The Best Food In Sydney
Sydney is known for many things -- gorgeous weather, the Opera House, plus its amazing food. Often hailed as the culinary capital of Australia, Sydney is where you can expect to find only the freshest local produce and the highest level of culinary innovation.
After our gastronomic journey in this beautiful city, we bring you our list of 16 amazing food experiences in Sydney that will make you want to drop everything and fly there right now.
- Sydney -
This cosmopolitan city thrives on fusion and it shows even in the food. With its inhabitants hailing from many different parts of the globe, you can be certain the food is authentic and true to the tastes of the city’s different cultures.
1. Black Star Pastry
The one and only strawberry watermelon cake from Black Star Pastry
Every time Black Star Pastry is mentioned, you can’t help but think of their famous,one-slice-is-not-enough strawberry watermelon cake ($7 per slice).
It’s a celebration of everything light, fruity and refreshing. Fresh slices of watermelon are sandwiched between layers of rose-flavoured fresh cream on a biscuit base, topped off with a generous portion of fresh strawberries, pistachio slivers and rose petals.
While this is definitely one of their best-sellers, other options such as the Orange cake with Persian fig and pastries are also worth a try. Sandwiches and savoury breads are available at the Rosebery cafe.
Most prefer to frequent the store in Newtown but we recommend visiting their roomier outlet at Rosebery (pictured above). You’ll stand a higher chance of getting a seat AND a slice of their strawberry watermelon cake (the Newtown cafe often sells out by 3pm or so).
Make sure you don’t miss out by calling ahead to check the availability of your favourites. You can even order or reserve cakes in advance. Check out their website for details.
277 Australia St, Newtown NSW 2042
C1 85-113 Dunning Ave, Rosebery NSW 2018
Brewtown Newton is not your run-of-the-mill brunch place at all. Aside from serving up really photogenic and equally as delicious brunches, Brewtown is also reputedly the pioneer of the cronut movement in Sydney.
And by cronut I mean these unbelievable donut-shaped-croissant hybrids they call ‘brewnuts’ which I wouldn’t mind eating for the rest of my life.
One of Brewtown’s definite must-trys is the Elvis burger ($16.50). This burger packs a punch with a ground beef patty, Canadian bacon and gruyere cheese. But the icing on the cake has to be the savoury brewnut used in place of your regular brioche burger bun. So sinful, so indulgent.
If you’re looking for something a little lighter try the wood-smoked salmon and curried Israeli couscous with poached egg, coriander and lime ($16.50). The zesty freshness of the greens is balanced with the beautifully smoked salmon that leaves you with just enough room for dessert in the form of -- you guessed it -- cronuts!
While I was full after devouring my main, I couldn’t leave Brewtown without having one of these beauties. We had the Fruit & nut florentine and the Lemon meringue cronuts. The latter had a hidden lemon curd centre which balances the sweetness of the meringue - it was my personal favourite.
Queues can get quite hectic, especially on weekends so be sure to arrive early for a seat.
Address: 6-8 O'Connell St, Newtown NSW 2042
Opening Hours: Daily 8am to 4pm
3. Barrio Cellar
The iconic neon sign!
This place is all about Mexican food. Think tacos, tortas, quesadillas and most definitely tequila.
Conveniently situated in the heart of the Sydney CBD, Barrio is packed with young professionals looking to kick back after a long day at work. While the loud music (they have their own in-house DJ spinning some tunes) might not be conducive for intimate conversations, the fun and vibrant atmosphere makes Barrio the perfect place for any occasion.
Their cocktails were amazing and probably the main reason for the girls next to us periodically burst into giggly hysterics. I ordered the Tommy’s ($16), the house margarita made with fresh lime and organic agave nectar. I absolutely loved it.
The highlight of the night was the guacamole with taco chips ($12). Smooth, creamy yet light, this was unlike any other guacamole I’ve tasted. It was topped with pomegranate seeds that gave this typically Mexican staple a multi-dimensional flavour.
Only Mexicans could make corn taste this good using three simple ingredients: chipotle, feta and lime. Try the Barrio corn cob ($8 per corn) for a refreshing take on regular buttered corn.
Pollo tonga (Chicken) quesadilla ($16)
While I enjoyed the quesadilla,the highlight of the night was the Pescado (fried market fish) taco ($7 for two). You can opt for pork or chicken as well but I highly recommend the fish for its freshness and the way it complements the other ingredients in the soft taco.
