Some of my best times have been sharing a meal with friends tucked away in a private dining room in one of my favourite restaurants. There’s something special about gathering in a space away from everyone else, you can laugh a little louder, eat and drink with more abandon, and carry on almost as you would at home … without any of the cleaning up afterwards. I’m often asked for recommendations for PDRs, large and small, so here are five of my favourites.
Beppi’s East Sydney
I love the atmospheric cellar dining room of this iconic Italian restaurant (opened in 1956). Best of all is the little PDR, lined with some of Italy and Australia’s finest past vintages and perfect for 2-6 people to enjoy classic Italian dishes – like the best pasta e fagioli I’ve ever had.
Bibo Wine Bar Double Bay
I love the balcony overlooking leafy Bay Street off Bibo’s upstairs PDR – the perfect spot to mingle with a drink and runner bean fritters as everyone arrives. Then there’s Jose Silva’s flaming chorizo, piri piri chicken and more great wine inspired by the collection lining the walls.
I love Annita Potter’s upstairs private dining room overlooking her courtyard and open kitchen. It’s minimalist blonde wood and wicker is brought to life by an impressive library of wine wrapped around it on floor to ceiling shelves and thoughtful wraps thrown over each chair during the chillier months. Needless to say I love her authentic Thai flavours too.
The Apollo Potts Point
A marble-topped table tucked into a storage nook off the kitchen forms the rustic PDR here. Shelving along one wall holds cans of oil and wooden crates of produce and the table is laden with a shared banquet of taramasalata, seafood, salad, wild weed pie and slow-cooked lamb.
Pilu at Freshwater Freshwater
Not many PDRs offer a view like the one from the enclosed veranda that runs the length of this wooden building overlooking the beach. There’s a tiny balcony for pre-dinner drinks before a feast of house-made pasta, suckling pig, Sardinian wine and honey-drizzled deep-fried ricotta pastries.
Updated 28 February 2023