dining alone in Sydney
I'm from food-obsessed San Francisco, traveling alone in Sydney for a few days. Staying in Newtown, no car. Willing to walk far or train for quality food, particularly if it's something I can't get at home. I've had great hole-in-the wall Chinese out in Ashfield and Thai out at the Rocks - both were nice because the styles were different than in SF.
Since I'm alone, I'd like to go somewhere that serves at the bar, or is very casual. Perhaps a gastropub would fit the bill one night.
I think the best place to go would be Table for 20 (Surry Hills). Communal tables, so you can strike up a conversation with the people next to you. As a solo diner, you should be able to get a booking mid-week (I think).
In the past, I've gone to Kabuki Shoroku (Town Hall) and sat at the sushi bar and Cru54 (Surry Hills) and sat at the tapas bar. I had great experiences, but I haven't been to these places recently as a solo diner so I can't really comment.
Hi I second debbieann about laksa at Malay Chinese. I am reasonably well travelled and am an Aussie expat and in all honesty, I have never encountered similar quality Laksa and Har Mee as prepared by these people a@Malay Chinese. You will need to take train to Wynyard station in the city, as walking from Newtown is too far.
Other place I like to have a meal alone is any Thai places at our Thai Town, near by China Town on Pitt St, behind a theatre I forget its name now (i.e the theatre). They have Thai places that sells speciality of Bangkok street food (think of Boat noodle soup, Duck noodle soup, Pad See Ew, Rad Na). I think the name is SAPP Thai, the same name as the equally famous Thai hole in the wall Thai @ hollywood. (Again you need to take a train and stop at Town hall station and exit the station on George St, walking about 300 m towards the south (i.e China Town).
If you like Ramen, there is a very popular place at Victoria Gallery, across the street from Queen Victoria Building. You need to go to a bookshop called Kikokuniya and the ramen place on the same floor as the bookshop is pretty good. Be ready to queue. Again you need to go to Town hall station via train.
There are many exciting eating places in sydney for single people who eats alone. I live alone too when I was in Sydney. Enjoy the food and the prices of the above are all modest, you can eat well under $15
There are plenty of great places to eat alone. By location:
NEWTOWN / ENMORE
Guzman y Gomez - Mexican canteen
Emma's on Liberty - Lebanese
Carlisle Castle - pub grub
Bodega - Spanish
Red Lantern - Vietnamese
Toko - Japanese
Mohr's Fish - seafood cafe
Spice I Am - Thai
Longrain - upmarket Thai
Billy Kwong - Chinese
Il Baretto - Italian
Fish Face - seafood
Omerta - Italian wine bar
Lucio Pizzeria - pizza
Anyone from SF should not try to eat Mexican food in Sydney, in my opinion. Another easy to eat alone place in Newtown is Kammadehnu, if you like Sril Lankan/Indian food.
I went to Billy Kwong recently, and I like it, they do not take reservations, which made it easy to go, but we did wait an hour for a table, but a pleasant easy hour at a local wine/restaurant.
I second @debbieann's comment about Mexican in Sydney - don't try it no matter where you're from (tho I happen to be from SF and so am spoiled). It's better in Melbourne, but you'll still be disappointed.
As for Surry Hills, I tried Red Lantern but they were a bit ... 'up themselves', as the Aussies say. The hostess treated me as something the cat dragged in (or something the cat had left on the sidewalk and then attached itself to the bottom of my shoe). It did not leave me with the feeling of wanting to eat there, tho in fairness they did call me when my table was ready.
But by then I was happily ensconced around the corner at La Tana (www.latana.net.au), a recent runner-up in Timeout Sydney's 'casual dining' category. This is a great place for Italian. A warm, friendly waiter who knew the food as well as the chef; delicious, inventive, unpretentious food; great wines I'd never heard of before. A handmade pasta with leek, proscuitto and a touch of cream - subtle but gorgeous flavors. Amazing cheeses. It was a Friday night about 8:30 and it wasn't half full. That won't last long. An excellent option for the lone diner in Surry Hills.
Try Bentley Restaurant and Bar in Surry Hills. You can sit at the bar and have a drink and have some great and original small plates of food as well as the full menu. A great wine and cocktail list makes it as much about the drinking. Has a pretty noisey vibe and atmosphere so much better for dinning alone.