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Sep 12, 2009 05:10 PM

Sydney, good cheap eats list


Thanks to everyone's help in an earlier post, I've decided to base my Sydney trip out of Darlinghurst. Now I'm composing a list of places to go, by type of food and neighborhood, as a quick reference while I'm wandering around town.

Do you have any suggestions on the below, keeping in mind that my friends and I prefer cheap, hole-in-the-wall places and ethnic restaurants over fancypants wine bars and the like? With that said, I'm still playing with the idea of reserving @ Tetsuya's.


- Wall (Surry Hills)
- Kawa (Surry Hills)

- Fix St James (CBD)

- Rockpool (CBD), expensive
- Plan B (CBD)

- Malibu (Surry Hills)
- Big Bite (CBD)

- Lord Nelson's (Rocks)
- Forture of War (Rocks)

- Twisted (CBD)
- Menya (CBD)

Yum Cha
- Fisherman's Wharf (Pyrmont), walkable from Darling Harbour?
- Marigold (Haymarket), walkable from CBD?
- Sky Phoenix (CBD)

- Fisherman's Wharf (Pyrmont), walkable from Darling Harbour?
- Fish Mongers (Bondi), Fish n Chips

- Lucio (Darlinghurst)
- Mario (Surry Hills)
- Gelbisons (Bondi)

Indian/Southeast Asian
- Spice I Am (Surry Hills), Thai
- Longrain (Surry Hills), Thai
- Chat Thai (multiple locations), Thai
- Crocodile Senior (Haymarket), Thai
- Mamak (Haymarket), Malaysian Roti
- Chop Chop (CBD), Bahn Mi
- Sam Satay (Surry Hills), Laksa
- Maya (Surry Hills), veg

- Din Tai Fung (Haymarket)

- Harry's Cafe de Wheels (Woolloomooloo)

- New York (King's Cross), eclectic
- Falconer (Darlinghurst), diner
- Flying Squirrel (Bondi), tapas
- Sabbaba (Bondi), felafel

- Flying Fajita Sisters (Glebe), $3 tacos & tequilla on Tuesdays

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  1. just my opinion, and I have only lived in Sydney for a year-

    mecca cbd-king st
    toby's- city rd near bdway

    certainly cheaper than DTF and better in certain ways: Shanghai Tang on George St in breakfre hotel, in fact perfect for me is lunch at Shanghai Tang and then dessert at Chat Thai on Campbell St, and there are some things you can only get at lunch time at Chat, esp Khanom krak which I love.

    Longrain is kind of expensive and I like Spice I Am a lot and it is cheaper.

    I like the laksa at Jimmy's in TGV across from the queen victoria bldg in cbd, but mostly I love laksa and would eat it as much as possible.

    I think it is called the fish market, not fisherman's wharf, very walkable from cbd and darling harbour, haymarket also walkable from cbd.

    2 Replies
    1. re: debbieann

      Long list, are you here a month?...

      FIshermans Wharf is the official name of the restauranty bit at the fish market.

      Second Mecca for coffee, and of course Campos if you find yourself in Newtown.

      I think you will be disappointed by most mexican in Sydney, and I wouldn't travel to Bondi to eat.

      If you want a one-night splurge, perhaps Quay, Marque or Becasse could go onto the list as well as Tetsuya.

      Your burger is Rockpool Bar and Grill - don't confuse it with Rockpool.

      And where did you get the recommendation for steak at Fix St James? Nice middle of the road CBD Italian inspired eatery, but never heard it mentioned for steak?... just interested where it came from.

      1. re: mr_gimlet

        Hah- I definitely won't be going to all of the places listed. I like giving myself a ton of options, because I'll inevitably be in a specific mood in a specific neighborhood at some point. If I have a lot of good choices in each neighborhood, I'll always be able to approximate what I am looking for without taking my chances on an unproven place.

        I don't remember where I got that Fix St James rec, to be honest. I could have just written it down incorrectly.

        Thanks for the help

    2. oh and one small note, all of that is walkable, but if you are going to be here a week you can get a blue weekly bus pass that starts the first time you use it and then you can jump on buses whenever you want and it is a fun way to see Sydney. $34. and you can go on short ferry rides with it too. If you book at Quay make sure there isn't a cruise ship blocking your view. oh and if you are at the fish market try the kingfish sashimi.

      ha, never knew that about the restauranty bit at the fish mkt, thank you mr gimlet, you are a great source of info. oh and I totally agree about Mexican and Bondi.

      1. That is a really mixed list you've been given there!

        If you like things a little less sydney-glossy - do head to inner west newtown ($10 cab ride from city, or on the train line) for the best coffee in Sydney (Campos), amazing Vietnamese (Tre Viet the best), great Tapas (Sonis, with funky cocktail lounge 'Madam Flong Flongs' upstairs) and down to earth pubs and cafes. Definately more cheap - hole in the wall than the city, and much more soul. Newtown is a grat place to visit during the ay with interesting shops and a nice main street to wander along.

        4 Replies
        1. re: katea

          Actually, good taco/tortillas in Newtown as well. Also Oscillate Wildly. I do feel Newtown is past its best though and lives on in the memory of Whitlams fans :-)

          But I would travel there just for Campos.

          1. re: mr_gimlet

            If you are going to Newtown stop in Black Star. good goat cheese leek pie, good chocolate caramel tart w/salt on top, good canelle, well really it is all good. Right next to Oscillate Wildly.

            1. re: mr_gimlet

              please don't assume music tastes mr gimlet - having lived in bondi, surry hills, glebe and now newtown i can verify it has alot more to offer than very dated music.

              Back to the food - Oscillate Wildly is fabulous, but certainly not cheap.
              Black star is great too - I can't believe I forgot it!

            2. re: katea

              Ah, very nice. i didn't realize it was that cheap of a ride over. i'll definitely check out newtown

            3. The dining out area of Darlinghurst is definately one of my favourites. I have outlined my faves in the neighbourhood here:

              with special mentions for A Tavola and Omerta.

              I think that Chinese eating is also geat in Sydney with a range of regions and options - see:

              Flying Squirrel in Bondi I think is just a relaxed and fun place to get a feed and the cocktails are great. Other great places in Bondi are: (with Flying Squirrel being one of the faves, and North Bondi Italian terrific for a Sunday afternoon lunch).

              I was actually a little disappointed in Mexican at the Flying Fajita Sisters, but it does seem very popular. Mexican is a tough one in Sydney. I hear there's a place in Newtown which is the Mexican place of the moment.

              My only other great value suggestion is Phamish (also in Darlinghurst). It's busy, fresh and delish (and popular).

              Oh! Jimmy Lix is also a great alternative to Longgrain - equally as lovely but cheaper.

              1 Reply
              1. re: CVR

                I tend to agree that Newtown is past its prime

                I went to Oscillate Wildly for my birthday last year, and thought it was all sizzle, no sausage. Great ideas - dud flavours. To me, Surry Hills is what Newtown aspires to be, food-wise (and more) - and no, I dont live in either place!

                As for the OP wanting "cheap, hole-in-the-wall places and ethnic restaurants over fancypants wine bars and the like", I'd recommend venturing beyond the inner city neighbourhoods....

                Bau Truong...


                Se Joung