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Sydney Restaurant Recommendations


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If you are looking for somewhere unique in Sydney, Yoshii is well worth a visit; they have two degustation/ omakase menus. When we were there we had the 'Yoshii' menu, which consisted of 10 courses; all of which were fantastic. The food is very good japanese, and there is a sake flight to match the dinner. The courses that stood out most for me were the steamed sea urchin egg cup, the tuna sashimi, the cedar smoked rudder fish and the Wagyu beef.

The menu we had is $110 per head; there is also another menu that was $85 which was completely different except for the rudder fish, and looked fantastic. Yoshii is on harrington street in the rocks

If you go to billy kwongs, make sure you get the banquet; I have never been dissappointed with it.

Becasse is somewhere else you should look at; it was announced today that it has moved up to two hats, and it's wine list won the small winelist of the year. The food there is fantastic; Justin North is a great chef.

'You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.'

- Frank Zappa

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This years good food awards were announced last night, and there have been some interesting changes.

The list of award is here.

Claudes, tets, Quay and rockpool were joined at three hats by Est and Marque. I haven't eaten at est, but Marque must have been having a bad night when I was there early this year, or lifted their game since to get three hats.

In the two hats grouping, its good to see Yoshii up there; his food and restaurant are fantastic. Its good to see Becasse there too.

The most controversial moves were Bathers and Aria dropping from 2 hats to one; especially in a year where Matt Moran cooked at James Beard and has had a lot of other publicity in the australian food media. He's been in most food magazines for the last 2 months.

'You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.'

- Frank Zappa

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OK now I'm not from Sydney, so this may seem like a stupid question, but where on that list is

bel mondo?

I thought it seemed like a place to get a hat.

Has it gone down hill? Has it closed?

How sad; a house full of condiments and no food.

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When In Melbourne I cannot recommend highly enough diningromm 211 in Fitzroy or Mrs Jones, it's cheaper sister restaurant.

Momo in the city for luxurious modern middle eastern food.

How sad; a house full of condiments and no food.

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Yes, the market!

The queen Vic is one of my favourite places in the world.

Whenever I've been away from Melbourne I wander around for hours to centre myself and gain inspiration.

I grew up on doughnuts from the 'American' doughnut van at the market every Saturday and It's been part of my professional and private life ever since.

Markets anywhere are usually the best places to go...

How sad; a house full of condiments and no food.

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I had great meals at Marque and Bécasse late last year, I really enjoyed the athmosphere, at once casual and refined in both establishments. I remember Bécasse being very affordable for the quality of the meal.

As for Melbourne, I enjoyed the Melbourne Wine Room, both the pub side and the restaurant, but my meal at Vue de Monde was truly memorable, both the service and Shannon Bennett's food where impressive.

The small stool type chairs at Billy Kwong' s are not the most comfortable things to sit on, but the crispy duck sure helped to ease the pain...

Michel

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Steve Manfredi left Bel Mondo over a year ago, and it hasn't been t5he same since. The food standard has dropped, but so have the prices, so it is still worth a visit if you really want to go, but there is much better food to be had, even at their price point.

'You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.'

- Frank Zappa

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  • 2 weeks later...

The suggestions so far have been great! As PCL says, the Tea House in Little Bourke is an emerging favourite.

In Sydney, Becasse and Marque are both good with Marque being a cut above. If you want a really great meal however I would recommend Quay. If you want French bistro then Bistro Moncur is certainly worth a visit. But, of course, you shouldn't visit Sydney without going to Sailor's Thai. Also, despite the low ratings in the SMH guide, I think that the Vietnamese food at Red Lantern is very good.

Back in Melbourne, everyone should be warned that if you eat at the Wine Room on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, you have to put up with an extraordinary level of noice and cigarette smoke - it is quite unpleasant and does not do the great food any favours. Mrs Jones in Carlton is a good, reasonably priced choice for dining. Shannon Bennet is also a good choice - he probably does better food than some of the places that are unjustifiably lionized by the local food writers.

If you are going to China Town then Flower Drum is very special. If you can't get in there then the Bamboo House is a very good alternative - however you have to realise that they run two menus. They get a lot of politicians and corporate CEOs therefore they have to have a traditional Cantonese menu. So you will, by default, be given a menu that has sweet and sour pork and deep fried spring rolls - the standard fare.

