Find me places to eat in Sydney
February 4, 2014 3:48 PM   Subscribe

Visiting Sydney at the end of this month. When I'm on vacation it always gets to the end of a long day, I'm tired, hungry, but can never pick a place to eat dinner. Help me plan 8 great locations so that I don't starve! Also, any tips on general Sydney things to do would be appreciated (but mainly asking about dinner locations). Details inside...

Where I'll be: central business district, on the south end of Hyde Park. I enjoy a 30/45min walk around meals, so anything within that range is great. But I'm also willing to take the trains/buses to more remote locations.

What I'm after: stuff that's not sea food (fish, shrimp, clams, etc: yuck). Almost everything else is fine. I'm an omnivore minus the fish, but do appreciate a great vegetarian meal now and again. Regional, ethnic, whatever!

What I'll pay: an average of $30AUD is great, sans drinks. One or two meals above that, say up to $100AUD, is a possibility.

Things I'll be doing: I've tried to plan a major event/destination per day. Here's some of the places I hope to be, weather permitting:
  • Taronga Zoo
  • Museums around the CBD area
  • Royal Botanical Gardens and area
  • Bondi Beach 1 day
  • Hiking in Royal National Park 1 or 2 days
  • Beach lounging in Royal National Park 1 or 2 days
  • Whatever else MeFi can talk me into
posted by sbutler to Travel & Transportation around Sydney, Australia (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
To your list of things to do I'd add a ferry trip from Circular Quay to Manly. It's a great way to see the harbour and there are lots of restaurants, pubs and small shops along the Corsi that leads from the ferry dock to the gorgeous Manly Beach.
posted by islander at 4:08 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Firstly, lets talk coffee. Everyone has their favourite, but in the CBD I went to Taste Baguette in the westfield complex on Pitt St. Nice breakfasts, good coffee, breads and croissants baked fresh every day. If you can get out of the CBD then theres a whole world open to you, I quite like Ampersand on Crown St in Surry Hills but literally there are suburbs 15 minutes bus/train away awash with great cafes. Balmain, Glebe, Newtown, Surry Hills are probably the areas to look out for.

In the CBD, on King St is a new complex, Westfields. It has places open "till late" - I recommend Chat Thai there for good Thai, but theres tons of places there.

If you are after great Greek food, Nostos is my favourite in Sydney. Family run, and the lamb shoulder is something out of this world.

I also went to a trendy new Argentinian place in Surry Hills, PorteƱo, it was very nice if expensive.

I'd avoid Darling Harbour, and the Rocks (with a few exceptions) as they are generally tourist traps.

If you are into strolling through markets, Paddington markets are very nice.

One activity I wouldn't miss if the weather is nice is the Bondi to Coogee walk.
posted by Admira at 4:36 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

You can't throw a rock in the Sydney CBD without hitting a place to get good coffee, but Workshop Espresso on George Street is excellent. But here's some other reliable suggestions.

There are plenty of places on Oxford Street and Surry Hills to eat, and it's near where you are staying. I like the Pink Peppercorn, which does Lao fusion (it can be a touch noisy though). Lucio's Pizzeria is pretty sensational, and it's in Surry Hills. For dessert, Gelato Messina just opened a new venue in Surry Hills. Easily one of the best gelatos in town.

Spice I Am
is the best Thai food in town, in my opinion (and there's a lot of competition). It's in Central, which is about a 20 minute walk from where you will be. Arrive early if you can, it's popular and they don't do bookings.

For cheap, I like Tenkomori Ramen House - (10-15$) and on George Street. There are a couple of other good Asian places in the same complex.

The David Jones food hall on Market Street includes a high end food court.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:14 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't know where this restaurant is located in relation to the places you'll be visiting, but I always want to go to Kolbeh, the restaurant featured in the latter half of this video. It's Persian (no hummus, no falafel, no baba ghanoush), and looks delicious. I always try and take in a Persian restaurant if somewhere I'm traveling has one, since where I live there are only two good Persian restaurants.
posted by Blitz at 5:15 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best vegetarian food in Sydney. Govinda's is the only one I've been to, but it's pretty cheap and cheerful, and their boutique cinema is super comfortable.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:17 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

DeVine on York Street is a nice place too, if you feel like spending a bit more.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:18 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Forgot to mention, vis-a-vis the coffee suggestions, I am a black tea guy. Odd for an American, I know, but I assume most Sydney coffee houses will serve an acceptable tea also?
posted by sbutler at 5:19 PM on February 4, 2014

Forgot to mention, vis-a-vis the coffee suggestions, I am a black tea guy. Odd for an American, I know, but I assume most Sydney coffee houses will serve an acceptable tea also?

Yes, Sydney cafes serve tea. Some will do lovely loose leaf blends, and some will do tea bags - it depends. You might want to stop by the Tea Centre in Pitt Street Mall.

Or, if you are feeling classy and want high tea, the Tea Room in the Queen Victoria Building is lovely and does a nice high tea.

