Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Australia/New Zealand >
Jan 29, 2008 07:37 AM

Moving from San Francisco to Sydney

Hello all,

My family and I are in the process of moving to Sydney from San Francisco. While initially we will be in Darling Harbour, we'll eventually move into our own place.

Can I get some advice on the best restaurants? Pies, Australian cuisine, Burgers, Mexican, Indian, Malaysian, Thai, Japanese, Jewish (deli-style), Italian, French, etc...

Also, if anyone can advise on the best grocery stores and Indian/Asian grocery stores, and kid-friendly places, it would be much appreciated.

Oh... and coffee! We need to know about good places to buy coffee beans and espresso drinks.

We're very excited to be in Sydney and experience everything there is to offer. I'd also be interested in any websites/blogs anyone can recommend on the above subjects.

Many thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I trust you have already scoured this board, for which there is much advice and opinion, so I won't rehash that.

    I would suggest that as your query is so broad, that you invest in a couple of guides.
    The Good Food Guide, published by the Sydney Morning Herald is a good. There is also "Sydney Eats" guide, however I find this just rehashes the same old information without providing much critique.

    SMH -

    and for punter reviews:

    Blogs of note that usually get referred to include

    and whilst not strictly dining out
    is a primarily food journalist recently moved to Sydney.

    Grocery stores - there is now a publication called the foodies guide to Sydney (possibly quite helpful for you) and thestonesoup has listed her shopping guide -

    4 Replies
    1. re: kmh

      Well done, kmh! Sydney is such a rich culinary city, one can write volumes about its gastronomic offerings.

      Sonia, you're going to love eating out in Sydney - I lived there for 5 years & have never gotten tired of the city's wonderful food & marvellous restaurants. I now spend 30% of my time in San Francisco on business trips and, comparing the two cities, can safely say that Sydney's restaurants, the creativity of its chefs & quality of fresh produce/ingredients are right up there with San Francisco's.

      What San Francisco does better are the Mexican/Latin American cuisines. I've not come across any Mexican outlet in Sydney that's memorable. But for Spanish flavors, go to Liverpool St/intersection with George St, near Chinatown.

      Indian & Thai food in Sydney beats those in the San Francisco Bay Area hands-down. Many of the restaurants in Sydney offered food that's authentic & comparable to those in the countries of origin, whereas SF's Indian/Thai restaurants tend to Americanize their cooking.

      Don't think I've found any really good Malaysian restaurant in Sydney though. The two most well-known ones: Chinta Ria Temple of Love at Cockle Bay Wharf and the old faithful, Malaya at King St Wharf, offer watered-down versions of Malaysian cuisine. But their food's more authentic than, for example, Chris Yeo's Straits at Westfield SF Centre/Palo Alto/Santana Row.

      My fave pie spot in Sydney is Harry's Cafe de Wheels. Love the original in Woolloomooloo, but they've a few outlets across the city.

      For Aussie cuisine, my personal favorites have always been Rockpool & Bathers Pavilion, but the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide can point you to a number of incredibly good restaurants.

      1. re: klyeoh

        Sonia, I noticed you also enquired about Indian grocery stores - there's an area near the intersection of Crown St & Cleveland St, Surry Hills, where there are a few Indian restaurants which are very popular with the local Indian community, and a few Indian grocery stores which stock all types of pulses/dhal, ready mixes for dosais/appams/idlis, pappadums, etc. Also made-in-India Maggi instant noodles, ready-to-eat curry packs from MTR, Asoka, etc. It'll be 15 minutes' drive from Darling Harbor, depending on the traffic.

        1. re: klyeoh

          plenty of Indian grocers - Lane Cove, Strathfield, Parramatta and Hornsby all have good ones, to name a few.

          1. re: kmh

            Thanks all, this is great stuff!

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. Sonia...please get in touch when you're settled. I'm new here too but hopefully can steer you in a few interesting directions. You'll find the Tuesday edition of The Sydney Morning Herald has a good food liftout called Good Living ... am sure you'll find some useful info in there too once you're a local.
        Stephanie, Elegant Sufficiency

        10 Replies
        1. re: StephanieW

          Hi Stephanie, We're here and we have our furniture. We had some great and some not so great restaurant experiences so far. The SMH Good Food Guide has become a bible of sorts! I'll be sure check out the Tuesday SMH too.

          1. re: Sonia Desai

            Where did you decide to settle?

            1. re: kmh

              We ended up in McMahons Point. Very charming, nice community, close to shops, schools, transportation and views!

                1. re: Sonia Desai

                  Great choice! We're just down the road from you in Lavender Bay - it's a great area - have you discovered the food shopping at the North Sydney station mall? Great butcher in there - also have you been to St Honore? some of the best sourdough in Sydney, they have just moved a few doors to 40 Miller Street

                  1. re: sandra in australia

                    that's greenwood plaza to the uninitiated...

                    1. re: kmh

                      yes, I always forget the name!

                      Is the Chinese resto in there any good?

                      1. re: sandra in australia

                        Re: Chinese Restaurant in Greenwood Plaza, the answer is no (although it has beeb a few years).

                        My favourite in Crows Nest, was Sea Treasure at 48 Willoughby Rd. We often came across from the eastern suburbs for dim sum.

                        1. re: sandra in australia

                          NO IDEA - have never eaten there but I suspect not.
                          On the North Shore try Sea Treasure as PhilD suggests or Fook Yuen in Chatswood (highway side of the station) - I haven't been for a few years, but it has always had a strong chinese resident following.

            2. not a lot to add to the excellent suggestions.

              as you settle in, you'll learn that many of the outlying suburbs often have a particular ethnic density that's reflected in the types of restaurants and grocery in the main streets.

              marrickville/greek, cabramatta/vietnamese, lidcombe/middle eastern etc. worth exploring.

              chinatown, just south of darling harbour has been pretty tourist-dumbed-down, but have a walk thru anyway.

              and welcome. I'll wave across the harbour to you from balmain.

