Icebergs, Aria - they've been done time and time again. Gorgeous to be sure, but if you're after a great place to graze and soak up the sun in Sydney this summer (without the fuss) read on.
The Butler, Potts Point $$$ - One of our favourite spaces when the weather gets warmer. A botanically themed dining room leads out to a luxe terrace with stunning views. A well balanced menu of sharing plates covers old school dishes such as lyonnaise pork sausage rolls and steak frites to modern creations like jerk tofu with green chilli salsa. A well stocked bar will have you dining here with absolute content from day to night.
Crinitis, Woolloomooloo $$$ - The italian institution Crinitis has multiple locations but it's the wharf-side Woolloomooloo outlet that makes eating pasta slurpingly good. With too many options on their extensive menu to order without having serious FOMO, we recommend the reasonably priced $59 4 course banquet that includes a starter, pasta, main and dessert. Two thumbs up for a sausage rigatoni and nutella pizza. Bellissimo!
The Boathouse, Shelly Beach Manly $$ - The Boathouse operation is slick and bustling. Despite the DIY service (find your own table, menu on the wall, order at the counter), the vibe is bright and fun. Flatbreads, dips and burgers come out quickly and are beautifully done. If you're feeling fancy champagne buckets are on hand and extremely popular while watching the surf.
The Royal Hotel, Paddington $$ - The recently revamped Royal Hotel sits pretty on a quiet street in Paddington. Even more pretty is the interior, where the upstairs dining room is light filled and intimate. Extending outside is a wrap around terrace, perfect for al fresco meals in summer. Waffle fries, charcuterie boards and heirloom tomato salads get the palate going. Mains of schnitzel and pumpkin ravioli are wholly satisfying too. Head upstairs to the rooftop when you're done for a drink with an urban view.
Woollahra Hotel, Woollahra $$ - A really relaxed environment, the Woollahra Hotel is great for after work drinks and a quick feed. With a bright greenhouse-style dining space, pizzas, burgers and super food salads hit the spot when you've got the munchies. But perhaps Woollahra's biggest drawcard is it's cocktail menu. With a section dedicated to G&T's with different accents and mixes, we could quite happily work our way through the entire list on a balmy afternoon.
Catalina, Rose Bay $$$ - Catalina does modern fine dining without the fuss. Perched on the water in Rose Bay, Catalina has a seafood menu to match. Lobster fettuccine, freshly shucked oysters and crispy skin barramundi are light and fresh. If you're after a snack, the sushi menu is worth a try. Finish with a glass of rose and you're set.