For many of us, lunch is little more than a sandwich hurriedly eaten at our desk. Which means we’ve more than earned the time it takes to enjoy a long, leisurely lunch this summer. Spoilt with a hometown that straddles harbour, sea and river outlooks, Sydneysiders know such a meal has a few necessary accompaniments: a water view, great food, good wine and company, of course. Take a seat at these Sydney restaurants for a lunch that lingers far past the last spoonful of dessert.
The scatter of harbour lights may twinkle at night but during the day, the whole sweep of Circular Quay positively shimmers. Admire the comings and goings of this busy harbour city with lunch at a celebrated restaurant where the operative word is wonderfully ‘long’. On Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays (and Thursdays throughout December), diners have a choice of a six or ten-course menu, with wine pairing options also available. If there’s one thing that can tear your eyes away from that view, it’s a multi-course meal expertly crafted by Peter Gilmore.
Berowra Waters Inn, Berowra
Is there anything more Sydney than a restaurant only accessible via water? Perhaps a building made of local sandstone and corrugated tin– all of which the atmospheric Berowra Waters Inn has. It also boasts a delicious menu sourced from top Australian producers (Wagyu from Darling Downs, goat’s cheese from Castlemaine), as well as a relaxed view out over the Hawkesbury River from its perch on the banks of one of the tributaries.
This fine-dining institution has been putting the wind in the sails of the Sydney Opera House for decades. Although it’s particularly popular preceding a show, its expansive eye over the glistening harbour make for a perfect lunchtime experience, too. On Thursdays and Fridays, The House Lunch gives diners a choice of relaxed two or three-course meal; crispy confit duck or a stracciatella-strewn spring salad are some of the options. On other days, the choice is made deliciously tricky with the a la carte menu, rotating inclusions of locally-flecked food including smoked David Blackmore Wagyu tartare or spanner crab congee.
Bather’s Pavilion, Mosman
Gleaming white at the edge of Balmoral Beach’s lapping waters, Bather’s Pavilion distills the relaxed feeling of its surrounding North Shore neighbourhood. Ease into a lunch here with Moreton Bay Bug tail with macadamia and smoked butter, as well a 350-label-strong wine list. Another reason to stay for longer than a quick bite? The recently opened Louis Terrace, a champagne bar overlooking the water, begs for a toast (or two).
Aussies love to linger over a pile of fresh seafood, giving waterside OTTO the ultimate drawcard. Here, the sea’s treasures are carefully prepared, often tossed through handmade pasta (case in point: the strozzapreti thrown together with king prawns and chilli) or left to their own delicious devices, as is the case with a entree plate of raw scallop, orange and pickled fennel. Lunch is certainly a group affair, with a BYO, three-course sharing menu for groups of eight or more.
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Bondi
A sea breeze. Views of an ocean pool. The curl of the city's most famous beach stretching into the distance. A seat at Icebergs is a quintessentially Australian one, making the breezy Bondi eatery a perennial choice for a midday affair. It owes its dependability both to the view and its menu, a collection of Italian dishes with a laidback, oh-so-Bondi approach. Think sustainably caught fish drenched in anchovy butter or a hand-cut spaghetti dotted with Moreton Bay Bug, with a refreshing spritz on the side, of course.
Making the pilgrimage to the Northern Beaches reaps two rewards – the stunning natural beauty of cliff-sheltered Freshwater and the menu at the Sardinian-influenced eatery Pilu. Sun streams in through the windows of this beacon-like restaurant, ensuring a lunch is drenched in a feeling of summer laziness. You’ll need some strength to make a dent in the sprawling seven-course degustation menu, however - you’ll be eased in by Juncu cheese ravioli with blueberries and hand line caught fish with smoked bottarga before stretching into snapper and suckling pig.
Jonah's, Whale Beach
If Icebergs personifies Bondi, Jonah's personifies Whale Beach, a sleepy hamlet at the almost-tip of the Barrenjoey Peninsula. Perched high above the cove, the view is unbeatable and the food is just as exceptional – a seasonal a la carte menu is tempting but the frutti di mare is an unmistakably good choice. Our advice? Make it a really long lunch and stay the night—the attached hotel offers luxurious accomodation.