The Tea Parlour is a lovely, strange little place that does a very good high tea also.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:27 PM on February 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Do they still have that Taco Bell in Sydney? I would go to Taco Bell eight times.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:03 PM on February 4, 2014

Do they still have that Taco Bell in Sydney?

Nope. But Guzman y Gomez is better than Taco Bell ever was or could be. There is one in the MLC Centre in Martin Place in the CBD.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:09 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes Guzman's is better but, man, when I was 19, that Taco Bell was the business. I don't even remember what I ate, I just know there was a lot of it and it never sent me broke. At Guzman's you can drop $30 on lunch, easy. But then, you do get infinite free red onions, jalapenos, and three different kinds of Tabasco sauce.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:44 PM on February 4, 2014

Make sure you save your hundred bucks for the trip to Bondi, too. That place is a rip-off for about a 10 click radius.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:45 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ichi-Ban Boshi for Japanese Ramen. It's near Kinokuniya, across from the Queen Victoria Building. Cheap, filling, big bowls, and very good (and I lived in Japan). There's also one in Bondi-check their website for the address.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:25 PM on February 4, 2014

Thanks guys, I believe I won't starve now :) But feel free to keep posting suggestions. I'll be monitoring this for a bit and mark best answers later.

Re: Bondi, I'm not too keen on it but I know people are going to ask if I went. Walking from there to Coogee sounds perfect though so I might just use it as a starting point if it's real touristy and overpriced. And I hadn't even considered Manly, which sounds like an excellent area to waste the day away.
posted by sbutler at 1:08 AM on February 5, 2014

Sydney has lots of wonderful Asian food. You've gotten some good recs above, and let me add Chinta Ria for Malay-Indian-Chinese fusion. (Get the Beef Rendang!) It's housed in a gorgeous temple-style building down by Cockle Bay.

Chinta Ria also has a take-away version in Westfields called Sassy's. The food is almost as good, but I like going to the restaurant because it's such a lovely place to sit on a warm Sydney evening.

Seconding Ichi-Ban Boshi and Gelato Messina.

When you go to Taronga Zoo, I recommend taking the ferry across from Circular Quay (buy a combined ferry/zoo pass), then catching the cable car to the top of the Zoo. Fantastic views all the way down and then you can take the ferry home afterwards.

Have a great trip!
posted by Georgina at 2:44 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Jump on a train to Newtown. About three stops from Central, and has many, many good, cheap eateries. Anything busy will be decent. Also an excellent place for people watching and evening shopping. Head north up King St on one side till you run out of shops (there's a giant secondhand book store called Goulds near the intersection with Queens St that's worth the walk), then back down the other side, then via right at Enmore Rd and head up to Edgeware Rd. At the corner of Metropolitan Rd there is Faheems (excellent indian), The Sultan's Table (excellent turkish) and The Cow and Moon (fantastic gelato).

China town is about a 20 min walk from you. There's a fantastic place on Thomas St, in a courtyard on your left as you walk NE from Quay St. A bit hard to find - it has grape vines on the ceiling, is generally packed and serves amazing dumplings.
posted by kjs4 at 7:25 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Jump on a train to Newtown.

Good point - lots of stuff in Newtown, cheap Thai (Atom would be my pick) and Japanese places abound.

Black Star Pastry
is pretty great.

Lots of good bars. Corridor. The Moose. Midnight Special. Earl's Juke Joint. Mary's does pretty great burgers and chicken wings.

For a bit pricer, maybe Bloodwood or Oscillate Wildly. Also, my favourite restaurant in Sydney, the excellent and innovative Hartsyard.

China town is about a 20 min walk from you.

True. but for dumplings, also consider Din Tai Fung in World Square (off George Street) - very good, but busy. There's a takeaway version in the Westfield that everyone keeps mentioning.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:52 PM on February 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

I forgot the best microbrewery pubs - in Newtown, the indie grunge warehouse outfit Young Henry's producing excellent beers and ciders in several interesting varieties. Even if you don't go to their tasting bar, you can probably get their wares in most any pub or bar in Newtown.

In the Rocks, the old school Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:17 PM on February 5, 2014

Thanks guys. Unfortunately I didn't get to all the restaurants I wanted to, but I guess that means I'll just have to go back :) As a wrap up:

1. Parma off Oxford St. Excellent lasagna.

2. Grill'd off Oxford St. Open late after the Mardi Gras parade; excellent burgers.

3. Faheems and the Cow and Moon (wonderful sorbet selection) in Newtown.

4. Actually caught some Oporto because I got home way to late (did a sunset walk from Bronte beach to Bondi beach).

5. Did go to Manly, had a magnificent time. Ate at the Manly Metropolitan Cafe for lunch and had a great meal. Best meal of the trip at deVine. Seriously, cannot say enough good things about that place. Even got a few sample glasses of wine, gratis.

6. Got caught out in the National Forest during the huge, sudden rain storm. Didn't actually get dinner this night because I was so late.

7. Did a beach day, went to Hartsyard for dinner. Excellent but busy (even on a Thurs night).

8. Another beach day, and back at Grill'd off Oxford for dinner. Really, some of the best burgers I've ever had.
posted by sbutler at 3:43 PM on March 11, 2014

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