A Guide to Sydney Celebrity Chef Restaurants

Even before Masterchef hit our screens chef’s across Australia had begun to achieve celebrity status with their international awards, cookbook deals and TV shows. These days we are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining on the creations of these food rockstars. 

If you want to try out some Sydney celebrity chef restaurants on your visit, consider one of these, they are among the best restaurants in Sydney. 

This page contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy here

Who were the first Celebrity Chefs in Sydney?

Among the early favourites was Tetsuya Wakuda of Tetsuya in Sydney. Tetsuya’s was the first Australian restaurant to be listed on the London’s Restaurant Magazine’s Top 50 restaurants in the world list and is the SMH’s most hatted restaurant. If you are planning a visit here, make sure you have reservations weeks in advance.

Neil Perry of Rockpool fame followed Tetsuya. Perry’s first restaurant Rockpool spent 20 years as one of the cities favourite establishments winning awards and accolades from around the world until it closed earlier this year. 

Today Perry has several restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne and a burger chain called Burger Project making his food available to the masses. He has also published some outstanding cookbooks. My pick of his Sydney restaurants is Spice Temple.

Next came my favourite home cook Bill Granger. Bill opened Bills at Darlinghurst in 1993 and began serving the breakfasts that have made him famous. Today there are three Sydney restaurants and two in Japan. Bill’s books and TV shows appear around the world. If you get a chance for a mid-week breakfast at Bills, I suggest you go. Sadly Bill passed away in late 2023 after a short illness. His impact on the cafe scene in Australia will be long remembered.

Australian’s have a love affair with food, and over the last ten years, quite a few chefs have made a move from the kitchen to our TV screens in reality shows, cooking shows and even breakfast television segments. They then go on to publish cookbooks that make the bestseller list each year just in time for mother’s day or Christmas. If you have a favourite why not check out the real thing and visit their restaurant

Dining with Sydney’s Original Celebrity Chefs

Tetsuya Wakuda – Tetsuya

Tetsuya came to Sydney in the early 1980s as a twenty-two-year-old with very limited English and a passion for cooking. In under two years, he had opened his first restaurant in partnership with a head waiter he met while working at Kinsella’s. He began his restaurant, Tetsuya’s in Rozelle in 1989. 

In 2000 the restaurant located to its current premises in Kent Street where it operates from a gorgeous heritage property complete with a Japanese garden. The menu features Japanese flavours prepared with French Techniques using seasonal Australian produce. Bookings for Saturdays are required months in advance although weekday bookings are easier to get.

529 Kent Street Sydney Tel (612) 9267 2900

Bill Granger – Bills

Most famous for his breakfasts of Ricotta pancakes with honeycomb butter and perfect scrambled eggs you will find Bills listed in almost every guidebook to Sydney. 

Bills Sydney Famous Scrambled eggs
Bills signature scrambled eggs
Bills Sydney Pavlova
Bills Aussie Pavlova

I think the breakfasts here are as excellent as they say and always enjoy them, especially the coconut bread but don’t confine yourself to early morning dining, Bills lunch and evening sittings are also worth a visit.

We usually visit the Surry Hills restaurant because parking is easiest, but there are also branches at Darlinghurst and Bondi.

Bill published eight cookbooks full of easy to prepare food that is great for families or sharing with friends.

The Original Bills – 433 Liverpool St Darlinghurst
Bills Surry Hills – 359 Crown St Surry Hills
Bills Bondi Beach – 79 Hall Street Bondi Beach 

Double Bay – 16 Cross Street

Neil Perry – Spice Temple

Neil Perry was my first chef crush. It was about 30 years ago, and there he was, a good-looking man who could cook and speak about food so well, what more could a girl want right? 

I have lost count of the number of restaurants Perry has opened in Sydney; I think we are up to five, there are also three in Melbourne and one in Perth.

