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“Some nosheries just have...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of ARIA Restaurant

ARIA Restaurant
1 Macquarie St. | East Circular Quay, Sydney, New South Wales 2000, Australia (City Centre)
+61 2 9252 2555
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Ranked #55 of 5,322 Restaurants in Sydney
Price range: $37 - $72
Cuisines: Australian, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Scenic view, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Delivery, Late Night
Neighborhood: City Centre
Description: ARIA is an award winning hatted restaurant in Sydney located at Circular Quay, on the very edge of Sydney Harbour, provides a dining experience with striking harbour views, with an award winning menu and extensive wine list, served in an intimate and elegant dining room. Owned by chef Matt Moran and restaurateur, Peter Sullivan, ARIA first opened its doors in 1999 and is highly regarded and awarded both locally and internationally. ARIA currently holds two coveted Chef's Hats and was awarded the, 'Diner's Choice' award by the readers at the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2012 Awards.
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“Some nosheries just have...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2009

Some nosheries just have an unfair advantage apropos scenery, and Aria has it in spades, with expansive views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour (albeit slightly obstructed by random pillars). The restaurant itself is also stunning, with huge floor to ceiling windows to take full advantage of the great views. The large open space is also very nicely appointed, with luxurious chairs and simple elegance displayed throughout (I cannot remember any artwork in the dining room at all, not that it was needed with the views on offer). We had the pre-theatre menu, smartly designed for those attending shows at the nearby Opera House; it is also one of the few restaurants in the area open earlier than normal at 5p.m. to cater for theatre patrons. The menu is also very simple, split into very easy descriptions, titled Rabbit, Pork, Scallops, etc. We had the pork belly and rabbit ballotine for entrees (accompanied by a beautiful brioche). Both dishes were very tasty, with the rabbit the standout; lovely shreds of rabbit ballotined with pistachios. The pork belly had a beautifully crisp skin, but the flesh was slightly dry. For mains we had the beef sirloin and roast chicken, both of which were nice but a bit simple. The steak was cooked medium-well as per instruction but it arrived a little cool. The chicken breast was generally moist but had certain parts slightly dry, as is expected when the meat is not evenly sized all the way. The desserts were amazing however, with the banana wonderfully presented and balanced perfectly. My Valrhona chocolate was amazingly rich and the different types of chocolate presented was mind-boggling (mousse, sorbet, crisp, etc.). This chocolate dessert was made by the two finalists in the Masterchef Australia final, and I now know how complex it is to achieve with so many components. Overall, the experience was a very good one. The food - with the exception of the mains - were delicious and in some cases special. Combined with the great views, ambience of the dining room, and the exceptional service (probably the best we've had in any Sydney restaurant), Aria is a great Sydney restaurant.

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English first
Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
172 reviews 172 reviews
96 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
277 helpful votes 277 helpful votes
“Aria Restaurant - Matt Moran’s contemporary Australian menu and the best wine list in Sydney”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2009

Do not turn up without a reservation! Matt Moran’s contemporary Australian menu is prepared using innovative and contemporary methods.

My favourite dishes were:

salad of winter vegetables with Serrano ham, shaved black truffle and walnut vinaigrette*

Kurobuta sweet pork belly with pork croquette, paradise pears and pear chutney

ballotine of rabbit, foie gras and capocollo with ginger bread, pumpkin and a pomegranate dressing

steamed pink snapper, beetroot puree, kohlrabi, green apple with caviar sauce

roasted loin with pumpkin purée, poached quince and juniper sauce

Rocket and reggiano parmesan salad $15
Truffled potato mash $15

The wine list requires a special mention. The wine list at ARIA has won many awards including most recently the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food Guide 2009 Wine List of the Year Award. This followed on from being inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of The Australian Wine List of the Year Awards 2008. Other successes have included the 2007 Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine List of the Year Award, plus the 2003 Tucker Seabrook Wine List of the Year. In 2004 the list was given the highest score in the 11 year history of the Tucker Seabrook Wine List Awards with a score of 97/100.

We tasted most of the selection, and those were my favourites:

2006 Frogmore Creek Chardonnay Coal River Valley, Tasmania $16
2006 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River $36
2007 Koltz The Pagan Shiraz McLaren Vale $22

If you want to order a full bottle, check out the list as it is massive:


The service was a bit slow, yet the food was great! You will not be disappointed.

    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2009

the food here is magnificent. the ambience is wonderful. the service was great but maybe a bit stuffy at times. But again, the main thing was the food. We had the venison and the beef with a mashed potato side. All were wonderful. great experience. My third favorite restaurant in Sydney... #2 - Rockpool Bar and Grill #1 Cafe Sydney

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
45 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“A real treat for a special occasion”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2009

We booked Aria for our 19th wedding anniversary and although we knew it was going to be an expensive evening it was a real treat for our special occasion. We dined on a Sunday evening as the Saturday was fully booked pretty much and we wouldn't have got a table until 10pm, unfortunately there was a 10%surchage for Sunday but that didn't really matter when we had such a great night.
The restaurant is well presented, modern and has great views of the harbour and opera house. Our table faced the opera house and we both got a view albeit a little bit behind pillars for my husband. The staff were very attentive and made sure we had everything we wanted. We started off with a lovely glass of champagne followed by the degustation menu with wine. I am not really a foody and was a little apprehensive about some of the things on the menu, in fact I would not normally eat them, however I braved it and was very pleasantly surprised. The food was outstanding, very well presented and tasted superb, in fact the duck consomme was to die for! We were not rushed despite the restuarant being full, we were there for around 3 hours allowing us to really appreciate the food and wine we were tasting. Our bill came to around $630 which is a huge amount for dinner for two but I can honestly say it was worth every penny and as a non-foody that says it all!.
Would definately recommend for that special occasion, you certainly won't forget your experience in a hurry.

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Melbourne Australia
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“such a disappointment”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2009

We were in Sydney for a girls weekend and decided to top it off with a night at Aria (this may or may not have had something to do with the chocolate tart episode of Masterchef...). It is quite an amazing space, with arguably one of the best outlooks in Sydney, however there is absolutley no atmosphere at all. It was really fascinating to see how the 6 of us went from animated to subdued within walking through the door - so much so that I felt compelled to whisper and another of us got a fit of the nervous giggles.

Now let me start controversially by saying that we are very spoilt in Melbourne. VERY. The difference between the two cities when it comes to fine dining never ceases to amaze me. I have no problem spending an embarrassing amount of money on a meal, but it has to be worth it - so if a Sydney meal is going to cost me more than I would pay at say Cutler & Co or Vue De Monde (my current faves in Melbourne at the minute) it has to deliver at least as much. Aria came nowhere near.

The service was pleasant, though no Sommelier as a Sunday night (or at least that is what I gather from the fact that our waitress responded with 'I will be your waitress tonight' the two times I asked about seeing one).

The food was a bit hit and miss. Entrees were ok but not amazing. For mains, my fish was really lovely but no better than I have had for half the price (the same was said of the steak). The other 4 ordered a lamb special which was unanimously deemed disappointing and none finished. The side of mash was absolutely the highlight.

And the chocolate tart? The tempered chocolate did 'crack' and it tasted pretty good but not so that I would feel an urgent desire to have one again (hello Cutler's ice cream sandwich). Warning - we shared this between 6 and it was still too rich for us to finish.

    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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