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Sydney Food Itinerary

kerrsive Jun 2, 2008 03:38 AM

I just need some help/tips/advice on a trip to Sydney.

I will be staying in Kensington right next to Moore Park for 4 days/5 nights. I decided to jump on my families holiday in late June so I could eat myself stupid. So I've started making a list of places I want to try. A few places I will be taking my Mum aswell.

So far...

- Rockpool
- Bill's
- Sushi Suma or Zushi?
- Golden Century
maybe Longrain?

I plan on spending some time wandering around Chinatown, so what do people recommend as 'MUST DO's? Is BBQ King rated? Oh, and a good dumpling place (something that could match Shanghai Dumplings in Melbourne).
Another Chinatown question... where is the 'Thai Kee' supermarket located? I'm getting conflicting search results from Google, but from what I gather its at Paddy's Market. Could somebody clarify this for me?

I plan on going early to the fish market one day. What would be the best day to do this?

I'm also looking for some good Vietnamese pho bo. Where would I find this?

My budget isnt toooo big, so if anyone can throw some recommendations at me that would be great. I'm pretty much after good local favourites. Even if its pizza, fish n chips... it doesnt matter. My sole purpose is eating on this trip.


  1. b
    bellmeister Jun 12, 2008 06:04 AM

    Why has no one mentioned Tetsuya's? It's the best restaurant in Australia and the 10 course degu menu is good value at $195. Might be hard to get a booking though.

    12 Replies
    1. re: bellmeister
      sandra in australia Jun 12, 2008 06:15 AM

      Have you been to Tetsuya's?

      I have found tha everyone that has been, myself included, has found it slightly dissapointing...

      1. re: sandra in australia
        Beach Chick Jun 12, 2008 04:32 PM

        Hi Sandra..
        I have been to Tetsuya's and found it to be SO much better than the French Laundry and other 1-2* restaurants in Paris..
        Tet's came out and sat with us for over a half hour and he was extremely gracious...all the celebrities that were dining there wanted to know who the hell we were..hee hee
        He gave us a signed copy of his cookbook and a lovely bottle of Torbreck Shiraz Grenache and gave me his business card and told me to call him and would meet up with his BF, Ottmar Leibert in Santa Fe, New Mexico...WOW!
        His staff still e-mail me and I am honored to know him.
        It's been several years since I have been to Sydney..
        (I used to live briefly in Rose Bay years ago)
        All the best to you..

        1. re: Beach Chick
          kmh Jun 12, 2008 06:03 PM

          and did you?

          1. re: kmh
            Beach Chick Jun 12, 2008 06:40 PM

            No..but one of my friends puts on the Santa Fe Muzik Fest and if I gig with some of my buddies this year, maybe I can hook up with Ottmar!
            Wouldn't that be something..

          2. re: Beach Chick
            klyeoh Jun 12, 2008 06:31 PM

            BF = Boyfriend?

            1. re: klyeoh
              Beach Chick Jun 12, 2008 06:35 PM

              I meant that BF is 'Best Friend'...hee hee

              1. re: Beach Chick
                klyeoh Jun 12, 2008 06:54 PM

                LOL! I thought you inadvertently outted TW. I agree with you - for an internationally-recognized chef, he does come across as a regular bloke.

                1. re: klyeoh
                  Beach Chick Jun 12, 2008 07:10 PM

                  He is one hell of a nice guy!
                  Gosh, I would of flipped if I didn't come back to this post and not clarify my 'BF' as 'Best Friend' and the buzz around Sydney was that he was 'on the bus'...too funny.
                  All the best to you klyeoh!

            2. re: Beach Chick
              sandra in australia Jun 12, 2008 07:00 PM


              I find it's very hard to compare to a French Michelin 3*, totally different food, but it's great that you liked it so much.

              I didn't dislike it, it's just that from all the write-ups and some reviews saying the "best restaurant in Australia" etc... I expected a bit more maybe? or different, not sure, it just wasn't "it" for me, or many others I know...

