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Vivid Sydney food guide 2018

Where to eat before you play at Vivid Sydney.

Vivid Sydney commands more than a 5-minute walk to see the lights.

A whole evening needs to be dedicated to its brilliant displays and interactive exhibitions. So we wouldn't expect you to tackle it without some good grub in your belly. Lucky for you, neither do these guys.

They're the restaurants, cafes, food stalls and food trucks paving the Vivid pathway and keeping you well sated so you can enjoy the colour and lights in all their glory. Some are even offering special Vivid menus and deals to make your journey through the lights that much brighter.

Haven't planned your Vivid experience yet? Check out our Vivid Sydney guide to start

Special Vivid menus at restaurants

Vivid Sydney Japanese Fusion Dinner with Cocktails

Vivid Sydney Japanese Fusion Dinner with Cocktails from RedBalloon

Indulge in a set menu at Kobe Jones with your fave foodie partner against the backdrop of Vivid Sydney lights in Darling Harbour.
Highlights:

  • Vivid Sydney themed set dinner for two.
  • Cocktails and dessert included.
From AUD

$199.90

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Japanese Kaiseki tasting for 2

Japanese Kaiseki tasting for 2 from RedBalloon

Enjoy the view of Vivid Sydney in Darling Harbour while you indulge yourself in contemporary Japanese 'Keiseki' tapas dining.

Highlights:

  • 12 -courses of Japanese tapas dishes
  • Stunning waterside views of King Street Wharf, Darling Harbour
From AUD

$190

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Japanese Teppanyaki Surf and Turf tasting for 2

Japanese Teppanyaki Surf and Turf tasting for 2 from RedBalloon

Enjoy some of Sydney's teppanyaki at Kobe Jones, Darling Harbour complete with waterside views

Highlights:

  • 10 delicious and varied courses
  • Darling Harbour location with stunning harbour views
From AUD

$190

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3-Course Dnner with Wine and Vivid Sydney Cocktails

3-Course Dnner with Wine and Vivid Sydney Cocktails from RedBalloon

Treat yourselves to an exclusive menu at the Meat and Wine Co. Circular Quay during Sydney's Vivid Festival.

Highlights:

  • A remarkable venue to enjoy and dine while you watch the Vivid Festival
  • Vivid Sydney themed cocktail for each person on arrival
From AUD

$249

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Steakhouse Lunch with Wine and Vivid Sydney Cocktail

Steakhouse Lunch with Wine and Vivid Sydney Cocktail from RedBalloon

Satisfy yourself with premium cuts of beef, calamari and chicken, a specially created two course menu for sharing.
Highlights:

  • Premium cuts of meat in specially crafted signature dishes served for two
  • Two glasses of wine, beer or soft drink included
From AUD

$99

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2-Course Dinner and Cocktails for 2

2-Course Dinner and Cocktails for 2 from RedBalloon

Sit down, relax and indulge in a selection of colourful delights and pallet pleasers at Glass Brasserie at the Hilton Sydney in celebration of Vivid Sydney 2018.

Highlights:

  • Cocktail and baked treats on arrival
  • Vivid-inspired two course dinner inside the Hilton Hotel Sydney
From AUD

$189

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2-Course Steakhouse Dinner with Wine and Vivid Cocktails

2-Course Steakhouse Dinner with Wine and Vivid Cocktails from RedBalloon

Indulge in a two-course steakhouse menu at Meat and Wine Co, Circular Quay

Highlights:

  • Mouth-watering selection of premium meat cuts
  • Bottle of house-selected wine
  • Vivid-themed cocktail for each person
From AUD

$149

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2-Course Meal with Wine and Vivid Cocktails

2-Course Meal with Wine and Vivid Cocktails from RedBalloon

Sit down and satisfy your taste buds as you take a bite of these mouth-watering spread of coal-roasted meats and delicious sides at Sydney's Hunter and Barrel.
Highlights:

  • Enjoy succulent, coal-roasted meat and delicious sides.
  • Vivid-themed cocktails upon arrival.
From AUD

$95

View details

Stalls, food trucks and dining precincts

The hotspots outside of Sydney Harbour that are perfect for hangry Vivid attendees:

Vivid Food Trucks

Wherever a festival is, food trucks will follow - and Vivid is no exception to the rule. For the festival, the best variety of food trucks tend to hang around the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay, Sydney Opera House and Maritime Museum. You'll find our food truck favourites here.

