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Jun 23, 2013 07:41 PM

Dress Codes in Higher-end Sydney Restaurants

We are preparing for our upcoming trip to Sydney next month. This will be our first trip to Australia (as we had to cancel similar two years ago), and I have a question:

We are dining at Glass, Sepia, Quay, Tetyusa's, EST and Otto, during our stay.

We are normally a bit more formal, in our dress, than many others, but have lived in a "resort community," that is also very warm much of the year. What is the recommended dress-code in such restaurants, in Sydney?

I always travel with a blazer (even when going to Hawai`i), but I want to know if that will be adequate. I will bring a couple of ties, but should I wear those? If so, which restaurants?

I have looked over the various Web sites, but this is a subject that I cannot find answered. While I have no problem being overdressed, I hate being under-dressed with a passion.

As this will be during the Australian Winter, my wife is planning on packing a few St. John's knit suits with skirts, and a few "black dresses." With the correct accessories, will she be comfortable?

Thanks for the responses,


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  1. Its very casual, even in the top restaurants (I still get surprised by diners with jeans, sneakers and untucked shirts).

    No ties required at any Australian restaurant I know of. Personally I used to wear a linen jacket, good shirt and chino type trousers and was fine - I like you prefer over to under.

    IMO the women in Australia dress far better than the men and will tend to go to a special effort and dress-up when going to good places. That said I suspect your wife will be fine in any well accessorised LBD.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PhilD

      Agree 100%. Quay can be a little formal in what people are wearing, but there are also plenty of casually dressed tourists. But in style, it is more Michelinny with lots of napery which is unusual for Australia

      Phil, Grossi in Melbourne still requires jacket and tie for gentlemen.

      1. re: PhilD

        Greatly appreciated, and just what I was looking for.

        Thank you,


      2. It's cold here at the moment! and will be colder in a month! (in C but google the conversions if you need them).

        Sydney buildings tend to be poorly heated & drafty - I'd be inclined to err on the side of more clothes than a LBD (I'd be cold in that). Going out at present (only casual places), I'm wearing a thick skirt (e.g. cordoroy), tee-shirt and warm sweater. Perhaps a pashmina would be a good extra precaution.

        Can't give much advice about dress codes but can't imagine anyone would bat an eyelid to a suit or similar.

        11 Replies
        1. re: piwakawaka

          We have been following the weather (have Sydney on both smartphones), and it is good to know about the interiors. I greatly prefer a cool interior, to one that is too hot.

          We will have heavier outer wear, and then light sweaters and vests.

          Since we will be leaving 112F heat, it is nice to finally be traveling to a cooler climate in Summer. We have experienced heat, even in San Francisco, in the Summer. Cool will be welcomed!

          I was not planning on packing a suit, unless totally necessary. Usually a blazer and tie (sometimes), will get me by, but when heading to New Orleans, and certain restaurants, I will pack a suit, just because most gentlemen will be wearing them.

          Thank you,


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Bill, slacks and blazer will do, bring a bow tie for good measure. Steer clear of the Kings Cross area. The rest of Sydney is beautiful, I'm sure you will visit the Opera House. Too bad it's out of season for Bondi and Manley Beaches.

            1. re: Veggo

              While the Kings Cross area at night probably isn't your cup of tea, there are plenty of restaurants in Potts Points right in that area that are good spots for lunch. Ms G's on weekends has a good mix of younger chef's takes on asian food (Shrimp toast). Always a favorite of mine to take out of town guests. There's also Monopole wine bar which is a great spot for an afternoon for some wine and cheese. Don't necessarily overlook the area just because of the nighttime chaos that is really isolated to a two block stretch..

              1. re: BeanTownGolfer

                Wine bars, in general, always appeal to us.

                Thank you,


              2. re: Veggo

                What is the issue with King's Cross Area, if we are not getting too far afield of ChowHound?

                Thank you, and yes, we plan on doing the "Behind the Scenes" tour of the Opera House.


                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  It's traditionally been the alternative lifestyle area. Think Montmartre in Paris and Wanchai in Hong Kong.

                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Yes at night it gets very messy - not good

                    Though the area can have some nice cafes during the day


                    Seems to get a few good reviews - will heck it out when heading back for a Sydney Sojourn

                  2. re: Veggo

                    20+ years ago King Cross was somewhat sketch but interesting now, it has some trendy resto's like Paddington used to be.
                    I'm sure your initials are carved somewhere around there.
                    ; )

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      Aloha BC,

                      Will keep that in mind.

                      I have observed neighborhood come, and go, in many cities around the globe. Just had not heard about King Cross in Sydney, so felt that I should ask.

                      In New Orleans, we are often asked for many recommendations. I get NOLA maps from the Department of Tourism, and then annotate them. I mark off certain areas as DMZ's. That has changed a bit, post-K, but still, I do not want any friends wandering across any of the "borders."



                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        Agreed, King Cross has undergone a gentrification of sorts in the past few years. Back in the 90s, it was still pretty much the underbelly of Sydney: red-light district, drug rings, organised crime, etc.

                        1. re: klyeoh

                          Thanks, BC and k. I wish people would give a time frame reference on posts like this. What I might have considered dicey in SF 20 years ago is the trendiest of the trendy now :)

                2. Regarding St. John's, here's part of the Wiki description :)

                  "The moderately heavy knits are flattering to women 'of a certain age' or over 40, and accentuate their good features. "

                  Sydney may be a little too lively for that look! I think LBD with long sleeves and a short jacket or sweater might work better.

                  1. Despite any gentrification and despite lots of good places to eat near the Cross it still can and does get ugly there on a weekend night and often has a general bad vibe. Alternative lifestyles sounds more like Newtown .... Kings Cross's problem is strip clubs , tons of drunken blokes...and all the testosterone led problems those 2 combinations can bring. It's not a side of Sydney anyone visiting really needs to see. Of course most of the ugliness rears it's head after midnight ...and if you're minding your own business your perfectly safe walking through the place - you may not want to return though.

                    1. In case you're interested, TimeOut Sydney just did their food awards for the 2013:

                      Restaurant of the Year: Sixpenny
                      Best New Restaurant: Mr Wong
                      Best Casual Diner: Popolo
                      Hot New Talent: Daniel Pepperell (10 William St)

                      If you're looking for a good representation of where Sydney dining is now and headed, these are good places to start.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: BeanTownGolfer

                        Thanks for the heads-up. Chef Puskas of Sixpenny was ex-Marque and Tetsuya's, wasn't he?