However, I dine there regularly and ask for the northern Chinese menu. Start your meal with a platter of jellyfish, vegetarian goose and smoked fish. Follow up with spring onion cakes, oysters in black bean and chilli and mermaid's tresses. Then move on to some fish or to the amazing smoked duck served in bread pancakes. Or have Peking Duck served three ways - in pancakes, then with noodles and finally with soup.

Roger McShane

Foodtourist.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

My thanks to all for the advice. I wish I could say that I took it, but it turned out the much of our time was prescribed by events such as jet lag, walking ourselves silly, the ballet, etc.

In Melbourne, we had a memorable meal at Asiana in Albert Park. Being from San Francisco and loving Chinese food and Asian fusion cuisine, Asiana was right up our alley. Tremendous wine list, by the way.

We also had a nice lunch at Chocolate Buddha in Federation Square, a genuinely good and modern noodle joint. Late dinner at Walter's Wine Bar turned out OK. Dined on a couple of first courses, and loved the mushroom tart so much, we made it tonight for a dinner party in our own house.

Other than that, we ate at the Melbourne museum, at the MCG during the Aussie Rules Preliminary Final (what a treat for a fan of American footbal--49ers--I mean the footy, not the meat pie, which was an experience, but not a treat).

Also, I think the Delish Fish in Sorrento south of Melbourne deserves a notice. We went down that way for a Sunday drive and had the whiting fish and chips. Very, very good.

In Sydney, our best meal happened at the Bather's Pavillon in Balmoral Beach. But, we had eaten at the Watermark there on an earlier visit, and liked it even more, despite the fact the Sydney paper rates the Bather's Pavillon at 15 to Watermark's 14. I inquired about Billy Kwong from my Sydney business compatriot (he writes about wine in the local paper) and he said that he had never been there because the lines are too long. On the other hand, he said that Claude's is better than Tetsuya's even though he is quoted by name in Tet's cookbook.

We had wanted to get to Lulu's, Luke Mangan's bistro, but ran out of energy on the allotted night since we had walked all over for about eight hours.

Bottom line, the advice was valuable and helped shape our plans even though we did not do as much as we wanted to.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm heading to Tassie, Melbourne, and Sydney too in a few days and would appreciate comments & suggestions.

In Tassie we are staying at Cradle Mtn Lodge for 2 nights and I'm assuming that there aren't a lot of restaurants driving distance from there besides the one at the hotel -- which is supposed to be good.

Then Launceston for two days, staying at Hatherley House. We are having lunch at Stillwater on the 24th; haven't yet been able to find anything open for dinner that night which excites us.

Christmas Day almost nothing is open so we're eating at a place recommended by the hotel, Lawrence St Brasserie -- looks simple.

Dec 26th we have lunch at Strathlynn (Daniel Alps) and then fly to Melbourne

While in Melbourne we have reservations at Vue de Monde; was dying to try Flower Drum but they are closed Dec 25-Jan 9. :-(. Also considering the following -- recommendations? -- diningroom 211 and/or Mrs Jones, Asiana, Melbourne Wine Room, Walter's Wine Bar, Yu.U, France Soir, Soupierre.

Then to Sydney -- most of all for a repeat pilgrammage to Tetsuya, which on a previous visit offered one of the most memorable meals of my life.

We are eating at Wharf for New Year's. Other places we are considering trying: Sailor's Thai, Billy Kwong, Claude's, Bistro Moncur, Becasse, Marque. (Oh, and we're staying in Darlinghurst explicitly so we can eat breakfast EVERY DAY at bill's ... I still have dreams about the scrambled eggs from the last time I was there. Well, maybe we'll make it to Bather's Pavillion for a second breakfast one of the days we're there ...)

Any comments or suggestions gratefully appreciated.

Chris

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Hi Chris

In Sydney at the moment Tabou is great.....the foods excellent and they do a 3-course lunch for around A$30 which is great value.

If froggy-bistro stuff is your thing Becasse in Surry Hills and Balzac in Randwick are fantastic also Bistro Lulu in Paddington.

For superb views and food, Quay [opposite the Opera House on Circular quay] is awesome, Icebergs [ stunning view of Bondi beach from the south end]is the hottest place in town and after a meal there last week it thoroughly deserves its reputation - you must book and it isessential to have a pre-dinner drink in the "look-at-me" bar before dinner.

Here's a great list of the best and most exciting restaurants in Sydney from a review in the The Age early this month

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/12/...0127334401.html

Good luck and don't forget to write up your trip.

