Melbourne Cup – Waterside at Darling Harbour

It’s no secret that Sydney’s cultural hub Darling Harbour attracts a crowd. Each year, over 4.5 million visitors come to enjoy the eclectic mix of history, entertainment and picture-perfect views. While slow walkers, selfie sticks and tour groups come with the territory, Darling Harbour remains as one of our favourite waterside spots when exploring Sydney’s Waterways. And by “exploring” we really mean eating. With Melbourne Cup just around the corner, this maritime hub has seriously upped its game for the race that stops a nation. From steakhouses to seafood, it’s worth taking another look at Darling Harbour when planning your Melbourne Cup festivities this year. You (and your taste buds) can thank us later.


Nicks Seafood Restaurant

Somewhat of an institution on the Cockle Bay Promenade, Nicks mouth-watering seafood masterpieces are not to be missed. With their ‘sea to plate’ philosophy that hinges on pairing locally sourced produce with fresh flavours, Nick Manettas and his team have dominated the seafood dining experience for over 20 years. With a HUGE menu that boasts everything you could ever dream of in terms of seafood, it’s perfect for families and group get togethers. But let’s get one thing straight… If you’re going to Nick’s, you’re getting their Signature Seafood Platter. If you’ve ever walked along the Cockle Bay Promenade, chances are you have seen these bad boys towering through the restaurant. Dressed to perfection (get your camera ready), it comes with cooked lobster, Sydney Rock Oyster, King Prawns, Blue Swimmer Crab, Mussels, catch of the day, potato salad and chips. The platter is for two so grab your seafood loving partner in crime and skip breakfast to allow for maximum consumption. Nick’s is offering an exclusive 4-course Melbourne Cup Lunch for $95 pp. Enjoy sweepstakes, big screens so you won’t miss a second of the action, competitions and some pretty sweet prizes.

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Another veteran on the block, Cargo opened up shop almost two decades ago and has been bringing the party in Darling Harbour ever since. If you’re looking for a place with great music, good vibes and a killer view this is your spot. While most people know Cargo as a night club, it is also home to some pretty delicious food and drink. Located on Kings St Wharf, their street food style menu has all the classics like chicken parmas and bangers and mash while serving up some more complex flavours like Maple Salmon and Dukkah and Lime Squid. Newly renovated, Cargo’s sleek New York vibe is the perfect place to watch the sun set with a delicious cocktail in hand that tastes as good as it looks. If you’re looking for a quiet spot to enjoy a drink Cargo is probably not for you. As the sun sets, the venue turns into a luxe bar/club that always draws a crowd. In true Cargo fashion, they are hosting a cocktail party for the race that stops the nation upstairs. For $99 you’ll get a cocktail on arrival, 3-hours of tasty canapes with drinks, live racing and entertainment to keep you going into the night.


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Meat District Co.

Ribs. Burgers. Beer. Need we say more? Meat District Co is a meat-lovers dream. Like Nick’s, they pride themselves on their ‘paddock to plate’ ethos with locally sourced, all natural, grass-fed Australian beef (hormone, steroid & antibiotic free). Located at King St Wharf, the menu has everything you would expect from a restaurant of this name. From pulled pork to crocodile, the team at Meat District Co mean business. The modern steakhouse vibe highlights natural wood tones throughout with industrial accents. Don’t worry through, while inside you feel like you’re in the deep south, Darling Harbour’s million-dollar views can be seen through the floor to ceiling windows and al fresco dining options. If beers not really cutting if you, pair your Crocodile Burger with one of their signature Smoking Skulls Cocktails. Again, the name says it all with the 2-person cocktail presented in a glass smoking skull. Pick your poison with a gin or vodka-based creation inside. Meat District Co gives you two options for you Melbourne Cup celebrations, a formal sit down lunch ($80pp) and a canape and 2 hours of drinks package ($85pp). No matter what your vibe is you will be celebrating in style with sweepstakes, big screens and prizes on the day.


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Helm Bar & Bistro

Everybody loves a nautical theme and Helm Bar & Bistro have nailed it. If you’re looking for that quintessential waterfront seafood dining experience, the recently renovated indoor-outdoor dining layout is the place for you. With a separate upper deck bar, you can make the most of the iconic harbour views no matter if you’re stopping in for a drink or a meal. With the kitchen lead by the expert hand of Chef Marty Huriwai and his team, the menu is the perfect mix of land and sea. If you haven’t already gathered, we love a good seafood platter and Helm does just that. At $95 for two people, it’s one of the more reasonable platters on the promenade and has all your favourites like oysters, smoked salmon, prawns, mussels, beer battered fish, king prawns, salt & pepper squid and of course fries. They have pretty decent kid’s menu too, so the little ones will be happy as they tuck into fish and chips, pizza or pasta. And who doesn’t love a cocktail jug? Helm has something for everyone this Melbourne Cup with three different packages depending on your wine preference. The basic package gives you house wines and beers ($114), the next offers Chandon NV plus house wines and beers ($134) and for those looking to celebrate in the ultimate style, you can enjoy Veurve Clicquot plus wines and beers ($174). All guest will enjoy live music, prizes and front row seats to all the action.


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Bungalow 8

Dreaming about a tropical holiday where you can sit in the sun and throwing back Mai Tai’s? Well head to Bungalow 8 on a sunny day and you’re half way there! Beachside tropical vibes pay homage to Beverley Hills old-world glamour that take you away from the hustle and bustle of the city without ever leaving it. Like Cargo, Bungalow 8 covers all the bases in providing you with food, drink and entertainment from morning to night. In the summer months when the day seems to last forever, a long lunch can turn into sunset drinks and a night filled with good vibes and a cheeky boogie. Treat yourself to seafood favourites like mussels or crispy salmon or grab a bunch of starters for the table. For a more opulent experience, head upstairs to the loft and enjoy a selection of shared plates with everything from oysters to King Island Blue Cheese paired with a bottle of your favourite sparkling while enjoying the spectacular views from the best spot in the house. Enjoy casual dining on Cup Day with a 3-course lunch and a glass of bubbles on arrival for $79pp or head up to The Loft for 3 hours of canapes, drinks for $120pp.


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No matter where you end up on Cup Day in Darling Harbour, you’re going to enjoy some pretty delicious food and atmosphere in one of the city’s most breath taking settings.  Perhaps no better way than packing up some bubbles and nibbles to celebrate on board a boat on Sydneys’s beautiful waterways, moored down at Cockle Bay Marina








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