No-one in their right mind could have guessed that Sydney would’ve risen from the bottom of the food chain to the very top of the international epicurean world in just two, short, decades. If you travelled here in the mid-80s the most gastronomic delight you could’ve hoped for was a half-decent hamburger from the local corner take-away store, and a less-than-decent stodgy pie from the local pub.
Visit Sydney nowadays and, as they say, the world is your oyster. Considered one of the world’s most delectable holiday destinations, Sydney delivers an almost infinite array of great food choices: from 5* meals in one of the city’s harbourside institutions, to cheap and cheerful street food from its infinite holes-in-the-wall; this city will fill your belly in splendid ways no matter what your budget may be. Moreover, the choice of international cuisine here is so varied that when locals head out to dinner they first decide what they feel like, and then decide where they feel like having it.
Once in Sydney, do what the locals do and get your hands on a copy of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide, the city’s most invaluable eating out bible. This, and its sister edition (the Good Food Under $30 Guide) are sold at every bookshop in town, so grabbing one as soon as you arrive will go a long way in helping you understand just how HUGE Sydney’s foodie scene really is.
Here’s just a taster of what you and your taste buds have to look forward to…
Sydney Restaurants – The best meat pies in Sydney
It must be said that the FourandTwenty microwavable pies you find at Coles supermarkets are not all that shabby, yet for a pie experience like no other head to Harry’s Cafe’ de Wheels at Woolloomooloo Wharf. This most iconic of food ‘carts’ has been serving up the city’s most famous pies and hot dogs for over 70 years. Harry’s walls are adorned with photos of celebrities who’ve gorged here, and the sidewalk is lined with drooling guests almost 20 hours a day. Harry’s gone all modern and commercial on us, now boasting eight franchises in and around Sydney. We’re not sure if it’s the wharf setting or nostalgia…but we still think Woolloomooloo serves up the best pies of the lot! Head here after a night out on the town and get stuck into the Tiger, Harry’s original beef pie topped with mash potato, mushy peas and gravy. In Australia, meat pies don’t get much better than this.
The best fish ‘n chips in Sydney
Next on the long list of iconic Sydney eats would have to be the good old ‘fish ‘n chips’. Whilst you’ll find this dish on all menus of restaurants lining Sydney Harbour, we suggest you make yours a super-sweet treat. Head to Circular Quay and catch a ferry to Watson’s Bay, our favourite dining spot in the whole city. Once here you have two options: you can either get ripped off at the less than average Doyles Seafood Restaurant , which for utterly mysterious reasons is still rated as one of the city’s best, or head next door to the Watsons Bay Hotel and savour a mouth-watering serve of beer-battered fish, chips and home-made tartar sauce for $24, which is about half the price of Doyles. The choice is yours!
The best splurge in Sydney
If you really want to have a major foodie splurge whilst in Sydney, then skip Doyles and head to Guillame at Bennelong, the Opera House’s in-house gem. Whilst a sunset dinner here will no doubt hurt the wallet, the pain will be so worthwhile you may even be inclined to do it again, and again, and again. At the risk of gushing ever so slightly, we may just mention that fine dining in one of the sails of the Opera House, whilst enjoying a overly-beautiful Sydney harbour sunset, is one of those things even Sydneysiders have on their bucket lists. C’mon…you’ve come this far…
The best desserts in Sydney
The Lindt chocolate company chose Sydney as the address for their very fist chocolate cafe’. Yippie! There are now three outlets in the city serving the most divine home-made waffles topped with your choice of steaming hot and moorish white, milk or dark chocolate sauces, among many other decadent treats. Head to Lindt Cockle Bay and, if you do manage to get your eyes open while your inner chocoholic has an orgasm, then you’ll get to enjoy wonderful bay views to boot.
The best of…everything else in Sydney!
Like every other multi-cultural capital, Sydney’s best ethnic eats are clustered around specific streets and suburbs. Just about every Sydney suburb will be home to at least one Italian and Chinese restaurant, however quality here can vary greatly so, unless you know a local who can guide you in the right direction, trust the following tried-and-true guide to the best of the city’s multi-everything.
Sydney’s Chinatown has done a fine job of poaching some of Hong Kong’s best chefs, so it’s no surprise that it is here where you’ll find the best yum cha joints around. Leichhardt is Sydney’s answer to New York’s Little Italy, so if you’re craving a super-thin crusted pizza with freshly flown in buffalo mozzarella this is the place you’ll need to head to. King St. Newtown is one of the few places which is home to various eateries of great quality, including an insane number of great Thai restaurants, as well as authentic Lebanese and Japanese eateries too. Likewise, Liverpool Street is the headquarters of both Spanish and Korean cuisines, however here they are separated by George St. Sydney’s main artery. The side closer to Darling Harbour is where you’ll find fantastic paella and sangria, whilst the side towards Hyde Park boasts brilliant Korean grill joints on every side lane.
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