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Dec 8, 2007 12:27 PM

Which magazine or other websites to browse for Sydney restaurants? [moved from Australia/New Zealand board]

I have done searches here about possible restaurants to eat in for our short trip to Sydney in Jan, 2008. When I travel I like to research on various sites. I often use magazines, newspapers, blogs or other sites. Please help me by suggesting sites I can look at for Sydney restaurants.

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  1. Try this link:

    I usually refer to it before I visit Sydney. But you should also pick up a copy of Sydney Morning Herald's annual Good Food Guide when you're there. It's a must-have for any foodie visitor!

    1. the sydney morning herald good food guide is a good starting point. if you want to do some advance research you could also try their website ( especially if you know what cuisine and/or area you are targeting.

      australian gourmet traveller ( is also in the process of going online, and their recently released guide is more succinct than the good food guide.

      of course there are also many blogs around, and there is a great deal of information already on this board that would provide a good starting point.

      perhaps if you are more specific about what you like/dislike, habits, lifestyle, cuisine, interests, location, etc. further assistance can be provided by other readers of this board, some of whom are very knowledgeable and helpful.

      good luck, and have a great time!

      p.s. one small reminder: January can be a very quiet time in Sydney as it's our summer holidays, and thus you will find some restaurants may close for a week or two (particularly in the first two weeks)

      1. is a site where diners can leave their own reviews about restaurants. It is quite an extensive site with most restaurants covered, however it's important to read the reviews with a grain of salt as they aren't monitored. It is a useful site though.

        I second checking out the smh good living section already mentioned, they have many reviews listed.

        Another blog I like reading is which is a Sydneysider's look at many budget-high end dining places.

        And if you feel like buying a book the Sydney Eats guide is readily available from bookstores and newsagencies. It lists a larger variety of places than the Good Food Guide, more ethnic and cheaper joints are reviewed.

        Good luck!

        2 Replies
        1. re: chowmania

          2nd for grab your fork. Helen is very VERY knowledgeable about the Sydney scene...

          1. re: purple goddess

            experienced yes, but i don't find her critical enough (perhaps i am a harsh judge?)

        2. KMH, We will be arriving on Jan 14 and staying until the 18 then on to NZ- a brief stop. We will be staying in the Paddington area. We generally like small bistro style places with fresh seasonal food. We want to go to a fish restaurant, maybe Thai or Chinese. We like most all ethnic food. If there is truly a worthwhile splurge of exceptional food we could go for that. I have been in the restauant business in the past as a pastry chef in the SF Bay Area... so needless to say fresh good food is foremost above atmosphere or service- though they are important too. Thanks for your help. Zin

          5 Replies
          1. re: zinfanatic

            great area to stay - close to town, close to lots of interesting things.
            presuming all of these are open (I'll leave you to do the homework)...

            bird cow fish in surry hills (next suburb) is an excellent little bistro. open for breakfast lunch and dinner. if you like a good breakfast these guys are worth a visit. chef/owner alex herbert can be seen at the markets sourcing produce in the morning, and her hunky husband is just delightful managing floor service.

            south of there is dank st depot where owner/chef Jared Ingersoll focuses solely on seasonal produce. He seems to be the man of the moment here with 2 books to ad to his resume recently.

            if you want to go a little more upmarket & pricey on the bistro scene, Bistro Moncur is the sydney stalwart to visit - in Woollahra, another neighbouring suburb to Paddington.

            For seafood, many recommend fish face. The boat house at blackwattle bay is lovely but probably best to go in winter for the snapper pie. Pier (Rose Bay/Woollahra) has recently been voted best restaurant of the year by Australian gourmet traveller. they also have a "tasting room" section if you prefer a lighter meal.

            For Thai I would recommend Spice I am on Wentworth Ave (near central station) for the most authentic thai in town and longrain for the smoothest and funkiest. take your drinking shoes if you go there as they make a killer mojito.

            Chinese... may i recommend something a little different and that is Blue Eye Dragon in pyrmont. it's labelled as Taiwanese cuisine (depending who you ask they are chinese... ho hum) and it really is some of the most lovely and authentic chinese food i have experienced without having to go down the ducks tongue and snake intestine route. (blech).

            As you are in paddington the furthest place i have recommended is the last. depending on where you are in paddington you will be able to walk or take a short cab ride to get to all of the above.

            many other places to go into but all of these fit within the criteria you mention above.