Remember to check out Taco Tuesdays where every taco costs $3!
Address: Basement Level, 58 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW 2000
Opening Hours: Monday and Tuesday, 4pm to midnight | Wednesday to Friday 4pm to 3am | Saturdays 5pm to 3am
4. The Grounds of Alexandria
No trip to Sydney is complete without a visit to one of the most beautiful brunch spots ever The Grounds of Alexandria features a picturesque outdoor garden complete with arches and mismatched furniture that is sure to be every shutterbug’s dream space.
Queues begin quite early on in the day, especially on weekends, so be prepared to wait for a seat indoors. The Grounds also offers an extensive takeaway menu and a gorgeous selection of cakes and sweets that you can enjoy in the garden outside.
If you’re early enough to catch their breakfast service (before 11.45am), you’ll get a chance to sample this banana bread ($9.50) that is rumoured to have a following of its own. Unlike most banana breads, this version was thick,light and fluffy. Coupled with the blossom honey and airy mascarpone cheese, it’s a celebration of flavours in your mouth.
For a more substantial meal, the classic brekkie board ($22) is a good choice. With smoked salmon, asparagus, poached eggs and a cherry tomato and basil salad, diners can have the best of the land and sea all in one dish.
One of my favourite things at The Grounds is the fact that they practically invite you to play with your food. Feel young again with this customizable deconstructed mocha ($7.50) and enjoy a drink that’s deliciously yours.
Address: 7A, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015
Opening Hours: Weekdays 7am to 4pm | Weekends 7.30pm to 4pm
5. Cow & The Moon
Cow & The Moon is an unassuming ice-cream parlour in the outskirts of Newtown with a heavyweight reputation as home to the best gelato in the world. Yes, you heard me right.
Cow & The Moon beat all other gelato parlour hopefuls to clinch the ‘Gelato World Tour’ title in Rimini Italy in 2014 with their Mandorla affogato flavour.
Cow & The Moon’s take on the classic flavour involves Madagascan vanilla gelato, salted caramel and caramelised almonds. The resulting taste is so delightful and non-confrontational that even the coffee-averse will enjoy it. Other popular flavours include the Passionfruit creme and the Strawberry with balsamic.
The best part about Cow & The Moon is their huge servings. For a very reasonable $5 per flavour we had a monstrous scoop of ice-cream that was more than enough, even for an ice-cream junkie like myself!
Address: 181 Enmore Rd, Enmore NSW 2042
Website: Cow & The Moon Facebook Page
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 10.30pm | Friday and Saturday 8.30am to 11.30pm | Sundays 8.30am to 10.30pm
6. Devon Cafe
Best known for their Asian-inspired dishes, Devon Cafe has become a popular destination for brunch amongst cafe-seekers, the hip and the trendy.
We visited the Danks Street cafe - there’s another smaller cafe in Surry Hills. The Danks Street cafe was spacious and roomy, with tons of natural light that is perfect for all you Instagrammers out there.
They are most famous for their Breakfast with sakuma’s ($25), featuring miso grilled king salmon, smoked eel croquette and a 63 degrees-cooked egg. I especially love how Devon manages to marry Asian and Western food elements so perfectly.
‘Naked’ bruschetta ($14.50) - Meredith’s goat curd, walnut bread, roasted and pickled beetroot, avocado, kale crumble, soft boiled egg
We ordered the Golden egg ($33) simply because it sounded so exotic. This was essentially molten egg yolk encased in a deep fried taro shell with crispy noodles and mushrooms in a delicious garlic butter broth. While the taro made the dish a bit heavy, it was still delicious.
Devon also offers soft serves that come in exotic flavours such as Thai milk tea (pictured above). You have the option of adding Asian-inspired toppings such as palm seeds and coconut shavings. Or choose to have it with hot chips like we did!
76 Devonshire St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
2 Danks St, Waterloo NSW 2017
7. The Tea Room
The Tea Room occupies its own little space on the top floor of the iconic Queen Victoria Building, and for good reason.
Stepping into the spacious room was like stepping into a royal ballroom. Gorgeous chandeliers adorned the domed ceiling and intricate features lined the walls. People were sipping tea from dainty tea cups and reclining in plush armchairs. I felt like a princess at a royal tea party.
The tea room offers a selection of afternoon teas, ranging from the Traditional afternoon tea ($45) to an Oriental afternoon tea ($88 for two).