Rockpool Bar and Grill is a two-hatted restaurant in an imposing art déco building that serves Sydney’s perfect steak and a very excellent burger. Spice Temple does fantastic Modern Chinese food with a big chilli hit. Both have excellent wine lists and require reservations. In 2020 Perry retired from Rockpool Group

Rockpool Bar and Grill – 66 Hunter Street Sydney Tel (61 2) 8078 1900
Spice Temple – 10 Bligh Street Sydney Tel (61 2) 8078 1888
Jade Temple – 11 Bridge Street Sydney
Rosetta (Italian) – 118 Harrington Street The Rocks
Bar Patrón (Mexican) – 2 Phillip St, Circular Quay
Margaret (named after his mum) – 30-36 Bay Street Double Bay 2028

Matt Moran – Aria and Chiswick 

With its dress circle position overlooking Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, Aria is a great place to take visitors or anyone you want to impress. It’s almost impossible to fail to be taken in by the view, and the food is pretty spectacular too.

His more casual offering Chiswick is my preference.

Matt Moran’s first TV show hosting role was on the Chopping Block. He was a judge on the 3rd season of Masterchef Australia. He has two cookbooks, one featuring recipes from Aria, and the most recent “When I get home’ featuring meals for the family.

Chiswick Matt Moran Lamb
The share plate of lamb is a must

Aria – 1 Macquarie Street, Circular Quay Tel (61 2) 9252 2555
Chiswick – 65 Ocean Street, Woollahra Tel (612) 8388 8688

Luke Nguyen – Red Lantern

I was lucky enough to be introduced to this restaurant shortly after it opened when it was easy to get a table and prices were low. These days it’s busier, and the prices have gone up to match. It might seem hard to justify paying $16 for two rice paper rolls in a city full of great Vietnamese food, but Red Lantern is a special treat place with a decor, ambience and philosophy to warrant its prices.

I love the food here so much, so I have both of Luke’s cookbooks. In 2010 Red Lantern was voted Top Ten Most Environmentally Sustainable Restaurants Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. It is now the most awarded Vietnamese restaurant in the world.

Try the $55 lunch menu for real value for money; it offers six items in a tasting style service and is a brilliant way to get a get overview of what they do here. They also offer a vegetarian tasting menu.

Red Lantern 60 Riley St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010 Tel: (61 2) 9698 4355

Peter Gilmour – Quay and Bennelong

Owner of two of the city’s most renowned harbour front restaurants, Peter Gilmore, is another chef who’s appearances on MasterChef Australia as a guest judge raised his profile and made him a household name with his snow egg challenge. His restaurants are perfect for special occasions favourites where the food, view and atmosphere combine to provide a meal that is sure to impress almost anyone.

Bennelong Restaurant Sydney Lamington
The famous Bennelong lamington

You will find Bennelong inside the smallest of the shells at the Sydney Opera House. The modern Australian menu showcases the country’s finest produce. We celebrated our last anniversary at Bennelong and were impressed. They offer a variety of dining options from a la carte to bar food. Their pre and post-theatre dining, which are priced very well.

Reservations are required for restaurant dining; however, the bar area is a walk-in with no bookings required. The dessert bar is a great way to sample the menu without having to spend too much.

The Young guns

Reynold Poernomo – Koi Dessert bar

Appearing on 2015 season of MasterChef Australia, Reynold was a favourite among viewers for his amazing dessert creations. He may not have won the title, but he has undoubtedly been among the most successful opening his restaurant.

Koi Dessert Bar window
The take away window at Koi in Chippendale

While it is called a dessert bar, Koi also serves a degustation menu upstairs in an area manned by his brother Arnold, chef and former Masterchef Indonesia judge. This place is well worth checking out if you have a sweet tooth.

6 Central Park Ave, Chippendale NSW 2008 (02) 9182 0976

Andy Allen – Three Blue Ducks

Andy Allen appeared on season 4 of Masterchef and is now joined the Three Blue Ducks family owning and operating the restaurant at foodie hotspot Rosebery in Sydney’s inner south. The menu offers lots of healthy fresh ingredients and an Argentinian grill in the garden.

1/85 Dunning Ave Rosebery Tel (612) 9389 0010

Books from Australian chefs can make great souvenirs, so head to Dymocks or Kinokuniya in Sydney. Bills Sydney Food is my favourite.

Check out some more of our Sydney Food and Drink content

Which celebrity restaurant in Sydney would you most like to visit?

Have questions about things to see and do in Sydney?
Head over and join our Facebook Group and we will be happy to help