Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Best place for foodies to live?


loiosh
 Share

Recommended Posts

We're thinking of moving house interstate to Sydney or Melbourne. We've spent some time in both cities as visitors, but want to get a better feel for where we'd like to live. I'm hoping to draw on the forum's expertise to see what suburb(s) we should be looking at from the point of view of people who really enjoy food and cookery. Some of our criteria are:

- good produce/meat/specialty food shops close at hand

- tasty restaurants within walking distance

- good pub(s) within walking distance

- anything else cool or interesting (bookstores with large cookery section, markets...)

What suburbs do you think are tops for food and drink?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's probably places in Melbourne and Sydney that will have everything you want. From a Melbourne perspective, we've got plenty of suburbs that would have what you want - Fitzroy, Carlton, Brunswick, Clifton Hill, Albert Park, South Melbourne, North Melbourne, Richmond, St.Kilda.....just stay within 10 to 15km of the city centre and you should be fine.

You'd probably earn more money in Sydney, but the cost of living up there is also much higher. Melbourne does have a slower pace, and I think in terms of quality of living, Melbourne craps all over our northern cousins.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live in Sydney's eastern suburbs, and have for four years after spending my previous life in New York and Washington, DC...and I think Sydney's a pretty mixed bag, food-wise, but every year I see things getting better. Where I live (Bondi Junction) there's a number of great produce and specialty stores, including a Norton St. Grocer and a DJ Food Hall, within the suburb or just a short way away - and once you start to find some of the little deli's and such you find that you can be cagey and know where you can get great meat for the grill for less, imported cheeses for $10-$20 less a kilo than the big guys, etc...but it takes time, and since I work from home I can explore. We're not great in the area in terms of pubs and restaurants, but I haven't really spent much time in Melbourne so I can't compare.

One thing in just a few days of spending time in these forums (thanks everyone for the warm welcome and help so far) is that there seem to be more Melburnians than Sydneysiders here, FWIW.

If you do come up to Sydney, drop me a line for a guided food tour.

There's probably places in Melbourne and Sydney that will have everything you want.  From a Melbourne perspective, we've got plenty of suburbs that would have what you want - Fitzroy, Carlton, Brunswick, Clifton Hill, Albert Park, South Melbourne, North Melbourne, Richmond, St.Kilda.....just stay within 10 to 15km of the city centre and you should be fine. 

You'd probably earn more money in Sydney, but the cost of living up there is also much higher.  Melbourne does have a slower pace, and I think in terms of quality of living, Melbourne craps all over our northern cousins.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not having spent much time in Melbourne I really can't comment. From a Sydney perspective there are several areas I would recommend to a foodie restaurant lover like myself. As Shinboners said I you stay within a 10 -15 min travel radius of the city you will be fine. Here are my picks

Balmain - Lots of restaurants, Good pubs and great produce stores.

Newtown - Lots of restaurants, Good pubs and an interesting crowd.

Surry Hills - Lots of restaurants, Good pubs and very close to the city

Paddington - Upmarket suburb with lots of gourmet shops [simon Johnson, Jones the Grocer and other good quality delis and fruitier]

Crows Nest - North Shore - Lots of restaurants, Essential Ingredients store which has a great range of food, cookware, and cookbooks to fill a library.

Inner City Sydney - Liverpool St for Spanish, Goulbourn St and China Town for Chinese and Asian. Paddy's Market has a large produce market every week fish, meat and a huge range of fresh fruit and veg. Nearly all the 1,2 and 3 hat restaurant are located in the inner city. David Jones city store has a great food hall and casual dining area and the list goes on.

My main consideration would be where am I going to be working and how far am I prepared to commute. I have just returned to Australia after working overseas for the last 6 years and I have chosen to live close to Crows Nest. Main reason being it has lots to offer any night of the week and is only 10 min on the train to the city where I work. Good luck in your decision. :biggrin:

Smell and taste are in fact but a single composite sense, whose laboratory is the mouth and its chimney the nose. - Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Crow's Nest... mmm, lots of Izakaya's... Japanese eating/drinking places. Summer, cold sake, mmmmmm....