We went with a Traditional afternoon tea which included a selection of scones, pastries, sandwiches and sweets, along with tea of our choice.
The scones were absolutely delicious. Light, fluffy and warm, they were perfect with clotted cream and jam. The sandwiches were also particularly tasty and came in an assortment of flavours, including smoked salmon. Dessert wise, I’m a huge chocolate fan so I devoured the little dark chocolate cakes in a matter of seconds.
With such a decadent tea in such a beautiful place, I really felt like a princess at a royal tea party. The Tea Room is the perfect place for intimate conversations with your girlfriends, or even a Mother’s Day date with mom! It’s also popular for private functions so be sure to check ahead if they’re open.
Address: 3, Queen Victoria Building, 455 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Opening Hours: Daily 10am to 4pm
8. Gowings Bar & Grill
Housed in the same premises as the quirky QT Sydney hotel, Gowings exuded the same burlesque-ish vibes that strangely made me feel at home the moment I stepped in.
The staff were professional, personable and so attentive -- my glass of water was topped up constantly. Service was top-notch and the food itself spectacular.
I’m a lover of all things braised and slow-cooked so it was a no-brainer that I ordered the 10 Hour cooked Moorish beef rib ($41) that practically melted in my mouth. We also had the juiciest Line caught fish ($39) with a lemon butter sauce that blew us all away.
The absolute must-have would have to be the Steak tartare pasture fed ox/beef ($29). When in Australia, make the most of the amazing beef and have it raw. The chefs at Gowings have succeeded in coming up with a magical concoction of herbs and spices that emphasize but don’t overwhelm and will leave you wanting more.
Address: 1/49 Market St, Sydney NSW 2000
Opening Hours: Daily Breakfast 6.30am to 10.30am | Lunch 12noon to 3pm | Dinner 6pm to 10pm
Ms.G’s has made a name for itself by being one of the trendiest and hippest restaurants in Potts Point by far. This fusion restaurant gives new meaning to the word ‘hipster’.
I mean come on, when your cocktails come served in packaged bubble tea cups, few other things are more hipster than that.
I highly recommend The notorious rum and tea ($17) that came served in a little oriental teapot and tea cup. Easy on the palate and deceptively lethal, this tea embodies all its name suggests.
Ms G’s grilled corn on the cob ($5 each)
Mini bánh mì ($6.50 each) and cheeseburger spring roll ($5 each)
Out of all the starters, the cheeseburger spring roll ($5 each) was particularly interesting and tasted uncannily like a cheeseburger from Macca’s (McDonald’s)!
Another outstanding dish was the Vietnamese steak tartare with prawn crackers ($18). The zesty freshness of the tartare was the perfect start to our dinner.
The charcoal grilled king prawns with miso butter and lemon ($29) were fresh and delightfully tasty.
My personal favourite would have to be the “Nasi goreng hitam” - squid ink fried rice, chorizo, sunny side egg ($19) that reminded me so much of the version we have in Singapore, but with the delicious squid ink aftertaste that is so popular in dishes these days.
Great cocktails, awesome food and an even better dessert. Ms G’s Stoner’s delight part 3 ($14) is a heart attack just waiting to happen but you’ll definitely regret it if you don’t end your meal with this hearty dessert.
Featuring doughnut ice-cream, peanut dulche de leche, peanut and pretzel brittle, crispy bacon, mars bar brownie, passionfruit curd, potato chips and deep fried Nutella (!!!) - one bite is more than enough to send you to dessert heaven.
Address: 155 Victoria St, Potts Point NSW 2011
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 5pm to 12am | Fridays 12noon to 12am | Saturdays 5pm to 1am | Sundays 1am to 9pm
- Newcastle -
Newcastle is fast becoming the place to be seen at in New South Wales, with the cafe trend blossoming in this idyllic city that’s filled with vintage treasures. Expect food served from the heart and beautiful decor that truly defines what it means to be hipster.
10. The Glass Onion Society
The Glass Onion is the place to be in Long Jetty. This cafe prides itself on serving healthy food with many gluten-free options.
The space is large and roomy with furniture that’s unpretentiously vintage and modern all at the same time. It was also interesting to see customers from a wide range of ages patronizing the cafe and not just young cafe-hopping adults. There was even a family gathering with grandparents and relatives at the cafe while we were there!
