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Sep 14, 2010 12:19 AM

What to eat during three days in Sydney?

Hello~ I'll be in Sydney next week with no set plans except to eat as much of the great cuisine it has to offer during my regrettably short stay. On top of my list are Bills for their transcendental eggs, Rockpool B&G for tapas and such, and Lord Nelson's. I'm dying to eat some great oysters and steak, as well as snacks/street food/ and basically anything that comes highly recommended. Thanks in advance for the heads up!

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  1. Rockpool B&G for your steak. Oysters are extremely good at the moment, your two choices are to eat them at the fish market at source, or pick somewhere decent that will shuck to order. I'm sure someone will be along shortly with a shortlist, but Rockpool may be on that list as well...

    Why are you attracted to Lord Nelson? Its a nice brewpub but that's about it unless you have a pickled egg craving.

    Where are you from and what do you typically eat?

    12 Replies
    1. re: mr_gimlet


      I have to second Lord Nelson. It's not really worth the trek. The food is fine, but nothing special, especially if you've only got 3 days, though it's a fine drinking establishment.

      As you will have seen from other posts, definitely check out Thai food - something like Spice I Am on Wentworth Avenue.

      1. re: fergal76

        I read about Spice I Am - sounds like a reservation is a must. Do you think it's too late? I'll be there next Thursday through Saturday.

        1. re: jihyun

          Spice I Am doesn't take bookings, so that won't be a problem for you. They open at 5:45pm, and there is usually a short queue at that time, but we are often successful around 7-8pm if we're willing to wait about 35-45 minutes. Bring a bottle of wine, or drink the Thai Ice Tea w/Milk to sooth the burn and you won't regret it.

      2. re: mr_gimlet

        Aha. Okay, my starting point was the 36 hours in Sydney article from NYT.
        Are there any decent places in the Rocks area? I've heard about Glenmore Hotel's roof top bar and a friend recommended Hero of Waterloo.

        I'm Korean, lived in the US for 14 years, currently in Seoul.
        I tend to be adventurous with food, so I like to try new stuff, despite the limitations of being in Seoul and all. These days I've been going to a lot izakayas, so a lot of Japanese bar grub, draft beer, and sake. The fish market I was wavering on, but I think I'll go now. Thanks :)

        1. re: jihyun

          The Rocks is the oldest part of Sydney and a great tourist spot to look around. There are some good places to have a drink and get a fantastic view of Sydney, but in terms of eating it's not a place for locals unless you count Sailors Thai (another great Thai restaurant) & Cafe Sopra (an authentic chain of Italian eateries).

          1. re: fergal76

            For all the places mentioned (Sailors Thai, Cafe Sopra, Book Kitchen, Chairman Mao, and Bather's Pavillion) - do you guys have favorite menus to recommend? Thanks again! :)

            1. re: fergal76

              I agree with Fergal, The Rocks is best to grab a beer and not linger for food (I live there and travel to eat). After visiting every Rocks pub on Anzac weekend (14 I think), The Lord Nelson is the best. It has a good atmosphere and the mico-brewery does deliver some good beer. Someone mentioned Harts, I wanted it to be good, but a TV in every room put me off, so I won't return.

              For steak Rockpool Bar & Grill is the best (but it doesn't do tapas?), it is leagues above most rivals (but you pay), the room is also really spectacular, real "Mad Men". For seafood and oysters (I think) it is worth heading to FishFace in Darlinghurst, it is tiny and pretty rough and ready in a Darlo way but it is some of the best fish in Sydney.

              For adventurous food head to "Bentley Bar & Grill" or "Marque" neither is a bargain but both chefs pus the boundaries towards the avant-garde (molecular is so passe).

              Lots and lots of great places to eat across Sydney, coming from Seoul I would give other Asian food a miss, instead I would sample some of the superb Italian food here in Sydney. A trip across to Manley to visit "Pilu" is great, or head to "Icebergs" in Bondi. Both are great Italians with wonderful sea views.

              For great food in a pub (not the same as pub food) try "The Four in Hand" in Paddington which you need to book, or for French bistro try "Bistro Moncur" in Woolhara.

              My "must try" recommendation at the moment is "Sepia"a perfect meal and friends who have tried it all rate it as the best of the year so far.

              Lots and lots of great breakfast places. Bill's was the easy leader but most others have caught up, it doesn't mean Bill's is less good than it was it just means there are other options. It is still worth a trip and you get a good food and coffee (I prefer the Darlinghurst branch to Surry Hills)

              1. re: PhilD

                Must correct my Tapas comment about the bar at RB&G, we were there on Friday and the bar menu does have a lot of Tapas like dishes (or at least a few plus lots of ham!). You wouldn't confuse it with a Spanish Tapas bar but a good selection of small snacks that work well with the drinks. Tried the Empinadas again, really good, and the Wagu burger, unbeatable.

