What to eat in Sydney, Australia
Prices in Sydney’s restaurants vary.
Newtown in Sydney’s inner-west (approx. 4km from the CBD) is renowned for its inexpensive cafes and restaurants on King St, in particular Thai food. It is highly popular among students from the nearby Sydney University.
For an Asian bent, head to Chinatown for authentic Asian cheap eats. As well as restaurants, there are numerous food courts scattered throughout Chinatown packed with Asian eateries where the rock bottom priced food (but no less tasty) can be found.
Cafés serving breakfast start opening at 06:00 and breakfast is usually served until 11:00 or, occasionally, all day. Orders for lunch start at about noon and continue until about 15:00. Many cafes will start closing late afternoon, although a few may remain open for dinner.
Restaurants usually open for dinner around 17:00-18:00 and while there are exceptions (usually concentrated in areas with active nightlife), last orders for dinner are typically taken around 22:00. Restaurants in business areas open for lunch as well. It’s common for restaurants in suburban locations to sometimes be closed on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday nights.
It is more expensive to get a sit down meal in the evening, than it is for lunch.
In Darling Harbor there are restaurants of every variety all along the waterfront. East Circular Quay in the City Centre is similar, along with the International Passenger Terminal on the west of Circular Quay – however many of the restaurants in this area are expensive and loved more for the view than the quality of the food.
Circular Quay / the Rocks have many pubs to choose from which serve meals. The Australian Hotel serves local specialties such as crocodile pizza.
In the east of the city, Victoria Street in Darlinghurst and Crown Street in Surry Hills (between Oxford and Cleveland Streets) has a large range of funky cafes, small bars, pubs, patisseries and restaurants. Darlinghurst and Surry Hills has it all, from cheap Asian take-away to high-end restaurants. Many trendy restaurants in this area don’t take bookings; often you wait at the bar for a table. These suburbs are popular with hipsters, yuppies and the gay community.
Just east of the city is Woolloomooloo Wharf which boasts a fantastic view across the harbor and several upmarket restaurants, including excellent steak, Chinese, Italian and seafood restaurants. Perfect for lunch on a sunny day.
King Street, Newtown, centered on the railway station, has a constantly changing selection of good value restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars. You can find many various types of cuisine here; mainly cheap Thai, but also Vietnamese, Italian, Turkish, Japanese and modern Australian. This area isn’t touristy, but popular with students from the nearby Sydney University. The area has its own alternative style, which makes for great people watching.
On the Lower North Shore Willoughby Road at Crows Nest, has honest and consistently good Indian, Japanese, Thai, steak, a handful of small bars. Military Road through Cremorne and Neutral Bay have a smattering of decent restaurants, mostly Japanese. Kirribilli has a few nice cafes and restaurants, and a short after dinner stroll will take you by some of the best views of the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
Within Norton Street, Leichardt, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes for dining out. Check out Norton Street for classic Italian, and explore surrounding suburbs of Annandale and Glebe for amazing brunch locations.
Parramatta, to the west, has an eating strip, many with alfresco options. Harris Park nearby is Sydney’s Little India with a good number of very affordable, authentic Indian restaurants.
In the North West district, Castle Hill has many restaurants on Terminus St as well as at “The Piazza” which is adjacent to Castle Towers shopping centre and features a pleasant, lively atmosphere with a fountain in the centre of the ring of restaurants.
Thanks to Sydney’s (or rather, Australia‘s) multicultural mix, “modern Australian” is usually characterized by a fusion of cuisines. Think entrées spiced with a Thai-inspired chili dressing, mains with a hint of a Chinese-style ginger-based marinade or sunny Tuscan flavors- all in the same menu. Many of Australia’s celebrity chefs are of ethnic backgrounds, and many have trained overseas, bringing with them a world of experience back home.
Hit a steakhouse and try Australia’s world-famous prime Angus beef.
For those who are after authentic multicultural culinary experiences, there are unique “food districts” scattered around the greater city. The range of food available is huge and isn’t necessarily expensive. It is usually possible to find a restaurant of any nationality, specializing in almost any cuisine.
