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
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. For the 2017 event, under a gigantic glowing tree this year, the guys behind Sydney favourite Porteno are cooking up a storm... and all over an open fire. Keeping them company - and your bellies full - on this side of the show are the creations of guest chefs including Luke Powell of LP Quality Meats and Ibrahim Kasif of Stanbuli. Drinks are also being supplied by Archie Rose, Cattleyard Brewing and Azure, but the real showstopper is the Glow Cave Dessert Bar. Brought to us by Motti+Smith, it features glow-in-the-dark decadence in the form of Black Star glow-nut neon doughnuts, n2 x Black Star Pastry glow-milk (pictured) and more.
Vivid Food Trucks
Wherever a festival is, food trucks will follow - and Vivid is no exception to the rule. For the 2017 festival, the best variety of food truck fare could be found around the Overseas Passenger Terminal (Cantina Movil has been flirting with this space lately), Circular Quay (Agape Organic) and Maritime Museum (Urban Pasta). 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, 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 for 2017, 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 is also featuring delights such as Glow Fairy Floss, a Gif booth, glow in the dark face painting, a De Wafel Dessert Van pop up and live DJs.
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 2017 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 played host to one of the popular Vivid displays on the circuit. Inside, the MCA cafe was abuzz with lights spectacular and in the past it has featured a glow bar with Vivid-inspired cocktails and a grazing menu that hits the spot. Open 6-9pm throughout Vivid.
Each and every year without fail The Argyle puts on a Vivid spectacular of light, music and performance. Its courtyard was set to light up to the tune of 120,000 LED lights in a Japanese inspired atmosphere of cherry blossoms and neon lights. For hungry tummies, it also had all the food and drinks you needed to keep you Vividing until midnight. Yes, we coined it, Vividing is a word. Think vivid cocktails and dinner specials.
Pre-light bites were rife during Vivid Sydney - particularly at restaurants in the vicinity such as Spice Temple. This year it's delivery was delicious prawn wontons, sweet and sour and numbing pork, stir fried greens and more with bookings between 5:30 and 6pm.
For something more opulent, there was Sake. You'd have had to start early to get through its eight course menu - so its a good thing it starts at 5pm before the lights begin to truly start to shine.
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 on show. There was also a Hypno photo booth where you could takea snap then send yourself the video to make all your friends green with envy.
360 Bar and Dining
A new player to the Vivid food scene, Sydney Tower's 360 Bar and Dining restaurant tumbed down the rabbit hole with an Alice in Wonderland-inspired sensory degustation. It was only available 3 June, so hopefully the success will bring it back next year for longer. It was a fully immersive dining experience filled with auditory cues and tactile sensations over six courses.
On the other side of the bridge near Luna Park is The Deck. It was open early for punters, starting the night off at 5pm every night. During the festival the bar served up two course ($55pp) and three course ($70pp) menus. Diner benefits include $9 flat-rate parking. Wednesday night diners also enjoyed paella for $30 per person or a Spanish tasting plate for $37 per person.
The whole of The Shangri-la was lit 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, Cafe Mix celebrated with a buffet seafood feast coupled with a vibrantly lit bubble tea all for $85 per person.
The Hilton Sydney
Last year the Hilton sported 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.
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.
For the ultimate Vivid experience, you couldn't go past Fort Denison's Dinner De-Lights dinner package. The historical Sydney site offers sweeping views of the Harbour to command your attention. Tickets included a tour of the national park (including entry fee) and a two-course dinner and beverage package. Small tables as well as group dining packages were available.