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. Shiny. Haven't planned your Vivid experience yet? Check out our Vivid Sydney guide to start
Vivid Sydney restaurant deals
Vivid Sydney's 2017 roster of top eats has yet to be released but for an idea of what to expect here's what was on offer last year.
These restaurants and food outlets are offering the following deals from 27 May - 18 June 2016:
- Oportos: $10 meals, including The Spicy Chicken Saladeira, Bondi Box, and Spicy Chicken Embrulho
- Bombay Duck: Complimentary dessert (Gulab Jamun) with any purchase over $15
- Ragu Pasta & Wine Bar: Complimentary glass of Prosecco with any main meal when dining in (Fri/Sat after 6pm only)
- New Shanghai: Two Signature Blended Ice Drinks with Xiao Long Bao and Shanghai fried noodles for $30. No other discounts apply.
- Cod & Co.: Fish fingers, chips and salad for $10 (kids deal). Seafood Bouillabaisse and a glass of Eden Valley Chardonnay for $29 (adults deal)
- Sassy's Red: Complimentary packet of prawn crackers for families with children. Min spend of $12
- Thairiffic: Complimentary bag of Thai Riffic Rice Crackers with any purchase over $20
- Sky Phoenix: 5% off the entire dinner bill
- Chatime (level 1): Free mix-in with any drink
- Reuben & Moore: Complimentary soft drink with any sandwich, roll and burger with a side order OR purchase two adult meals and receive two complimentary kids burger and chips (children under 11)
- Charlie & Co. Burgers: Extended Happy Hour 4pm -10pm
- North Indian Flavour: $1 can of soft drink or bottle of water with large plate purchase
- Gloria Jeans Coffee: $5 cake slice with any drink
- Chinta Ria: Complimentary glass of wine with purchase of $55 pp (minimum 2 people) banquet menu OR complimentary glass of wine with purchase of $38 pp (minimum 4 people) banquet menu.
- Mad Mex: $5 burrito
- Top Juice (level 1): Complimentary upsize with any green salad
- Crafty Cuts: 10% off everything
These restaurants and food outlets are offering the following deals from 27 May - 18 June 2016 from 5:30pm-11pm.
- Pressed Juices: Taste testing and gluten free banana bread in store. Two for the price of one sale. Available between 5pm to 6:30pm.
- Sumo Salad: Free tastings at Kombucha bar. Plus, soup slammers and toasties samples and gift bag giveaways.
- Cream'd Ice Cream Rolls: Available 14 June - 18 June from 12:30pm to 11pm. No deals. Just damn good ice cream.
Sydney CBD / Woolloomooloo
- Martin Place Bar: Open from 5pm, grab a middy of James Square or a glass of white/red for $14 before you see the lights.
- The Governor's Table @ The Museum of Sydney: Prix Fixe meal deals from $29.
- M Gallery by Sofitel: $50 two-course meal
- The Tilbury: Early-bird two-course dinners with a schooner or a glass of Pinot Noir for $40pp.
- Novotel Sydney: Pre-vivid dinners from $39pp with a glass of wine. Vivid stay specials also available.
- Mercure Sydney: Two-course dinner for $68pp and takeaway cheesebox for your Vivid walk
- Cafe del Mar: $35 meal deal. Includes a glass of Chandon or Peroni
Vivid Restaurants and bars
You gotta love a restaurant that plays nice with events. These guys have jumped on the Vivid bandwagon 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.
On the outside, the MCA plays host to one of the popular Vivid displays on the circuit. Inside, the MCA cafe is abuzz with lights spectacular. Upstairs in the Sculpture Terrace is a Vivid Glow Bar complete with Vivid inspired cocktails and a grazing menu that hits the spot. Open 6-9pm throughout Vivid.
On top of its stellar four-part Parallel Universes dance parties, The Argyle's got all the food and drinks you need to keep you Vividing until midnight. Yes, we coined it, Vividing is a word. That's intergalactic cocktails, top nosh and free popcorn with those staying the night to watch the flick of the night at its outdoor cinema.
