Banjo Paterson Cottage Restaurant (Gladesville)
The setting is an 1830s sandstone cottage, overlooking Parramatta River. It's named after the bush poet who lived there while studying at Sydney Grammar. The venue may be laced with history, but the menu is modern Australian done very well.
Make sure you try: Seared Kangaroo. Tender and full of flavour, executive chef Marco Bonanni proves how tasty 'roo can be when done properly.
Top tip: Vegetarians are often forgotten when it comes to fine dining, but the dedicated section of the menu here is varied and delicious.
Cafe Sydney (Circular Quay)
Customs House is the iconic building opposite Circular Quay station. This rooftop restaurant offers amazing views of the harbour, and boasts top-notch service and fresh, flavoursome dishes.
Make sure you try: The dessert platter. At $50 it is not only a value proposition, but the perfect way to sample what are arguably Cafe Sydney's greatest strengths.
Top tip: Book months ahead to secure an outside table.
Nomad (Surry Hills)
There are no natural wonders of the world or city skylines in sight, but pulling up a stool alongside the open-plan kitchen is almost analogous to watching a show or sporting match. Except instead of a choc-top or hot chips there's some of the best food in Sydney, with a brilliant wine list.
Make sure you try: The Baba Ghanoush. It's hard to go wrong with anything on the ever-changing menu, but pomegranate and smokey flavours make this a perfect way to start.
Top tip: You can order some of the boutique wines available on the restaurant's website, while it occasionally invites makers along to help host wine dinners.
North Bondi Fish (North Bondi)
The clientele at this Matt Moran venture is a mix of brooding hipsters, bronzed bodies, babbling families and B-grade celebrities. But most importantly, the vibe is chilled unpretentious. The deck is perfectly positioned to admire the lapping waves and chaos that is Bondi. Woodfired Yamba prawns and Moreton Bay Bugs are the highlights of some sensational seafood options.
Make sure you try: Alcoholic popsicles. Pick your poison - Mojito, Espresso Martini or Blood orange Negorini. On a summer's day, they all go down about as good as they sound. The home-made sodas are minus alcohol and equally refreshing.
Top tip: The weekday menu is slightly cheaper.
Getting there: All the major airlines offer numerous routes at a range of prices.
Staying there: QT Hotel is a short walk from Cafe Sydney and Circular Quay. Prices start at $320.