Cheers

Paul , Sydney

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Hi Chris

It is a shame you will have to miss the Flower Drum. I visited Asiana about a year ago and really enjoyed it (if you like wine they have a very good wine list). I think Walters Wine Bar is a bit past its former glory. Please post on your experience at Vue de Monde as I would love to hear about it.

In Sydney, if you enjoy Thai food I think Sailors Thai is a must. You have a lot of great restaurants in your list and Paul has given you some excellent suggestions. I would also strongly recommend Quay and Becasse. I also really like Pier (mentioned in the link provided by Paul) for exceptional seafood. If you can sacrifice some food quality for a great experience - try breakfast at Ripples (under the Harbour Bridge near the North Sydney Pool). It is no bill's but is it pretty cool location.

Good Luck!

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And try the corn fritters at bills aswell...

'You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.'

- Frank Zappa

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Thanks for the recommendations. We have added Icebergs to the list based on recs from Sydneysider friends, also Bistro Lulu. Claude's is closed for an entire month, unfortunately. Neither Sailor's Thai, Billy Kwong, nor Bistro Moncur take reservations so we'll take our chances. Am also thinking about a repeat visit to Longrain which I rather enjoyed 2 years ago.

Will report back in mid-January ...

Chris

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With Sailors Thai I think it is only the Canteen that doesn't take reservations. The main restaurant takes reservations unless there has been a recent change in policy. As an aside I saw Tetsuya dining at Sailors Thai last time I was there.

If you go to Longrain you must get there early otherwise you can start to wonder if it is worth it after a three hour wait at the bar no matter how good those cocktails are.

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  • 1 month later...

I'll probably have abt six days total in Sydney. Some food goals:

1) mindblowing sushi. Somewhere we could put ourselves in the sushi chef's hands

2) an Italian meal that will make me think I'm in Italy

3) some very good Mediterranean --- preferably Turkish or Greek. If not that, then Moroccan.

4) a relaxing Saturday or Sunday (or Friday) lunch by the shore in a lovely (but not fussy or overdressed) setting

5) a meal where the focus is fish fish fish (this in addition to the sushi meal)

6) a meal somewhere that I can get a fabulous cheese plate (preferably Aussie and NZ cheeses)

7) lunch with an Aussie friend who doesn't splurge on herself much ... where should I take her?

8) oysters on the half shell!!! could be a meal or with drinks

I live in Asia so I'm not looking for Asian food (other than sushi) .... and the above are all things that are in short supply where I live. Sydney is my chance to sate my cravings! We're not real comfortable in haute, dressy type restaurants (never feel I can laugh out loud); and my husband won't wear a tie. Friendly, welcoming atmosphere is important. Budget is sort of middle range - expensive (though I certainly wouldn't complain at suggestions in the low-middle range). We will allow ourselves one really blowout (in terms of expense) meal, could be any of the above.

Thanks in advance (and to those who answered my query abt AGT too).

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Hi ECR

1) mindblowing sushi - the last great sushi I had (at a sushi bar) was at a place in Crows Nest called something like Chango - not sure of spelling, but it specialised in food for sumo wrestlers - the chef could see (b/c we were at the bar rather than the table) how much we were digging it, and started giving us things that weren't on the menu to see how we liked it (we liked it! we liked it!). I have heard good things about the sushi place - um, something like Unkai, in what used to be the ANA hotel, now I think the Shangri La in the CBD.

2) Italian - I live quite close to Leichhardt, which has the Norton St strip of Italian restaurants. most places we have tried along there have been pretty good - Sorriso's has a "hat" in the good food guide, and we quite enjoyed it - but have only been there once. Buon Ricordo in Paddington is well regarded, Bel Mondo in the Rocks is / was superb the last time we were there, but both are bit more expensive than Norton St. Tra To Ra Ro (again, not sure of spelling) in paddington was great last time we were there (but that was about 8 yrs ago).

3) Mediterranean. Hmm. Greek - Eleni's in Newtown, or Mylos in Glebe Pt Rd, Glebe are okay, but if you have time, think about going out to Brighton Le Sand (past the airport) which has many Greek restaurants - including one I have always wanted to try that advertises Greek yum cha. The mind boggles. Moroccan - Kasbah in Balmain (Darling St) is a favourite of mine. Sorry, can't offer any suggestions for Turkish restaurants, but there is a great Turkish pide place on King St, Newtown.