              I also found the wait staff to be incredibly patronising

              Even Vue du Monde in Melbourne I found I liked better.

              Anyway, glad you liked it

              1. re: sandra in australia
                Beach Chick Jun 12, 2008 07:19 PM

                I had the same situation with the French Laundry..
                Staff at Tet's was lovely not patronising whatsoever..hate that!
                Love Melbourne and I have heard so many great things about Vue du Monde..(love Melbourne better than Sydney..stayed a month in Toorak)
                I always enjoy your post Sandra!

          3. re: bellmeister
            big_silver_earrings Aug 14, 2008 09:19 AM

            When you say "might be a little hard"... I rang today and apparently Tetsuya's is booked until the middle of February, when there's a mid-week dinner slot available. I'm not sure it's possible for any restaurant to live up to the expectations created by a 6-month waiting list.

            1. re: big_silver_earrings
              kmh Aug 14, 2008 02:51 PM

              you said it!

          4. Beach Chick Jun 9, 2008 05:36 AM

            I'll throw in my two cents on this one and add Lord Nelson's Brewery in the Rocks..


            1 Reply
            1. re: Beach Chick
              BinarySmurf Jun 12, 2008 12:45 AM

              I'll second beach chick here.. They do $5 english pork pies over the bar with mustard and chutney, and these are to die for. 2 of these pies ($10), and a pint of Quayle's Ale is the perfect lunch. :)

              They also do a ploughman's lunch, but I'm a pie-whore and haven't tried it.

            2. e
              EvilChrisPriestly Jun 8, 2008 10:07 PM

              I'll add my two cents as a Canadaian business traveller who was in Sydney last October. I have long read the boards without actually getting involved, but a place that treated me very well when I was there was the Glass Brasserie in the Hilton hotel in the CBD. http://www.glassbrasserie.com.au/

              I had planned on all sort of food adventures during my 3 days in Sydney, but tore my achilles tendon getting off the plane (of all the silly things to do) which prevented me from getting around. The fine folks at Glass treated me very well (possibly taking pity on me) and were always friendly and accomodating. The food was very good, but I can't compare it to anywhere else as I never made it out of the hotel. I especially enjoyed the Morton Bay Bugs which I can only compare to small bites of a lobster/prawn cross that were very tasty.

              I don't know how well it compares to other fine Sydney establishments, but I don't see Glass mentioned much, so thought I'd give it a shout out.

              3 Replies
              1. re: EvilChrisPriestly
                kmh Jun 8, 2008 11:03 PM

                Luke Mangan is a well respected chef and his food is good. It is however, not cheap. I think for many, it is so big that it loses atmosphere... But yes, it is often overlooked on these boards, possibly because it is inside the Hilton.

                1. re: kmh
                  hank64 Jun 9, 2008 04:46 AM

                  Sorry to say EvilChris, and i'm sure they were really nice and all (as most Aussies are!!), but food-wise I really havent heard anything great at all about Glass, and there are so many restaurants in that category (i,e expensive) that i would rate ahead of it. Luke Mangan has a solid reputation and has been around for a while now - I'm just not a huge fan, although Bistro Lulu was quite nice when he ran that.

                  1. re: hank64
                    klyeoh Jun 12, 2008 01:12 AM

                    I liked Glass when I was in Sydney last year - was there 3 times in 2 weeks, great view of the beautiful QVB Bldg. Of course, like hank64 said, there are better restaurants of the same ilk in the vicinity that's probably ranked ahead of it (tried Becasse, Bilsons, Est, Forty One on the same fortnight, but was comfortable enough to return to Glass, perhaps because I stayed at the Hilton). Luke Mangan's cooking is inventive nonetheless, and the choice of entrees are great.