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 colourful cocktails on show featuring all manner of delicious concoctions including jelly beans and fairy floss and oyster shots with indigenous herbs. Don't drink them up too quickly, you'll want a happy snap with yours in the GIF photo booth first to capture the memory. And make all your friends green with envy.
On the other side of the bridge near Luna Park is The Deck. It'll be opening early for punters, starting your night off at 5pm every night. During the festival the bar will serve up two course ($55pp) and three course ($69pp) menus with two sessions being hosted per night. Diner benefits include a free right of the Luna Park Sydney Ferris Wheel (check out the view!), $9 flat-rate parking and a $10 return ferry ride ticket to Circular Quay.
The whole of The Shangri-la will be lit up from the inside out during Vivid with each dining venue serving up its own delicious Vivid delights. At Blu Bar is Light Art, a creative cocktail flight inspired by the lights of Vivid for $28. At Altitude is Light Spectacle, a seven-course tasting menu dedicated to the sights, sounds and colours of the festival. Inside Lobby Lounge is Light Lights, a rosemary and spice cocktail with homemade grenadine and scorched Hiramasha kingfish topped with a fresh chili and flaked sea salt that is all things amazing.
The Hilton Sydney
Similar to The Shangri-La, The Hilton is pulling out its best cards across all its dining venues. Expect colourful cocktail concoctions from Marble Bar, Caffe Cino, Zeta Bar Wine Bar and green, charcoal, yellow and pink glowing sliders from Zeta and Marble Bars. They're a sight for Vivid eyes. As are the colourful coffee and macaroons at Caffe Cino.
Every night from 6:30pm Bowery Lane will never cease to appeal to the senses. It's Vivid offerings include a Vivid Burger with matched fluro cocktail and a Wonka-inspired soft serve, the flavour of which is changed up every week.
Sofitel Sydney Wentworth's Soiree Bar
On top of the hotel restaurant's pre-Vivid dinner deal, the Soiree Bar will play host to a gin-based Vivid cocktail - served on a Vivid coaster, naturally.
While there's nothing much going on at the Glenmore for Vivid, it's a top spot for you to sit back with a beer in hand and see the lights from its rooftop.
The Theatre Bar at the End of the Wharf
The bar with arguably the best view of the harbour is doing late nights for Vivid goers. Whether it's dinner or drinks, these guys will look after you.
For the ultimate Vivid experience, you can't go past Fort Denison's Dinner De-Lights dinner package. Hop into a water taxi and jetset your way to the historical Sydney site where sweeping views of the Harbour command your attention. On your plate includes a mini tour of the Martello Tower, viewing the first-time illumination of the east side of the Harbour Bridge and a three-course dinner and beverage package. Weekends have sold out already but group dining packages for weekdays are still available. Better start making friends - pronto!
Stalls, food trucks and dining precincts
The hotspots outside of Sydney Harbour that are perfect for hangry Vivid attendees:
Vivid Food Stalls at Martin Place
While much of the lights (and the visitors) are concentrated around the Harbour, Martin Place's displays are not to be ignored. Keeping the masses bellies full on this side of the show are market stalls and food trucks galore, including New York Pastrami Deli and 8Bits+Bytes (part-installation, part burger pop-up joint which includes faves by Mary's and Milk Bar by Cafe Ish).
Vivid Food Trucks
Wherever a festival is, food trucks will follow - and Vivid is no exception to the rule. For the best variety of food truck fare, head around the Overseas Passenger Terminal (Happy As Larry and EAT Art Truck have been flirting with this space lately) and Dawes Point Park (Monster Rolls and Cantina Movil). They're some of our food truck favourites.
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, Hunter & Barrel, Blackbird Cafe and Cafe del Mar are all 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 to Chatswood for another year, so too do the food offerings. All manner of food stalls pave the way from Chatswood Station to the concourse from 27 May to 13 June including Sippin' Sliders, Pigout, Churros La Flamenca, Le Montreal Shack and Knafeh.