Sydney lives in the shadow of Melbourne when it comes to food and coffee. Though recently with the Noma stint, there is much more to talk about when it comes to eating and drinking in Australia’s most iconic city. With a warm climate and surrounded by the plentiful sea, Sydney’s restaurants range from casual seaside hang-outs to fine dining inside the magnificent Opera House.
Master – One of the hottest openings of 2015 this Surrey Hills eatery is run by John Javier (former intern at Noma). He creates modern Chinese dishes with flair and finesse. Try the jowl peking pork with pancakes and cucumber and a side of special cabbage with fish butter.
Ms G’s – an amusing play on words (MSG) this lively thai eatery serves vibrant and moreish dishes in a reimagined multi-story building. Order mini banh mi bites to start and intensely flavoured lamb ribs.
Reuben Hills – a hip brunch spot in the trendy Surrey Hills area serving delicious coffee and tasty South American recipes.
Sake – a glamorous contemporary Japanese chain serving great seafood and high quality meat. Visit the popular branch on The Rocks.
10 Williams Street – this cute wine bar is a great place to meet friends and enjoy a glass of organic, orange Australian wine. If you are hungry the succinct menu offers a range of tempting Italian dishes and nibbles.
Bennelong – a smart new restaurant in the iconic Sydney Opera House this eatery is already garnering a lot of attention. Favourites from the Cured and Cultured menu include the suckling pig sausage roll with black garlic and the decadent cheese and truffle toastie.
Cho Cho San – a chic and minimalist modern Japanese restaurant with delicious small plates and inventive cocktails. I loved the addictive chicken karaage and the refreshing lychee & pineapple slushie.
The Shop – After an early morning surf on Bondi beach head to this tiny café for coffee and a hearty breakfast. Try the ‘breakfast bowl’, a lovely combination of quinoa, halloumi, avocado, poached egg, pickled cabbage and sunflower seeds.
A Tavola – Get your pasta fix at A Tavola, where they make all the pasta fresh in house each day. There are two branches, with regularly changing seasonal additions to the standard menu.
Ester – A creative contemporary restaurant in a dressed-down industrial space. Much of the menu is cooked in the wood-fired oven and features some quirky clever recipes by chef Mat Lindsay. The roast duck with burnt honey sauce is a must.
Acme – The name comes from the initials of the four friends who opened up this fantastic little restaurant. Reasonably priced with a great vibe, it was one of my favourite restaurants in Australia. Don’t miss the pig’s head and egg yolk macaroni and coconut rice cream with white chocolate for dessert.
Edition Coffee Roasters – There is always a queue for brunch at this Nordic – Japanese fusion café. Enjoy their premium artisanal coffee and matcha hot cakes with mascarpone and passionfruit.
Farmhouse – It’s almost impossible to get a space at this rustic communal dining experience. With just 20 seats the intimate restaurant is always full. Try to book in advance for Sunday lunch and let the knowledgeable team feed your stomach and soul with delicious homely fare.
Chat Thai – Cheap and cheerful this Thai institution now has many branches around Sydney. Head to the original eatery and choose from the vibrant and lengthy menu of Asian classics.
Bourke Street Bakery – this neighbourhood bakery first opened in 2004 and has since expanded all over the city. The unique ginger crème brûlée tart is unmissable.
Fratelli Paradiso – a lunch favourite with locals, this friendly Italian restaurant serves classic Mediterranean dishes in a convivial environment. Always full, the eatery often spills out onto the street. Order the lasagnetta bolognaise for a comforting lunch.
Aqua S – Visit this instagrammable ice-cream parlour for their bright blue sea salt flavoured soft serve topped with fairy floss and caramel popcorn.
Billy Kwong – This long-running venue is a favourite with locals and tourists. Combining Chinese recipes with unusual Australian ingredients the food is a hit and the service is very attentive. The signature crispy duck with citrus sauce stands up to its famous reputation.
Da Orazio – For a brilliant Bondi lunch option head to this Italian bistro for their huge focaccia con porchetta sandwich (marinated pork from the rotisserie, grilled eggplant, lettuce, mayonnaise and served in pizza bread). Share one between two, or maybe even three!
N2 Extreme Gelato – Dramatic and delicious this daring ice-cream café offers indulgent and extra creamy flavours.
Mr Wong – A great place to eat in the CBD, Mr Wong serves great dim sum and cantonese favourites, served in a lavish French colonial setting. Most memorable was the aubergine with fish fragrant sauce.
Spice Alley – A new street eat sensation offering all kinds of Asian cuisine. Cheap and authentic this outdoor market is a great place to go with a group of foodie friends.
Automata – Part of the sophisticated Old Clare Hotel this modern eatery is the first solo restaurant from talented chef Clayton Wells. The tasting menu showcases the kitchen’s imagination and creativity. It is well worth adding the optional wine pairing, as sommelier Tim Watkins really knows his stuff.