Eat Chinese (Cantonese) in Chinatown Chatswood on the North Shore. “Noodle markets” are also held in Chinatown every Friday, starting from around 17:30. Many Chinatown restaurants hold open-air stalls, selling everything from finger food, to stir-fry noodles, to Chinese-style desserts. For more northern Chinese flavors, including Shanghainese and Pekingnese, head to Ashfield and Strathfield in the Sydney/Inner West- both easily accessible via public transport. Some outer suburbs are particularly known for their Chinese restaurants – recommended examples are Eastwood (north-west), Parramatta (west) and Hurstville in Sydney’s southern suburbs which all have a number of restaurants offering more home-style Chinese food. They are all accessible by public transport.
Eat Uyghur on Dixon Street, Haymarket (Chinatown)- fiery, flavor-bursting food originating from the Turkic regions of Central Asia.
Eat Thai in one of the many low priced Thai outlets in Newtown’s King Street in the Inner West, or around “Thaitown” in the city (around Campbell St, near Chinatown).
Eat Italian in one of the restaurants in Leichhardt’s Norton Street, or nearby Ramsay Street, Haberfield in the Inner West, or in Stanley St in East Sydney – a walk from the CBD.
Eat Spanish in Liverpool Street in the city.
Eat Portuguese in Petersham in the Inner West.
Eat Brazilian at La Favela, Bondi.
Eat Indian in one of the many restaurants in the Outer West with all types of Indian cuisine (North Indian, South Indian, Vegetarian, meat, etc.)
Eat Korean in Liverpool & Pitt St in City, Strathfield, Eastwood and Campsie.
Eat Japanese in Neutral Bay or Crows Nest.
Eat Nepalese in Glebe Point Road, Glebe, in the Inner West or Crows Nest.
Eat Turkish in Auburn (Outer West). Closer to the city, there try Enmore Rd Enmore / South King St Newtown in the Inner West. Get your Sucuklu and Pastirmali here.
Eat Lebanese in Cleveland Street. Baba Ghanouj, Lahem Begin and Baclawa here. Salam Alaikum. For the very best Lebanese, head out to the Middle Eastern enclaves of Greenacre or Lakemba.
Eat Vietnamese in Marrickville. The most authentic Vietnamese can be experienced in Cabramatta or Bankstown. If you have the time, Cabramatta particularly is a fascinating and worthwhile day trip. So awash is the suburb with Vietnamese restaurants groceries, butchers, craft shops, clothing stores and restaurants – not to mention Vietnamese people – you’d swear you were walking around Saigon rather than Sydney.
Eat Kosher in Bondi. Many great restaurants are throughout the area.
Eat Indonesian in Anzac Parade, Kensington, Kingsford & Maroubra.
Take away food in Sydney can be as cheap as buying the ingredients and making it yourself, and many stores specialize in take-away food. There will usually be a picnic table, park or beach nearby to eat whatever you can select. Quintessential Aussie takeaways include the meat pie (minced beef with gravy sauce in a crusty pastry shell), sausage roll (sausage mince in a puff pastry casing), usually topped generously with tomato sauce/ketchup, and fish and chips (inherited from the British to be sure but loved by all Australians).
Vegetarians are well catered for. Every restaurant will usually have at least one vegetarian dish. Indian restaurants can be relied upon to provide a wider selection. The trendy East Sydney and Inner West suburbs have many choices, Cabramatta in the western suburbs have many Asian Buddhist cuisine restaurants that are vegan and vegetarian.
There is an awareness of gluten-free and dairy-free diets in Sydney, the trendier inner city suburbs are more likely to cater for these diets.
It seems every weekend; there is a food festival on in one of the suburbs of Sydney. Usually the idea is that restaurants take part, providing smaller portions of their signature dishes
The largest food festival, the Sydney International Food Festival, which showcases Sydney’s food culture, is in October, which includes the night noodle markets operating in Hyde Park in the City Centre