Five Venues That Delivered Something Special In 2023

Jackie McMillan
1st Jan 2024

The final five best spots Sydney Scoop would like to mention all delivered something special in 2023. Each of them have a little star quality, some je ne sais quoi, if you like. Maybe it’s a cuisine update we’ve been hanging out for, or a well-priced feed-me option, or being the whole food-drinks-setting-service package, or showing particular creativity or excellence on the plates. Whatever it is, these final five dining spots all hit us in the sweet spot during 2023.

Raja (Kings Cross) felt like the contemporary Indian update we’ve been waiting for. Ahana Hutt punches flavour but has a lightness of touch that means the taste of our top-notch oysters shine through. Even her butter chook is a winner. It’s on the $79 set menu which caps the price of eating here...

Sonora (Kings Cross) stood out in a year where vast improvements to Sydney’s Mexican-inspired cuisine seemed to be popping up everywhere. Putting so much texture and taste into guacamole was a game-changer. Owner/chef Roy McVeigh is one to watch in the year ahead...

St Alma (Freshwater) is the place to get your spicy Marg and a good coastal Mexican feed. Consider a sleepover to make the most of their mezcal list, and catch the best conditions at the beach on the morning after a big night before. 

Itò (Surry Hills) is a light, simple solution to the increasing complexity of the everyday life, its dishes scream "Sydney Now". The louvred restaurant windows look out to both a green laneway and busy Crown Street. Itò has career waiters with pedigree, a superior drinks list, elevated dishes with a Japanese aesthetic, and multiple ways to eat as much or as little as you like.

Botswana Butchery (Sydney CBD) across multiple reviews under different chefs Botswana Butchery at 25 Martin Place has produced a deeply satisfying all round experience, running from perfectly crafted delicious food to professional, correct-yet-warm service. All the boxes are ticked:  from sourcing great produce, to treating it well, and presenting it beautifully.