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live on the North Shore is Sydney which I consider to be a culinary wasteland. I think the Eastern Suburbs are probably the best place to be for food. There are lots of great places particularly around Surry Hills and Darlinghurst. You would also be fairly close to Waterloo etc. which is becoming a bit of a foodie haven thanks to places like Fratelli Fresh and Simon Johnson's new food emporium.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

FiFi La More I will agree that the north shore may seem like a desert as opposed to a dessert if you dont know where to look. There are lots of offerings to be had. Last week I dined at Tables in Pymble for the 4-5 time. The quality of the dishes are truley 5 star without the price. Check before going if Dan is on. We spent $220 for two which included wine, appertiffs, entree, mains and desserst. Corkage was $8 for the bottle. Sydneys northern beaches also offer great fair. Try the cafe at Avalon "Chealsea Tea House for a beautiful breakfast or lunch. Baristas very good. Try it out

Smell and taste are in fact but a single composite sense, whose laboratory is the mouth and its chimney the nose. - Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

FiFi La More I will agree that the north shore may seem like a desert as opposed to a dessert if you dont know where to look. There are lots of offerings to be had. Last week I dined at Tables in Pymble for the 4-5 time. The quality of the dishes are truley 5 star without the price. Check before going if Dan is on. We spent $220 for two which included wine, appertiffs, entree, mains and desserst. Corkage was $8 for the bottle. Sydneys northern beaches also offer great fair. Try the cafe at Avalon "Chealsea Tea House for a beautiful breakfast or lunch. Baristas very good. Try it out

Yes there are some good places on the North Shore but they are still far and few between. Tables is excellent. I used to love the Chelsea Tea House especially when they had the brisket roll. But last time I went there it was terrible. I had been raving about it to one of my foodie friends from Melbourne so we took the drive up there. The service was so incredibly rude that I believed the place had changed hands. At least I had to say this to explain to the person I was with why it was so bad. We could not even get someone to give us a menu or take our order. Needless to say it was so traumatic that we went somewhere else for coffee. Do you know any good coffee places? I was going to Atomic in Neutral Bay but have moved out further now. I have discovered Ciao Down in Lindfield but was wondering if there is anything else out this way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear about you bad experience at the Chelsea tea house. We have been going for a drive up there about once a month and have only ever been looked after and feed with the most delicious food and coffee. A few weeks ago we thought we’d give somewhere else a try and went to the foodie café/deli across the road. All I can say is never ever again the service was atrocious. Why do these cafés start business and then employ 15 year olds to serve people. I suppose that’s another thread.

For consistently good coffee and food we go to Houlahans in Spring St Chatswood. Sam’s the barista there and he has won many awards for his coffee. The service and food are always good. What about delish in Lindfeild the quiche is devine. :raz:

Edited by Taubear (log)

Smell and taste are in fact but a single composite sense, whose laboratory is the mouth and its chimney the nose. - Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear about you bad experience at the Chelsea tea house. We have been going for a drive up there about once a month and have only ever been looked after and feed with the most delicious food and coffee. A few weeks ago we thought we’d give somewhere else a try and went to the foodie café/deli across the road. All I can say is never ever again the service was atrocious. Why do these cafés start business and then employ 15 year olds to serve people. I suppose that’s another thread.

For consistently good coffee and food we go to Houlahans in Spring St Chatswood. Sam’s the barista there and he has won many awards for his coffee. The service and food are always good. What about delish in Lindfeild the quiche is devine. :raz:

Thanks for the Chatswood tip. I have been struggling to find a place for coffee at Chatswood for some time. I am already a regular at Delish. They have so many lovely treats.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live on the North Shore is Sydney which I consider to be a culinary wasteland. I think the Eastern Suburbs are probably the best place to be for food. There are lots of great places particularly around Surry Hills and Darlinghurst. You would also be fairly close to Waterloo etc. which is becoming a bit of a foodie haven thanks to places like Fratelli Fresh and Simon Johnson's new food emporium.

Huh, funny. I live in the Eastern Suburbs and I routinely hear how Crows Nest and Manly seem to have the best food shops.

Over on the east side, Anzac Parade near UNSW has a huge number of cheap asian eats which is about as authentic as you can get since there are some many asian students in the area. Bondi is excellent for high quality produce, usually with prices to match. Theres a kitchen store in Bondi called Pulp kitchens which stock Shun knives which I've not seen anywhere else. Wollahra has a number of nice high end shops including a cheese shop thats pretty decent and Simon Johnson which is absurdly overpriced but stocks goumet items unavailable anywhere else. Theres meant to be an excellent butcher on Clovelly Road in Randwick who I've been meaning to check out for ages. In Randwick near the Hospital, there are some excellent asian butchers and the green grocer is not too bad either. The Fox studio farmers market on Wednesday and Sundays at Fox Studios has a couple of decent stalls including cheese, bread, Wagyu beef, honey, chocolate, lemons & oranges.

Thats about the extent of my knowledge of the eastern suburbs, would appreciate some other hidden gems close by.

edit: Claudes in Wollahra is meant to be pretty good french/asian food although I've never dined there but I've been to Balzac in Randwick which did an excellent dinner but only a so-so lunch. As far as dining in "The Spot" near the Randwick Ritz, Arthurs Pizza is a classic after-movie place but the greek place next door was awful. The Thai place across the roundabout is pretty good but the main appeal seems to be the open kitchens and the periodic 3m high flames. Sydney Gourmet Burgers seem to be producing a decent product but I never see people inside so I don't know how long it will last.

