The charm of Sydney’s family-owned restaurants

Roast cauliflower being spooned onto a plate

Sydney is an international hub for food, with cuisine from all around the world represented. However, among the many restaurants opening every month, there are some that truly stand out for their authentic flavors and commitment to tradition. These family-owned restaurants showcase the passion and creativity of generations of chefs and owners. Among those, four stand out as shining stars in Sydney’s culinary scene: Hello Auntie, XOPP, SAX, and Love.Fish – and more!

Hello Auntie

Hello Auntie food chef

Owned by Chef Cuong Nguyen and his mother Thi Da (Lynda) Tran, Hello Auntie is a vibrant Vietnamese eatery in the bustling Darling Square precinct. Nguyen’s travels and culinary training have allowed him to bring a modern twist to traditional Vietnamese dishes, while still remaining true to the authenticity of the original flavors.

“The food is a reflection of who we are and where we come from,” explains Nguyen. “Vietnamese culture is all about family, and that is something I want to share with our customers. Every dish is a story, and we hope to honor the Vietnamese culinary culture by telling those stories through our food.”

The menu is an exciting blend of Vietnamese classics and innovative new creations. Must-try dishes include their signature crispy pork belly banh mi and modern variations of pho that reflect the chef’s London-based culinary training.


Xopp food chicken

XOPP, from the respected Golden Century Group, is a Cantonese restaurant that has persisted for over three decades. Founded by Eric and Linda Wong, the restaurant has been passed down to their sons, with Billy Wong now at the helm, overseeing the award-winning menu and reinvigorating the restaurant ever since.

“It used to be just my parents running XOPP,” says Billy. “Now my brother in Hong Kong is involved as well, and the entire family is focused on creating a modern and stylish restaurant that is still rooted in the wonderful Cantonese cuisine we all grew up enjoying.”

To make this happen, Billy has redesigned the restaurant with elegant decor and a creative menu. Must-try dishes include the char-grilled sesame chicken and a range of dim sum delicacies.


Sax Sydney

SAX is the first project from the Khouri family, who have brought their love for wine and food to Barangaroo. “We wanted to create a place where people could enjoy wine, food and the good company of others,” says owner Bryahne Khouri. “More than just a restaurant, our aim is to impart memories to all who dine with us.”

SAX offers an all-day dining experience with an extensive wine list that reflects the family’s passion for collecting rare and unique wines. Their locally sourced ingredients are used to create a range of contemporary dishes that reflect both the family’s heritage and the vibrancy and creativity of contemporary Sydney.


Oysters food

Love.Fish is a family-oriented seafood restaurant that combines fresh, locally-sourced ingredients with a dedication to responsible and sustainable practices. Co-owners Michael Milkovic and Michelle Grand-Milkovic started the restaurant in 2010 while their children were still very young.

“Both Michael and I have always had a passion for good food and sustainability, so opening Love.Fish was a natural fit,” says Michelle. “We wanted to create a place that our own children would love coming to, and that would reflect our own values of family and community.”

Love.Fish offers a varied seafood menu that reflects the seasons and the restaurant’s commitment to using sustainable practices that protect local marine life. A highlight is their signature seared salmon with green apple and wasabi puree.

Sydney is home to many exciting and innovative restaurants, but these family-owned establishments set themselves apart with their founding principles of tradition, sustainability, and family. They offer a unique and personal dining experience that reflects the creative and cultural diversity of one of Australia’s most cosmopolitan cities.


Freds oysters hands chef food

Fred’s is owned by Danielle Alvarez, a Floridian chef who has made Sydney her home. Her love for food and passion for local ingredients quickly took root in Australia, where she found a wealth of fresh produce and ingenuity in the culinary scene.

The menu at Fred’s is inspired by the seasons and the land, featuring dishes made with local, organic ingredients that are sourced from nearby farmers and suppliers. The restaurant’s intimate and relaxed atmosphere combines well with creative and ever-changing dishes, making it a great spot for a night out with friends or a romantic dinner for two.

Fratelli Paradiso

Fratelli Paradiso

Fratelli Paradiso (Italian for “Paradise Brothers”) is a popular Italian restaurant in Potts Point that has been in operation for over 20 years. Brothers Giovanni and Enrico Paradiso created the restaurant as a tribute to their Italian heritage and passion for food.

Fratelli Paradiso’s menu is a celebration of traditional Italian flavors, with a focus on freshly made pasta and wood-fired pizza. The restaurant also boasts an impressive wine list that is carefully curated by the brothers.

Bush in Surry Hills

Bush Sydney sandwich food

Bush is a rare gem in Sydney’s restaurant scene, showcasing traditional Australian ingredients in innovative and delicious ways. Owned by two brothers, Jock and Jacqui Zonfrillo, Bush is a celebration of Australia’s unique food heritage and pays homage to Indigenous ingredients and techniques.