              1. Hi Sonia
                I can help you with Jewish cuisine in Sydney. What are you specificially looking for? There aren't many kosher places to eat and there aren't many kosher delis. However kosher food is readily available. Do you know where you plan to settle?


                12 Replies
                1. re: reneeglass

                  Do share...
                  That's what these forums are for after all...

                  1. re: reneeglass

                    Specifically, bagels, pastrami, and matzoh ball soup. Or somewhere to buy and make at home.

                    1. re: Sonia Desai

                      The best I have found has been at The Great Bagel & Coffee Co. Cafes in Macquarie centre North Ryde and Bondi Junction. Not sure where else. Their pastrami bagel sandwich is pretty good.

                      Lots of Jewish food to be found in grocery stores in and around Bondi Junction.

                      Indian Food:
                      A bit of travel from your base in McMahons Point, but good concentration of Indian food in Harris Park (Wigram st). Nearby Parramatta also has Woodlands a South Indian vegetarian restaurant. Temasek in Parramatta has the best Singapore food in Sydney IMHO.

                      Homebush has Janani (Srilankan Tamil/Indian food). Also about 5/6 Indian grocery stores in the area.

                      Closer to you in Crows Nest, Nilgiris is good.

                      Vietnamese Food:
                      Flemington (Henley road) has some great places. Cabramatta is as authentic as it gets.

                      Mexican Food:
                      Only one place.. Guzman Y Gomez in Newtown. Think they are also in Darlinghurst, Kings Cross and Bondi Beach. Check website.
                      Everywhere else I have tried has been one big disappointment

                      I am also a transplant from the Bay area, so anything else I can help you with... just ask.

                      1. re: shants

                        For Mexican go try Flying Fajita Sistas in Glebe, Mex and TexMex, both done well

                        1. re: sandra in australia

                          Hey thanks for the tip. Will report back once I try it.

                          1. re: shants

                            The best bagels without a doubt are from Wellington St Cake Shop in Bondi Road (cnr Wellington), Bondi. They also make an outstanding (real, as in not a marble cake) chocolate kugelhopf rich in yeast and chocolate. Eat it hot and you will be in heaven! Please try them and report back on both!

                            As far as Jewish-style food... that's a hard one. Most of the shops are in Bondi, near Hall st and Glenayr Ave. There is Katzy's deli in Glenayr Ave, bondi and i believe their burgers and pies are good but havent tasted them. personally i found thier chicken soup and matzo ballshorrid. Better to go to the butcher across the road (Eilat at Hadassah) and buy your wings, frames, giblets and top rib...and make your own soup. i have a great recipe if you need. same about matzoh balls. MYO - you can't beat it. Across the road from the butcher is an Israeli shop called Sabbaba which i thnk does a great falafel, pitas, dips etc.

                            There are some great delis in the East, and i have no idea of any in your area. But if you do wish to venture across the harbour (and it's only 10 mins), you could try the following: Bianca's Food Store in Old South head Rd Rose Bay (down from Bunnings warehouse) has lovely ready-made Jewish food (prob good soup too) and a specialises in South African specialties to satisfy the huge S.A community here. There is also Dover Deli (not my favourite, but sells Wellington bagels and has great chopped liver)

                            Also, David Jones Food Hall in Westfield Bondi Junction has a reasonable Kosher grocery and kosher cold meat section.

                            If you need any more info on the Jewish stuff i could prob think of more places.


                            1. re: hank64

                              NOT to be missed if you are living in the Point is Ying's Seafood Restaurant (2/270 Pacific Hwy, CROWS NEST 2065 Ph: (02) 9966 9182).
                              It is without a doubt the best Chinese restaurant in Sydney and by no means the most expensive.
                              We have been going there for years now and they never fail to satisfy. Often Ying himself will come to our table to suggest something that is particularly good in season and as we have very serious allergies in the family they are always very accommodating. (A great place to take the kids).

                              We frequently order a steamed whole fish (barramundi) with ginger and shallots - never too overly salty here as I often have found at the big places in Chinatown, salt & pepper squid with whitebait - again the batter is done so well at Ying's it just melts in your mouth, wasabi beef - my husbands favourite and we rarely get out the door without having ordered it; truly the most amazing tasting beef (not too much spice either) and cooked perfectly so it is tender when served).

                              The Sea Treasure recommended earlier in this thread is fine but I think it has gone off in recent years. Years ago Ying was their their head chef and brought them the acclaim they still hang on to (in my humble opinion...)

                              1. re: elbie21

                                Is this the one in the old "chopsticks" site?
                                with a round hole in the wall where the door is?

                                1. re: kmh

                                  Er, no. My husband just told me chopsticks was somewhere in North Sydney...? Right? Ying's is further up the Pacific Hwy (driving away from town) on the left about one block before the main intersection in Crows Nest.
                                  The decor is not particularly spectacular but a lot more colourful than most Chinese restaurants. I think the main wall on the street is bright orange.

                                  1. re: elbie21

                                    Er no, Chopsticks was in the main Crows Nest drag. They're not the same location.

                                2. re: elbie21

                                  We tried Ying's finally and it was great! Especially the wasabi beef. The service was great and they were very child friendly. Thanks for the tip!

                                  1. re: Sonia Desai

                                    Now go try Flavours of Peking in Castlecrag, in the Quadrangle shopping village, some of the best fried dumplings around, just straight up Miller Street, across the bridge, left on Sailor's Bridge Road, right on Eastern Valley Way, second light is Edinburgh Road, turn right. Park. Eat.