There remains, to my great dismay, no decent coffee or ice-cream places anywhere near Randwick.

PS: Would appreciate some decent dining options in Newtown. Despite it's reputation, I've had a hard time finding anything decent. Tried Newtown Thai which was pretty ordinary and also Peasants Feast which was overpriced and poorly executed. All I see is Thai and Italian places.

Edited by Shalmanese (log)

PS: I am a guy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live in Sydney's eastern suburbs, and have for four years after spending my previous life in New York and Washington, DC...and I think Sydney's a pretty mixed bag, food-wise, but every year I see things getting better. Where I live (Bondi Junction) there's a number of great produce and specialty stores, including a Norton St. Grocer and a DJ Food Hall, within the suburb or just a short way away - and once you start to find some of the little deli's and such you find that you can be cagey and know where you can get great meat for the grill for less, imported cheeses for $10-$20 less a kilo than the big guys, etc...but it takes time, and since I work from home I can explore. We're not great in the area in terms of pubs and restaurants, but I haven't really spent much time in Melbourne so I can't compare.

One thing in just a few days of spending time in these forums (thanks everyone for the warm welcome and help so far) is that there seem to be more Melburnians than Sydneysiders here, FWIW.

If you do come up to Sydney, drop me a line for a guided food tour.

Spill the beans James!

PS: I am a guy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having lived in both cities in the past decade I would say Melbourne wins hands down...

Just compare on a few limited fronts:

Fresh Food Markets - Sydney Flemington or Haymarket Fresh Markets vs Queen Vic (not to mention Preston, Prahran, Sth Melbourne, Footscray, Springvale and others) Winner Queen Vic hands down

Fresh Fish -Sydney Fish Market vs Queen Vic - winner Sydney but only on points

Wine - Melbourne has 5 distinct wine regions within 1 hrs drive and another 8 within 2 - Sydney has 1 a fair drive north

Price - Quite simply Melbourne's cost of living is heaps cheaper

Accesible fine & good casual dining - again Melbourne is cheaper and more accesible

Sydney wins on Extreme fine dining - but as Marie Antoinette found out you can't live on cake everyday...

Both cities have DJ's, SJs & Essential Ingredient; there are equivalents for Accountrement etc

One big issue is accesibility - living in inner Melbourne is much more fun than living in inner Sydney if you want to go to all the best food places because you can get around in a morning and do all your shopping. Melbourne particularly north of the Yarra (say Nth Melb to Richmond) is redolent with food places

Overall our experience in Sydney was - when you were entertained you ate out at a flash place. In Melbourne you either were taken somewhere where the food was good or you were invited home for a home cooked meal

So if you had to choose - I'd say Melbourne. Still the other advice generally is sound - stay close to the city preferably in suburbs that have recently gentrified so that there is some residue of a migrant culture attached and the food is generally better.

"The purpose of a cookery book is one & unmistakable. Its object can conceivably be no other than to increase the happiness of mankind - Joseph Conrad"

www.booksforcooks.com.au

new & old books about wine, food & the culinary arts bought & sold

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to thank everyone for all the great responses so far. I've really enjoyed reading all of them. We'll most likely be making a few trips to check places out in the near future, and I'll report back if I discover anything interesting (like the excellent bakery I found near Double Bay a few months ago).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Well, the results are in...

Work is going to be in the lower north shore area in Sydney, so I'm thinking of somewhere around there because it'd be cool to be close to the office for once. I did make it to Essential Ingredient in Crows Nest, which is about 10 times larger than the Canberra one, and bought a copy of "Culinary Artistry". Sad to say, the only thing I've eaten in the area so far is a Gloria Jean's Coffee Bean frappucino thing.

We're still trying to sort out a flat and so on (if anyone has any tips on renting flats/townhouses/whatever that allow one sedate, nondestructive cat, PM me). I'm also trying to figure out how best to move our tahitian lime and meyer lemon trees (they're in containers, but I'd like to give this year's fruit a chance if at all possible).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to Sydney loiosh!

The North Shore of Sydney is freakishly expensive as I'm sure you know. Probably best to go up further north on the train line, somewhere around pymble or so. But then the culinary scene isn't as good. In fact, almost anywhere in sydney is going to be freakishly expensive compared to Canberra.

