Sydney is a foodie’s paradise, full of great restaurants, cafes, and bars. I sampled quite a few of them in my years living there. Even on recent work trips back, I was lucky to check out a few new places and revisit some oldies but goodies. This list is by no means a list of the latest and hottest, but it’s a list of some of my favourites.
Where to get a good drink:
Palmer & Co – slightly hidden, behind Mr. Wong’s and the Establishment Hotel on George Street, Palmer and Co. is a prohibition style bar with yummy but expensive cocktails. Some nights, there’s a live band, the servers are dressed the part, in flapper girl outfits and suspenders.
The Winery – just off Crown Street in the heart of Surry Hills. The first time I saw this place, I thought I had entered a posh garden party. Think florals, eccentric furniture, and lots of wine.
Opera Bar – so iconic and such a great atmosphere on a sunny day. You might have to fight for a table, but it’s worth it for a chance to soak in the views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
The Bar at the end of the Wharf – a bit of a long-winded name, but this is a hidden gem with brilliant views of the Harbour. It’s also the perfect place for a drink before/after catching at show at the Sydney Theatre Company or Sydney Dance Company.
Where to get food glorious food!
Spice I am – This one has been around a while; I remember going the first time with a few work colleagues back in 2010. Still remember being blown away by the flavours. Since then I’ve become a massive fan of Sydney’s Thai food. There are multiple Spice I am locations now and you can’t go wrong with any of them. Some are a bit fancier and more atmospheric than others. The massaman curry is a must. Warning, there are a number of other Thai/Asian restaurants on my recommendations list below…I am Asian after all haha.
Chat Thai – Extensive menu, strong and flavourful dishes, great locations. Chat Thai can get very busy, so you’ll have to be prepared to wait a bit.
Chin Chin – The original is in Melbourne. I had a birthday meal at the newly opened location in Sydney last December. At the time it was popular and hard to get into, but worth the effort. Definitely go with a group so you can order a large variety of plates to share and try a bit of everything.
Almond Bar – a tiny little restaurant that’s been around for ages. Make sure you make a reservation in advance. They do Syrian food…which to my untrained palette is quite similar to Lebanese or Turkish food. They have lots of hummus and dips, and do a nice roast cauliflower a really yummy chicken and yoghurt dish.
Na Zdrowie – don’t ask me how to pronounce this restaurant’s name, I only know that they have the most delicious cabbage rolls (Golabki). I’ve been here a few times, and despite going in with intentions to order something new, I always end up with the cabbage rolls. The perogies and duck are also good.
Apollo – Delicious Greek food in a beautiful setting. Not usually a fan of lamb (I don’t like the gamey flavour so pretty much never eat it), I was convinced by a friend to share a slow roasted lamb shoulder at Apollo in Elizabeth Bay. The meat was melt off the bone, super tender, and not gamey at all! If you like lamb, this is a must try.
Fratelli Fresh – These guys have several locations, but my favourite is the one on Bridge street. It’s good for an after work Italian meal and this location has a pizza oven so make sure you get a pizza to share.
Happy Chef Laksa – this is my favourite place for Laksa in Sydney. Having lived in Singapore, I can say this isn’t the most by-the-book laksa shop; instead you’ll find a huge variety of different noodles and topping choices served in laksa broth. My favourite is the vegetable laksa — those puffy tofu pieces soak up all the yummy laksa soup and are a perfect mouthful…just make sure it’s not too hot! Located in the upstairs food court at 401 Dixon Street in Chinatown.
I LOVE brunch, a love I definitely developed in Sydney. There are so many amazing brunch places, and new ones popping up all the time. These are a few faves I’ve been to multiple times over the years, but I’m always keen to try new places whenever I visit.
Bang Bang – for the potato stack. This is a small little cafe on a quiet street in Surry Hills.
Salina’s – I love having lunch at Bronte after walking the coastal track from Bondi. You can try any of the cafes along that strip for a decent meal.
Shuk – A bit out of the way in North Bondi, but with an Israel inspired menu, this is not your usual eggs benedict place.
Trio – right on Campbell Parade and a great place to have a meal by Bondi beach.
For the latest and greatest, I rely on these sites for recommendations: