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Aug 9, 2013 07:12 AM

Hidden Gems in Sydney?

I have one night in Sydney and I'm looking for a "hidden gem." Something that will give me a nice, but not super expensive truly Australian experience. Thanks!

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  1. There aren't any. Any restaurant in Sydney that wants to stay open more than two weeks has an army of publicity people shouting from the rooftops of social media. There are no hidden gems that aren't closed.

    In more practical terms, please do a search of recent Sydney threads which discuss a range of options for Sydney eating and then tell us a bit more about what you think you might like

    1. Yeah, it's funny, but like mr_gimlet says, that category doesn't seem to exist here. I'm not sure I can recommend anything "hidden", as anything good seems to get noticed pretty quickly. Perhaps there are hidden gems lurking out in the suburbs...

      For a "truly" Australian experience, that can be kind of hard to define, as some of the best food in Australia is heavily influenced by the cuisines of other countries, like China, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Mediterranean-- reflecting immigrant communities here. I might suggest:

      Fix St James in the CBD for Italian/Mod Oz
      Spice I Am in Surry Hills for really authentic Thai food.
      Mamak in the CBD for Malaysian food.
      Mohr Fish in Surry Hills for seafood/fish&chips.
      Billy Kwong in Surry Hills for an Australian take on traditional Chinese
      Bill's in Surry Hills for mod Oz.
      Rockpool Bar & Grill in CBD (can be expensive, but if you order carefully, it's manageable)

      For what it's worth, there's always the pie stands like Harry's Cafe de Wheels and Hannah's Pies. Doesn't get much more authentic than that.

      These previous threads could help.

      6 Replies
      1. re: gemuse

        I really, really liked Harry's Cafe de Wheels in Woolloomooloo. My Sydney friends brought me there one night and we joined a long queue at 3am in the morning! Best pie ever! :-D

        1. re: klyeoh

          You clearly have not had an Adelaide pie floater....!

          I have got to say Harry's is useful after a night on the grog and a standard tourist photo op but Australia has moved on a lot since the days meat pies were the height of sophistication. And I would actually argue a "burger with the lot" is more iconic - yes you must include the egg, pineapple and beetroot.

          But to answer the OP Sydney doesn't have hidden gems as the blog and review culture is so strong. Better to look for the lass fashionable older established places. I would have put Bistro Moncur in this category but have not been since Damian sold so can't vouch for quality. Anyone been recently?

          1. re: PhilD

            Always wanted to have a pie floater, but never been to Adelaide for yonks already.

            I still remembered Burger King (of, course, it's called Hungry Jack's in Oz) used to have the "Great Aussie Burger" which incorporated a fried egg and a slice of beetroot back in the early 80s.

            1. re: PhilD

              Harry's Tiger Pie as prepared in front of me - topped with mash, mushy peas and a ladleful of gravy - OMG, the stuff of dreams!

              1. re: PhilD

                We went to Bistro Moncur in July, with some trepidation because our last meal there (about 6 months earlier with Damien at the helm) had been pretty disappointing compared to previously. We were delighted to find that the quality had racheted up several notches - the meal was outstanding, from start to finish. It was like those in the kitchen had something to prove and prove it they did! This restaurant is now firmly back of my list of absolute favourites, even though we have to cross town to get there.

          2. There are hidden gems.
            There are a few uniquely Australian food experiences.
            There are great food places that are not super expensive

            ..but there aren't hidden cheap gems that are uniquely Australian ....although if the weather is great you could eat somewhere in Bondi Beach that has a view of the beach and isn't too expensive. ....or Hugos Manly Wharf which does fantastic gourmet pizza.

            1. Love it, grapsta. Well put.