              2. hank64 Jun 8, 2008 07:06 AM

                Have a look at my recs under "One day in Sydney" on this board. Agree with a lot of what everyones says below. i would definitely go to the fish markets (every day is great) to look and shop as it is awesome but would not have lunch there unless you do the fresh cooked prawns to take away. The cooked food is ordinary as are the places to sit and eat.
                From your list, Rockpool is fantastic but still really expensive, even after the refurbishment and reduction in price. I thnk Longrain is a great Sydney eating experience (even though it is now in Melbourne as well) and lots of fun, but agree with kmh that can get pricey and limited in what you can try if only 2 of you.
                Best yum cha...hmmm that's a hard one...i quite like East ocean or Zilver in Haymarket but both are a bit grotty. Both are quite good on a budget.

                My favourite restaurant in Sydney is Sean's Panaroma on Bondi Beach (only open Thurs to Sat nights, Fri to Sun lunches) but it is also a little pricey these days. it is a very casual, crowded but comfortable restaurant with a brilliant local vibe. There are 3 things that rate for me as the some of the best dishes ANYWHERE (and that's a big statement). One is the "floured and fried crab with aioli" that is on most nights (although sometimes it is calamari or prawns), the 2nd is the best best hot chocolate pudding in the whole world (only on the menu in winter so you are lucky). You have never tasted a chocolate pudding till you have had this one. The texture is somewhere between a chiffon cake and a mousse, with a molten centre of dark dark chocolate....and the 3rd thing is the duck (or goose sometimes) liver pate with sweet and sour onions and pulled bread (not always on but can ask for it). Oh - and his bread is made in-house and it is brilliant. Obviously i am a big fan. They have 2 sittings 6.30 and 8.30 pm for dinner and you really need to book in advance. Lunch there overlooking Bondi is beautiful also. Can look at the website will also show prices www.seanspanaroma.com.au

                Have fun!

                1. kmh Jun 5, 2008 12:12 AM

                  here I am!

                  Ok, if you're staying in Kensington then you are a hop skip and a jump from some excellent asian food as the Uni NSW is also in Kensington and they have a HUGE foreign student population. Go to Ratu Sari in Kingsford grab the bus down Anzac Pde for great Indonesian food in nice surrounds.

                  Great Pho is recommended in Bankstown (An) but not easy to get to. In the Inner West you could try Tanh Binh for a vietnamese dinner, but with the asian population in Sydney you won't have to travel that far. For lunch try Indochine in St James Arcade (next door to the David Jones "elizabeth st" store, on Castlereagh st). Flemington, as recommended is also a good pocket for Vietnamese food, but again, a bit of a hike from the city.

                  I have said my bit on BBQ King elsewhere on this board, i simply cannot recommend it - why not try Emperor's garden in Thomas St. It's around the corner from Thai Kee supermarket which is on sussex st (about 1 block north of paddy's market).

                  With regard to Longrain, Rockpool, etc - you will need to get choosy on a restricted budget. Longrain isn't too expensive with a group as the servings are enourmous, but if it's just you and your mum it's probably not the best idea. Spice I am has a huge following, although you MUST like your food hot, and on the last episode, I couldn't eat it (and for a whitey I am very chilli tolerant).

                  Bills SHmills - Sydney has moved on (I hope) and Bill rests on his laurels. Try Bird Cow Fish (weekends) or Dank St Depot for breakfast or lunch (add cafe sopra to the lunch list as well).

                  The Fish markets - are good for fresh seafood, I personally don't rate the cooked food, but for a picnic lunch go to claudios and pick up yamba prawns, balmain bugs, oysters, sashimi - they also have a few dipping sauces and stuff in there. there's also black wattle deli to top up on bread, cheese, dips and a bottle shop for whatever tickles your fancy.

                  Honestly, it's such a broad question I could prattle on forever, and without an indication of budget, your taste in food, your taste in venues, etc. it will be difficult to make specific recommendations.

                  Where you're staying there is no shortage of cheap meals owing to the university.

