The Liquor Cabinet

8 of the best BYO restaurants to try now

Here’s your summer hit list of the best BYO restaurants across Australia – grab your favourite bottle from Liquorland and get set to wine and dine.

There’s nothing better than heading to your favourite restaurant and being able to take just the wine you want to drink. Here’s our round-up of the best BYO restaurants across Australia.

Emma’s Snack Bar, Marrickville (NSW)

“Dinner nirvana” is how one reviewer described Emma’s Snack Bar (@emmassnackbar), a bustling Lebanese joint in Enmore, Sydney. Sure, you could start with the dips and flatbread (just don’t fill up on the bread!), before moving onto the traditional dishes like raw lamb kibbeh nayeh, but the best thing to do here is get the banquet. The food will keep coming and you’re guaranteed the restaurant’s famous Moorish chicken served with a creamy garlic sauce.

Nearest Liquorland: Marrickville Metro, 1.8km

What to bring: Something Mediterranean – Rosé D’Amelie AOC Luberon Rosé. This crisp and fruity pink wine from Provence in France will be delicious with the Moorish chicken.

Akwaaba, St Kilda (VIC)

Akwaaba means ‘welcome’ in the language of the Akan people of Ghana, and that’s what you’ll get at the West African Akwaaba (@akwaaba_restaurantandbar). This lively St Kilda restaurant has authentic dishes like beef stew with jollof (a traditional rice dish) and fufu (pounded meal found exclusively in West African cuisine). This style of food is traditionally quite spicy but there’s something for everyone here, and it all pairs perfectly with a well-chosen wine.

Nearest Liquorland: Prahran, 0.6kms

What to bring: Sisters Run Shiraz is a peppery, savoury and punchy Aussie red that’s the perfect partner for rich beef stews.

Superbao, Dickson (ACT)

The first thing that hits you at Superbao (@superbao.canberra) are the aromas from the soft shell crab-loaded woks. Next you’ll notice the decor – there’s a vibrant mural spanning half the restaurant featuring Ancient Chinese warriors wearing Nike trainers! It makes for a nice blend of old and new – just like the food. Brace yourself for big flavours in small bites – think lobster spring rolls with a rich miso sauce and sticky pork in fluffy steamed bao buns. Team that with your favourite BYO wine and it’s unbelieva-BAO (see what we did there?).

Nearest Liquorland: Canberra Civic, 3.5km

What to bring: The Ned Marlborough Chardonnay is full-flavoured with nectarine, kumquat and popcorn aromas. It’s great with sticky roast pork.

Porkfat, Haymarket (NSW)

Porkfat (@porkfatsydney) in Sydney’s Chinatown had Nigella Lawson gushing after a recent visit: “Oh Pork Fat, how do I love thee! Let me count the ways.” The family vibe is strong at this authentic Thai destination and so is the cool factor. If you want to replicate Nigella’s experience (and why wouldn’t you!), here’s what she raved about: the prawns in southern-style curry, the ‘simple yet intense’ grilled pork jowl and the ‘sensationally good’ pork larb.

Nearest Liquorland: Sydney World Square Express, 1.1kms

What to bring: Sensi Prosecco DOC 18K Gold, because a wine that sparkles pairs well with these dishes. It has apple, pear and stone fruit flavours and a crisp, dry finish.

Shanghai Village, Chinatown (VIC)

Located in Melbourne’s Chinatown district, no-frills Shanghai Village is popular with the locals for its tasty food, speedy service and great prices. Start by flicking through the menu of steamed or fried dumplings (plates of 15 dumplings for under $10) and Shanghai-style main dishes. Then place your order and wait a beat for the food to land. You’ll want to bring a chilled white to go with this food.

Nearest Liquorland: Elizabeth St, 1.1kms

What to bring: Oyster Bay Pinot Gris is an aromatic white from Hawke’s Bay, NZ. It’s an excellent match for Shanghai-style dumplings with pork, seafood or vegetarian fillings.

Rock Salt, Noosa (QLD)

The menu at Rock Salt (@rocksaltnoosa) is inspired by local Sunshine Coast produce and global flavours from around the world. The menu includes dishes like Moreton Bay Bug ravioli in a garlic butter sauce and five spice duck leg mandarin pancakes. We suggest you crack open a bottle of pinot noir, then sit back and enjoy crispy skin salmon with teriyaki dressing. The restaurant is nestled alongside a bend in the Noosa River so switch off the phone and drink it all in.

Nearest Liquorland: Noosa Heads, 3.2km

What to bring: Two Towns Pinot Noir pairs well with crispy skin salmon – it’s savoury with hints of plum, cherry, rose and cocoa.

Goldbird Hot Chicken, Fremantle (WA)

Watching as a chef grates fresh parmesan over rigatoni alla vodka chilli basil is simply bellissimo. Set in a heritage building that’s had a showstopping $14 million refit, Valentino’s 101 (@valentinos_101) packs a punch. The Tavola Calda (an upmarket version of a local Italian deli or antipasto bar) offers indoor and outdoor dining. In summer the piazza-like atrium, complete with retractable roof, will have you soaking up the sun (and the sauce from your made-to-order pasta).

Nearest Liquorland: Rundle Mall, 0.63km

What to bring: Donna Lorenza Chianti DOCG is made with sangiovese grapes. It’s a spicy all-rounder that takes you from pizza and pasta to hearty mains like eggplant parmigiana.

Valentino’s 101, Adelaide (SA)

When a hot chicken sandwich is making waves, you’ll want to see what all the fuss is about. Goldbird (@goldbirdhotchicken) serves up Nashville hot chicken with a distinct retro flavour. The menu is concise and the birds are fried to crispy perfection. Choose your own adventure when it comes to spice: zero, mild, hot or extra hot. For something that really stands up to the hot sauce, take a bottle of WA semillon sauvignon blanc.

Nearest Liquorland: North Fremantle, 3km

What to bring: West Cape Howe Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is a sem-sav that’s as lively as the Goldbird menu. It has hints of passionfruit, peach and honeydew melon.

BYO FAQs: Be in the know when it comes to BYO – here’s a handy guide.

What is a BYO restaurant? A restaurant that lets you bring your own alcoholic drinks. Some restaurants are BYO because they don’t hold a liquor licence; others are fully licensed but still offer BYO.

Can you BYO to a fully licensed restaurant? Fully licensed restaurants may not have a BYO policy, but many do. If you can’t find it on the website, make sure you call or email to ask if they accept BYO and if there are any restrictions.

Is it cheaper to BYO? If you want to save money on dining out, BYO is usually a smart option – you can choose drinks to suit your budget rather than being limited to what’s on the drinks menu. However, to cover costs, restaurants may charge a fee, either per person or per bottle – this is known as corkage. Remember if corkage is per person, the charge will apply to the whole table, whether everyone is drinking or not.

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