This hipster cafe even has a functional arcade game console as a table -- how much more hipster can a cafe get!
The food was simple but so delicious and wholesome. Portion sizes were generous and the food wasn’t too oily or heavy. Prices were also very reasonable although they do charge a higher price on Sundays.
Do also give their power juices and smoothies a try! I could not stop drinking the Fleetwood MACA ($9.50) with mango, banana, coconut milk and cinnamon. Don’t be fooled by how heavy it looks.The smoothie was delightfully refreshing and fresh.
Address: Shop 1&2/308 The Entrance Road, Long Jetty NSW 2261
Opening Hours: Daily 7am to 3pm
11. The Bowery Boys
This swanky establishment was opened by a group of young aspiring restaurateurs and it shows in the decor and vibe.
Specialising in smoking, curing and pickling, one of the must-try dishes is The Bowery Boys charcuterie ($21). This selection of house-cured hams, pates and salami is the perfect accompaniment for a glass of red and a perfect light meal.
The serving for this dish is pretty large so good to share amongst 2-3 people.
The Ricotta gnocchi ($22) was another highlight. For those who are unfamiliar with gnocchi, it is essentially small dumplings usually made from potato or semolina. The kale was crisp and had just the right amount of saltiness that cut through the denseness of the gnocchi.
Brussel sprouts are very popular in Australia but I’ve never had them done this way before. Tossed with sesame, honey and apple-smoked bacon, these boys definitely know how to do their brussel sprouts ($14) right.
Address: 5/107 Darby Street, Cooks Hill NSW 2300
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday 5pm to 11pm | Saturday 12noon to 11.30pm | Sunday 12noon to 10pm
12. Blue Door Cafe
The folks behind Blue Door Cafe believe in serving up simple, honest food using only the freshest ingredients.
Their menu is filled with healthy, balanced dishes including cold pressed juices and superfood smoothies that are sure to appeal to the health food junkies amongst us.
This amazing Green breakfast bowl ($22) comes packed with quinoa, poached eggs, mushroom, avocado, haloumi, nuts and lemon. If that isn’t enough, diners also have the option of adding on some extras including smoked salmon ($26) and gluten free toast ($2).
For a hearty healthy breakfast I recommend the Bluedoor breakfast plank ($24). The wild mushroom sausage that came with it was absolutely delicious.
Address: 363-365 Hunter St, Newcastle NSW 2300
Opening Hours: Daily 7am to 3pm
13. The Lucky Hotel
Contrary to its name The Lucky Hotel is not a hotel but rather a restaurant well-known for serving up some of the best slow-cooked dishes around. Think hickory wood smoked meat, smoked at 115 degrees for up to 14 hours. In Newcastle, The Lucky Hotel is the mecca of smoked meats.
Apart from the beautiful courtyard setting, The Lucky Hotel also boasts this unique drum kit chandelier.
The Lucky also has a few signature cocktails that you absolutely have to try. Our favourite was the Lavender lemonade ($16) made with vodka, pomegranate liqueur, lemon, lavender syrup and soda.
Apart from tasting good, their cocktails are served in cute glasses with patterned straws and stirrers that make for the perfect Instagram post. You can also order the cocktail jugs ($30) to share.
Don’t dismiss the humble looking Creole spiced shrimp skewers ($17). The shrimps were fresh and full of flavour, served with a zesty lemon paprika aioli.
It would seriously be a crime NOT to order the Lucky wings ($15). They come in three flavours: hot buffalo, cajun salt or smoky BBQ, with your choice of either blue cheese or ranch dipping sauce.
The wings were succulent and juicy with a charred smoky aftertaste that tells you these wings have been done right.
The star of our meal that evening was hands down the Beef short rib ($28). The meat was so tender it barely needed any effort to peel away from the bone. The beef was encased in aromatic herbs that amazing flavour to the juicy, succulent meat. I have never tasted such amazing beef ribs before in my life.
For those who aren’t feeling like red meat, a good alternative would be the Blackened market fish ($28) on a bed of Cajun rice, served with leaves and Chulo parsley salsa.
Address: 237 Hunter Street, Newcastle NSW 2300
Opening Hours: Weekdays 11am until late | Weekends 8am until late
- Hunter Valley -
The picturesque Hunter Valley is home not only to some of Australia’s best wines; it also serves some of the best food in NSW.