            1. re: kmh

              K, Thank you so much- that is a great start. Some of those recs I have heard of , but some new. If I can return the favor if you come to SF, let me know. Zin

              1. re: zinfanatic

                Not sure why they moved this from Australia- because it had "newspaper" in the titile???? I had a hard time finding the topic again! Zin

              2. re: kmh

                K, One more question{I think!}- If we want to go to a place that does not take reservations what time generally would you suggest we go to"beat" the dinner crowd? What is prime dinner time in Sydney during the week? Just don't want to wait for an hour. I know you can't answer specifically, but generally!

                1. re: zinfanatic

                  not a problem.
                  "peak" dinner time varies from summer to winter - you will be visiting us in the height of summer, so I would think that if you got anywhere by 7pm you would be able to get a table.
                  if you can't book, the it has become quite common for resto's to take your (cell) phone and call you when your table is ready.
                  bird cow fish - restricted bookings, several pubs&bars close by to wait in.
                  dank st depot - not sure if they take bookings at dinner. not much nearby as this is an area undergoing massive change in socio economic status. call to check for dinner. lunchtime just rock up
                  Bistro Moncur - no bookings but attached to the Woollahra Hotel and they will come and get you when your table is ready.
                  fish face - bookings up until 7pm
                  Pier (Rose Bay/Woollahra) - will take bookings
                  Spice I am on - no bookings but seriously quick turnover. this place has people waiting from 6pm, but never for long.
                  longrain - no bookings. get there by 7pm and you should be okay. get there later and it's pot lock. they have a great cocktail bar (not thai, but their mojitos are ace) and if you don't like waiting and don't mind eating a little more casually i think their bar menu is pretty bloody good.

                  Blue Eye Dragon - takes bookings. not open early in the week

                  I didn't mention Billy Kwong above, which is chinese on Crown Street Surry Hills. This is "modern chinese" in the sense that it brings traditional chinese cooking onto the table using fresh and simple ingredients. NO BOOKINGS and they start queuing at 6pm. They will take your number and there are a few bars and pubs in the area.

                  in many ways it's a pretty relaxed city, and I think you will find "waiting" isn't always terrible. my parents hate it; my husband and I never book. I think it's a generation thing...

            2. KMH, I have been doing more reading and ran across a restaurant that sounded good. Do you know of or have you been to Oscillate Wildly? It is located in Newtown. Thanks, Zin

              7 Replies
              1. re: zinfanatic

                I have been there and thought it was SERIOUSLY over-rated, was glad I wasn't paying and thought I could cook better at home.

                however the review on gourmet traveller ( is very positive (new head chef appointed
                )Unfortunately I doubt that you will be able to get in as bookings are several months in advance!

                1. re: kmh

                  Wow thanks, I read a good review on SMH that made it sound good. But I will go with your "review". The owner of the B&B ,which I am staying in, said that a friend went there and concurred with you. She mentioned Lotus. any thoughts? Zin

                    1. re: zinfanatic

                      sorry Zin for no reply - i had subscribe to the aus/nz board and it went away.
                      did not reply to your other post as (a) have told you what i think of O.W. and (b) I haven't been to lotus. it gets a great rating with Aus. Gourmet Traveller

                      (although features editor pat nourse recently gave O.W. a good review with a new chef; I generally agree with his reviews).
                      I don't know where he is but if PhilD has anything to say, listen to that also.

                      what is the B&B out of curiosity...

                      1. re: kmh

                        KMH,I have tentatively decided on Bird Cow Fish, Lotus, Dank St Bistro and Spice I am. While I have you "here", we are going to take the ferry to Manly one afternoon- what is the best place for good food for lunch? We are staying at Marshalls on Paddington. I am looking froward to seeing your beautiful city.

                        1. re: zinfanatic

                          KMH, I had another question too besides Manly question. Should I forgo one night of the previously mentioned places to go to Sean's Panorama? It is a bit more than I want to spend, but if it is great food then I will try to get in. Also, is it difficult to get to Biondi on public transport form Paddington?

                          1. re: zinfanatic

                            sorry for my lack of response - i have been off the airways.
                            you plan sounds great. although i haven't been to manly in a while, manly phoenix should do a good yum cha, the pub on the wharf is well regarded, and garfish has recently opened and I like that very much (well I like the one in Crow's Nest)...
                            Sean's Panorama is lovely indeed, and you would probably trade BCF or DSD as they are of the same style. I strongly recommend you check if any of these are closed for the summer break...

                            Bondi is easy from paddington. just catch the bus from oxford st. plenty of them. no changes. if you are feeling tired after dinner, a cab ride home will be easy enough too.