Sydney

The 15 Most Essential Food Experiences You’ll Have In Sydney

All of the iconic Sydney food experiences to tick off your bucket list.

Not long ago, Sydney was low on the totem pole as an epicurean destination. Rival city, Melbourne took the title of Australia’s food capital. But over the last 12 years, Sydney emerged as a culinary icon, with chefs from all over the world venturing down to the Harbour to open restaurants, introduce diverse cuisines, and to learn from some of Sydney’s best resident cooks. 

Today, the city is dotted with good food, from fine dining to hole-in-the-wall corner establishments serving authentic Turkish fare. One just has to venture down to Surry Hills to find the pizza joints, serving the best slices in the city and the casual haunts delivering playful, but serious eats. Coffee culture has also had a resurgence, with many specialty coffee shops popping up all over.

Sydney re-established itself as not only a tourist destination but a city with a penchant for seriously good food. Some even started movements that adapted to the culture.

So what are the absolute must not miss food experiences in Sydney? Well, here’s 15 of them. 

barista making coffee
Photo By Alana Dimou

Coffee

If you think New Yorkers love their coffee, they’ve got nothing on Sydney. Here, it comes in the forms of flat white, long black, ristretto, cappuccino, ristretto, short macchiato, and more. The best part, it’s quality coffee, not that drip coffee or instant stuff they serve in American diners. Sydney takes coffee seriously. After all, it is an essential morning pick me up and afternoon boost, if needed. The best cups come from Single O, Mecca Coffee, Skittle Lane, Paramount Coffee Project, and Brewtown

fish and chips
Photo By Nikki To

Fish and Chips

Is there anything more iconic than fish and chips? Maybe, a pie, but more on that later. Fish and chips are served in paper parcels soaking up the grease, on fancy plates with fancy sauce or with a side of smashed peas. It takes many forms, but one thing is for certain, it’s a summertime staple, a beach-side meal, and an iconic Australian combo. Fat Fish, Costis,, Sea Cow, Out of The Blue, Fishmongers, Fish Butchery, and Sydney Fish Market are just some of the places serving up the best fish and chips in Sydney. 

pies
Photo Courtesy of Flour and Stone

Meat Pie

Okay, meat pies are truly an Australian icon. The heavenly puff pastry filled with any kind of meat or vegetable mixture and topped with sauce is a simple dish but holds a special place in every Aussies heart. Whether you remember stopping into the petrol station for a $2 pie or going down to the local bakery for a fresh treat, pies are a staple. Some of the best ones are made at Bourke Street Bakery, The Pie Tin Newtown, Harry’s Cafe de Wheels, and Flour & Stone.

Smashed Avocado Toast

For some reason, Sydney spends around $15 on a piece of toast topped with smashed avocado, but they love it and can’t get enough of it. It’s become a pop culture icon, with smashed avocado toast pillows and posters. The delicious green breakfast staple comes in different variations and with different toppings including poached eggs, crunchy dukkah, creamy fetta, and many other yummy ingredients. Some of the best-smashed avocados are being made by Two Chaps, Percy Plunkett, Bowery Lane, Preach Cafe, and Bills, the first restaurant known to popularise the humble smashed avocado toast. 

ice cream on plate
Photo Courtesy of Rivareno

Ice Cream

Ice cream is an essential food experience in any city, but Sydney is lucky enough to have an assortment of flavours and styles. From artisan gelato to unbelievably creamy, frozen treats, the city is run by gelateria’s serving happiness by the scoop. While there are a thousand places to get a scoop, the best ones are at Mapo, Rivareno, Gondola, Cow and the Moon, Messina, and Ciccone and Sons Gelateria. We could go on, but there’s just not enough room, so we scoured the city for the best scoops and wrote about it here. 

schnitzel
Photo Courtesy Of The Unicorn

Schnitzel Safari

Sydney loves a pub feed and most often or not, you will see plates covered in giant, crunchy schnitzel. Some topped with marinara and gooey cheese, others smothered in gravy with a side of piping hot chips. Although almost every pub in Sydney serves schnitzel, there is an art to getting it perfect. First, it needs to be well seasoned and cooked through, but juicy inside. The golden crust needs to be crunchy and slightly greasy, for that perfect mouth-watering experience. For the best slabs, we suggest going to The Unicorn, Una’s, Harpoon Harry’s, The Buena, and The Park House.

bartenders
Photo Courtesy Of Maybe Sammy

Happy Hour

Sydney loves a good drink at a good price, which makes happy hour a meticulously planned out event where friends catch up with each other over delightful tipples at mate’s rates. The city’s bars are wide and far, offering everything from craft beer to Italian wines, and themed cocktails in a swanky space or historic prohibition establishment. If you’re looking for cheap drinks, that are seriously good, head to Maybe Sammy, Palmer and Co, Babylon, The Barber Shop or Hemingway’s. 

