Lisa “Jack” Dempsey, of luxury Australian fashion label Jac+ Jack, has called Bondi Beach home for more than 20 years and says the beachy Sydney suburb brims with “so many exceptional places, all within walking distance”. Here are some of the stylish haunts she frequents.
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar
I love the Icebergs Dining Room. It’s iconic – such an elegant space overlooking the ocean and it’s a great place to catch up with friends. The restaurant is on the travel itinerary for many but it also sees a lot of regulars, including me. The highlights include the seasonal Italian menu, impeccable service and great people-watching.
Bondi Icebergs pool and gym
Health and fitness are a big part of my lifestyle so I spend a lot of time at the Bondi Icebergs pool and gym. It’s gritty and unpretentious – almost like working out in a friend’s garage but with spectacular views of the ocean. We all know each other and there’s a real sense of trust; you feel safe leaving your keys lying around. It’s small and intimate and has everything you need: outdoor pool, sauna, gym, massage and great coffee.
Understated and relaxed, Sean’s Panaroma is a Bondi institution and an absolute favourite among locals. This small, quaint restaurant delivers a seasonal menu reflective of [chef and owner] Sean Moran’s world-class farm-to-table philosophy. Sean and the staff, who’ve been there for years, create an intimate atmosphere. The restaurant only seats a few people; it feels a bit like going to someone’s house for dinner. It’s exceptional food with a warm atmosphere and you can enjoy your meal with the sound of waves breaking nearby.
SEE ALSO: The Insider’s Guide to Bondi Beach
Da Orazio Pizza & Porchetta
The fun, casual atmosphere at Da Orazio Pizza & Porchetta makes it one of my top picks. It’s always busy and consistently good. It’s a weekly haunt for me that’s great with friends or for a solo octopus salad at the bar. The entire menu is good and if you’re a Negroni-cocktail lover, I’d recommend one of those, too.
Dorzio's pizza is hard to beat. Image via Dorazio.
Earth Food Store
My regular morning stop – and the best coffee in Bondi Beach – can be found at Earth Food Store. Caroline Attwooll has owned Earth Food Store for more than 20 years and is supported by a strong community following.
While they do a great breakfast, The Shop is one of my special late-afternoon spots. It’s a tiny restaurant and wine bar with just a handful of tables and seating that spills out onto the sidewalk. It’s a bit of a suntrap in the afternoons – the perfect time to sample their impressive wine selection and tasty small plates.
Bondi-to-Bronte coastal walk
Jac [business partner Jacqueline “Jac” Hunt] and I often talk about how we love our relaxed Australian lifestyle. We love our city and how close to nature we are. The Bondi-to-Bronte coastal walk is a four-kilometre track that meanders along the coastline, past cliffs, beach and rocky foreshore. The scenery along the coastline is stunning.
For a bit of relaxation, a visit to Enishi massage centre has become a weekly ritual for me. Originally started on Bondi Road, there are now three locations – two of them in Bondi Beach. Designed by a Japanese architect, the interior is a really gentle, calming space. Of the various treatments on the menu, the shiatsu massage is my favourite.
Another one of my go-tos is Bills on Hall Street. I’ve known [owner and chef] Bill Granger for years and we’ve worked together, with Jac+Jack collaborating on the uniforms for [his London restaurants] Granger & Co. It’s simply great, clean, healthy, modern Australian food.
Image supplied by Bills.
Bonditony’s Burger Joint
After work on a Friday, Bonditonys Burger Joint is a great spot to start the weekend. [Owner] Tony [Gosden] is a character and very welcoming. There’s always good music – mostly old-school tunes – and a lively atmosphere that draws a nice crowd.
The Bucket List
For a bit of fun, The Bucket List bar and eatery at the Bondi Pavilion is the place for beachfront frivolity. Started by a group of locals, the venue is a popular spot with the younger crowd but the big garden bar, with its unbeatable location overlooking the beach, draws a mix of locals and visitors of all ages.