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Apr 26, 2007 04:59 PM

Looking for Restaurants in Sydney

We have recently moved to Sydney from Tokyo with previous stays in Singapore and New York. We have had good luck locating excellent modern Oz, but little luck with the cuisines of other countries. We would appreciate advice on the following:

-best "money is no object" Chinese restaurant. We've been spoiled in Singapore by Li Bai, Imperial Treasures and numerous other top places.

-sushi bar the Japanese business community uses. If there is none, perhaps someone knows where the Japanese community lives, as there are likely to be a Japanese food store and a few restaurants there. Are there any authentic yakatori-ya, izakaya, soba-ya, okonomoyaki-ya in Sydney?

-traditional Spanish tapas with a good selection of sherries

-Korean table top BBQ

-NY-style Jewish deli (kosher-style franks, pastrami etc.)

-a traditional brasserie

-proper Singaporean/Malaysian food, such as chili crab (think Jumbo or Long Beach), roti paratha, Hainan chicken rice, nasi lemak, nonya dishes

-a fishmonger selling gindara, top-quality ikura and nama uni, o-toro and chu-toro.

-a NY bagel shop

Thanks in advance.

Hungry Jack

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  1. That is quite an extensive list, Hungry Jack. I will try to help with just a few suggestions. Firsty, Sydney can not offer anything like the NY Deli experience. Forget it. You can find decent bagels at the Bagel House in the MLC Centre. Another place opened in the Oxford Street Mall in Bondi Junction that isn't bad. There are no kosher franks like Hebrew National etc in Australia. You can find pastrami in some deli counters but not in sit down restaurants like the 2nd Avenue Deli or the Stage Deli etc.

    For Fishmongers you must try the Sydney Fish Markets in Glebe - you can try Claudio's Seafoods or De Costi's.

    For Tapas check out Liverpool St off George St in the CBD. Captain Torres has good food with a pub atmosphere. There is the Spanish Club as well as the Spanish Terrazas. There is also the Spanish Tapas Restaurant at 26 Glebe Point Rd Glebe. There is also a bottle shop down the road that imports lots of wines and sherries from Spain.

    I will let someone else assist with the Asian restuarants. The Flower Drum in Melbourne is often discussed as the best Chinese restaurant. You might want to check out Longrain in Surry Hills as well as Kylie Kwong's restaurant in Crown St. Bon apetit.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bondi2026

      Our family just moved from Florida to Sydney... and I am going to look for the Asian restaurants you've mentioned!

      Regarding Bagel House- we went there this morning, and I'm not sure if you know what "Lenders Bagels" are in the U.S. (basically frozen smaller than normal bagels from the grocery store)... but that is what the bagels reminded me of. Are there any places in Sydney that have things like whitefish salad, etc?
      Thanks for the other restaurant listings, we are going to check them out!

    2. Thanks for your suggestions. Since my posting I have beento Onde in Liverpool St. (quite nice duck confit) and Longrain, so some of our hunger pangs have been satisfied.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Hungry Jack

        For Chinese, I'd suggest Golden Century in Sussex St, or Sea Treasure in Crows Nest--both are very good for fresh seafood.
        A good guide book to answer these kinds of questions is the SBS Restaurant Guide.

      2. chinese: billy kwong. not even the most expensive in town but great.
        the chinese community is everywhere in sydney but there are concentrations at china town (obviously), hurstville, and ashfield.

        japanese business community mostly lives on the north shore. back in the 1980s Japan was a far more important trading partner for australia than it is now. i remember back then, the best japanese restaurant in sydney (north sydney) was backed by an australian meat exporter! is long gone...
        there is a japanese supermarket of good repute in the northbridge shopping centre. there are lots of small japanese eateries in neutral bay along military road and side streets.
        in crows nest at the shopping plaza with franklins in it has ten sun - a fast noodle house upstairs, and down stairs is a little place that does a better sushi than most.
        i have to confess i find japanese disappointing in Sydney and often "bastardised" by the korean influence of the operators.
        Yuki in the overseas passenger terminal and yoshii get good reviews. also have a look at Toko on Crown street - eternalX recently gave that a great review.
        If you go to melbourn try Yu-u. i think this is the best japanese place i have been to in australia.

        fish monger: go to sydney fish markets. i recommend claudios. the japanese terms you refer to are mostly tuna and salmon roe which are definitely available there, they have a sashimi counter on the left hand side and whilst hectic the service is great. I wouldn't buy this type of fish at this level anywhere else.
        in translating your message i found this site helpful

        for spanish tapas head to liverpool street just west of george street. this block is known as the "spanish quarter" where there are tapas bars, delis, restaurants and even the spanish club. most will recommend capitan torres, but i used to be more of a fan of miro (not sure if it's still there). not being a sherry drinker I can't help you on that one. encasa (423 Pitt St, Sydney) gets a great review and is a few blocks on the other side of george street. if you get to melbourne, check out Movida which is considered the best spanish this country has to offer.

        korean table top BBQ is EVERYWHERE but would suggest you either walk around china town (on the entertainment center side there is one i quite liked) or head to Strathfield which is Sydney's mini Korea; you will be spoiled for choice on this.

