Food has been on my mind lately. Travelling gives you access to the world’s cuisine, and for those who have returned home after a long trip, then what? Where do you go to satisfy that craving for sauerkraut or pad thai? Well, if one is in Sydney, not to fear, for the best Sydney restaurants are chock-full of international cuisine.
The only dilemma is, since there are so many restaurants in Sydney to choose from, how does one know if the food is any good and value for money? The following list of great eats are all located within a small radius of the city, and will feed you well for an average of $20 per person.
7 Danks Street, Waterloo
I cannot stop raving about this place. Top-quality Italian-style food, made with ultra-fresh ingredients which you can pick up downstairs from the shop and supermarket. Quite pricey, but the recipes are interesting, the food tastes great, and the whole package tops other similar cafes on Danks Street. Around $25 for breakfast in a homey environment with overly-helpful staff.
109 King Street, Newtown
There’s a Thai restaurant every few hundred meters in Newtown, but this restaurant wins in terms of ambiance, service, and food. During summer months enjoy the breeze dining in the candlelit courtyard. Another good, cheaper Thai place is Saap Thai on 378 Pitt Street, in the city, which I reckon makes the best Pad See Ew on this side of Sydney.
3. Din Tai Fung
644 George Street, Sydney (in the World Square Shopping Centre)
For really good-quality dumplings, head here. Be prepared to queue for a short while, but your wait will be rewarded by freshly steamed authentic dumplings, Taiwanese style. They also make really good herbal soups, perfect for a cold day. Again, not on the cheap side, be prepared to spend about $20-$30 each.
119 Liverpool Street, Sydney
You always know a place is good when people are willing to wait two hours for a spot in a Sydney restaurant! They don’t accept bookings, and when you arrive a number will be given to you for a place in the queue. For one or two people, it is easier to snag a seat on the delectable sushi train. If you are a larger group, you might be convinced to sit apart from your companions if you cannot bear to wait any longer. The rolls are made fresh when you order them, in the freshest seaweed wrap I have ever tried. For the sushi train, around $25 would be more than enough.
5. Hung Cheung Chinese Restaurant
338 Marrickville Road, Marrickville
This place might be a little off the beaten track, but its quality of food and service is worth the extra effort compared to the many generic yumcha and Chinese restaurants in Chinatown. There are none of the grumpy faces pushing those delicious food carts here. Dim sum portions are slightly more generous and prices are slightly more affordable, about $20 each for a satisfying feed.
6. Faheem Fast Food
196 Enmore Road, Enmore
I discovered this place by accident, and have since returned there more times than I can remember. Faheem outshines everyone else for its tasty Indian/Pakistani fare, and on weekends this is evident by the queues outside its small shop while their nearby competitors sit around staring at their empty tables. It costs less than $20 each for some awesome tandoori and tikka.
7. Pho 236
236 King Street, Newtown
Don’t be turned off by the tacky decor and old rickety furniture at this Vietnamese joint. The environment may be no-frills, but for less than $10 each, expect a freshly cooked meal that will satisfy your wallet and your tummy. Great soups and rice varieties.
423 Pitt Street, Sydney
It’s hard to find good Spanish tapas in the Sydney CBD, and this is better than any of the other restaurants in the Spanish Quarter along Liverpool Street. The servings are big for the price and the ambiance is reminiscent of a cute Spanish restaurant. You do have to book in advance unless you are happy to wait by the bar and have a few drinks while waiting for a late table. You almost feel like you are right there in Seville chomping on good ol’ patatas bravas.
9. Petersham Charcoal Chicken
98 New Canterbury Road, Petersham
No one does Portuguese Charcoal Chicken better than this little shop in the inner west. Judge for yourself by the perpetually long queues all afternoon and all evening. Don’t expect great service, as the staff will be too busy filling mountains of orders so be sure to know exactly what you want or have time for your hesitation. Approximately $12 for a whole chicken, plus $4 or $5 for a nice side salad.
42 Kellett Street, Potts Point
Last but not least, a slightly fancier restaurant. This is really good, hearty Czech food, declared by a fellow Czech that it was the best Sydney has to offer. It’s quite expensive, but worth it for those delicious bread dumplings with sauerkraut once in a while. The wine is also excellent. Be prepared to spend around $50 each.
As I write these words, my stomach is already growling. These are my top Sydney restaurants … Where in your city can you find similarly great eats?