Like a Local: Best Restaurants in Darlinghurst, Sydney

by Alyx Sariol  |  Published July 30, 2018

Once the home of Sydney’s red light district, the Darlinghurst neighborhood has since transformed into a bustling hub of shopping, drinking and dining.

Hip eateries like Brick Lane line the streets of Darlinghurst (Photo: Brick Lane)

Darlinghurst is located just east of Sydney’s city center and is a popular place to find an afternoon snack and cocktail or a satisfying dinner. Darlinghurst’s dining scene offers everything from Italian to Chinese to Indian restaurants, at a range of price points.

With so many great options in one neighborhood, it can be hard to choose a place for an upcoming meal. Below, we’ve highlighted a variety of Darlinghurst’s best restaurants worth visiting on your next trip to the neighborhood.

Bar Tapa

A selection of Bar Tapa’s most popular menu items (Photo: Bar Tapa)

The dining experience at Bar Tapa is “Unapologetically Spanish.” The menu was inspired by the owner’s childhood in Spain and includes family recipes, as well as classic Spanish dishes. For a quick snack, the most popular tapas options include Patatas Bravas, fried potatoes with spicy bravas sauce; Pulpo a la Gallega, octopus over potato with smoky paprika; and Croquetas del Dia. Their Paella pairs nicely with a house Martini or Sangria. They also offer more substantial Platos Fuertes (main courses), like Roasted Lamb with Chimichurri and Arroz Negro, rice cooked with seafood and squid ink. Bar Tapa is a great option for lunch, dinner and late night eats, as they’re open till midnight Tuesday through Saturday.

78 Stanley Street

Brick Lane

A spread of “Unconventional-Subcontinental” food at Brick Lane (Photo: Brick Lane)

Drawing inspiration from Indian restaurants lining a London street of the same name, Brick Lane serves up a unique take on traditional Indian dishes. In fact, this hip Darlinghurst eatery has coined a name for its tasty twist on classic Indian and Bangladeshi fare: Unconventional-Subcontinental food. Here, Tandoori chicken goes a step further as Tandoori Chicken Cheeseburger Spring Rolls, a crowd favorite. Diners also love the King Prawn Curry Leaf, as well as the Naan-Mi, with roti bread, roasted pork belly, and spiced pate. Not sure what to choose? Opt for the $50 Feast, which includes eight dishes and bottomless wine and beer. Dinner is served Tuesday to Saturday, from 6-10pm. Reservations are recommended.

75 Stanley Street

The Commons Local Eating House

The historic farmhouse setting of The Commons (Photo: The Commons Local Eating House)

The Commons Local Eating House is located in an historic Darlinghurst farmhouse with heritage sandstone walls. Their European-inspired menu features dishes made with seasonal, locally sourced products from Sydney suppliers. The Commons’ most popular dinner items include the duck liver parfait and Pappardelle with beef ragout. They do a Sunday Roast starting at 12pm on Sundays, with a rotating selection of meats served with seasonal veggies and red wine jus. In addition to their delicious food, The Commons is also known for their signature cocktails, like the Barrel Aged Banana and Cinnamon Old Fashioned and the Barrel Aged Negroni. Dinner is served Tuesday through Sunday, with special day time dining hours Thursday through Sunday.

32 Burton Street

The Buffalo Dining Club

Cheese reigns supreme at the Buffalo Dining Club. This mozzarella bar imports cheeses from Campania, Italy three times a week to create seasonal, high-quality dishes. An order of cheese, like the Buffalo Mozzarella or Caprino (goat cheese), is served with two sides like marinated Sicilian olives or zucchini fritters. They can also be paired with an order of San Daniele prosciutto or Bresaola with horseradish. Cheese is also the focus of their pasta dishes: Cacio e Pepe made in a Pecorino cheese wheel and Gnocchi made with buffalo ricotta. The Buffalo Dining Club is open Tuesday through Saturday and the last Sunday of every month.

116 Surrey Street

Madame Shanghai

Madame Shanghai’s popular soft shell crab with tomato chilli sauce (Photo: Madame Shanghai)

Old school elegance and contemporary Chinese cuisine come together at Madame Shanghai. The 90-seat restaurant transports diners back to 1930s Shanghai, when the Chinese city was known as the “Paris of the East.” The dining room features playful colors and Chinoiserie décor to complement the menu, which is served Chinese BBQ style and made to share. Their most popular dish is the soft shell crab with tomato chilli sauce and grilled milk bread. Their cocktail bar is known for its views overlooking Hyde Park, which bring to mind the luscious gardens of Shanghai. Madame Shanghai is open for dinner Tuesday and Wednesday, and for lunch and dinner Thursday through Saturday.

18 College Street


The cozy interior at Casoni (Photo: Casoni)

Casoni is the place to go for fresh made pasta in Darlinghurst. They feature a special “Pasta of the Week,” but are most known for their pumpkin ravioli with pistachios, burnt butter and sage. Starter “Snacks” include olives, cacio e pepe donuts and a salumi and cheese board. Dessert options are ginger panna cotta, quince and rhubarb crumble, ‘budino’ amedei chocolate, peanut butter and raspberry. Their cozy outdoor patio is the ideal place to enjoy an Aperol Spritz during Happy Hour (5-6:30pm) on a beautiful day. Dinner is available Tuesday-Saturday and reservations are recommended. For night owls, the bar menu is served from 10pm until closing.

371 – 373 Bourke Street

Almond Bar

Middle Eastern cuisine and hospitality shine at Almond Bar, an award-winning and family-owned restaurant. The menu features dishes – both traditional and modern – that are best shared among friends and family. Almond Bar’s signature calamari is grilled with lemon, oregano and olive oil and is a diner favorite. The Chef’s Syrian Duck, with cabbage, Syrian fig jam and pomegranate, is also popular. For indecisive diners, Almond Bar offers two set menus that includes a sampling of their most popular dips, salads and plates. Almond Bar is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, with a special breakfast service the first Sunday of each month.

379 Liverpool Street