- Iima - Haymarket (in Mr B's Hotel.) - Great Thai food in a strong Thai food area. As good as Chat Thai. (See Review in March 2012)
- Chat Thai - Haymarket - One of the best Thai meals around but you may have to queue. See Review. (See Review in January 2012)
- Golden Harbour Restaurant - Haymarket - Probably our favourite place for yum cha in the CBD. This place always has a great variety of things, the service is fast and efficient and the food is fantastic. It's a winner - and has consistently been so.
- mLeko - World Square (in foyer of Austereo Building) - They serve a range of sandwiches and wraps here in a café that spreads out across the foyer area of the building. They also have a small take away outlet downstairs on the street front on Goulburn St. The coffee is quite decent and the food is nice but fairly typical for the area and café type. It's all freshly made though and it's a busy place so they are doing things right here and getting repeat business.
- Kingswood - World Square - This is a nicely fitted out take away coffee shop that really does focus on good coffee. They have a few pastries as well - including some Brewnuts - but it's the coffee that's drawing people in here. Mine was certainly tasty - and characteristic as well, not the same old same old. Will certainly be back.
- Soul Origin - World Square - This is a new addition to the complex, though Soul Origin is a very well established brand in Sydney. They have a very comprehensive range of salads and sandwiches on offer with coffee facilities as well. The service is quick and efficient. I had a flat white and grabbed a mixed berry muffin on the go. The coffee was smooth and not too bitter (I don't like bitter coffee). The mixed berry muffin was fresh. I'll definitely be back to try their lunch menu.
- Gazzi - World Square - Nestled in one of the many laneways that spike out from the central square in this massive complex is Grazzi. It has a lovely indoor/outdoor feel to it with highish tables and chairs outside and more lower tables chairs and benches inside. It's an obviously Greek influenced cafe with a good assortment of cakes, pastries and of course coffee. The coffee was not bitter and full flavoured. Very pleasant. Must see what they offer for lunches too some time!
- Arisun Express - Haymarket - Arisun now has a child - Arisun Express. This offshoot has set up home in the busy World Square - or more precisely on the edge at least as its right on Liverpool Street but on the corner of a foodie laneway. Like its parent it has everything you'd expect including their crispy fried chicken. On this occasion the pork katsu won out. It was a decent sized serving too with separate areas in the take away container for the crispy pork, the coleslaw, the rice and the rest.
- The Niche - Haymarket - The Niche is certainly well named as it is literally a hole in the wall. It does have a few "milk crate" seats outside - eight in fact - and a few similar sized tables. It's focus, very clearly, is on take away coffee and food. It has a good customer base and always seems busy which is a sign that it's probably doing its job well. Grabbing a morning coffee and toast here was a quick and painless exercise. The coffee arrived quickly despite the crowd and the sourdough toast wasn't long after. It's a good deal too at only $5.50 for two pieces of toast with spread and a small coffee (or $6.00 if you want a large coffee with your toast). Whilst no-one was actually sitting there at breakfast time, it does get used in the middle of the day.
- Johnny's Fruit Factory - Haymarket - this is another predominantly take-away place on one of the many busy "laneways" or arcades inside World Square. Johnny's does have two long bench tables in front - but these seem to be mostly used for waiting for take away orders. They specialise in salads and yoghurts - but also have several other offerings like hot soup, choc-dipped fruit and some wraps and sandwiches. They also have a "meat of the day" and as today's was pulled pork it caught the eye. Ordering a pulled pork with pickled slaw toasted sandwich was only $8.00 and it was ready fast and tasted great. There was plenty of pork and the slaw had a nice tanginess to it. The box it was in also kept everything together nicely too. This was a first visit but not the last!
- The Little Snail - Pyrmont - The three course meal for only $58 now for dinner is still great value, but even better at $36 for lunch! Its a pleasant place with good service and surprisingly good food considering the low prices. We love it there and will be back - time after time.
- Fat Noodle - The Star - Nice food that's well regarded. You feel a bit exposed sitting there but it's a solid pre-show meal option. The service is good and the serving quantities are good too.
- Toros Tapas and Bar - In the busy and popular Harbourside Shopping Precinct at Darling Harbour, looking out over the water, is Toros Tapas and Bar. It has an indoor and outdoor area, although in reality they blend into each other. They have a range of tapas choices as the name suggests, as well as plenty of other options. We were not overly hungry (and trying to be good) so we shared a Tasting Plate which had a good range on it. We also shared a trio of dips that was served with olive bread and lavosh. It's a pleasant place with a great view and decent food.
BENELONG POINT and THE ROCKS
- Aria - Benelong Point - The perfect place to go for that special occasion. We went for a birthday and it was amazing - one of the best meals we have ever. The service was excellent and Aria has million dollar views - we looked out from our window table onto the opera house and the harbour bridge - what a way to watch the sun set! We couldn't fault the food. The only suggestion may be to have two courses and add the truffled mash. It was amazingly delicious and a cheaper option than a third course for two.
- Eastbank Cafe Bar Pizzeria - Benelong Point - Nice pizzas and another amazing view from under the toaster near the Opera House. It can get quite busy here so its best to book. The food is reasonably priced for the area and tasted great.
- East Chinese Restaurant - Benelong Point - Again with these views - we're spoiled aren't we. Love the straight prawns - big and juicy. We eat here regularly when we have to go to something at the Opera House and its always good. A little pricier than other Chinese places but when you consider the views its worth it. On a good night its great to sit outside and watch the harbour and the sunsets.
- Lord Nelson Hotel - The Rocks - Solid good pub food in a busy room. Instead of buying individual meals another option is to buy some plates to share. The olives and fetta are great. The wedges with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce are awesome - big chunky wedges that are crisp and tender - yum.
- Guylian - The Rocks - Guylian is like Lindt and The Chocolate Room - a great place for a calorie hit - especially after a meal nearby. It can get very crowded here but that means people like it. Try something though - its really great. We had coffee, chocolates and shared desserts - ask for two spoons and pig out!
- Pancakes at the Rocks - The Rocks - This place is an institution for a variety of reasons. We haven't had a full dinner here but we have had dessert plenty of times - particularly late at night. I just love their stacks of pancakes with whipped butter and maple syrup (even though I'm usually a lemon and sugar fan). It's a favourite of mine. Some people love their main course meals while others don't - there's divided opinion here that we can't comment on as we haven't tried them.
- Quay - The Rocks - We booked in well ahead, as everyone does. It's in such a lovely spot looking out over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. You can choose either a four course dinner or their eight course tasting dinner - we opted for eight courses! What a meal. We started with raw beetroot, rosdehip, cultured cream, Manjimup truffle and violets. So light and tasty! Then we had congee of Northern Australian mud crab, fresh palm heart and egg yolk emulsion. This was again delicate and delicious. Next was the smoked and confit pig jowl, roasted koji, shitake, kombu, Jerusalem artichoke, sea scallop and sesame. Then we had XO sea with five sea textures. Next was roasted masterstock duck, persimmon, black rice, miso, endive cream, kadan blossoms. Then we had grass fed pure Angus beef, cultured fermentation of black barley, smoked and raw funghi. Finally their signature dessert, the snow egg. This was amazing and so worth having! Then a second dessert, the chocolate ethereal capped off the main part of meal. We finished with coffee and petite fours. This is a magical place that is a dining experience every food lover should try!
- Cafe La Rosa - CBD - The friendliest service in Sydney. You'll want to come back. Try one of their omelettes for breakfast!
- The Chocolate Room - CBD - Another indulgent dessert option after a Darling Harbour/Cockle Bay dinner. Pricey - like Lindt. Nice waffles and designer chocolates.
- Wok on Inn - Darlinghurst - One of those quick meal places. Its made fresh, its tasty and its cheap.
- Bamboo Dumpling Bar - Kings Cross/Potts Point - This is certainly quite an interesting place to grab a different meal. When dining in there you can eat choose to either eat indoors or outdoors. The food, as it focusses on dumplings, is obviously best shared in a group for more variety.
