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What's best in Australia?


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Okay, we're doing 10 days in Australia followed by 10 in New Zealand and looking for restaurant recommendations that showcase food that's uniquely good for the region - fresh, local foods - or good ethnic foods. We wouldn't exclude Temples of Gastronomy, but that's not our main focus. Where do you go to eat for reliably good food, not necessarily for a special occasion? Or which restaurants feature foods we are not likely to find in the US, or that wouldn't be as good here?

We'll be starting in Melbourne, driving to Sydney, flying to Adelaide, and driving back to Melbourne probably following the Great Ocean Road. Any suggestions greatly appreciated! :smile:

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  Or which restaurants feature foods we are not likely to find in the US, or that wouldn't be as good here?

The first place that came to mind for me is Abla's in Carlton. It's homestyle Lebanese food, and it is excellent value.

Another place of interest would be Pure South in the Southbank complex. They specialise in using produce from Tasmania and Bass Strait.

And whilst you're in Melbourne, don't forget to drop into Pelligrini's (located on Bourke Street in the city) for a shot of coffee.

Someone else might be able to help me with the name and location here, but isn't there a fairly highly rated pub out in Healesville/Yarra Valley that specialises in using produce from that area?

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Melbourne:

North Carlton: Rathdowne Street Food Store, 617 Rathdowne St. A landmark place: a favorite for pies, breads, salads, jams and relishes. Great breakfast place.

Yarra Valley: go to the Yering Station winery and have a wonderful lunch with a fabulous view of the rolling hills. Starters like:Seafood Trio - tuna sashimi, tea smoked salmon and Katafi barramundi. And Mains such as barramundi fillet with scallop, prawn and vanilla bean bouillabaisse, or marinated rack and loin of pork with potato and Ligurian olive tian, chorizo zaalouk, sage and apple jus. Desserts: Passionfruit chocolate mousse with passionfruit coulis and cinnamon tuille. They also have a bar menu.

If you can make a small detour a wee bit north on your way from Adelaide to Melbourne, go to Mount Gambier and eat at Sage and Muntries. Check out their website: sagemunt@bigpond.net.au The chef is Graham Armstrong and he does things like Kangaroo Fillet with Quandong and Chilli Sauce and Crispy Skin Duckling boned with llawarra plum and ginger sauce. Aboriginals come to his restaurant with wild-crafted plants, and Graham uses them in his dishes. Smokey Bay oysters with sour cream and lemon myrtle...or Wattleseed Icecream Afogato. Phone: 08-8724-8400 Closed Sundays. His wife works front of the house. If you can coax Graham out of the kitchen and get him to talk about his passion, you'll be a happy camper. This is an award-winning place and filled with locals and folks who drive from Adelaide to eat here. Tell Graham HI from Jane, in Texas. We were there in October. Mt. Gambier is ugly. The restaurant is divine.

Allow at least 3 days to drive the Great Ocean Road. My husband thought I was crazy, wanting to spend three days driving that relatively short distance. You'll want to stop EVERYWHERE - I warn you. Great views around every corner. It's one of the most fabulous drives in the world. A good place to stop is Apollo Bay. Look for the restaurant on the hill - ask in town. I can't remember the name of it . I think it is "Chris's" We had an excellent meal there. It burned down a few years ago, but apparently is now rebuilt. It is Dame Edna's favorite place - he/she has his/her original artwork on the wall by the loo!!

Can you tell I love Oz?

Edited by foodie52 (log)
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On our wondefrul trip to Australia last October we ate at Rockpool, Tetsuya's, and Bill's. All wonderfull experiences. If you can make it to Lord Howe Island we had several delightful meals while staying at the Capella Lodge (nice wine list and fantastic views)

Cheers,

Stephen Bonner

Vancouver

Edited by SBonner (log)

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

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Thanks, all, for your wonderful suggestions. I'm compiling lists and will see what fits in once we're there. Will definitely report back when we get home mid-June. My husband has been told that there are great Chinese restaurants in Sydney. Anyone have special favorites?

Thanks again, Molly Merrill

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It is debatable, as all things are, but I truly believe Melbourne has better Chinese than Sydney.

I was at Flower Drum recently, two nights ago in fact, as well as the Tea House on Bourke... both superlative cantonese restaurants here in our City by the Bay... do check out the restaurant review links posted in pinned section of this forum.

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

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It is debatable, as all things are, but I truly believe Melbourne has better Chinese than Sydney.

I was at Flower Drum recently, two nights ago in fact, as well as the Tea House on Bourke... both superlative cantonese restaurants here in our City by the Bay... do check out the restaurant review links posted in pinned section of this forum.

PCL is correct... I wish I could say otherwise, but Flower Drum in Melbourne is without a doubt the best Chinese restaurant in Australia (not only as rated by individuals, but our main eating out food guides). The Chinese restaurants in Sydney are very good at best (whereas Flower Drum is outstanding). The best in Sydney would be Kam Fook (Shark Fin restaurant - best known for yumcha, but be prepared to wait in line for a loooong time), Golden Century (for the Seafood), Marigold and The Regal. While my friends parents own Golden Century, I still have to honestly say that Flower Drum in Melbourne is better. The majority and the best of Sydney's Chinese restaurants are Cantonese (thanks to immigration).

I would say Sydney is best for world class restaurants (Tetsuyas, Rockpool etc), Indian, perhaps Turkish/Lebanese, Vietnamese and Thai (Longrain and Sailors Thai).

Anyways, once again just my opinion :).

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I would say Sydney is best for world class restaurants (Tetsuyas, Rockpool etc),

I do wonder if that's really the case or whether it's simply a matter that when people think of Australia, they think of Sydney AND Sydney chefs being better at promoting themselves than their Melbourne counterparts.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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In Sydney, go to the Golden Century for seafood - can't get fresher. Also, check out the Sydney Seafood Market for fresh fish and cheap eats.

Have brunch at Hugo's on Bondi or any of the cafes along the front at Bronte Beach.

Otto at Woolloomooloo Wharf for fantastic Italian or its sister restaurant next door, Nove, for pizza.

Spectacular views at the Bondi Icebergs.

If going north of Sydney to the Northern Beaches, head for the Clareville Kiosk or Jonahs at Whale Beach and yes, the last time I was there we did see whales frolicking in the sea!

Bather's Pavillion at Balmoral is another must do. If you don't want to fork out in the main restaurant there is a cafe in the same building.

Don't know if the Bellevue in Woolahra is still around but this was my favorite gastro pub type place in Sydney.

Mezzaluna in Potts Point is also fantastic. Book at table outside (they have outdoor heaters in the winter) on the terrace, in the evening and enjoy the spectacular views across the city.

For food on the go, and really good won ton noodle soup or hunnan chicken with garlic rice, the food court below Westpac Plaza on George street has a chinese/malaysian outlet. I forget the name. It's where all the office workers eat.

I could go on...............

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