        NY style jewish deli - head to david jones food hall in bondi junction - this has a comprehensive selection of kosher foods as, dare i say it, the eastern suburbs has a big jewish community. check out for more ideas.

        for malaysian head to To's (Shop 3, Lower Ground Floor, 181 Miller Street, North Sydney, 9955 2088) for excellent malaysian food. their laksa is considered one of the best in sydney. on weekdays it's suits at lunch and on saturdays malaysians from far and wide come for assam laksa, cha hor fun, rendang, hainan chicken, and other favourites. also popular in town is Malay-Chinese Takeaway on hunter street.
        further west in parramatta is temasek. as an aside for indonesian head to ratu sari on anzac parade in kingsford.

        by traditional brasserie i guess i would like to know whether you mean in french style. a newcomer to the scene is La Brasserie in Crown Street at the east sydney end (opposite to other references in this response) which is reasonably priced and enjoyable. Bayswater Brasserie has been in sydney for ever and that is considered a stalwart of brasserie style food. and for upmarket brasserie food head to Bistro Moncur in Woollahra.

        i hope this is a helpful start. i now realise i should have asked where you were planning to live as that could have given you more local information.

        billy kwong
        355 Crown St, Surry Hills, New South Wales 2010, AU

        3 Replies
        1. re: kmh

          I can't beat this list - you've totally nailed it kmh! I'd have to add Golden Century at China Town as best chinese, but for a really lovely environment and carefully cooked authentic Chinese, try Mah Gong Room on Crown Street - the owner used to be a part owner at Fu Manchu (another funky Chinese), but the gorgeous mah jong tables from China give it so much atmosphere - crab gow gees a must! I also like The Malaya on King Street Wharf, this chef has been cooking arguably the best Malaysian in Sydney for over 20 years.

          1. re: kmh

            I agree with the comment about Bistro Moncour.

            Last month we came home to Sydney for a quick holiday after two years in Paris. We wondered how Bistro M would measure up. We were not disappointed. We had eaten in a wide variety of restaurants across France from cheap and cheerful to eye wateringly expensive. I am glad to say Bistro M holds its own very well. Serving food comparable to many good Paris restaurants equal in food quality to many Michelin one star restaurants.

            We also tried Becasse and it compares very well to some of the food we had in Michelin 3 star restaurants. OK the service isn't as slick as a grand old French restaurant, but that isn't necessarily bad.

            It was very reassuring to compare and contrast - Sydney stacks up very well against Paris.

          2. I love Tetsuya's.. #5 in the world and the 12 course meal is outstanding..somewhat reasonable too.
            Lord Nelson's is one of my fav's in Sydney/The Rocks..gourmet pub pub imo of all time!


            1. Hey Jack, why not do something extraordinary - live in Sydney, not bring your American expectations here.

              Here's my recommendations, two books of mine - and not because they are books of mine but because they're very useful to an American lost in a sea of bad food

              1. Sydney Eats. the odlest restaurant guide in Sydney, which I like to call the Real Food Guide as opposed to the other one, the Posh Food Guide. 700 restaurants and places to eat in places you've never been - and should

              2. The Foodies' Guide To Sydney. For the home cook what the restaurant guides are. Where to buy the best of everything all over town. Including wine and just in case you're getting married, caterers

              And then - you might find not what you're looking for - but what we have

              Good eating

              John Newton

              2 Replies
              1. re: jnewt

                now this is getting personal!!!

                HJ, welcome to Sydney. I hope you love it! we are a multicultural city and i hope that you find my previous post helpful. if not feel free to contact me.

                please IGNORE John and his parochial and unpleasant nature. Like america, there are all sorts of people in australia, and unfortunately each of them has an opinion!

                clearly he does not understand that this forum is about people providing suggestions to each other, and to unite people in discussing food that they enjoy eating.

                in addressing mr newton,
                1. Jack never said he was american, he just mentioned a previous stint in NY, as he also did SINGAPORE. his nomenclature of seafood was japanese - probably explained by his recent stint in japan and the variation of definitions in fish nomenclature as it is (refer to


                2. Jack stated that he has had great success in trying mod oz and is asking where to find certain cuisines. secrets a city as big as sydney is good at keeping.

                3. i have never liked the sydney eats guide, as the reviews tell little about the restaurant, are vague in analysis and the end result being more like a "yellow pages" of restaurants and eateries. it also includes the posh restaurants in other guides, almost paraphrasing what they say...

                4. mr newton refers to the posh food guide. i assume this is the good food guide published by the sydney morning herald. whilst many of the restaurants in this guide are indeed posh, and whilst the current editor (currently having is second year in the position) seems much more biased than the previous (who is being sued for defamation) i would not call a book that features $11 pasta, $7 dumplings beside some of the world's best restaurants as an exclusively posh food guide

                5. after a squiz at the sydney eats website, it confirms what i suspected. it's not a happy place to peruse, your criticism of guzman y gomez is unwarranted and inaccurate, and your touting of virginia trioli says all i need to know about your judgement.

                1. re: kmh

                  Thank you all for your suggestions and giving so generously of your time and knowledge.

                  My recent discoveries are Brown Rice at the Cross and The Bentley on Crown Street.

                  As for John, I like your books and your town. Only trying to get to know Sydney better, not pretend I live anywhere else.