- Ippudo - Sydney CBD - We were in the area and dropped in for lunch. Even though it meant joining a queue the wait wasn't long and we were seated and our order had soon been taken. I had the Shiromaru Motoaji - a traditional pork ramen which cost $15.00 (but you can get a larger serving for $19.00). I ordered a poached egg with it as well - for an extra $2.00. It was delicious. Mlady had the Hot Stone Unagi Rice - grilled eel on rice with original Kabayaki sauce). It came garnished with shredded seaweed on top and was only $10.00. Presentation was excellent and it was a tasty option. As Mlady isnt a big pork eater the menu was a bit limited but they advised that they were upgrading in the new year with several vegetarian options. Good food, pleasant decor, friendly service all make this a winner.
- Gowings Bar and Grill - CBD - Had heard a lot about this place but was taken here for the first time for a quick visit and a drink. This is an amazing place - such great atmosphere and excellent service. They have plenty of customers too which means they are certainly doing some things right! The drinks weren't overly cheap or expensive - which was a pleasant surprise. As soon as we sat down we were asked if we wanted nay bar food - which was impressive. I was introduced to the head of front of house for the restaurant and will certainly go back there to sample their French influenced treats.
- Baxter Inn - Great place for a whisky but so hard to find. You've all heard the term hidden gem - well here the emphasis is heavily on hidden - even though its a gem as well. They have a massive selection of whishys but if you're after food it's just pretzels here. Nevertheless the place is extremely popular so if you're going on a Friday or saturday night be prepared to queue - if you can in fact find it.
- Chanoma Cafe - Wandering down a passageway off George Street in the CBD near Events Cinemas you'll find Chanoma Cafe. They have an inside area and an outside area as well (if it really counts as outside when it's outside the main restaurant but inside a closed laneway/arcade). There's an Asian influence here but they're known for their hot dogs and desserts. I was there grabbing a coffee, but having looked at the rest of the goodies on offer there I'll be back.
- Rockpool Bar and Grill - After having tried the delicious burger at the bar in Melbourne it seemed only right to do the same in Sydney. I was curious if it was going to be as good - and was pleased to find it was. This burger is from the bar menu - as it is in Melbourne - so don't panic if you're looking on the restaurant menu and can't find it. Its described as "David Blackmore’s Full Blood Wagyu Hamburger with Bacon, Gruyere Cheese and Zuni Pickle" and this almost understates it. The burger is very tasty and comes medium rare. Again - very tasty and well worth trying. Throw in a glass of red and it's a pretty decent lunch!
- The Paramount Coffee Project - Surry Hills - This is a quirky cafe in the Paramount Pictures building in Commonwealth Ave. It's a very open plan place that has become very popular for coffee and meals. Just had a coffee this time - ordered at the front counter. They make a good cup but super keen to get back there again and try the food which looked very interesting.
- Kingsleys Steak and Crabhouse - Wooloomooloo - Even though their crabs are a highlight we've always gone for their steaks. They do a good steak here with nice cuts of meat cooked perfectly to order. You just have to remember that your steak comes with a sauce, and that's it, so any sides need to be ordered separately.
- Santorini on Oxford - Darlinghurst - Santorini is a well known Greek restaurant on Sydney's famous Oxford street. The menu is traditionally Greek, so expect spanakopita. Dolmades and taramasalata to be on offer. I had the mixed grill, complete with a beef steak, pork chop, chicken and sausage. A huge serving accompanied by rice and potato salad for under $30. There is also a seafood mix grill on the menu (if you prefers enfold). Owner Dimitris Laskos grills everything fresh while you wait in the grill area at the front of the restaurant.
- Chiswick - Chiswick has a great reputation and it's been on my wish list for quite a while so I was fortunate to be taken here for my birthday by the Princess. It's a pretty place, especially at night where the glow from inside flows out of the floor to ceiling windows and onto the park outside. We decided to have mains each and the Princess chose (as I had expected) the char grilled Moran family grass fed beef with seeded mustard and parsley. This was $35.00 and it looked and tasted fantastic and I went close to choosing it as well. However, I couldn't resist the linguine with hand dived clams, snow peas and chilli. It was a simple combination but so nice. This was $32.00. We added a few glasses of wine and a side of rosemary flat bread which was very tasty and only an extra $5.00. I'd gladly go back to Chiswick again. The service was excellent. The decor was nicely understated and simple with an almost casual feel to it. It's a lovely place for a meal but also popular so you have to book in advance.
