Work requires lunch out with clients regularly. Most times I go to a tried and true list of close by good but nothing special places. But it is good to have a list of places to go with your “better friends” that are a bit special.
My criteria to select this list was:
- In CBD itself—not CBD adjacent, which is usually to far, complicated for work lunch
- Able to book at short notice
- Good food, nice space, good service.
- Well priced—more than cheap and cheerful, less than, “nice but expensive” and
- There is something memorable about it.
Light and airy space under Australia Square. Great food, big and interesting wine list, happy patrons, helpful staff. All good.
Menu is a treat—all sorts of things you have had before—but presented in a new and delicious way. We think we are too cool to take pictures of the food—but an exception should be made here as it looks as good as it tastes.
Interior design reflects the menu’s marriage of traditional and modern. Large white light fixtures, blond-oak tables and chairs, while bespoke brass and Perspex mobiles hang overhead.
Perfect for a sunny day—classy place to feel good.
Mercado offers a share-style menu inspired by the Mediterranean, with Spanish cuisine being a particular focus.
While there are plenty of yum vegetables to eat here, the meat courses really shine. Mercado works with small farmers, growers and producers, sourcing finest ingredients, so the menu changes with the best that is available on the day.
4 Ash St, Sydney
A bit dark and hidden, perfect for what might be a long lunch.
Excellent small French restaurant with wonderful food. The menu is what you expect for French restaurant. The menu is listed online. They will have a number of specials too and are always worth a look.
The wine list is limited, there are excellent their wines by the glass. There should be something to suit all tastes (provided you like French food). Room is small so booking needed. Atmosphere is good and the staff are attentive. A great venue for lunch with friends.
Small room but always lively with a great atmosphere.
Located near Circular Quay, Tapavino is a Spanish tapas place split into two levels. Upstairs will be for those who thought ahead and made a booking in advance, while the ground floor, the bar and the outside seating has ample seating for the less organised walk-ins.
Big long list of tapas. Some mainstays, some unexpected, usually lots of specials. Lots of new things to try or stick to your favourites. You can’t really go wrong. Excellent food and wine, excellent atmosphere, squashy upstairs a bit loud, good fun for lunch or dinner.
6-8 Bulletin Place Sydney
Two levels with great atmosphere. Upstairs will require a booking and the downstairs is a more casual bar and outdoor seating experience.
Ragazzi is a small Italian café in Angel Place back alley.
This one breaks rule of easy to book—but if you are a planner a lunch here is well worth the advance effort.
Scott Williams who heads up the kitchen is a gifted pasta-crafter . Pasta specials on the day are terrific. The regular food and drink on menu have never failed to please. Relaxed and casual lunch.
Ragazzi’s menu is not extensive, a few starters, six or so pastas, two – three bigger protein-led dishes, salads or greens followed by desserts and cheese.
Small Italian café in the back alley of Angel Place. Ragazzi is not a tablecloth fancy service place. Pre-Covid it was a bit snuggly but now it is spaced out as required. Making booking a bit harder. Ragazzi has a large table that works well for a small group.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’
Outdoor furniture is not what it used to be. Long gone are the rickety timber settings and faded plastic chairs. Thanks to innovations in surface development, outdoor furniture and fabrics can now be hard to distinguish from their indoor counterparts. Water, UV and mould resistant, they have been engineered to withstand weather conditions while still maintaining their good looks. With summer almost here, we’ve assembled our best 10 outdoor furniture retailers to ensure that when the sun comes out, you’re ready to enjoy your own great outdoors.
Susan and Gordon Tait started their outdoor furniture business in 1992 with a commitment to Australian designed and made outdoor furniture created to withstand local conditions. Thirty years later, they have an enviable reputation for sustainability, offsetting 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide and diverting almost a tonne of soft plastic from landfill each year, as well as continuing to manufacture out of Melbourne. Oh, and their ranges of steel and timber chairs, tables, benches and accessories have a timeless beauty and durability that makes them incredibly desirable.
Another business committed to sustainable practices, Mamagreen furniture is manufactured using materials that are either recycled or can be recycled. More than 90 percent of the teak Mamagreen uses is sourced from old buildings, with the remaining timber from managed plantations. If you’re looking for that resort feel at home, this is the place to go. In fact, their products can be found in hotels around Australia. We love the circular Begonia lounge, which is perfect for hosting friends while, for shade, you can’t go past the flexible Sombrero shade.
