THE BEACH IS A GREAT METAPHOR OF SYDNEY LIFE AND THE CLOSEST THING TO HEAVEN GOING IN THIS CITY. Fish-and-chips is practically the national dish in Australia, and the perfect place to eat it is at the beach. However, there is more to Sydney beach food than that -- and dining somewhere with an ocean view can be a great way to appreciate this amazing Pacific city.
Hugo's: 70 Campbell Parade, Bondi. Phone: 02/9300-0900.
One of the Bondi selection of restaurants on this list, a spare, compact place serving local produce. Highlights include the blue swimmer crab tortellini and Gungal Farm pork belly dressed in black vinegar and caramel sauce. According to one Asian Internet review site, "they also pour a mean martini." Book ahead.
In contrast with the bare-chested informality of the streets, this place is sophisticated and chic. As the menu points out, waitresses here are dressed by Kirrily Johnston. Still, it's hard to gripe about the view, the glass-fronted dining room and outdoor terrace overlook Bondi's famous seawater pool and the entire length of the beach -- or the food. And while the white-jacketed waiters may look a little rumpled, they bring to the table perfectly wrought modern Mediterranean fare by chef Robert Marchetti: salt-crusted rib eye, char-grilled quail, wild scallops on the half-shell. (If you're here for lunch, pop downstairs afterward for a tour of the Surf Lifesaving Museum, which chronicles the history of Australian lifesaving from 1905).
ITALIAN CUISINE PLAYS A BIG ROLE IN SYDNEY AND I AM HAPPY TO SAY, THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST CITIIES IN THE WORLD FOR LOVERS OF PASTA, FOCCACIA AND ESPRESSO. I used to live near Leichhardt which is the center of Italian Sydney -- unfortunately I didn't have the money to dine in the many Italian restaurants which line this suburb, but it was fun just looking in through the windows. Not all the best Italian restaurants are in Leichhardt though -- here is a selection of places where you can find Italian food:
La Scala: Shop 3, I Haig Avenue,
I haven't actually been to this establishment but someone reliable has, and this is what she said: "This restaurant, although far from the city, is a Little Italian Village in itself! The atmosphere is traditional and appealing with heater/air conditiong. The food is superb comming in adequately filling portions! The service is outstanding as it is run by a family who make you feel as though you are apart of the LaScala family! Have been dinning here for the past 2 years and will go out of the way to travel their once a week. It's a shame about it's location as it would dust the crummy restaurants out of Leichhardt and Balmain, which I have dinned (sic) in most!"
Auburn is the center of Turkish Australia -- the heart of the Turkish community in Sydney. Located on the Western & South Lines of the city's CityRail network, Auburn boasts some great cheap eateries serving awesome Ottoman. That said, there are Turkish restaurants scattered all over the city, and during my 2005 visit to Sydney, Chie and me specifically wanted to try Turkish pizza. The last time I had real authentic, good Turkish pizza, it was late one Monday night at a little joint on Glebe Point Rd, The Glebe. I used to live in the area for a brief stretch in the year 2000, and as I remember, you could get Turkish pizza delivered to your house at the time if you lived in the inner city.
Anatolia: 10 Civic Rd, Auburn.
One anonymous reviewer had this to say about this Sydney Auburn Turkish establishment: "I have been in Sydney as a tourist for five days and have already tried three Turkish restaurants. This is the best Turkish restaurant in this town. First of all it has its own parking place so you don't have to keep an eye on the park meter. It is very clean and the staff is courteous. The owner, Mr Ali Oner is an excellent cook and offers his guest nice samples of authentic Turkish cuisine in a friendly atmosphere. I would suggest Turkish pizza (lahmacun) and Akcaabat Kofte. Don't forget to taste delicious Turkish desserts. Overall, my experience with this restaurant is excellent."
Anatolia @ Enmore: 150 Enmore Rd,
That's right, another Anatolia branch, this one at Enmore. Lulu said: "This restaurant has Turkish food which is different and more interesting than the standard Lebanese fare (Lebanese food is also popular in Sydney.) The mixed entree of cauliflower, stuffed zucchini, eggplant and vineleaves in a spicy yoghurt and tomato sauce with Turkish bread was excellent. We followed this with a potato, tomato pide, the pizza base being the perfect thickness - crisp and not doughy. The mains that followed were lamb cutlets accompanied with salad and an unusual dish of small beef filled pasta dumplings. We did not look at the dessert menu as we were too full..."
Efes Turkish Pizza & Kebab: 124 King St, Newtown.
Yavegemite said: "Great kebabs and pizzas at cheaper than average prices. Furniture could do with an update but compared to most kebab places at least you aren't flooded in fluorescent lighting and you can sit in and relax and not feel like you are taking up valuable space."
Godze: 22 Auburn Rd, Auburn.
This place specialises in homestyle cooking that goes beyond pide and kebabs.
Mado Cafe: 63 Auburn Rd, Auburn.
Said to be one of the best Turkish places in Auburn. Here you can get anything from a pastry and coffee to a full-on feast at dinnertime. Itís also the only place in Sydney where you can buy the luscious Turkish icecream that gets its wonderful stretchy consistency from the dried root of an orchid.
Mr Uncles: 89 Glebe Point Rd,
This may have been the place in which I dined on delicious Turkish pizza back in 2000. One reviewer who has also dined there had this to say about the place: "Two of my all-time favourites which will more than satisfy are: Adana cubasi -- mixed grill with spicy minced beef, tender lamb and chicken, fresh bread, rice and a decorative salad. The second recommendation is the Moores special pide. If there's four people, double up on the Andana cubasi and get a large mixed dip to start with. The bread comes out crispy and fresh and the dips are also home made. I can't figure out whether I prefer the eggplant dip or the beetroot one.