4) Relaxing lunch by the shore. Pricey - watermark or Bather's Pavilion - both at Balmoral (Mosman) but gorgeous. Across the road at Balmoral - you can get great fish and chips from a place called Bottom of the Harbour - and eat on the beach. Palm Beach has some nice places, but that's a bit of a drive if you are staying in the CBD. Manly has some great places for a relaxed lunch - it's just a short hop on the Manly ferry or jet cat (brief chance to be a tourist) (Brazil, BarKing Frog) opposite the promenade on the Surf Beach, and a new brasserie has just opened in the old Manly surf club if you fancy a walk up from the corso - or in the other direction is the Kiosk - or a great cafe half way round which I have forgotten the name of (pregnancy brain - I'm due today and trying to distract myself - does it show?). Alternatively, on my side of the harbour are some great places down at Bondi - the Icebergs surf club has a new restaurant that is always getting great write ups (which you have probably read in AGT) and at the opposite end is another one - fellow Sydney siders, help me out!

5) Fish fish fish - Watson's Bay - Doyles, or Doyles at the Fish Market are both reputed to be great. Shores or Fresh Ketch at the Spit Bridge (bridging Mosman and Clontarf) are pretty good. There is - slightly more touristy - Jordan's at Darling harbour.

6) Fabulous cheese plate. Hmm. Not really my thing. Suggestions, anyone else? Simon Johnson - providore - stocks a fantastic range of cheeses (either in Paddington or Pyrmont), but can't help you with restaurants.

7) Aussie friend splurgy lunch...depends where she lives, what her tastes are etc. Luke Mangan's Salt gets great write ups (probably in the AGT somewhere), Tetsuyas is always fantastic but expensive and you need to book well in advance...friends of mine rave about Jonah's (which is up towards Palm Beach)...

8) Oysters on the half shell - half way along from Circular Qy to the Opera House is a great oyster bar. Alternatively, Milsons in Kirribilli has some great treatments of oysters....or (my fav option) - just go to Sydney Fish Markets (hop on the light rail from Central, or the Haymarket or Darling Harbour is the easiest way to get there) and go to the oyster seller just inside the main hall, purchase some delicious sydney rocks, or Sth Australian anything, or tasmanians, take outside after acquiring some good beer / sharp wine and devour (watching out for seagulls and pelicans). Okay, the Sydney Fish Markets smells of fish - if that's not your thing, cross the road to a big green park and eat there.

Hope this all helps. It has certainly made me hungry - and one of the first things that I need to eat after bub arrives is definitely sushi!!

Cheers

Maliaty

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Hi ECR

Here is my input:

1. Sushi. Wasavie in Paddington has fantastic sushi and also some other great dishes (eg amazing braised pork belly). The drawbacks are that it is super popular (I had to book a few weeks a head to go on a Friday night) and there is only a communal table. If you want something more high end and innovative I believe Yoshii in the Rocks (Best Japanese in the Good Food Guide) is the way to go.

2. I haven't discovered any amazing Italian yet.

3. Mediterranean - maybe you could kill two birds with one stone and go Moorish on Bondi Beach (It was the other place Maliaty was trying to think of at the other end of Bondi Beach).

4. As Maliaty suggests there is Watermark and Bathers Pavilion at Balmoral. I also like The Wharf Restaurant at Walsh Bay. It is set at the end of an old Wharf and is a great place for a long relaxing lunch.

5. Pier at Rose Bay is the place for fish (Best Seafood in the Good Food Guide). It is really pricey but I can remember every mouthful of my meal there. I have not eaten better seafood anyway. It also has a lovely setting over the water.

6. Lunch with Aussie Friend - What does she like?

7. Cheese Plate. I haven't anything that blows me away (maybe that is because of my recent trip to France). However as Maliaty suggests Simon Johnson is the place to go. I buy all my cheeses here. The one in Pyrmont is really close to the Sydney Fish Market so you could go there when you go to get your Oysters.

8. Oysters - Definitely the Sydney Fish Market.

I hope you and your husband have a wonderful trip.

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Wow, my mind is reeling at all these suggestions. Thank you!

The Aussie friend is born-raised Sydney, loves it, hates Canberra where she is currently working, doesn't get back to Sydney too often. She misses Sydney, she eats anything/everything, so I'm open to suggestions. Hmmm, she does really like Chinese, I suppose I'd be willing to go Asian for that meal, but it should be a nice meal. Anyway,what would you want to eat first in Sydney if you were returning after an absence?

Big blowout/expensive meal ... would it be Watermark, Bather's Pavillion, The Wharf, one of those?