Restaurants at Cockle Bay Wharf

For those checking out the lights at Darling Harbour, the wharf is rife with restaurants serving their own slide of Vivid fare. The Lindt cafe, Blackbird Cafe and Cafe del Mar are renowned for adding their personal Vivid touch to their menus, so flirt around with a few. It's what you're supposed to do.

Food Stalls at the Concourse

With Vivid expanding out to Chatswood once again, so too do the food offerings. All manner of food stalls pave the way from Chatswood Station to the concourse throughout the festival and generally take on an Asian hawker flair.

To keep the masses entertainment, Westfield Chatswood also tends to feature food and entertainment delights for the family.

Vivid restaurants and bars

You gotta love a restaurant that plays nice with events. These guys have jumped on the Vivid bandwagon once again for 2018 by offering spesh meals and extended hours to amp up your Vivid experience. The best bit? Heaps of these places don't take reservations which means you can pop in and out whenever you like.

Kobe Jones

Combine the theatrics of teppanyaki with that of Vivid and you've an entertaining night sorted, my friend. Kobe Jones Sydney, The Rocks Teppanyaki and Wharf Teppanyaki are all hosting mouthwatering hunger busters to fuel you for a long night. Prices start from just $190 for two but the meal itself is priceless. Book via the links above.

Meat Wine and Co.

Perfectly positioned in Barangaroo overlooking the waterfront Meat Wine and Co. has the chops to set your Vivid night on fire. Whether you're after a late lunch before the sun sets or a two or three course dinner as the lights dance around you this restaurant has you covered. And because the meal is all about the cocktail, Meat Wine and Co. is also serving up brilliantly bright Vivid-inspired cocktails on the night. Because that's just the way they roll.

Hunter and Barrel

New to the Vivid scene, Hunter and Barrel offers an affordable meal in the heart of the action that won't set you back more than $95 for two (or $47.50 per person). From that you'll not only get a two-course meal of coal-roasted meals (are you salivating yet?), you'll also wash it down with a neon cocktail. Now, to the lights!

MCA Cafe

On the outside, the MCA plays host to one of the popular Vivid displays on the circuit. Inside, the MCA cafe tends to stay abuzz with lights spectacular. In the past it has featured a glow bar with Vivid-inspired cocktails and a grazing menu that hits the spot. Open til late throughout Vivid.

The Argyle

Each and every year without fail The Argyle puts on a Vivid spectacular of light, music and performance. This year they're starting things off with a bang hosting a Light The Night event on opening night (25 May) complete with live entertainment in the form of The Potbelleez DJs. The bar is also teaming up with Belvedere to deliver a stellar lineup of cocktails that will keep you Vividing until midnight. Yes, we coined it, Vividing is a word. Entry is free, the espresso martinis are not, but they're worth every dollar.

No.1 Bent Street

In honor of the 10th birthday of Vivid, No.1 Bent Street has created three take-out boxes you can pre-order and pick-up at the restaurant so you can chow down on while getting your light thang on. Take yours to the park, the foreshore or eat on the go. We don't judge. All you need to do is make your order by 4pm and it'll be available to pick up from 5-9pm that evening. Boxes cost $19 each and include spit roast chicken, hot smoked ocean trout and wood fired pumpkin. Who says you can't have healthy options at a festival, right?