Service is only as quick as it takes to cook the food -- everything is always fresh. We take all our visitors here and people are ALWAYS surprised at what the bill comes out at after such a filling and satisfying feed. It's a no frills establishment - but it's the food I'm interested in. "
Sofra: 35-39 Auburn Road,
As Boss1 claimed: "Excellent kebabs, probably the best in Sydney! Love coming here for lunch, the environment is laid back and very relaxed. Order your own food with the chef on the coals and pay the staff opposite him, grab a drink out of the fridge and take a seat. Inside or out it is always busy on the weekends and I will travel there often for this yummy food! Take away also!"
For lovers of Asian food, Cabramatta is not so much a day trip as a pilgrimage. Here, among more than 60 eateries, are the authentic cuisines of Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, plus several regional Chinese styles.
While the popularity of Asian food in Australia has led to a widespread fusion of culinary influences, Cabramatta's restaurants provide an opportunity to eat the way the Asians eat. They welcome local communities as well as the visitors who flock to Cabramatta for its eat street excitement. Dishes are true to their ethnic origins and prepared from fresh, authentic ingredients. And prices are kept within the reach of a clientele which eats out regularly.
The compulsory Cabramatta culinary experience is a bowl of pho (pronounced fer), an aromatic Vietnamese soup with special home-made beef stock, noodles and an array of crisp vegetables, fresh herbs and garnishes. Delicious, satisfying and usually around $6. Pho 54 on Park Road near the Pai Lau Gate has an excellent reputation. Several restaurants - Cathahang; Thanh Binh; Golden Star Palace and Cay Dan among them - offer a number of different cuisines, and the Cabramatta foodscape is also notable for its excellent choice of vegetarian eating opportunities ... influenced by the many Buddhist communities in the area.
Don't feel you have to wait until lunch. Many of Cabramatta's restaurants open at 7.30am so locals can enjoy a bowl of noodle soup on their way to work. The Asian way is to graze during the day rather than observe regular meal times. And you'll never suffer a sense of dining alone in Cabramatta's Asian eateries where clutter, chatter and express service maintain a boisterous mood.
As the CityRail NSW Information Site recently reported: "We're happy to report that Cabramatta has lost none of its charm. In fact, it may have gained some. A walk though the shopping/restaurant area is like a trip to Southeast Asia, with sugarcane juice stands, hidden arcades and bustling markets offering sensationally fresh produce at bargain prices. Thanh Binh (52A John St & 4 Arthur St) is one of the highly respected old-timers, as is Tan Viet Noodle House (100 John St), so successful it had to move to bigger digs still cheap as chips, though. Dai Lam Seafood Restaurant (111 John St) is more Chinese, Teochew in fact, and offers both live seafood and live entertainment in the form of karaoke. Pho Tau Bay (12 Hill St) is a good choice when you just want a flavoursome, filling noodle soup.
A pick of some of the better Vietnamese (and other) restaurants in Cabramatta.
Duy Linh Vegetarian: Shop 10/117 John St (corner of Hill St.) Phone: 02/9727 9800.
Vegetarian food in the heart of the western suburbs. Vegan-friendly, Chinese, Vietnamese and international cuisines available here.
Fortune8: 44 Park Rd, Cabramatta.
One reviewer of this Cabramatta establishment has said it so: "Being of Asian background and a regular yum cha attendee, I found Fortune8 to be something a little different. Being a small restaurant ensures that the food gets round to the tables extra fast and extra fresh... nothing has time to get even slightly cold. I experienced some dishes which were new to me (eg the sharks fin dumplings) though if you are after lots of variety, this may not be the place for you (egg tarts and mango pancakes are not in the menu!).
As for the service, it was the most friendly and helpful which I have ever come across in a yum cha restaurant! Also the value for money for the amount of food consumed was excellent (approx 9 dishes between 2 people came to under $35 in total)."
Pho Minh: 42 Arthur St, Cabramatta.
One reviewer has commented:
"Like other noodle eateries in Cabramatta, Pho Minh serves them fast and fresh. Service was friendly, and the noodle soups we had were fair..."
Thus has it been said of this restaurant in Cabramatta, Sydney, Australia.
My Thuan Restaurant: John St, Cabramatta. Thanh Binh: John St, Cabramatta.
One reviewer said it all: "Locals frequent this little restaurant and well they should. With very simple and basic set up, the restaurant has an unimaginable list of dishes in their menu -- over 200! But you'd best stick with the shining star -- beef pho. Its fresh and delicious Vietnamese rice rolls are certainly commendable. The beef noodle soup is a delight, and the broth is appealingly tasteful. It comes with a heap of bean sprouts and mint leaves to dunk into your soup at will. The thin slices of semi-cooked beef are heavenly and even the beef balls are tasty. Good value.
Thien Ly: 4 Hughes St,
One reviewer, Franky V, has commented about this place: "I think that this venue is called Tien Truc, although the white pages listing is Tien Ly (?) Anyway, eat in or take-away this great little find is fast, friendly and fresh. Of course, the great adventure in Cabramatta is finding a parking space, but there is a small lot adjacent to this restaurant. For vegetarians there are at least three other little places in the area to check out also."
Vinh Phat: 40 Park Rd,
Cabramatta. Foodlover3 said: "A good value for money restaurant. Service is the worst of all, staff are too efficient that they neglect that we're there to enjoy the food. The foods are not too bad. "
Another reviewer from the same site as Foodlover3 had this to say regarding Vinh Phat: "It's not the best looking place and it's pretty small. It gets packed out on the weekends and there is always a long queue. The food is very very good, if lacking in variety. The few yum cha dishes they do serve are very fresh. Service -- well, the waiters are fast and efficient but don't expect them to be friendly. Best thing about this place is the value."