PS: I am a guy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

if u r going to work by train and r looking for somewhere not too expensive and new, waitara isn't bad. there's a glut of apartments all close to the station and shops. i think it is about 1/2 an hour or a bit more to the city by train, and if food is mega important, it is not crows nest, so that would be the downside. however, what you save on rent, u can spend on food. and don't forget the apartments are new, and the kitchens tend to be your average gourmet kitchens. 2 br, a/c, security car park, bathroom, ensuite goes for 320-350$ in a security block, i think. my cousin has a 1br apartment for 280$ (with a pool), 5 mins walk to the station, n 10 min walk to westfield in hornsby, which is huge.

chatswood is probably the next place i would consider. again, there are new blocks close to the station, but the blocks are much bigger than the ones in waitara (which tend to b no more than 8 levels cos going over eight levels is a whole new ball game wrt fire regulations etc), so the car parks are bigger etc. 2 br etc, i think goes for abt 550$. to me $200 is significant, but it depends on what u r looking for. chatswood is definitely closer to everything. if chatswood is your thing, let me know, i know someone with a place with 2br.

if u r looking at the city which is almost my idea of heaven, an apartment in circular quay, 1 br,pool, gym, concierge, luxury fittings....ummm....have i forgotten anything? yes ...view of harbour n bridge...will set u back abt $1000, if not more. (no, i'm not an agent - i just listen to what everyone has to say)

hope this helps

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm gonna be honest here and will probably get stick for this, but I spent 2 years in Melbourne studying at RMIT and have eaten at places like Flowerdrum, Number 8, Vlado's, etc..etc...and honestly, very little stands out.

If you want really good, but overpriced IMO steak, Vlados on Bridge Road is the place to go. But for a large hunk of excellent meat, I'd rather get my own at Queen Victoria market at a fraction of the price. Try it once just to say you've done it. If you bring a family of 4 or 5, just for the steak set meal (You have no choice...only set meal), you can buy a Jackeroo grill, several kgs of filet mignon and a slab of beer.

I've been to Fenix (There's a thread going on about it now), and whilst it was pretty good, I'd rather book a table at Tetsuya's in Sydney. But in all honesty, I was there for a business function, not on pleasure, so the pleasure may have been taken out of it.

Having the lamb shanks on the bistros on St Kilda is another overpriced affair. At AUD$30 onwards for one of the cheapest cuts of meat, I expect some quality sauce that was reduced from some bones, not a masterfoods or gravlox instant stock rubbish.

The shining lights for me in Melbourne are the small Italian pizza joint on Little bourke and exhibition st, and of course, Pacific House in Richmond and South yarra.

The roast duck at Pacific house IS TO DIE FOR. I rate Pacific House higher than the restaurants in Singapore and the few apparently good ones that my suppliers in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shanghai brought me to.

And if you are after Thai food, there are 2 good ones.

Thai Taste on Hoddle and something (Its between bridge road and victoria road) has awesome papaya salad, beef salad and the roast pork legs are simply heaven.

Krua Thai II on Bridge Road for lunch on friday, sat and sun. You'll see only Thai people here mostly during these times coz of the special menu. We usually have the specials on the board + the beef soup noodles (Nam Tok Luer is the Thai Name and is either number 1 or 2 on the menu). I've had the original noodles cooked by my friend's maids from the North of Thailand. It takes 24 hours for the stock and awhole load of herbs and spices some of which I've never seen before. And its thickened with a bit of pig blood (You can't taste the blood, so don't worry! I don;t really like pig blood too). In Northern Thailand and especially in Laos, they add a pinch of marijuana in the soup!

For good coffee, Mama's cafe (Just next to Commonwealth bank and near RMIT) on bourke st between Swanston and Russel serves great coffee from Coffex. The blend is perfect every time! I've ordered 1 cup to a dozen on a tray, and the taste is always the same. Perfect.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The movers have just packed away my Time-Life Foods of the World volumes, and we should be up to Sydney Thursdayish. PM if you're interested in a get-together in a week or two when things have settled down a bit. Sea Treasure looks awesome but I'm too much of a wuss to order live seafood by myself. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The movers have just packed away my Time-Life Foods of the World volumes, and we should be up to Sydney Thursdayish. 

Oh well. We did our best to try and convince you to move to Melbourne.

Good luck with Sydney! I hope you have many wonderful foodie experiences there.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
Sounds good, where are you staying?

We're in St. Leonards, and I've been extremely busy the last few weeks. Whew!

Culinary highlights have included La Grillade on Alexander St. in Crows Nest, if you want to kick it primal with some tasty meat. We did feel a little underdressed for the apres-work crowd. I'm also making plans to return to Nilgiri's (just near St Leonards station) which do amazing Indian. Leave your expectations of cheap-and-cheerful, serviceable curries behind: this is innovative, high-concept stuff, a world away from your standard butter chicken. I also enjoyed the fresh-as-anything nigiri sushi at Sapporo in Crows Nest. The rolls are ho-hum, and it's a bit dear, but hey, sumo tournaments on the big screen really add to the ambience for me.

I also cooked some fabulous curry, hokkien noodles and other stuff in my awesome new kitchen. It's been really great and I'm looking forward to checking out more of the cool markets and stuff. So far I've mostly been hitting Woolies and Macro.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...