Macleay St. Bistro – a Sydney Dining Icon

Sydney’s Best French Restaurant

Macleay St. Bistro is one of my top 10 restaurants in Sydney for all time. I have been here five times (I do believe) and every time I leave all warm and fuzzy from the experience, but four of those were of no doubt due to Tony Hollingsworth (socials manager) plying me with alcohol haha. But this time, for the first time in 40yrs, they are in a different venue, which is literally next door from their old venue. The Sydney French icon has moved down the hill by one door. And they hired a new PR agency to set-up and to energise their marketing for the move, so it is with thanks to Evan’s Media, and the venue itself, who comped a certain amount towards this visit and bill.

The Venue

The restaurant is now a spacious 123sqm, rather than a tiny 61sqm and fits 55-60 covers instead of 38. Changing the location of one of the longest-running restaurants in Sydney – the popular bistro is over 40 years old this year – “it was a big decision,” says owner Phillip Fikkers. “Our customers have been telling me, ‘You had the food, you had the service, but you never had the fit out.’ Now we do,” he says. “The other restaurant was a little bit more formal; this has a sophisticated, casual elegance to it.”

Macleay St. Bistro has taken over the site that was once home to Monopole and the short-lived Enoteca Ponti. The fit-out for the latter was designed by Ar Huis and Fikkers has added the final touches to the space. He’s kept the cherry red leather banquettes, parquetry flooring and copper trims and added double white linen, scatter cushions, palm trees and green walls to soften the space. It was important to Fikkers to stay on Macleay Street, and not just because of the restaurant’s name. “We have a strong loyal following, and a lot of our customers don’t like change,” he says. “This is the Paris end of Macleay Street, and the location is synonymous with the brand.”

The thing is – and I hate to say it, I just adored the older smaller, more intimate venue, it oozed personality and felt more Parisienne. Waiters bumped elbows when they walked past, and the outdoor seating was just perfect to people watch. I do like that this venue has an open and much larger kitchen and the bar is wonderful.

The People

On this visit I had a completely different staff excluding one, the vibe was completely different, but this could be the lunch team and not the usual team from most of my other visits.

The one person who I knew, the beautiful Mary-Ann, a professional waiter who exudes professionalism, knowledge and an assurance you are in good hands. But she forgot our cheese soufflé, my favourite dish I was looking forward to showing off to my chef friend, Steve, he brought it up as we were eating dessert and I was so stuffed and half delirious with food drunkenness!! But I do not blame her, when she re-read my order for confirmation, to be honest, I didn’t listen and confirmed it, it may not have been recorded, and her impeccable service leads me to believe it was my fault haha.

The patronage is probably 80% older locals who do not like change but adore their local French bistro, the other 20% are probably younger diners who want to be “cool” and who love a step back in time to French cuisine that the French royals-of-old would be aware of.

The diners when we were in were the 80% and some businessman on a lunch they could never concentrate at work after. The menu doesn’t change at all due to the 80% locals, they will complain if the boat and their dishes are rocked – I wonder how they have embraced the new venue? OMG – I am one of the older locals that doesn’t like change!!

The Food


Sydney Rock Oysters, natural or served with Lemon & Mignonette

Chicken Liver Parfait served with Confiture de Figues & Red Onion Confit

Pot of Salmon Mousse served with French Baguette

Pan Seared Scallops served with Cauliflower Purée & Hazelnut Butter

Garlic Prawns served with Prawn and Chilli Bisque & Baguette


Classic French Onion Soup served with Comte Cheese

Twice Baked French Onion Soufflé served with Truffle Butter & Petit Baguette

Salmon Tartare, Lime Caviar & Dill Essence served with Cherrywood Smoke

Macleay St Bistro Organic Grass Fed Eye Fillet Steak Tartare – 40 / 60 served with Mini Baguette


Chicken Chasseur à la Lyonnaise served with Paris Mash

Pan Fried King Ora Salmon served with Crostini, Courgette, Asparagus, Pea Puree, Salmon Roe & Beurre Blanc

Steak Frites served with w Mixed Leaves & Green Pear Salad (350g) +$4 Green Peppercorn Sauce

Pan Rendered Fillet of Duck Breast served with Peaches, Eschallots & Armagnac Jus

Organic Grass Fed Eye Fillet served with Fresh Parsley & Sauce Au Poivre (200g) & Paris Mash

Organic Grass Fed Chateaubriand served with Béarnaise Sauce, Chunky Potatoes & Green Beans for Two


Crème Brûlée – a Macleay St. Bistro Classic

Profiteroles à la Crème de Vanille served with Warm Chocolaté Sauce

Dark Chocolaté Fondant served with White Chocolaté Centre and Raspberry Sorbet

Crepes Suzettes served Flambé with Grand Marnier

House Made Chocolate Truffles – Four House Made Chocolate Truffles

What We Thought:

Now this may look like the entire menu, but it is the dishes I have eaten from five visits, and it would appear I have eaten 90% of the menu. OMG – I am a French Macleay St Bistro pig hahaha

But I shall rate them all in order from my favourite to my lesser favourites.


1. Pan Seared Scallops – the Cauliflower Purée & Hazelnut Butter will blow your mind

2. Pot of Salmon Mousse

3. Chicken Liver Parfait

4. Sydney Rock Oysters

5. Garlic Prawns


1. Twice Baked French Onion Soufflé – a dish from the gods

2. Macleay St Bistro Organic Grass Fed Eye Fillet Steak Tartare

3. Classic French Onion Soup

4. Salmon Tartare


1. Organic Grass Fed Chateaubriand

2. Pan Rendered Fillet of Duck Breast

3. Steak Frites

4. Organic Grass Fed Eye Fillet

5. Chicken Chasseur

6. Pan Fried King Ora Salmon


1. Crepe Suzettes (so fantastically French)

2. Profiteroles

3. Dark Chocolaté Fondant

4. Crème Brûlée

5. House Made Chocolate Truffles

I am literally drooling while typing!!

In Conclusion

Macleay St. Bistro is the epitome of French Dining in Sydney. I have just adored every visit, every dish, every person every time I have been. The cheese Soufflé, French Onion Soup and Crepe Suzettes are the three MUST ORDER dishes. Head on in and indulge!

SCORE BREAKDOWN: 3/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets & 1/1 bonus

*** Spooning Australia paid for this meal ***

All photographs are Copyrighted by Spooning Australia and Jason King – please feel free to share with full credit provided.

Macleay St. Bistro Details

Website –

Ph – 02 9358 4891 or 0484 503 497

Address – 71A Macleay St, Potts Point, NSW. Australia

Bookings – Yes

Pricing – Medium to High

Opening Hours

LUNCH: 6 days from 1230pm

*We are closed for lunch on Wednesdays

DINNER: 7 days from 530pm – 930pm

Vegetarian Options – Yes

Takeaway – Unsure

Local Delivery – Unsure

Gluten-Free Options – Yes

Kid Friendly – No