Burger in hand
Photo Courtesy Of Mary’s On Top

Big Burgers

The burgers are big here and come with pineapple, egg, and beetroot. Well, not all of them, but it’s the classic choice for most backyard BBQs. In recent years, Sydney’s introduced American-style stacks, covered in sauce, cheese, and dripping with grease. You know, the kind we would only see in American movies. That’s not all, you can pick up a Japanese style burger, vegan and vegetarian stacks, and fancy burgers on charcoal buns. What are you waiting for? Head to Mary’s Underground, Pauls’ Burgers, Surly’s, or Bush and take a bite out of one of the glorious burgers on the menu. 

ramen in bowl
Photo Courtesy of Lonely Mouth by Ra Ra

Ramen

Ramen is a recent addition to Sydney’s scene that seemed to pop up then spread throughout the city like a pandemic. Oops, too soon? Don’t worry, you can slurp your way out of stress with a big warm bowl of noodles, bone broth, and char siu pork. The umami-rich dish has many variations including vegetarian, but most of all the style of ramen is important. Are you a shoyu or tonkotsu? Whatever your preference, you can find a big bowl of goodness at Lonely Mouth by Ra Ra, Chaco Bar, Gogyo, and Manpuku

Banh Mi

We apologise in advance for any fights this section might start. Banh Mi, the Vietnamese baguette sandwich, filled with all kinds of meats and vegetables is highly regarded in Sydney. It’s a cheap meal, filled with goodness, and is easy to eat on the go. No wonder it’s so popular. Although, ask anyone and they will tell you where to get their favourite roll, which has started intense online debates. Don’t hate us, but the best rolls are from Marrickville Pork Rolls, Bahn Mi Bay Ngo, Alex N Rolls, and Great Aunty Three. Have a recommendation? Let us know and we’ll consider it. 

Pho

Pho is another debate-inducing dish Sydneysiders are passionate about. The Vietnamese soup soothes the soul and is good for you, which is just a bonus. Much like Bahn Mi, everyone has an opinion of the best Pho in the city. They come in different styles from Southern to Northern, ginger or cinnamon, and noodle size. Go get a pho fix at Pho 54, Good Pho Mi, Pho and Go, Pho Mom, and Golden Lotus. Again, have any recommendations, let us know.

Frango’s or Eljannah

Who knew charcoal chicken would divide a city? It’s the great chicken war, Frangos or El Jannah. Sydneysiders are loyal to one so we thought we’d add both to this list. Frango’s serves Portuguese style chicken, slow-cooked and served with a side of chilli sauce. The flagship store in Petersham was so popular, Frango’s expanded to five Western Sydney locations and emerged as one of Western Sydney’s top chicken spots. El Jannah has a Lebanese influence and focuses on finer details, including Lebanese pickles, pita bread, and the famous giant tub of garlic sauce. El Jannah also has several stores across Western Sydney.

saganaki in pan
Photo By Nikki To

Ordering Saganaki at The Apollo

The Apollo is a signature Greek restaurant, frequented by Sydneysiders and visitors. Those who have visited multiple times know to order the Saganaki. It’s a must-do when visiting the modern dining institution. What is saganaki? It’s a pan-fried cheese with honey that is the perfect combination of salty, sour, and sweet. At the restaurant, they serve it in the pan, with all the golden, greasy juices. The best part, it’s only $17. 
Order here

Cheese Red Dragonfruit Bubble Tea from No Fail

Bubble Tea is another new addition to Sydney’s food scene, even though technically it’s more of a drink than food. Anyway, this popular item is a sweet treat filled with different ingredients including red beans, sugar (lots of it), milk, jelly, and cheese–just to name a few. It’s all blended with ice and is a great thirst quencher. The Cheese Red Dragonfruit Bubble Tea from indie brand,  No-Fail, from Sydney is one of the most popular orders and places to pick up the 80s era drink.

Cheese wheel spaghetti
Photo Courtesy Of Salts Meat Cheese

Cheese Wheel Spaghetti From Salts Meat Cheese

Family-owned Italian restaurant group, Salts Meat Cheese brought a 1kg cheese wheel filled with pasta, which has now become a cult favourite. Pre-pandemic times, people lined up outside the Drummoyne store to jump on the culinary bandwagon. During the pandemic, Sydneysiders missed the bowl of comfort, which was noticed. Salts Meat Cheese then introduced delivery, where people could order one kilogram of brie cheese spaghetti delivered to their door for $39. You can choose from four types of pasta, including classic, four cheese, truffle, and carbonara. The only difference is it’s served in a brie wheel instead of the classic, Parmigiana Reggiano. Head in-store or order online,
Order here

Sydney

Seven New Restaurants And Bars Coming To Sydney In 2021

A no-waste bar, world-famous female chef, and Kylie Kwong are just a taste of what’s to come

mini cocktails
Photo Courtesy Of Maybe Sammy

Despite last year’s best efforts, Sydney’s hospitality scene continues to thrive—as do Sydneysiders. We mourned the casualties of lockdown and while we hoped for new beginnings this year, it hasn’t turned out quite as we expected. Nevertheless, we march on and this list of new restaurants and bars opening is the bright light we inch toward as we approach to exit this tunnel someday. 

So, what’s on the horizon for Sydney’s dining scene? Kylie Kwong is set to launch her latest concept, everyone’s favourite 50’s bartenders will don a new suit at a new establishment,  Neil Perry ventures to Double Bay for a restaurant that is all his own, and a zero-waste bar is to make its debut soon. 