14. Cafe Enzo
When you think Hunter Valley could not be more beautiful, enter Cafe Enzo, a Tuscan-style villa tucked away in an estate in the Hunter with an enchanting courtyard and relaxing surroundings.
The homely interior makes you feel like you’re dining at your nanna’s, making everybody feel right at home. There’s also a cosy fireplace for chilly winter morning or the lawn if it’s sunny outside.
Ham breakfast board - poached eggs, Bershire ham off the bone, avocado, binnorie feta, roast tomato, pistachio red pesto, served with sourdough ($24)
Baked ricotta - baked ricotta with smoked salmon, and cumquat marmalade, served on sourdough ($19)
Their meals are hearty, unpretentious and deliciously simple. At Cafe Enzo you can be sure the produce of the region shines through as true heroes of the dish.
Address: Broke Rd & Ekerts Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 9am to 4pm | Fridays 9am to 5pm | Saturdays 8.30am to 5pm | Sundays 8am to 4pm
15. Bimbadgen Estate
This gem of a winery estate is none other than Bimbadgen, a beautiful compound set in the heart of the Hunter Valley region.
This sprawling estate once played host to the likes of major music stars including Alicia Keys. The grounds are often used for festivals in a more intimate setting with a breathtaking view of the region in the background.
Apart from the cellar door, Bimbadgen is also home to Esca, an award-winning restaurant serving delicious food with attention to every detail. While this is a fine dining restaurant, the food is well worth every penny.
With a menu that changes every season, you know you are always in for a surprise every time you visit Esca.
The soft shell crab ($29) was crispy, light and flavoursome. The compressed cucumber - a fancy way to have your greens - was a refreshing addition to the dish.
I absolutely adored the smoked, buttered line caught fish ($26) that came in the most delicious brown sauce -- creamy, with just a tad of bitterness from the watercress cream.
I’m not one to enjoy foie gras and the like, but this duck liver parfait ($29) was surprisingly light and paired perfectly with the carrot puree and other condiments.
The oxtail hash in the Emerald Valley beef ($43) was delicious,the beef soft and tender. Despite looking like a small serving, it was a very filling dish.
Address: 790 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
Opening Hours: Monday to Tuesday 12noon to 4pm | Wednesday to Saturday 12noon to 9.30pm | Sundays 12noon to 4pm
16. Restaurant Botanica
I’ve saved the best for last.Restaurant Botanica,located within the Spicers estate, will give you a dining experience you simply cannot miss when visiting Wine Country.
The restaurant staff provided amazing service. Even before we sat down for dinner, we were ushered to a lounge in front of a warm crackling fireplace and served a glass of sparkling wine.
Diners can choose to have the Two course experience ($69/person) or the Three course experience ($79/person). Choose from a variety of delicious entrees such as the braised beef cheek with scallop, celeriac and bacon. As an avid fan of all things slow-cooked or braised, I found this dish tender, flavourful and right up my alley. I also particularly loved the little bits of bacon sprinkled on top.
Alternatively, you can try the marinated Balmain bugs with eggplant, tomato, red peppers and spring onion emulsion. These were so fresh and bound to whet the appetite.
I also liked that this restaurant didn’t give any of their dishes fancy names and let the ingredients speak for themselves.
For mains, I’d recommend the Mandangery Creek venison. This also comes served with tortellini, sweet potato, chestnut and brussel sprouts that together form the perfect harmony that is venison melting in your mouth.
For something a little lighter, the ocean trout is the perfect choice. Picture this -- a thick, succulent ocean trout fillet with a thin layer of crisp skin soaked in a delicious brown butter sauce. One bite and I died and went to food heaven.
Milk chocolate, parfait, coffee, orange, fudge Vanilla sabayon, kiwi, lime, buttermilk, cocoa
Passionfruit mousse, granola, passionfruit gel, papaya, coconut
As with all meals it’s important to finish well and Restaurant Botanica definitely does not disappoint with their desserts. I love passionfruit so it was really a no-brainer for me. The passionfruit mousse was light, fluffy and tart but not overwhelmingly so.
Address: 555 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Friday 6pm to 10pm | Weekends 12noon to 10pm
Let The Feasting Begin
Where food is concerned, Sydney and nearby truly has one of the best culinary cultures around. From the traditional to the downright revolutionary, you’ll be sure to find a place at executes it to perfection. Don’t forget to give these food places a try the next time you visit and let us know what you thought!
This post was brought to you by Destination New South Wales.