BIG POPPA'S
96 Oxford St, Sydney

We arrived…

a little before 8pm on a Tuesday evening, with no reservation. The cosy, candlelit restaurant was buzzing but there was still room for us at a table near the bar. The staff were delightfully welcoming and quick to set us up with both water and wine.

Big Poppa's is a late night restaurant located on the main strip of Oxford Street in Darlinghurst. Photo / Instagram
Big Poppa's is a late night restaurant located on the main strip of Oxford Street in Darlinghurst. Photo / Instagram

We chose here because…

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it came recommended by friends in Sydney, who are regulars at the restaurant upstairs and the more vibrant downstairs bar area. Its central location is perfect for those staying anywhere in the city or surrounding suburbs.

Our first impression was… excellent choice. This is the perfect spot for a casual-yet-intimate catch up with friends. The small dining room is comfortable and stylish, with bottles of wine lining the exposed brick walls.

Big Poppa's serves Italian food by chef Liam O'Driscoll. Photo / Instagram
Big Poppa's serves Italian food by chef Liam O'Driscoll. Photo / Instagram

We started with…

salumi ($30) which featured a selection of three cured meats, along with tangy pickled tomatoes. This was quickly followed by the peppers, which came with smoked eggplant, goat's curd, hazelnuts and chilli. Both were excellent.

The highlight was… the mouth-wateringly tender Brasato di Manzo (A$32) - braised beef with fava bean puree and gremolata. The generous portion easily served three people (along with other sharing plates) and was, we all agreed, some of the best beef we've ever tasted. We were also incredibly impressed with the Roman beans & broccolini ($22), smothered in creamy stracciatella and chilli.

They serve up a huge selection of hand-curated wines, gourmet cheeses, authentic italian dishes and non-stop hip hop music until 3am every night. Photo / Instagram
They serve up a huge selection of hand-curated wines, gourmet cheeses, authentic italian dishes and non-stop hip hop music until 3am every night. Photo / Instagram

Dessert was…

limited to just two choices – both of which were gluten-free (a rare feat in any restaurant, let alone an Italian one). In fact, the entire menu is surprisingly gluten-free friendly, with only two pasta dishes off-limits to those with an intolerance. Those suffering dairy allergies, however, best look elsewhere...

Come here if… You're looking for somewhere cool, casual and delicious to make the most of your time in Sydney. If you time it right, you can always head downstairs to kick on at one of Sydney's coolest night spots, known for its cocktails, hip-hop and cheese. (Yes, you read that correctly... Big Poppa's prides itself on its extensive cheese selection, imported from Europe.) It's also a great spot for night owls, with the kitchen serving late night eats until 3am.

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The bill… came to a pretty reasonable A$212 for three people, including a decent bottle of shiraz.