                  For an upmarket meal in your area check out Restaurant Balzac - Matthew Kemp has a great reputation, a stayer in the Sydney restaurant scene, AND it's in Randwick (the suburb next door).

                  1. fooftales Jun 4, 2008 06:10 PM

                    take a walk over to the fish markets at pyrmont - they do lunch as well as fresh seafood. any day is as good as the next there, but it's much busier on the weekends.

                    rockpool's had a menu makeover and is a little more affordable these days.

                    the best pho is in some of the outer suburbs, like cabramatta. might be a hike for you. but there's plenty of goof vietfood most anywhere you travel in town.

                    local faves? wander down to wolloomooloo wharf and have a pie floater and harry's cafe de wheels. a sydneytown institution and despite the touristy attraction, it's still top quality.

                    personally, I think the best thai in the cbd is at sailor's thai in the rocks. go upstairs to the regular canteen rather than the more pricey dining room downstairs.

                    bills.... ah, I like bill, he's a nice guy n all, but his cafes don't really offer anything special that you'd rave about at home. good food and well presented, but nothing extraordinary.

                    try billy kwongs if a) kylie's in the kitchen, and 2) you can get in (they don't take bookings).

                    I'd also recommend bistrode, just a few streets away.

                    also, the good food and wine show starts on the 20th june:

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: fooftales
                      purple goddess Jun 4, 2008 06:12 PM

                      absolutely MUST do Harry's Cafe de Wheels!

                      1. re: purple goddess
                        fooftales Jun 4, 2008 06:15 PM

                        wot she said.

                        hey pg, haven't I seen you lurking on the get real blog as well.....?

                        1. re: fooftales
                          purple goddess Jun 4, 2008 11:48 PM


                          a great blog for sydney foodies!

                          1. re: purple goddess
                            BinarySmurf Jun 12, 2008 12:47 AM

                            Can you link to the blog please? :)

                            1. re: BinarySmurf
                              kmh Jun 24, 2008 05:20 AM

                              I believe they are referring to getrealfood.blogspot.com

                      2. re: fooftales
                        arsyd Jun 24, 2008 04:36 AM

                        I can't believe people recommend Harry's - it is a TOURIST TRAP!!!

                        1. re: arsyd
                          kmh Jun 24, 2008 05:23 AM

                          Lighten up! Harry's do a pretty good pie in a great location with some pretty good history behind it.

                          It's not fine cuisine, agreed. But I don't think it's a tourist trap either.

                          here's a review:

                          1. re: kmh
                            PhilD Jun 24, 2008 12:13 PM

                            ....and there are some quite good hotels across the road, so a few beers as an aperitif warm you up for a pie beautifully.

                      3. m
                        MaestroSid Jun 2, 2008 09:31 PM

                        The best dumpling places in Chinatown are:

                        * Yee King Noodles, 408 Sussex St
                        * Chinese Noodle Restaurant, 8 Quay St
                        * Sea Bay Chinese Dumplings, 372 Pitt St

                        Golden Century's probably the best of the big restaurants there, and I personally still really like BBQ King (esp late at night) but it's no longer the bargain place it once was. It's not expensive by Sydney standards, and the crispy skin chicken is amazing.

                        Outside of Chinatown, Rockpool and Longrain aren't going to be kind to your budget. For good value local favourites that aren't on the tourist trail, I'd be pointing you towards:

                        * Onde - Darlinghurst
                        * Spice I Am - Surry Hills
                        * Strangers with Candy - Redfern
                        * Red Lantern - Surry Hills (has good pho bo)
                        * Fish Face - Darlinghurst
                        * Pizza Mario - Surry Hills
                        * Wasavie - Paddington

                        As for Bills, there are now three separate outlets in Darlo, Woollahra and Surry Hills. Personally I think there are better places to go, but I suppose it's a bit of an institution to have brekky at the one in Darlo. But the Surry Hills one is probably a better bet for dinner. Enjoy your trip!

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