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Moving from San Francisco to Sydney

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Sonia Desai Jan 29, 2008 07:37 AM

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. kmh Jan 29, 2008 12:59 PM

    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.

    websites:
    SMH - http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/good-living/restaurant-reviews/
    and http://www.gourmettraveller.com.au

    and for punter reviews: www.eatability.com.au

    Blogs of note that usually get referred to include
    http://grabyourfork.blogspot.com/
    http://ilovemilkandcookies.blogspot.com/

    and whilst not strictly dining out
    http://elegantsufficiency.typepad.com/the_elegant_sufficiency/
    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 - http://thestonesoup.com/blog/shopping...

    4 Replies
    1. re: kmh
      k
      klyeoh Jan 29, 2008 05:48 PM

      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
        k
        klyeoh Jan 29, 2008 10:20 PM

        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
          kmh Jan 30, 2008 06:50 PM

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

          1. re: kmh
            s
            Sonia Desai Feb 6, 2008 08:47 AM

            Thanks all, this is great stuff!

    2. s
      StephanieW Mar 4, 2008 02:03 AM

      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.
      best,
      Stephanie, Elegant Sufficiency

      10 Replies
      1. re: StephanieW
        s
        Sonia Desai May 1, 2008 12:32 AM

        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
          kmh May 1, 2008 03:36 PM

          Where did you decide to settle?

          1. re: kmh
            s
            Sonia Desai May 24, 2008 12:51 AM

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

            1. re: Sonia Desai
              kmh May 24, 2008 02:22 AM

              also very nice.

              1. re: Sonia Desai
                s
                sandra in australia May 24, 2008 10:07 PM

                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
                  kmh May 26, 2008 03:13 AM

                  that's greenwood plaza to the uninitiated...

                  1. re: kmh
                    s
                    sandra in australia May 26, 2008 05:03 AM

                    yes, I always forget the name!

                    Is the Chinese resto in there any good?

                    1. re: sandra in australia
                      PhilD May 27, 2008 05:36 AM

                      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
                        kmh May 27, 2008 04:34 PM

                        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.

                        1. re: kmh
                          s
                          sandra in australia May 27, 2008 11:35 PM

                          Yep, Fook Yuen is still very good

          2. fooftales May 24, 2008 06:21 PM

            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. r
              reneeglass May 26, 2008 08:55 AM

              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?

              Regards

              12 Replies
              1. re: reneeglass
                kmh May 27, 2008 04:35 PM

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

                1. re: reneeglass
                  s
                  Sonia Desai May 31, 2008 06:46 AM

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

                  1. re: Sonia Desai
                    s
                    shants Jun 3, 2008 02:14 AM

                    Bagels:
                    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
                      s
                      sandra in australia Jun 3, 2008 03:48 AM

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

                      1. re: sandra in australia
                        s
                        shants Jun 3, 2008 04:53 AM

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

                        1. re: shants
                          hank64 Jun 8, 2008 07:23 AM

                          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.

                          Cheers.

                          1. re: hank64
                            e
                            elbie21 Jun 24, 2008 04:21 PM

                            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
                              kmh Jun 24, 2008 04:50 PM

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

                              1. re: kmh
                                e
                                elbie21 Jun 24, 2008 05:47 PM

                                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.
                                http://www.miettas.com.au/Australia/New_South_Wales/Crows_Nest/YingS_Seafood_Restaurant.html
                                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.
                                http://www.yourrestaurants.com.au/gui...

                                1. re: elbie21
                                  kmh Jun 25, 2008 11:17 PM

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

                              2. re: elbie21
                                s
                                Sonia Desai Jul 18, 2008 01:54 AM

                                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
                                  s
                                  sandra in australia Jul 19, 2008 05:27 AM

                                  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.

                  2. l
                    Leo Figueira Aug 4, 2008 09:00 AM

                    Sonia,

                    Having moved here, and currently longing for a NYC Deli style corned beef + pastrami on rye with a side of Russian Dressing, please be advised that there are NO worthwhile Jewish deli's here in Sydney like there are on the East/West coasts.

                    Does anyone care to prove me wrong?!? PLEASE!!!!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: kmh
                      s
                      sandra in australia Aug 5, 2008 03:38 AM

                      kmh, Russian Dressing is a US deli and restaurant staple, a combination basically of ketchup and mayo, along with onion, tabasco, sometimes paprika, sometimes worcestershire sauce, depending on the establishment, or the brand of bottle!

                      In restaurants or diners, when you ask for a salad it's usually amongst the 5-6 options available...

                      Have a look here for a recipe:
                      http://www.elise.com/recipes/archives/004133reuben_sandwich.php

                      And have a look here for a discussion on it:
                      http://escoffier.com/index.php/culina...

                      Leo, have you tried the delis around Bondi? I haven't yet, but maybe you can find what you're looking for there... Also there is a deli up around St Ives that looks promising, but haven't tried it yet..

                      1. re: sandra in australia
                        kmh Aug 5, 2008 03:20 PM

                        sandra - I prefer the sound of the escoffier recipe - I might have to try it.

                        Lewis - the jewish guide to sydney listing http://www.nswjbd.org/MintDigital.NET/NSWJBD.aspx?XmlNode=/MainNav/Jewish+Life+in+NSW/Guide+to+Jewish+Sydney

                        KOSHER RESTAURANTS & TAKE-AWAY (Under Supervision
                        )Caf Macc (milk caf)
                        Sydney Jewish Museum,
                        148 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst
                        tel: 9360 7999
                        (daytime only)

                        Grandma Moses (take-away)
                        511 Old South Head Rd,
                        Rose Bay
                        tel: 9371 0874; fax: 9388 1526

                        Lewis' Continental Kitchen
                        (meat, take-away)
                        2 Curlewis St, Bondi
                        tel: 9365 5421; fax: 9300 0037

                        Savion
                        (Israeli, meat, fast-food; eat-in & take-away)
                        Shop 1/38 Wairoa Ave, Bondi
                        tel: 9130 6357

                        also sydney kosher group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/KCA_Sydney/

                        and http://shamash.org/
                        has a search tool to bring up kosher food in sydney

                        1. re: kmh
                          j
                          jbz Oct 19, 2008 07:03 PM

                          Have you tried Katzy's on Bondi
                          113-115 Hall Street Bondi Beach
                          ph: (02) 9130 6755
                          http://www.menulog.com.au/katzys_food...

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