Perhaps no Italian meal as replies are not resoundingly positive.... but would Leichardt be where I'd head to buy Italian ingredients .... like salt-packed capers and anchovies, etc.?

Maliaty --- more specifics on the Turkish pide place please (after you've delivered!) --- King St., Newton ... landmarks?

I'll do my homework and come back in a few wks with more questions...

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1) mindblowing sushi. Somewhere we could put ourselves in the sushi chef's hands

Sushi Counter in Crows Nest does really good Omakase for about $55. I think Chango at Crows Nest (if it was the place on the Pac Highway) has closed down.

2) an Italian meal that will make me think I'm in Italy

As said before, Buon Ricordo in Paddington is the best I've had. At Norton St try Grappa; the pizza there is really good.

3) some very good Mediterranean --- preferably Turkish or Greek. If not that, then Moroccan.

A said before, Moorish at Bondi is supposed to be good, but I haven't been there yet.

4) a relaxing Saturday or Sunday (or Friday) lunch by the shore in a lovely (but not fussy or overdressed) setting

Watermark is great but expensive. Bring a picnic on the walk that goes from the Spit bridge to manly. The walk will take about 3 hours; if it's a good day, climb down to one of the beaches after you pass Clontarf beach.

5) a meal where the focus is fish fish fish (this in addition to the sushi meal)

The boathouse on Blackwattle bay is fantastic. Eat the snapper pie. I don't agree with Doyles at the fishmarket, but doyles watson bay is worth a visit too.

6) a meal somewhere that I can get a fabulous cheese plate (preferably Aussie and NZ cheeses)

I agree with most other people; buy the cheeses at Simon Johnson. Eat them on your walk from the spit to manly...

7) lunch with an Aussie friend who doesn't splurge on herself much ... where should I take her?

Tetsuya, Quay, Aria, Salt, Buon Ricordo, Milsons.. there's quite a few to choose from. If it's a romantic occasion and you have access to a car go to The cottage point inn and start over.

8) oysters on the half shell!!! could be a meal or with drinks

Oysters can be quite variable; your best bet is to do as the others have suggested and go to the fishmarkets where they are freshly shucked. Wildfire at Circular quay has some good one sometimes; go for the native angasi oysters or the rock oysters; the flavour is much better than the pacifics.

'You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.'

- Frank Zappa

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Where are you staying?

We don't want to be sending you from one side of sydney to the other as well as sightseeing etc.

Just quickly

** agree with Niall re Buon Ricardo for Italian - forget Norton St Leichardt

**agree with Milarty re Pier at Rose Bay for seafood - actually think this would be a lovely place to take your sydbneysider currently working in ACT. It's located on a pier (wharf) out into Sydney harbour and on a Sat or Sunday with all the boats on the harbour it would be superb - her's the current menu and there is a couple of photos of the restaurant http://www.pierrestaurant.com.au/menu02.html .

Unfortunatley the Boathouse's view is pretty ordinary overlooking either a public high school, industrial wharves/cement producer and fish market and a dirty big bridge which you either love or hate - but the fish is excellent

** Big blow out meal showing off the best of australian cooking, but not at a restaurant with a lovely view etc. I don't think you can pass up either Tetsuya or Claudes. Both have been discussed on a number of other oz posts.

Hope that's some help.

Cheers

PaulV

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Hi ECR

Yes, Leichhardt is definitely the place to go for capers, anchovies etc - and specifically, the Leichhardt grocer (looks like a fruit & vig shop), on Norton St, in the Leichhardt shopping centre (downstairs) which fronts a pedestrian crossing.

The Turkish pide place...King St in Newtown is the main "drag" (newtown has a high population of alternative lifestylers....and if you are coming soon, it will be in full mardi gras regalia...definitely fun). The shops start past Sydney Uni, and the pide place is closer to the Uni than the other end...hmmm...on a corner, on the left side of the street and called something like "effies". It is past the biggest secondhand bookshop (and most disorganised bookshop) that I have ever seen (called Goulds), past a big complex of apartments with a Thai place down the bottom... and beyond that, my description fails me. Hope that helps!

The other Italian recommendation I had was Aqua Luna, also at the Quay. The most memorable dish I have had there is their roasted bone marrow, on woodfired bread. V indulgent (and I don't want to think about the fat content).

Reservations - for the blow out meal, sooner rather than later (particularly if you are thinking of Tetsuya's, which you need to do as far as possible in advance - someone help out with when you have to ring??

cheers

Maliaty

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