Honeymoon in Oz
Going to Australia on my honeymoon in September for three week and was hoping to get some restaurant recommendations. We're going to be in Sydney, Port Douglas, Tasmania (Hobart/Starahan), Melbourne, and the great ocean road.
I definitely want to do at lease one nice meal in each city and these restaurants seem easy to find and read reviews about. Pier in Sydney, Lebrina in Hobart, The Press Club in Melbourne, etc...
What I am having trouble finding are casual/hip places like we have, where I live, in New York. Places like, David Chang's restaurants (Momofuku Ssam Bar), The Spotted Pig, and Casa Mono. We are very into asian, gastro pubs, places that make great offal, tapas, seafood (I hear it is great all over australia), street meat and at least one bushtucker place. Refined is good, but I couldn't eat like this night after night.
We will be staying in the center of each of these cities.
Any help with with recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
For Melbourne I would recommend
Rumi, Lygon St in East Brunswick for Persian/Lebanese with a modern twist - love the hot yoghurt soup with lebanese style tortellini
------> also the Alderman next door to rumi is a fantastic bar, reasonably priced drinks a funky layout - one room feels distinctly like a lounge room. They also have a hatch which they place orders through for lebanese pizza's from Rumi - best of all they have the coolest, calmest resident dog!
Chocolate Buddha, in Fed Square, for relaxed Japanese food
Seamstress - the upstairs bar, also has a restaurant but I've never been - Lonsdale St CBD, some of the bar staff have a bit of attitude (at least the one at the register when I went to pay did) but the tasting plate was delicious and takes a cross cultural approach to Cantonese eg. arancini stuffed with scallop
Curve bar, Arts Centre St Kilda Road city - I love the light shades in this place! The kitchen is open late (to maximize on people feeling hungry after the play/opera/symphony/ballet etc) the menu is a good reflection of Mod-oz food (european, asian and Mediterranean influences). I had the most beautiful braised beef cheek with sautéed savoy cabbage (although the menu may have changed that was awhile ago) I regularly go after shows for a drink and to share a bowl of fries with garlic mayo.
Pellegrinis, Bourke st CBD (b/w exhibition and russell st's) is something of an institution when it comes to pasta. It's not fancy, it's not done with a lot of flair but it is done with a lot of love and charm, also have whatever is going in terms of granita.
Although not massively hip Laksa King on Racecourse Rd in Newmarket offers the best curry laksa I've had outside of Kuala Lumpar, and just up the road Canton D'lite (shocking name I know) does a delicious beef crispy egg noodles with Gai Lan. And just across the road is The Kitchen, a cafe that offers perfectly poached eggs on sourdough, although I usually have to request for my caffe latte to be weak as the beans they use pack a caffeine punch.
If you like Yum Cha the I recommend Red Emperor, Southbank, plenty of staff so your table never piles up with bamboo steamers and your pot of tea never runs dry. The food on offer is classic and consistent.
In Sydney we love our locals which include:
Pizza e Birra - Crown St Surry Hills for good pizza and a great relaxed atmosphere
you could also try their new wine bar Mille Vini a few doors up on the other side of the road
Fratelli Paradiso - Challis Ave Potts Point for great ambience and good people watching - the calamari and risotto are very good
Mohr Fish - Devonshire St Surry Hills for fish and chips this is an old butcher shop converted to a casual restaurant open for lunch and dinner and byo. They don't take bookings but if they are full you can put your name down and wait across the road in a very old fashioned suburban hotel
Cafe Sopra - Danks St Waterloo and Macleay St Potts Point. These restaurants are associated with a fresh produce outlet called Fratelli Fresh and are great simple clean italian food in lovely spaces
Book Kitchen - Devonshire St Surry Hills. This is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner but dinner is best. You may need to queue for breakfast on the weekend but try to book for dinner and you will be okay. This is a licensed and byo restaurant and most of the meals are available as entrees and main sizes.
In Hobart have breakfast or lunch at a bakery/cafe called Jackman and McRoss in Battery Point which is a beautiful historic suburb in Hobart.
Also from Hobart the restaurant at Moorila winery is beautiful. They also have accommodation and an art gallery.
Restaurant 373 in Hobart is getting great reviews however it has opened since we were last down there so I cannot comment personally.
It may be worth your while looking at the website of Gourmet Traveller at www.gourmetraveller.com.au as this has lots of travel / food stories but also produces the restaurant of the year book for cafes and restaurants throughout Australia
In Port Douglas, Sassi at Bale has a good repuation. Nautilus is very romantic....its an tropical outdoor place - http://www.nautilusrestaurant.com.au/
If you are prepared to drive a little further then Nu Nu at Palm Cove is awesome as well as quite romantic - the perfect honeymoon spot.
For casual/hip places in Sydney, it's pretty hard to go past Surry Hills these days:
* Bodega - for tapas
* Billy Kwong - for Asian
* Toko - for Japanese
* Pizza e Birra - for pizza/Italian
* Red Lantern - for Vietnamese
* Longrain - for Thai
In Darlinghurst/Potts Point, you might also want to check out:
* A Tavola - for Italian
* Onde - French bistro
* Fish Face - seafood
* Universal - Modern Australian
* Lotus - Modern Australian
* Cafe Sopra - for Italian
some ideas on this board
In Sydney, for more relaxed, cheaper meals consider ducking in to china town (southern end of CBD) for ramen kan (japanese), red hot chilli (szechuan), korean bbq, vietnamese (especially pho). Fishface for a cheaper deal on seafood. also consider heading over toward darlinghurst where there are diners, cafes, restaurants galore - something for nearly any style and occasion.