- La Ricetta Ristorante Italiano - Enmore - Good food in this cosy Italian restaurant. Very convenient to Enmore Theatre. Worth going to for a good meal. The food options are good and the serving sizes are decent too. Its not overly chaep but its good qulaity and a good quantity. Because the place is so compact it can be a little noisy and the tables are fairly close together so it can seem tight there.
- The Cow and Moon Artisan Gelato - Enmore - Interesting place with quite a variety from gelato, through good desserts and on to boutique chocolates and good coffee. Go there. (See Review in March 2012)
- Vicini - Annandale - Lovely place with delicious food. Can eat upstairs or downstairs - we ate upstairs and couldn't fault it. The food was prepared brilliantly and was well presented. It has a really nice atmosphere as well. Its a great place for a special occasion.
- Mi Piace Pizza E Bar - Moore Park (Entertainment Quarter) - We had seafood linguini for one main and pumpkin and ricotta stuffed pasta with basil pesto for the other. The servings were very small and the service was very slow. They diidn't even know what we'd ordered when we went to pay - there weren't any records and they had to ask the waitress if she could remember. It took ages to be served, ages for the food to arrive and ages to pay at the end. We wont go back there again!
- Dolcetto Dessert Bar - Moore Park (Entertainment Quarter) - Great little find for dessert. The service was prompt, the servings were enormous and the food was very tasty. The coffee was good too. Would certainly go there again.
- Single Origin Roasters - Surry Hills - Nice coffee here. Didn't have time to eat sadly as there were some tasty choices available but the coffee was good and that was what I wanted. No pictures sadly but next time!
- Danks Street Depot - Waterloo - I dropped in here for a fairly quick breakfast one day. I ordered the sour cherry toast - mainly because I'd never had this before. I wasn't sure what to expect - or how sour it would be. It wasn't overpowering and had really nice flavours. Quite unique really and I'd certainly have it again if I saw it on a menu. The coffee was good too. Its easy to see why this place is popular. The other menu items looked quite good as well - but for another day when there's more time!
- Black Star Pastry - Newtown - Don't blink or you'll miss this popular place - it's tiny. The best way to spot it is the scattering of small crates outside serving as seats and tables for the passing trade. They do quite a variety of food from pies to cakes and of course pastries. The coffee here is excellent - and served in eco cups of course!
9. Hartsyard - 33 Enmore Rd Newtown - Dropped in with The Princess for a meal here recently. We'd both heard so many good things about their comfort food - and it turned out to be all correct. We started with the house-made crisps which was thin slices of crisp chicken skin and pork crackling standing in a bed of vegetable cream cheese and garnished with alphalpha. It was lovely. Next was the cheese fondue made with chorizo and smoked tomato covered in rich cheese and served with flatbread and crispy battered olives. Again great. Our final main course was probably their most popular dish - fried chicken, which comes coated in a buttermilk biscuit with low country sausage gravy. This was amazing. Even though we were filling fast we still ordered dessert. The Princess had their peanut butter and banana sundae which came with pretzel ice cream, banana doughnut and salted fudge. I had their soft serve of the day - banoffee. Both desserts were huge and delicious. We left bloated and completely aware as to why Hartsyard is so popular.
10. Brickfields - Chippendale - A new artisan bakery which is also now a well known cafe is open in Chippendale. It's busy but that doesn't mean you have to wait long, we were attended to and seated very quickly. The coffee was nice ( I had a long black). The food is just delicious, the sage and goats cheese cheese tart was really soft and the pastry was crispy without being too burnt. The side of lentils and sprouts was really fresh. They also sell very famous artisan sourdough bread here, so I picked up a lot of soy and linseed sourdough on the way and everything is reasonably priced!
11. Candy Cafe - Redfern - This place is quietly tucked from the business of Bourke Street. It has ample seating inside and out and has a good take away menu. Service is quick and the coffee is good. If you like toast, sandwiches or rolls, this place is great as all their breads are from the famous Bowen Island bakery. I ordered peanut butter on sourdough and it was delicious.