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Need help for one memorable dinner in Sydney.

We are San Francisco Chowhounds who will be visiting Sydney in a few months for just a couple of days and are looking for help selecting one great dinner. Friends have recommended the following: Quay, Tetsuyas, Aria. Which of these three do you recommend or are there others we should consider. We will be staying at The Four Seasons Hotel. Thanks for any help you can be.

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  1. Fellow SF'er.

    Tets is supposed to be ridiculous. i was in sydney a couple years ago and mistakenly double booked there and Rockpool. I wound up going to Rockpool and, while a great meal, have regretted it ever since.

    1. Its a difficult question because they are all very good but slightly different. Its a bit like saying which 3* should I go to in Paris. Your starting list is the universally agreed top handful in Sydney (a couple slide in and out of this list, but its good for starters) - which are Marque, Tetsuyas, Quay, Pier and est. Aria is realistically in the second tier but it has a fabulous view. Guillaume at Bennelong used to be top tier but has slipped, probably because the chef is fluffing around opening bistors in casinos.

      First question: how important is the location and view to your experience? Quay and Pier are very nice views, Marque and Tetsuya are nondescript and you wouldn't know you were in Sydney. Foodwise, Tetsuya and Marque are technically more elaborate but not confronting in a spanish gastro kind of way.

      I suspect your friends factored in a view as important, hence their shortlist.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mr_gimlet

        Thanks, I always put the food first, but my wife is high on ambience and views so that is important. We're only going to be in Sydney for a short time, so I think we do want a place that feels like Sydney. So, it sounds like our friend's suggestions are good ones.

      2. I havent eaten at Quay or Aria, but I thought Tetsuyas was pretty uninspiring when I went there in May. The produce is first-rate, but the dishes aren't as daring or tasty as I'd have expected. If I were going upscale Japanese in Sydney, I'd eat at Yoshii rather than Tetsuyas - http://www.yoshii.com.au/main.html It's also walking distance from the Four Seasons

        Of the other 'first tier' places in Sydney I've eaten, I also thought Pier was good, but not sensational

        Seems to me that the moderate level eateries are often a better option

        Two of the best meals I've had this year were at Bronte Rd Bistro http://www.bronteroadbistro.com Dave Pegrum is formerly of Tetsuyas, BTW

        Or if you're adamant about a view, North Bondi Italian is pretty amazing too (though they don't take bookings) http://www.idrb.com/northbondi/

        Pilu is the other place I've had amazing food with great views - http://www.piluatfreshwater.com.au/in...

        I just suspect this whole "Top 50 restaurants" list stuff is political, and a bit of a wank. My eating experiences certainly don't concur with the judges decisions

        Oh,....and if you're going somewhere with a view, I'd suggest lunch not dinner

        8 Replies
        1. re: Onara

          You're not the first person I've heard say that about Tetsuya. Certainly the menu doesn't seem to be refreshed very often.

          1. re: mr_gimlet

            Tetsuya's signature dish of trout is still amazing, as were the Crystal Bay Prawns. The rest of the courses weren't especially memorable however

            Interestingly, last time I had lunch at Pilu, Tetsuya was at the adjoining table

          2. re: Onara

            I agree with the Top 50 comment, eaten in lots of them and had as good at other places. However Mr G's recommendations do tie in with the SMH GFG and Gourmet Traveller recs which are good for Sydney and represent the top end well.

            Yet to try NBI (back in Sydney now so will) but what about "Icebergs" for the view and good food?

            Looks like I need to also get to Bronte Road Bistro, I enjoyed Dave's food a lot when he was at Forbes & Burton, and hadn't realised he had moved on.

            1. re: PhilD

              Icebergs and NBI are owned by the same people I think, though I've not eaten at Icebergs

              Co-incidentally, I was in San Francisco last month and ate at the following...

              Zuni - something of an institution from what I can gather. Food was very good, perhaps not hugely memorable

              Nopa - this place reminded me of Bronte St Bistro, just in terms of value, service, attitude & approach to food. I was impressed

              Coi - bit of a disappointment. A degustation that was more miss than hit (many seem to be), and staff that seemed to busy to discuss the dishes (except for the female server - who was brilliant)

              1. re: Onara

                Glad you liked Zuni and Nopa. Zuni just celebrated it's 20th (maybe 30th) anniversary and is sort of an institution. Their roast chicken with bread salad is the signature dish. Nopa is great but very noisy--excellent pork chop. Haven't been to Coi yet--keep reading about it but reports seem to conflict. Some think it's the greatest thing in San Francisco, others are disappointed.

                1. re: bobpantzer

                  Who can not like Zuni? Its roast chicken with bread salad - absolutely unforgettable!! I'd been to SF 10 times the past 2 years, and had dined at Zuni each & every time. BTW, Coi is really, and I do mean REALLY good. Whoops, I'm digressing - we're supposed to be on the Oz/Kiwi board here!

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    love love love zuni, but thought Coi was entirely oversalted. and a little precious.

              2. re: PhilD

                Icebergs is great, much better than you'd expect with such a stunning view

            2. If memorable doesn't necessarily mean extravagant, then I must say the last meal I ate at Chat Thai in downtown Sydney was memorable, wonderful, huge, educational - and surprisingly cheap.

              1. Thanks, all, you have been very helpful. Appreciate it.