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Restaurants In Sydney

As with most large cosmopolitan cities there are so many restaurants to chose from and as a tourist without local knowledge it is difficult to know where to start.  For middle of the road restaurants most tourists stick to the tourist areas and in Sydney this is Circular Quay , the Rocks area and Darling Harbour. The food again as with most cities in tourist areas tends to be expensive and of poor quality and the only reason for eating in these venues are the views. We found that even the Sydney Tower revolving restaurant fell short. Having said that however and in contradiction there are a few fine dining restaurants in these areas that have won awards and these are worth visiting.

One rainy evening when we really didn’t want to eat in our hotel and did not want to venture far, we decided to go against the grain and have a meal at the Imperial Peking Harbourside on the Rocks in Sydney, which is quite well known but it was regrettably not really as we had hoped. See  our previous blog.

 Restaurant review sites including Trip Advisor  give a tourist a place to start but we feel that they tend to be quite polarising- either a love or hate review and can be manipulated by establishments so it is difficult to judge.  Our advice or even as a rule of thumb is that for good food at reasonable prices it is best to go further afield into the more residential areas of Sydney (or any city for that matter) that are more likely to be frequented by locals.

We came across “Bill’s” cafe/restaurant in the Surry Hills area of Sydney on Crown Street and had a lovely Brunch . Bangbang cafe and Espresso Bar also in the Surry Hills is said to do a wonderful breakfast and although in this instance we didn’t eat there, it does have good reviews and people we spoke to, recommended it.  The Marque restaurant also in Surry Hills has been given 3 hats by The Sydney Morning Herald and Chef of The Year award.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) restaurant awards are a good place to choose your fine dining restaurant experience and Sydney Timeout Magazine Awards for all types of dining.  The Sydney Morning  Herald gives a rating of up to three “hats” similar to the Michelin “stars.

We ate in the Rockpool Restaurant in the Rocks, given two hats by the Sydney Morning Herald.We also  came across the Watermark restaurant( not awarded) on Balmoral Beach. Fantastic views over the bay as well as good food. If you are feeling flush arrive by water taxi on their jetty.

The Rockpool; fascinating, original and eclectic are words that come to mind when looking at the ingredients that typify the Rockpool’s menu, where diners have a choice of 4 or 8 courses from degustation menus. Initially we have to say that we were uncertain by one of two of the combinations, but by the end of our meal we were smitten – an Asian salad of Abalone and noodles was delightfully spicy and Wagyu beef tenderloin with “old skin” (the fine inner membrane from a Clementine orange) with beef cartilage was quite superb.  

The service too, was exemplary where our waiter had a great depth of knowledge about each dishes’ ingredients. We are not sure we would eat there often, but it’s a must for a culinary experience.

Cafe Sopra opposite the Warf Sydney Theatre at 8 Hickson Road was an unexpected find around the corner from our hotel. Opened only in February 2010 this is the third in a trio of Italian restaurants and well worth a visit. Alexandra’s huge and sumptuous Palma Ham and fresh figs starter was big enough for both of us (seems like a common mistake eh?) and Alan’s chicken liver pate with toasted ciabatta, pickled cucumber and green beans was delightful and the Risotto of smoked Chicken and sweet-corn just couldn’t be overlooked by either of us!

We hope this helps in making the most of your dining experience in Sydney. If there are any Sydney Siders reading this we would welcome your comments on any hidden restaurant gems off the beaten tourist track.

 

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