This Australian business headed up by Anthony Spon-Smith has been making great strides with its outdoor furniture ranges in recent years. Perhaps more than any other of the leading brands, the outdoor furniture looks and feels like the indoor equivalent, with upholstered seating (designed to get wet and dry off quickly) and chunky timber or stone-look tables and pedestals. Taking inspo from Mediterranean resorts like the French or Italian Riveras, this is one brand worth staying home for.
Founded in 2008 on an ethos of Live Life Well, Cosh Living offers a comprehensive range of products for outdoor use, from pots, tables and chairs, through to outdoor lighting, rugs, daybeds and more. With leading brands such as Manutti, Tribu, Dedon and Coast at their disposal, the look is one of relaxed sophistication, whether it’s a bean bag poolside or an oversized sofa on the deck. With such an extensive range of products, this is one company where a visit to the showroom is useful, to help coordinate your look.
Equally well known for their range of outdoor building supplies such as pavers, walling and pool surfaces, Eco Outdoor’s selection of outdoor furniture is just as popular, thanks to its focus on European styling and durability. Specifically designed for outdoor living, there’s everything from outdoor dining tables and chairs in teak, wicker or aluminium through to lounges, beanbags and umbrellas. With showrooms in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, you can drop in and assess the quality for yourself.
Whatever you need to furnish your outdoor space, chances are Satara has it. From lounge chairs and barstools to outdoor rugs and pot stands, this retailer has everything you need to create a comfortable and stylish outdoor space. With showrooms in most capital cities, you can experience the quality for yourself before making a final purchase. Designs range from classic Australian style through to contemporary Euro.
If it’s flexible outdoor furniture with modern lines you’re after, check out the range of sofas, coffee tables and dining suites from GlobeWest. Materials range from teak and aluminium to woven resin and ceramic in contemporary styles suited to a variety of architectural styles. Available direct to trade, the website also has an easy stockist search option to locate your nearest retailer.
There’s a reason why this legendary outdoor furniture supplier has been in business for more than 40 years. Known for its classic, durable outdoor furniture, Cotswold has longstanding associations with brands such as Vincent Sheppard and Fast Outdoor Lifestyle, as well as Cotswold Teak. While their loyal client base loves the classics, including Lloyd Loom and teak Adirondack chairs, this company has continued to evolve and innovate with contemporary ranges designed to stand the test of time.
It’s hard to go past Ikea for knockabout, versatile outdoor furniture that retains a sense of style. If you have an outdoor space to fill, chances are Ikea has the chair, lounge, outdoor table or accessories to fill it. We particularly love the classic moulded frame of the Skarpo chair (pictured) but could be persuaded by the highback woven Hogsten chair. For smaller spaces, the Torparo is a great shelf or mini table you can attach to the railing or fence.
This largely online furniture retailer initially sought to provide adaptable, compact furniture for the apartment market in Singapore. As it turns out, it’s a great fit for the Australian market too, as backyards and balcony spaces decrease in size. The range of dining and lounge suites is classic, with slimline armrests and legs. Colours are limited to greys and beiges but could easily be brightened up with accent cushions if that’s your style.
How do I choose the right outdoor dining setting for me?
While many of the same principles apply whether you’re dining indoors or out, the big difference is the weather. Outdoor furniture can take a beating if it is exposed to UV and rain for extended periods of time, so your choice will depend on whether your furniture will at least have some covering or will most likely be completely in the elements. Aluminium furniture can be a great option because it is lightweight and easy to move around, while teak ages to silver grey when left in the sun. If space is a factor, folding or stackable chairs can be useful.
What’s the difference between indoor lounge cushions and the ones on outdoor lounges?
Outdoor cushions are specially designed for the weather conditions, with quick dry foam inserts to allow water to drain away relatively fast. They’re also covered with UV, water and mould resistant fabrics specified for outdoor use. Sunbrella is the market leader for outdoor fabrics in Australia and uses solution dyed acrylic to create fabrics that are almost indiscernible from their indoor equivalents. Interior designers have been known to specify high quality outdoor fabrics for use in high traffic indoor spaces, such as family and rumpus rooms.
I have an outdoor space I want to furnish. Should I choose a lounge suite or a dining setting?
It’s really a lifestyle decision here. If you enjoy entertaining friends regularly, a dining setting might be the most useful option. In some homes, outdoor dining might also provide a bit more room to move, making it a great option for hosting bigger groups. However, if you already have an indoor dining setting facing onto the outdoor space, there’s not much point doubling up. An outdoor lounge can create a flexible space for casual relaxation, or somewhere to sit to enjoy coffee or drinks with friends before or after dinner.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’