin. (Image: Steven Woodburn)
Address: Chin Chin, 69 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills
5. Mille Vini Wine Bar & Restaurant
Best for: Rustic Italian charm
An iconic staple of Crown Street, Mille Vine has emerged from its recent interior facelift and shines with bustling rustic charm. Mille Vine’s impressive new menu showcases authentic flavours with a focus on classic recipes, including the poached octopus salad and truffle pecorino drizzled with blossom honey.
A drool-worthy dish at Mille Vini Wine Bar & Restaurant.
The adventurous cocktail list and curated wine selection, with an emphasis on local producers with Italian varieties, has been designed to complement the food menu.
The Mille Vini Spaghetti is bursting with bold flavours.
While the vibes are high here every night, Wednesday evenings offer a set menu with live Jazz from 6-9 pm. Fancy brunch instead? The two-hour drink and food package is to die for, featuring bottomless limoncello or mulled wine, depending on the season.
Find an adventurous cocktail list and curated wine list.
Address: Mille Vini Wine Bar & Restaurant, 397 Crown Street, Surry Hills
6. NOMAD Sydney
Best for: Fine dining with a focus on sustainability
Nomad’s food is inspired by travels through the Middle East, Spain and Morocco. Famous for their charcuterie and flatbread staples, Nomad’s commitment to sourcing the very best produce from local growers and pursuing sustainability shines through their dynamic menu.
Savour a well-curated menu at NOMAD Sydney.
The focus of the thoughtfully curated wine list is on emerging producers and those with a dedicated commitment to organic farming practices, both locally and internationally. Nomad Sydney turned 10 this November, and their commitment to excellence in the Surry Hills culinary scene was marked by being awarded one hat in the SMH Good Food Guide Awards.
Book a table for two at NOMAD Sydney.
Address: Nomad, 16 Foster Street, Surry Hills
7. Mark and Vinny’s
Best for: Experimental Italian classics
Mark & Vinny’s takes the call of “don’t be upsetti, eat some spaghetti” very seriously, offering a buzzy, bustling experience that delights the senses in all the best ways.
The drinks menu is as tantalising as the food.
Greeted by Vinny at the door, diners are offered an innovative Italian menu that pops with unexpected colour and offers sustainable, ethical culinary delights that cater to vegans, celiacs and carnivores alike. Mark & Vinny’s creativity also delivers in their extensive spitz menu.
Vegans, celiacs and carnivores are well taken care of here.
Address: Mark & Vinny’s, g07/38-52 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills
8. The Blue Door
Best for: Ethical, producer-focused cuisine
With a seating capacity of only 18, The Blue Door celebrates ethical dining and sustainability in an intimate setting. The seven-plus course tasting menu changes each week, reflecting what Head Chef and owner Dylan Cashman is sent from farmers he has personally visited.
Slip behind the blue door into the intimate dining space. (Image: Amanda Michetti)
Complementing this meticulously planned menu is a curated wine list showcasing the best of around 150 New South Wales wines selected by wine aficionado Angelica Nohra, winner of the 2022 NSW Sommelier’s Wine List of the Year, demonstrating the Blue Door’s commitment to pairing local food with local wine.
The Blue Door celebrates ethical dining and sustainability in an intimate setting. (Image: Amanda Michetti)
Address: The Blue Door, 8/38 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills
9. Spice I Am
Best for: Authentic, innovative Thai cuisine
Spice I Am embodies authentic Thai cuisine innovation, with Head Chef Sujet Saenkham regularly travelling to Thailand to stay at the forefront of culinary developments. This is reflected in the menu, which features delicious dishes made with fresh and zesty vegetables and herbs grown in the Spice I Am farm.
The Surry Hills restaurant serves dishes made with produce from the Spice I Am farm.
Address: Spice I Am, 90 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills
10. Don’t Tell Aunty
Best for: Traditional food with a contemporary twist
Holding firm to the sacred gesture of serving others, Don’t Tell Aunty marries the traditional with the unconventional by taking the finest ingredients and breaking the rules. The restaurant ambience resonates with the pulsating energy of the kitchen, and the menu showcases creativity and thoughtful experimentation. A decadent bottomless brunch option is also on offer.
Find an eclectic menu that blends the unconventional with the traditional at Don’t Tell Aunty.
Address: Don’t Tell Aunty, 414 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
11. Bad Hombres
Best for: Vegan and gluten-free refined Mexican
The team at Bad Hombres deliver on their promise of “Bad Hombres Good food” with their Mexican plant-based restaurant. With a fully vegan and gluten free kitchen, this inventive and mouth-watering menu caters to everyone.
Enjoy vegan Mexican delights at Bad Hombres.
A friendly and frenetic atmosphere brings a party vibe that caters to big groups and couples, and diners are kept happy with the range of weekly specials, including Taco Tuesdays (3 tacos for $15) and Tequila Thursdays ($13 Margaritas).
Carnivores won’t be disappointed.
The small wine list is vegan and mostly natural, and there is a range of tequila/mezcal cocktails on offer too, including a classic frozen margarita for the hot summer months.
Cap off the night with a cocktail.
Address: Bad Hombres, 40 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills
Best for: Date night elegance
Ramen sensation Gogyo may be a chain, but it is one of a kind in the Sydney culinary scene. Founded by the acclaimed ‘Ramen King’ Shigemi Kawahara in 2003, this Surry Hills restaurant is the first location for Gogyo in Australia, following in the footsteps of restaurants in Kyoto, Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Hong Kong.
Step into the traditional Japanese restaurant, Gogyo.
With a wide selection of traditional and contemporary Japanese dishes, the standout is kogashi-style ramen, where fragrant flavours are evoked using a unique charring technique. The interior of this restaurant reflects a meticulous eye for detail, thoughtfully combining tradition with elegance.
Slurp authentic Japanese ramen at Gogyo.
Address: Gogyo, 52 – 54 Albion Street, Surry Hills
Best for: Chic and playful Lebanese flavours
Nour, a Lebanese restaurant established in 2016, has become a vibrant fixture in the Surry Hills scene. The dedicated culinary team, spearheaded by Executive Chef Paul Farag in collaboration with Head Chef Gianluca Lonati, strives to showcase traditional Middle Eastern favourites with a playful, fresh twist.
Dine inside the lavish light-filled space at Nour.
The soft, pastel colours and crisp lines of the lavish light-filled space appeal to small groups and couples alike. Tantalising bottomless brunch sharing packages are also available, should you wish to start enjoying the food earlier in the day.
Raise a glass at Nour. (Image: Jiwon Kim)
Address: Nour, 3/490 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Best for: Award-winning dry-aged steaks
The two-hatted restaurant, Porteño, currently ranks an impressive 40th in the 2023 World’s Best Steak Restaurants list. Exuding authenticity and excellence, Porteño belongs to the Porteño Group, the same team behind Bastardo, Wyno x Bodega and Humble. Co-owned by chefs Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate, the menu showcases not only tantalising steaks but a range of hand-cut speciality meats prepared on traditional grills. The lively ambience that comes from an open-plan kitchen and thoughtful selection of wines make Porteño a memorable dining experience.
Address: Porteno, 50 Holt Street, Surry Hills