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My husband & I are traveling to Australia in Sept. and are looking for restaurant recommendations. We will be in Adelaide, Melbourne, Uluru, the Cairns area, and Sydney. We like all types of food, price is not an object, & we are fairly adventurous when it comes to food. We are looking for can't miss dining experiences. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Here is a link to my post in January, following up on a trip I took in October. Not very complete, but may be helpful...Definitely check out the Red Ochre Grill in Cairns since you will want to try Australian food while you are there. I will leave the Sidney recs to others, since it has been a while since my last visit there. My favorite Sidney food memory is of eating oysters at an outdoor restaurant walking from the Quays to the Opera House(but can't remember a name).

    Some other Cairns ideas: We had a tasty and inexpensive lunch at the Noodle Box (various Asian soups; I believe I had beef noodle soup), in the Cairns Central Shopping Centre.

    I'd definitely seek out Asian foods, grilled baramundi, and burger places!

    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    1. p
      PommieCrumpet

      I live in Oz, 'Gourmet Traveller' is a great Australian Magazine which regularly showcases the best restaurants this lovely country has to offer.

      They recently published a '2006 Restaurant Guide' which has all the goodies inside. It's too big to paraphrase or copy. If you post your email address I'll scan in the relevant pages and email them to you.

      They are spot on with my city so you won't be dissappointed.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PommieCrumpet

        That would really be great, if you had the time to do it. However, I would also really appreciate it just to get the names of the top ten or so, if that would be any easier. I will certainly check the website for the magazine you mention.

        Thanks so much!

      2. I am from Sydney, and have a holiday house in Port Douglas, so will speak on just those two.
        In Sydney, if you are really serious, you want to try Tetsuya's. A recent survey by some foreign gourmet-type magazine rated it no 3 in the world after El Bulli and some place in rural England.
        You will need to make reservations a couple of minths in advance (possibly more, call now and check).
        Also high on "the list" is Rockpool, but I would not recommend it personally due to smarmy and patronising service (this was several years ago, but I will never go back).
        I myself enjoy Aqua Dining as much for the view as the food - but it is more of a summer place. Also try the snapper pie at The Boathouse (in Glebe - take a cab).
        Also, try a Laksa in Sydney. I prefer them to Malaysia (full of "mystery meat" fishballs - I used to live in Singapore). For Laksa you should go to a busy foodcourt type place at lunch, or try Noodle King (small chain but really fantastic authentic food).
        Port Douglas is the more sophisticated option near Cairns (one hour north).Hey, Bill Clinton has a place there, and so do I! Its very low key though. Most package tourists and grotty backpackers stay down in Cairns, which (IMO) is reflected in their restaurants.
        Hint: Many Australians have never eaten Kangaroo, and most have never eaten crocodile, emu etc. Any restaurant pushing this stuff is a tourist trap.
        I can highly recommend Nautilus in PD, as well as the humble looking fish and chip shop next to a pizza bar in the main street (Macrossan).
        Recommend you don't stay at the Sheraton.

        2 Replies
        1. re: TokyoExpat

          Tried both Rockpool and Tetsuya last year when I was in Sydney. Agree that Rockpool is only so-so and would definitely pick Tetsuya over it. Really enjoyed Tetsuya especially the ocean trout dish. Heavenly!

          The other memorable meal I had when in Sydney was at a chinese restaurant called Golden Century. Tried is steam fresh abalone and salt-pepper crab. Both dishes are fantastic as the ingredients are first rate! They are so good that I would consider making a trip there just for these two dishes!

          1. re: TokyoExpat

            Kangaroo is very tasty if well prepared, similar to tri-tip. I disagree that only a tourist trap would serve it, though I agree that you could get a poor version at a tourist trap.

            We tried to go to Nautilus in Port Douglas on a weeknight and were turned away without a reservation, but not before the host hesitated for so long, looking at the room (though I see on their website that there is more than one!), then back at us, then back at the room, etc..for a long enough time, that I started to wonder if there was either a problem with how were were dressed, which would be unlikely in Oz given that we were at least as dressed as we would be for work here, or whether there was just a hope we'd cough up a twenty....Do make a reservation if you go, and be warned that the wine list, while interesting, is quite pricy! (about $12 US for a glass of the house wine, just to give one example).

            Link: http://www.nautilus-restaurant.com.au...

          2. Uluru: on our honeymoon, my wife and I had a fabulously memorable meal at Kuniya, the top-end restaurant at Sails in the Desert in Yulara, the resort village near Ayers Rock. Caveat: we're coming up on our 7th anniversary, so obviously this recommendation is quite old. Maybe someone can chime in with more recent experience, but it would certainly be my choice if I were heading back there.

            TokyoExpat's reviews for Sydney are excellent. They've got kick-ass seafood there, in considerable variety; do not miss it.

            1. Here's my dream list for Melbourne and Sydney

              Melbourne:
              The Flower Drum (a Melbourne institution, some of the most innovative and delicious asian food in Australia)
              wonder along Ackland St and swan into one of the many cake stores that display all of their mouthwatering treats in the window.

              Sydney:
              Quay - for the view as much as the amazing food (voted Sydney's best restaurrant multiple times)
              Flying Fish Cafe - another phenominal Sydney restaurant experience. The best meal i've ever had was at this restaurant - crab in asian broth which you pour over rice at the end of tackling the tough crustacean.
              Any local thai noodle restaurant or one of the many noodle markets (North Sydney is good).

              3 Replies
                1. re: reneefarrell

                  Hi - in my mind, sorry renee, and that of many punters (check out eatability.com.au) Flowerdrum has unfortunately lost it's charm, even the once immaculate decor is looking shabby, I cancelled my booking when I was down there recently after some bad reviews from friends.

                  I'm from Sydney, and just had a weekend in Melbourne - you MUST go to Coda, it's a few months old, with chefs and staff from some of Melbourne top resturants - it is Vietnamese and French, not fusion, but small dishes of each - but a very approachable menu - we went before the ballet - and came striaght back afterwards - I can not rave highly enough about this palce - but book before you go!

                  There are lost of other posts with good Melb and sydney finds - I just add Coda as it's new and AMAZING - will stop raving now!

                  1. re: katea

                    I'm not convinced by Coda yet, its too bumpy but once it settles down it will be good. I have just got back from Cumulus - I am very, very impressed.

                    I second comments on Flower Drum, it is tired, overpriced and nowhere near as good as it once was.

                2. When in Sydney, heading to Bondi actually provides some awesome dining options that are top notch quality whilst getting a great glimpse into Sydney life. These are my favourites:

                  http://www.nextstop.com/guide/1JTHQ1l...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: CVR

                    CVR - could you put the names in the post, simply linking out of Chowhound to another listing site isn't great.