From 1929 onwards The Bathers’ Pavilion operated as a giant changing room for Sydney beach goers. 70 years on it was converted to The Bathers’ Pavilion restaurant and café – one of Sydney’s waterside gems overlooking Balmoral Beach. On one side the fine dining restaurant is the perfect spot for special occasions, with prices as you’d expect for an established chef’s hatted restaurant. On the other side the café is casual and affordable – arrive in thongs with salty hair and linger over the affordable Mediterranean inspired menu. It’s no bookings in the café so be prepared to queue at peak times, or go for a late lunch or early dinner when your chances of securing one of the ‘front row’ water view tables is much higher.
4 The Esplanade, Balmoral +61 2 9969 5050
Catalina turned 20 in 2014 – a sign of the enduring popularity of this Eastern Suburbs institution. Catalina sits right in the middle of stunning Rose Bay, just a few short steps from the wharf. Arrive and depart by ferry to make the most of the setting. Or have an only-in-Sydney experience and orbit the Opera House and Harbour Bridge before landing outside in a Sydney Seaplane. Water views? Yes. From every table? Almost – the curved design and floor to ceiling windows means you’ll be unlucky to land a table without a view. Good food? Of course, Catalina’s chef’s hatted menu takes inspiration from all things French, Italian and Spanish and focuses on the careful sourcing of produce. Catalina is a ‘dress your best’ restaurant (with Charlize Theron, Al Pacino and Hugh Jackman as previous guests, you never know who you might bump into).
Park, Rose Bay, Sydney +61 2 9371 0555
Perched atop a hill beside one of Australia’s most iconic beaches, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar has expansive views of Bondi Beach. Waves, swimmers, surfers and sunrises – it’s all here for the taking. It’s a view that’s been immortalised in 100s of thousands of postcards over the years, and more recently a view that’s now admired in homes across the globe (Aquabumps prints of course). With this context you may think then that Icebergs is all about the view. But with head chef Monty Koludrovic in the kitchen, it’s the food that trumps all else. The menu is often changing, based on the seasonality of produce. Black Kingfish with pickled spelt, rye, trout roe and radish salad looks and tastes like high art. Icebergs Modern Pavlova with Grapefruit & Campari Granita, Creme Fraiche, Beetroot Sorbet & Meringue is both unique and divine. So find an occasion where you can justify a hit on the credit card to feed your eyes with a cracking view and your stomach with Italian inspired, forget your worries, food.
1 Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach +61 2 9365 9000
There’s possibly no better way to while away a few hours with fine food than with a 360 degree view of Sydney (47 ear popping levels above the ground). Even better you don’t have to move an inch to get the whole view – O Bar & Dining is a rotating restaurant where the view really does come to you. Acclaimed chef and owner Michael Moore’s menu is inspired by his personal healthy eating philosophy. But don’t read too much into this – the contemporary fine dining food is as good for your soul as for your skin. Michael and Head Chef Darren Templeman strike a clever balance – to "leave you feeling indulged as well as energised". Try the generous burrata di bufala with cashew pesto or rumpsteak tartare with chilli spices and you’ll see what they mean. But don’t stop there – O Bar & Dining is a surprise in the sky with food that’s as Instagram-worthy as the (pictured) view.
Level 47, Australia Square, 264 George Street, Sydney +61 2 9247 9777
To most Australian foodies Quay is famous for a combination of the ‘snow egg’ dessert, its Executive Chef Peter Gilmore and for consistently being awarded 3 Chefs Hats. The restaurant is also a regular on San Pelligrino’s World’s Best 50 Restaurants list. So it’s clear – the food is among the best Australia (and the world) has to offer. Beyond the food Quay also boasts a unique harbourside location – sitting on the upper level of the Overseas Passenger Terminal overlooking Circular Quay. It’s been praised over the years for the experience created by the excellence in food and service combined with a unique ‘trifecta of water, Harbour Bridge and Opera House views’. Put Quay on your celebration dining bucket list – and be sure to book early because it books out months in advance.
Upper level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks +61 2 9251 5600
And in case that's not enough Sydney for you, here’s five more Sydney restaurants with a view: