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Lebanese and Greek Restaurants in Sydney or Melbourne

  • Mari Oct 13, 2010 04:41 PM
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I will make my first visit to Australia next month and am excited at the prospect of of eating good Lebanese and Greek food since there isn't much where I live, or at least what exists is mediocre.
I understand that there are many people Greek and Lebanese origin in Australia so does anyone have any recommendations for Sydney and Melbourne?

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  1. There are lots and lots and lots of places. It all depnds where you are staying - do you know?

    6 Replies
    1. re: mr_gimlet

      We'll be staying in Southbank next to the River in Melbourne and in the Rocks in Sydney. I don't mind taking public transportation to a good restaurant, particularly in Sydney since we will be there for a week.
      Thanks!

      1. re: Mari

        I can tell you where to go in Sydney - Jasmin! It is perfect in so many ways - the food is delicious and authentic and you get out of the tourist zone of Sydney, but it is a block from the train station (Lakemba) so it is easy to get to. I think we spend around $20 for two and couldn't even finish all the food. And it is filled with Lebanese people. It is such a joy. We went to another one Al- Aseel that was much further from a train station, and it was good too, but really, I think Jasmin is great, for what it is - not fine dining - but good food. Be sure to eat toum.

        We're currently in Southbank too for right now, but I don't know Lebanese or Greek in Melbourne yet.

        1. re: debbieann

          I looked up Al-Aseel and it looks like it was destroyed in a fire last year. Did they rebuild it and is it still around?

          1. re: Mari

            Al-Alseel - there are two branches, the original in Greenacre which is tricky by public transport and the new offshoot in Surry Hills which is quite central. The branch that was blown-up was in Brighton-le-sands but the other two are still going strong.Greenacre one was still going strong. I enjoyed my visit to Greenacre.

            1. re: PhilD

              I enjoyed my visit to Greenacre Al-Alseel too, it is a little challenging on transit, but the food is delicious. Haven't been to the Surry Hills one.

      2. re: mr_gimlet

        I'll jump in too, because I also love these foods and can't really get good versions where I am. Not sure yet where we'll be staying in Melbourne, but in Sydney we'll be out across the water from the Opera House (I think the PM lives out there?) near the old amusement park, etc. I'm so sorry I can't come up with the name right now. But we'll be making frequent forays into the downtown by ferry/bus I hope.

      3. Abla's! Abla's! Abla's!

        http://www.ablas.com.au/

        5 Replies
        1. re: kersizm

          oh good, will check it out, happy to have a Melbourne suggestion.

          1. re: debbieann

            Slightly OT, but there are some terrifyingly authentic Iraqi restaurants in Footscray. The Age reviewer asked the waiter to bring her a speciality, and she got a cows head sliced in two.

          2. re: kersizm

            Hey, I was going to say that! There is also a large Turkish community in Melbourne and many of the dishes you may consider to be Lebanese get a look in there.

            Sydney Road is the home of Lebanese food in Melbourne - from Brunswick north - and is worth a visit just for the shops. (CAE run food tours if you are intimidated). So I am going to recommend A1 Bakery!

            Greek is a matter of opinion. If it's Greek food hasn't changed since 1960, then there is the Lonsdale Street strip in the CBD (which the State Gov likes to called Greecytown or some nonsense). There are also a couple of outposts of c.1970 taverna in Collingwood, predominantly Jim's Tavern on Johnston Street.

            There are pockets of more modern taverna style with varying degrees of success. Top of the list for most Melbourne visitors is Hellenic Republic, George "Bewdiful" Calombaris' taverna experiment in East Brunswick, which seems to be the result of a bet with old Greek men that he couldn't do 'real' Greek food. Slightly pricey but good.

            Have heard good things about a couple on Swan Street, Demitris I think.

            1. re: mr_gimlet

              Thanks. What is CAE?
              I don't think we'll have much time for a food tour in Melbourne given that we'll be there for three days.
              As for Greek, I prefer less modern cuisine so I will check out your recommendations. Fortunately, San Francisco has enough Turkish restaurants to keep me satisfied.

              1. re: Mari

                CAE is an adult education organisation in Melbourne. If there is a tour running, you could do a couple of hours walking tour of Sydney Road and then lunch. Recommended.

                By modern I probably mean contemporary, not freeze dried halloumi with a tsatziki foam.

                Be careful in picking your Lebanese as they may be generic middle eastern, Ablas would therefore be a very good recommendation for authentic lebanese.

          3. For Greek in Sydney:
            Try "Eleni's" at the Civic Hotel, it is a pub behind World Sq (China Town) it is casual serving homestyle traditional Greek food. It is run by the upstairs dining room chefs mum, that (Civic Dining) used to be a contemporary Greek restaurant but it seems to be closed. Any one have any insight?

            Two others are "Medusa Greek Taveran" which is what I would say is a standard Greek, it is in the city (Market Street) so not far from the rocks, or probably the best which is "Perama" which is out in Petersham and thus a bus ride from town (I don't think it is close to the station).

            1. I second Perama. I don't think it's terribly far from the Petersham station, and it's definitely easy to bus it there. It's right off New Canterbury Road in the main strip of restaurants/shops in Petersham. You can even go to a Portuguese bakery on New Canterbury before or after your meal. The pasteis de nata from Sweet Belem are as good as you'll find in Australia.

              Emma's on Liberty is also not easily reached on public transport but serves very interesting Lebanese in a far corner of Newtown. Fifi's Cafe on Enmore Road in Enmore (easily walkable from Newtown Station) serves lovely food as well. They do a tahini fish dish that I used to love. I've also had a couple of meals at Steki Taverna (Greek) in Newtown (also easily walkable from the station) which I enjoyed. I'd dare say you'll get better Greek food down in Melbourne because the Greek population is huge (the largest outside of Greece itself, if I'm not mistaken).

              Double check that all these places are still open before heading to any of them! I haven't lived in Newtown for two years now.

              1. Melbourne:
                Greek - Jim's Greek Tavern restaurant
                Lebanese - Abla's & Almazette

                1 Reply
                1. re: iamsiam

                  We tried Alba's and were unimpressed. expensive and ordinary, though it was nice that Alba ?came by our table.

                2. For Lebanese, I'd suggest Summerland, in Bankstown...
                  http://www.summerlandrestaurant.com.au

                  1. Thank you everyone for your replies. After a long fight to Melbourne, I was uncoordinated with my dining choices to say the least. Nevertheless, I did make it to one Greek restaurant earlier this week - Stalactites on Longsdale. We planned on Greek food one day and I didn't bring the address for the places mentioned in this thread, so we ended up at Stalactites since we had seen it during a walk the day before and knew how to get there. My husband ordered the lamb souvlaki, which he was very satisfied with. I order the appetizer platter with a ground beef patty, a lamb kebab, pork sausage and different dip (I can't remember the Greek name for the meat items). I thought the found was fine, nothing spectacular and I was a little disappointed that we didn't go elsewhere. I also thought that they added something to their hummus, maybe mayonnaise? It had a different flavor that what I am used to.

                    We were going to head to Abla's, but again with the jet lag and being 6 months pregnant I found that I was less ambitious to venture late in the evening for dinner in Carlton.

                    I think we have wasted a few meals at our hotel's buffet restaurant, Melba at the Langham. We tried the buffet breakfast at the discounted price of AUD25 for hotel guests and it was a miss since later that day we headed to the Queen Victoria Market and were too full to try the delicious looking sausages at a stall there. The dinner buffet at Melba is pricey at $79 per person, however it was varied with seafood (such as yabbie's which I had never seen before and huge shrimp that are hard to find in San Francisco), Indian food, roasts, sushi, a sitr-fry station, a pasta station, as well as a decent dessert selection. The restaurant was crowded with what seemed like locals as well.

                    I also have to add that we are impressed with Melbourne's coffee scene. The coffee, or at least the lattes, I've had hear are far better than what I typically have in San Francisco, which is a leading coffee city in the U.S. I hope the coffee is a as good in Sydney.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Mari

                      Generally coffee is as good in Sydney - but we do have more "tourist traps" in the city than Melbourne and those should be avoided! One to try is "Workshop" which is opposite the centre of the QVB (which you will visit as a tourist) it is a small bar across/on George Street (in the Galleries Victoria).

                      1. re: PhilD

                        Noted - thank you!

                      2. re: Mari

                        when you're back in SF, try Bluebottle...
                        http://www.bluebottlecoffee.net

                        1. re: Mari

                          Stalactites is great at 4am, when you are drunk! You should have tried your luck at the Press Club bar.... Ahhh well, next time?? ;)