Waterfront Restaurant @ The Rocks

seafood platter

Waterfront is impossible to miss – it’s built with a distinctive replica of a square-rigged colonial sailing ship mast at the external dining area. This is a full scale replica so it looks like a ship actually ran aground. I thought it was built around a real ship but one of the waitresses told me it’s a replica – another one of which is inside the main dining area.

waterfront ship

The location is on prime Sydney real estate – look outside and you’ll see breathtaking views of Sydney Habour – right from the Opera House to Harbour Bridge. The Sydney Opera House is all lit up since I went during Vivid Sydney – will write about the complete experience soon.

vivid sydney opera house

This restaurant is owned by Dockside Group and there’s actually five (5) interconnected restaurants, cafes and bars inside. I walked around the nautical themed interior of Waterfront, got a little lost, and actually exited from another bar and had to double back to my seating area.

I mentioned that I had the second best seafood platter in Sydney at Vues on the Bay in Port Stephens – this is the best one.

Hot & cold seafood platter for two (AUD 195)
A succulent selection of crayfish, blue swimmer crab, tiger prawns, Balmain bugs, oysters, mussels, baby calamari, market fresh fish & smoked salmon served with fries, mixed leaf salad & tartare sauce

hot seafood platter

The crayfish has been poached and then shocked in ice water. It’s served cold, just the way I like it. BTW, I use the terms interchangeably coz crayfish in Australia actually refers to spiny lobsters in a lot of places – like this one! It’s one of the larger specimens I’ve seen and each person has ½ lobster. I managed to eat 2 lobsters coz some of the people in our group has shellfish allergies and others didn’t really like crayfish that much (heresy!).

It’s really the best crayfish I’ve ever had and that’s coz the lobster was so fresh it tasted sweet and succulent! I just couldn’t have enough.

On the other hand, the Balmain bug (it’s a type of slipper lobster, which is different from a Moreton Bay Bug) tasted positively stale. It seems like it has been caught for a long time, defrosted, then cooked in the same way. I was *not* impressed.


However, the seafood platter has way more hits than misses – the blue crab was delicious, the oysters and mussels divine, and I really liked the baby calamari. The “market fresh fish” (they use Murray Cod, Golden Perch and Australian Bass – the Barramundi is cooked as a separate a la carte item) was absolutely delicious! It was Murray Cod that day and it’s made into long, thin cigar shaped pieces which were breaded and fried to perfection. It’s definitely my favorite out of the hot platter.

flourless chocolate cake

Dessert was a bit of a letdown though. I didn’t quite like the Flourless Chocolate Cake – and judging from the rest of the group, I wasn’t the only one. The cake itself was dry and hard and the best thing about the plate is the quenelle of vanilla bean ice cream.

waterfront sydney

I had a few glasses of local Pinot Noir to go with dinner and it complemented everything nicely. I dove in so fast that I didn’t even think about getting the best pictures. All I wanted to do was to get at the sweet poached and ice shocked lobster meat! I would say that the delectable crayfish and deep fried battered Murray Cod was so good that it made the little misses seem like nitpicking.

waterfront the rocks

Waterfront restaurant serves up good seafood and although it may look like a tourist trap on the outside, there are actually a lot of locals who eat here due to the ambience. I would recommend it if you like romantic dinners by the harbour. We were seated outside, but since it was a chilly autumn night, the place was buttoned up with see-through canvas for heating but I bet it’ll be perfect in summer.

replica ship

It can be a little bit pricey though (and there’s also a AUD 5 surcharge on weekends), but I guess that’s due to the location – you’re paying for the wonderful view of Sydney Harbour during dinner too, which isn’t a bad thing.

waterfront restaurant

Waterfront @ The Rocks
17-27, Circular Quay West
Sydney, New South Wales

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18 thoughts on “Waterfront Restaurant @ The Rocks

  1. The Sydney’s Opera House looked really awesome in bright vivid colours! Nice and artistic.
    It reminds me of many buildings in Chengdu being lighted up with dancing colours at night.
    The seafood platter looks yummy but the price is steep! Never mind, just enjoy it.