Spice Temple

Pre-light bites were rife during Vivid Sydney last year - particularly at restaurants in the vicinity such as Spice Temple. This year head chef Andy Evans is keeping hungry tummies sated before the big festival walk with a special $49 dinner along the lines of white cut chicken with red cabbage, xinjiang fried lamb ribs with silk road spice and Chinese broccoli. Tuck in from 5-6pm daily.

Four Seasons

Located perfectly on the edge of The Rocks and Sydney Harbour, Four Seasons is the ultimate starting point to your Vivid journey. Each of its restaurants will be glowing with delicious dishes throughout the festival. Expect an innovative cocktail list of neon proportions at Grain Bar where Belvefere takes centre stage and a special three-course Vivid menu at Mode Kitchen & Bar. The evening service runs from 5:30-10pm and features a bespoke "glow" pavolva. Free parking is also available to diners from Monday to Thursday.

Sake

For something more opulent, there's Sake. You may have to start early to get through its stunning Vivid menu - which features hiramasa kingfish, shumai dumplings, grilled shiokoji chicken and tofu cheesecake. At $55 per person, it's a bargain but once we'd recommend you start early with to you don't run too deep into your Vivid time. On the upside the restaurant is starting its service at 5pm before the lights begin to truly start to shine.

Opera Bar

Located right on the footsteps of the Opera House, you'd be a fool to miss stopping by Opera Bar - especially with its array of luminous cocktails and nibbles on show. This year they're colour-coded electric blue (bacardi rum, blue curacao, orgeat, lime, pineapple), orange glow (42 below vodka, agave, lime, sparkling orange) and red night (bombay sapphire gin, peach, pink grape fruit, lemon, ginger beer). Couple them with a trio of neon-coloured dips and you're all set.

360 Bar and Dining

Sydney Tower's 360 Bar and Dining restaurant joint the Vivid food scene last year, tumbling down the rabbit hole with an Alice in Wonderland-inspired sensory degustation. It was only available for a day, so hopefully the success will bring it back the year. It was a fully immersive dining experience filled with auditory cues and tactile sensations over six courses.

The Deck

On the other side of the bridge near Luna Park is The Deck. It's a hidden secret in the Vivid food game though now that Luna Park is one of the festival's precincts it's bound to become ever more popular. On the menu in 2018 is a choice between a 2- or 3-course a la carte dinner for $55/$70 per person. Whichever you choose, you'll also score a single ride ticket for Luna Park to keep you entertained until the lights start to shine. Diners also get free parking as an added incentive.

The Shangri-La

The whole of The Shangri-la lights up from the inside out during Vivid with Altitude restaurant commanding the show off the 36th floor of the hotel. Six course tasting menus awaited eager stomachs every night of Vivid. The stunner set diners back $170 per person, or $235 with matching wines. For something a little more budget-friendly, dinners at Cafe Mix are available most nights from $90 per person. Don't forget to order the vibrant lighting Lemon Ice Tea to set the right mood for the night.

The Hilton Sydney

The Hilton is synonymous for delivering colourful cocktail concoctions in its Marble Bar whenever Vivid comes around but this year you can couple it with a pre-show 2-course meal in the Glass Brasserie. At just $189 for two, it's a steal that comes with the added bonus of a window seat. Because you really must see the view.

The Glenmore

While there's nothing much going on at the Glenmore for Vivid, it always a top spot above The Rocks to sit back with a beer in hand and see the lights from its rooftop. It's got a great view of the Opera House and buildings around Circular Quay that are lit through the evening

The Theatre Bar at the End of the Wharf

The bar with arguably the best view of the harbour offered late nights for Vivid goers. Whether it's dinner or drinks, these guys will look after you.

Up to 60% off Vivid Sydney cruises

Deal expires

Valid from 25 May - 16 June 2018. T&Cs apply.

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AnyBoat AnyBoat
Vivid Sydney BYO cruises with food from $39

Deal expires

Valid on select sailings during Vivid Sydney, from 25 May 2018 - 16 June 2018. Sample price is for a 1.5 hours cruise aboard Nevaeh.

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

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