                1. re: PhilD

                  This board has been most helpful. I must express my gratitude to everyone for their help!

                  I've made reservations at RB&G, Pilu, Four in Hand, and am waiting on Bentley after Marque was booked full on the day I wanted to go. If Bentley is no go, I plan on trying Sepia. I am really looking forward to my trip and this could possibly be my best eating trip so far. Thanks again!

                  1. re: jihyun

                    Hi jihyun,
                    If you are keen to go to Marque, I have found that they are sometimes pretty good about working people in on the waiting list. Mark Best uses twitter and has commented there that he sometimes sees a significant no-show rate... If you have a small party, it may be worth a try to get your name on the waitlist.

            2. re: jihyun

              The Lord Nelson is still worth visiting if you like good beer as their house made beers are excellent. Hart's Pub (also in The Rocks) has some good craft beers on tap and does some very good pub food (though not as good as The Four in Hand).

              I really enjoyed The Book Kitchen in Surry Hills for breakfast and Chairman Mao's does great Hunanese in Kensington.

              1. re: jihyun

                Have you had laksa? If you have a lunchtime free in downtown Sydney I'd go to Chinese Malay on Hunter Street.

            3. Aussie meat pies from Harry's Cafe de Wheels - a Sydney institution.

              I liked the breakfasts at Bather's Pavilion more than Bills, but both are must-not-miss spots.

              1. I know I'm late to this party, but here are my suggestions with the assumption it is your first visit.

                I personally didn't like much about Lord Nelson's. It was a 1 and done beer place. Nice to have been once but I do not return.

                There is good food in the Rocks in my opinion. I really liked Baroque and the food at the Observer. One is a real meal and the other pub food.

                The Observer is by far our favorite Rocks pub and always the suggestion of our local friends.

                Yellow in Potts Point is a don't miss for lunch dinner or even just dessert.

                A lunch at the fish market is a must do.

                The Watson's Bay Hotel for a lunch is a must do event. Not so much for the food although usually good, but the views and the environment.

                Fratteli Paradiso also in Potts Point was quite nice.

                Liana's out in Parramatta is definitely worth the trip.

                Hope you had/have a great trip.

                2 Replies
                1. re: AnotherNYCkid

                  Totally agree with you on Lord Nelson's.

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    Maybe good to put a local perspective on some of these recommendations:

                    The Lord Nelson is probably the most upmarket pub in the rocks, it brews its own beer (and doesn't sell big brands), and has limited food in the bar (there is a well regarded restaurant upstairs). It tends to attract young professionals, and gets pretty busy early in the evening with the after work crowd.

                    The Observer, is a more "real" pub with all the main branded beers on tap, it does typical pub food that is standard in central tourist pubs. Lots of tourists, backpackers etc. To me it is often tricky to tell the difference between this one, The Fortune of War, The Mercantile, or The Orient. And do they all have over amplified singer/guitarists doing Crowded House covers on a Friday night?

                    Yellow used to have a great reputation for breakfast but I haven't been recently. It is in the Potts Point restaurant strip so lots and lots of competition in the area. My read is that its star has waned a bit and this year saw it drop out of the SMH GFG.

                    Fish market for lunch is a standard tourist thing. The biggest place there is a Doyle's outlet which does decent F&C's, upstairs is the Fisherman's Wharf yum cha house which is OK but not great. There are better options for both elsewhere in Sydney.

                    The Watson's Bay Hotel should be really good, it used to be a great pub where you could eat F&C at the table, unfortunately it seems to have become a F&C shop with a pub attached. The food is OK but it has lost some of its magic. Note: it is also a Doyle's outlet, and it once was owned by the same Doyle family that owns the F&C shop at the fish markets. After the family split they are now two different companies with Peter Doyle at the WBH and the Peter Doyle at the Overseas Passenger Terminal now a separate company to the other Doyles at the fish market, the take-away on the pier at Watsons Bay and the more formal Doyles on the Beach fish restaurant at Watson's Bay. Slightly confusing, but they all do F&C's.

                    Fratelli Paradiso is pretty good, it can be tricky to score a table (no bookings) here as it is very small and popular. A good alternative is Cafe Sopra just around the corner (also no bookings) in Potts Point or at their other locations.

                    Harry's Cafe de Wheels now has outlets in places like Circular Quay, but the original cart still sells good pies. It is a place for a tourist photo that will go with the Opera House and the Bridge, much like grabbing a hot dog in Times Square NYC; maybe not the best in town but definately the most iconic.