    • Yeah, there was a festival going on called Vivid Sydney! :)

      A lot of the city’s buildings were lit up and synchronized with interactive light and sound displays. It happens once a year in Sydney and it’s been getting bigger and better each time. I particularly liked one where you can actually step onto a stage and move your arms and the music and lights will change according to your arm movements and how fast you move.

      Truly interactive.

    • Yeah, and it has a lot of things too! :)

      There’s mussels, oysters, cooked and battered prawn as well as poached and ice shocked prawns. It was a huge platter, with one lobster and one Balmain bug cut into halves. It’s delicious!

      I liked the freshness of the Murray Cod too – the way it’s shaped into a long cigar, breaded and fried to perfection.

    • Yeah, it’s a nice place coz there’s a nice view too – it’s right at Sydney Harbour! :)

      Hmm…you know, if you don’t convert, I think Australia and Singapore is much cheaper than Malaysia in *actual* price e.g. equivalent prices at equivalent restaurants.

  2. That plate of seafood platter attracted me, but very pricey.. Can get similar thing from here (minus the crayfish and lobsters) for about RM34.90.. Okok, don’t compare.. I look like a fool now comparing between KL standard and your overseas standard, hehe..

    • I think it’s actually cheaper in Australia! :)

      I had a lobster dish in Harrods in Suria KLCC for RM 120:


      This was 1/2 a lobster only, it was 2 years back – their Lobster Thermidor dish and it wasn’t fresh coz there’s no turnover e.g. no one orders the lobster fast enough locally. This was only 1/8 amount of the food and the quality isn’t even comparable!

      In actual prices we pay e.g. RM to AUD (no conversion) you’ll find that Australia’s food scene is MUCH cheaper than ours – and they have a better food scene too.

      There are fish and chip shops where you can get really fresh seafood for AUD 8-10 too. I lived in Australia for over 4 years and I always found that prices in KL are much more expensive for similar quality/type of food/restaurants.

    • Yeah, it has a nice view to boot! :)

      There’s a AUD 5 per pax surchage on weekends and public holidays but that’s due to the demand. It’s a very popular place coz it’s right on the Sydney Harbour with views stretching from Harbour Bridge to Sydney Opera House, which you can see from the table!

  3. HB, great seafood meal. Unlike states when serve seafood they drown it in tartar sauce. It pretty bad at certain places I been to. Prefer just lemon slices with dishes and some tangy sauce.

    • Yeah, NZ high schools drown bad fish in tartare sauce too! :)

      It’s not popular nowadays, people tend to use infused mayo or aioli as dips coz it’s the trendy thing to do, apparently.

  4. I am suspecting that it won’t be an affordable meal because of the quality of their ingredients and it’s at the waterfront…. but one should splurge occasionally when one has the financial means. ^^

    I wonder if there’s something similar in Perth and/or Adelaide…

    I’ve seen the crayfish being sold in the Asian market in Auckland, but never had the chance to taste it (partly because it was too pricey for me and I wasn’t a big fan of prawns/lobsters then).

    • Yeah, this is one of those occasions! :)

      It was our last night in Australia and we wanted to have a nice dinner.

      Yeah, there’s awesome seafood in Perth! Fish and chips are sooo good in Perth – Cicerellos and Marini’s are the famous ones, but I prefer The Fish Shack.

      Ah, crayfish is cheaper when you buy it at the seafood markets at the harbour – there’s one in Perth too!

    • Yeah, it’s coz of Vivid Sydney! :)

      It’s a once yearly affair where they light up the city with interactive color and sound projections – everything from walls to entire office buildings – skyscrapers!

    • Yup, you can’t beat eating at the Waterfront! :)

      It has the best view of Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge etc. Yeah, I’ll definitely recommend the lobster if you come here, it’s our of the world!

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