Ready to soak in the great outdoors? You don’t have to go far to do it. If you’re craving a warming bowl of pasta with a view or looking for a cosy mezze lunch in Sydney’s groovy inner west, here are three great outdoor dining options to enjoy while the weather’s still warm.
Top-shelf Italian food, check. Outdoor dining, check. A stunning harbourside location, check. Yes, Otto Ristorante on Woolloomooloo’s Finger Wharf really does tick all the boxes. And while it’s great for either lunch or dinner, there’s something just so romantic about supper by the harbour. The lapping of the water against the old wooden wharf, the uneven Sydney skyline jutting up towards the stars, and a cool, salty breeze set a romantic scene. Once seated, sipping on Otto Mules made with a zesty blend of vodka, ginger beer, fresh lime, and mint, you and your sweetheart can’t think of anywhere you’d rather be. You kick off dinner by sharing an antipasto plate of culatello proscuitto, which is soft, salty, and delicious with the goat’s cheese and figs accompanying it. For the main course, your honey opts for a juicy, woodfire-grilled Wagyu, while you savour tagliolini, a striking dish of black and white pasta, Moreton Bay bugs, cherry tomatoes, and a dash of chilli. You’re not even hungry for dessert, but you can’t bid farewell to the stunning view just yet, and Otto Ristorante’s melt-in-your-mouth coconut panna cotta, with crumble and ice-cream, is your reason for staying put.
The Grounds of Alexandria
Entering this popular urban outdoor dining spot, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled into someone’s secret garden. The Grounds of Alexandria is a whimsical wonderland of hanging plants, fresh flowers, and rustic wrought iron furniture, proving that old industrial precincts can be turned into something special. A café, coffee roaster, and sustainable garden are all part of The Grounds, which boasts cosy corners to eat, be it under fairy lights or next to a fountain. There’s even a mini farm complete with chickens, goats, ducks, and the famous pig, Kevin Bacon. But once you’ve petted the animals and sipped an organic juice, it’s time for food. Do you and your partner head to The Café to grab a takeaway detox salad? Or a juicy burger from The Garden’s quintessentially Australian coal BBQ? Surrounded by herbs, edible flowers, and the chilled al fresco vibe, you opt for beef burgers you can eat on the hop. They’re hot, succulent, and served in a soft bun with salsa and a dollop of deliciously spicy chimichurri sauce. Mmm! Thankfully, you still have room for one of the tantalising cakes in the café, and maybe a coffee for the road at The Potting Shed.
Newtown’s vibrant King Street is so full of places to eat, you could very well walk right past Corridor, a tiny wine bar with a fun ambience and all manner of nooks and corners to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat. You and your pal opt for the sun-dappled upstairs deck, which is small but offers unique outdoor dining with its rustic banquettes, rough wooden tables, and long, skinny bar. You grab a seat and take a sip of your South Side cocktail, basking in the refreshing kick of gin, mint, and lemon. Your friend, however, is getting stuck into a crisp Chockstone Riesling from Victoria’s Grampions region, and both of you can’t wait for lunch. Finally, it arrives. You both dive for the shoestring fries first; they’re dusted with paprika and sublime when dunked into the smooth Japanese mayo. Next is a plate heaped with salt and pepper squid and corn slaw. You find the squid’s crispy, the slaw’s crunchy, and the chilli jam delivers a delicious kick. Your friend, munching on the chicken burger with prosciutto, char-grilled zucchini, and aioli, gives the thumbs up when you suggest another drink. As the sun dips lower and jazz filters in from the musicians playing inside, you’re both pretty happy to stick around.