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Sep 20, 2009 04:34 PM

Memorable Meal Suggestion for Mom's 60th (Coming from the U.S.)

I'm looking for recommendations for a memorable meal for Mom's 60th. The family is traveling from 3 cities to vacation in Sydney and Melbourne for a birthday Mom has been planning for over a year! I've been entrusted with organizing her bday dinner (*gulp*) and must turn to Hounds for help!

I've seen mention of Quay, Tetsuya's, Marque, etc. but am still in a fog. The criteria is that Mom is a major SF foodie and wants to eat somewhere truly "Sydney" which highlights the strengths of the region, such as an emphasis on seafood. These places do seem it well, but my concern with Tetsuya's is its Japanese focus which may draw away from the regional highlight. She also loves the whole local, sustainable thing, but I'm not sure if that's even possible?

I have just over a month to make the reservations, so would suggest a place that might not already be booked! Price is no bar, and a view is a nice bonus, but should complement the meal, not make up for something that is lacking.

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  1. Lunch or dinner? If lunch, you can take most advantage of places with nice views. Dinner (in a month's time) less so as it will be dark at dinner - though the lights are nice. A months notice would probably rule out a weekend dinner at Tetsuya but the rest should be fine.

    If it were my mother, I would probably go with Quay or Pier.

    1. coming from Melb, the quintessential Sydney dining experience, (for me, at least) is catching a water taxi from The Rocks, to lunch at Doyles in Watson's Bay, and sit on the beach, eating a plate of Sydney rock oyster and then something with yabbies or marron.

      If she wants to whole sustainable thing, combined with a first-class foodie experience, Billy Kwong is a must.

      1. The food in the top restaurants will be good, and it will generally be locally sourced (with name checks on the menus for suppliers etc). If you are visiting Sydney I suggest that you choose a restaurant that combines great food with a great view: that will make it memorable. Choose well and the stunning view, will be complimented by some great food. However, some of the very best food in Sydney doesn't come with a view, but why not go to the ones without views (like Marque) before or after the big day?

        Quay, Pier or Guillaume at Bennelong would be my picks, whilst Bennelong slipped from a 3 hat to a 2 in the SMH food awards, it is in the Opera House and therefore has a wow factor. However, both Quay and Pier are probably the most typically "Australian" Here is an article about Quay:

        A note on Billie Kwong, it is good but it doesn't take reservations and turns tables thus I wouldn't recommend it for a special occasion.

        1. If looking for seafood - Flying Fish possibly?

          Can catch a water taxi there for a little bit of a harbour experience if you like

          The step from the boat to the pier can be a little tricky - but usually a person comes out from the resturant to assist rather nicely :


          Alternatively Aqua near Luna Park has a great view from the other side of the Harbour looking back towards the City and Bridge. And you can also watch the swimmers in the pool do their laps :)

          If you go to Aqua - would prefer to be outside on the balcony


          1 Reply
          1. re: Blacken

            Not certain I would agree with Bracken that these are in the top tier, good as they are. However, I think his recommendation of "Berowra Waters" on another post is a really good suggestion for your meal.

          2. Thanks for the suggestions! It is a dinner, so I'm thinking that a view is not paramount. However, I see the point. I'm leaning towards Quay since I find their menus more impressive than Pier's.

            I'm really looking forward to all the eating we will be doing in Sydney and Melbourne!
            I'll post my reactions, for sure.

            3 Replies
            1. re: oniontears

              Sydney harbour at night still has a view - the Opera House and Bridge are lit and there is lots of activity with boats etc.

              1. re: oniontears

                I'd go with Quay. It's more central, interesting location & food offers great inventive variety.

                I haven't been to Pier (it's on my list), but it seems it's more of a foodie pilgrimage than a place for celebration. I've been past it a few times and I expected a more dramatic location close to the ferry. Also I've read reports that although the food was very good, it wasn't the most filling or fulfiling of meals....Plus, you have to love fish.

                1. re: oniontears

                  Agree Quay way to go, especially if $$$ not a big consideration. Magical night views of SOH and harbour, and you can walk around the place after. Good luck and have a good time wherever you choose.