This is just the beginning. We hope to see many more exciting venues opening over the year. For now, here are the city’s most anticipated openings for 2021. 

Kylie Kwong at South Eveleigh

Kylie Kwong is no stranger to Sydney with the better part of two decades on the dining scene. Her Potts Point establishment, Billy Kwong was a favourite but when it closed in 2019, people have been waiting for the powerhouse chefs next steps. We’re happy to tell you, she is coming back on the scene with her biggest project yet, South Eveleigh. Formerly known as Australian Technology Park, South Eveleigh is an emerging dining destination of which Kwong is the ambassador. Expect a relaxed daytime venue featuring local indigenous produce with her signature Cantonese culinary style. It’s a world away from Billy Kwong, but it is set to bring new meaning to the word ‘casual eatery’. She will also focus on sustainability, with the South Eveleigh Native Rooftop Garden and seafood from Josh Niland’s Fish Butchery. 

Core at Crown Sydney

English Chef, Clare Smyth, is the first and only female chef to run a restaurant with three Michelin stars, Core in Notting Hill. She even catered for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s private wedding reception. It seems fitting to bring her talent’s to Sydney’s new rising star, Crown Sydney. In February, Smyth plans to introduce another Core to the tower, which focuses on local produce, and sustainability. The wines will be local as are the ingredients. This isn’t Smyth’s first introduction to Australia. She’s travelled around the country, which inspired the menu, offering the best Australia has to offer. 

Sammy Junior

It’s almost here, our favourite Ratpack bartenders are opening Sammy Junior, a suave cafe on the ground level of 66 King Street in the CBD. The espresso coffee bar will be the highlight of the morning trade, offering a bespoke Sammy coffee blend crafted by coffee connoisseur Martin Hudak (2017 World Coffee in Good Spirits Champion and Mr Black Ambassador) alongside a short selection of classic breakfast bites from consultant chef Rob Lechowicz (Blackwood Pantry).In the afternoon, the focus will be mini cocktails which will be on tap alongside a beer and a few wines. The cheeky small doses of cocktails will be best enjoyed alongside an afternoon business meeting or as an after-work tipple but don’t expect to settle in for the night. Sammy Junior will shut from about 6 pm so head down to Maybe Sammy in The Rocks to continue the evening. Architect George Livissianis (Chin Chin Sydney, The Apollo, Cho Cho San, The Dolphin Hotel) will bring to life the interiors. Expect some visual similarities to Maybe Sammy.

Neil Perry in Double Bay

A household name, Neil perry is opening is first solo project mid-year after a 40-year career. Don’t expect to draw similarities to Rock Pool, this restaurant in Double Bay is all his own. The 170-seat venue will focus on plant-based dishes and salads during the day, with a selection of grilled options. Expect an approachable restaurant, with interiors by ACME (Mimi’s, the Grounds) and designer David Caon. The unnamed restaurant is highly anticipated with locals and diners who have followed Perry throughout his career. The new venue is Perry’s way of breathing life back into Double Bay, an area he spent many years dining in. 

Aria Wine Bar

Aria is a Sydney institution, serving fine dining to locals and visitors for several years. This year it’s transforming part of the restaurant into a relaxed wine bar. Yes, it will be serving food, so if you don’t want to splash out on the full menu, you can head to the bar for wine and snacks. The wine list will be the highlight, which includes over 80 wines by the glass and 1700 bottles. Anna Solomon (co-owner and Solotel’s creative director), Matt Moran, Joel Bickford (Aria head chef), and Alex Kirkwood (head sommelier) are the creative minds behind the fresh, laid back experience. The bar will celebrate the pillars of Aria’s 20-year success, at the same time offering locals a new side of Aria. One of which doesn’t require a reservation to enjoy cocktails, and snacks from Bickford.

Re

Re is perhaps the most exciting addition to our diverse restaurant and bar landscape. The boundary-pushing bar will be the world’s first permanent no-waste bar opening up an entirely new category, one we can get behind. Matt Whiley of Scout and Maurice Terzini from Icebergs and CicciaBella are the masterminds behind this new concept swinging its doors open sometime in February. The bar puts sustainability at the forefront, which includes the interior. Set in a heritage list- 19th Century railway engineering workshop the fit-out is comprised of recycled and repurposed building materials. The bar and tabletops are designed from recycled plastic bottles and Tupperware containers. Food that would otherwise go to waste will be given new life in cocktails, with spirit-heavy options. There is to be a food menu from Chefs Alex Prichard (Icebergs) and Nic Wong (Cicciabella). 

Ploos

There’s a new Greek restaurant coming to town from Greek-Australian Chef, Peter Conistis. Ploos, will find it’s home in Campbell’s Stores, the dining precinct in Circular Quay. Conistis is known for his restaurants, Alpha, Omega, and Cosmos, so Ploos is rumoured to be a fresh venue. Expect South Mediterranian dishes you would find in Crete or Cypriot, an oversized eat-at-bar, and harbour views. Ploos is slated to open in March 2021.

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