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Eating Out in Sydney

These are my reviews of places I ate while in Sydney. Surely there are plenty of other great and terrible, cheap and expensive, places to eat, but these are the ones I can honestly review. Check out my reviews and recommendations on the rest of Australia, including Perth and Melbourne.

Five Stars

☆☆☆☆☆ Jimmy’s Recipe Malaysia (Malaysian – CBD, 2 locations) – They claim to have “Sydney’s Best Laksa” and I agree! It  is a great place to get an insanely delicious, filling meal for cheap!

The best laksa in Sydney

☆☆☆☆☆ Mad Cow (Steak – CBD, in The Ivy) – Amazing! Really expensive (I went here with work and it was a sponsored dinner so we went all out with four courses and flowing wine.) I can comment that the wine and cocktails were great and the steak was absolutely spectacular. I had the Wagyu beef, with a +7 marble score, and it was exceptional. I also tried the T-Bone which was incredible as well. The dessert (I got the Valrohna chocolate with raspberry delice) was also to die for. The only downside? The prices, with my steak clocking in at $70 alone.

AMAZING Wagyu steak from Mad Cow

☆☆☆☆☆ Max Brenner Chocolate Cafe (Desserts & More – CBD/Bondi/Manly) – This is by far my favorite chocolate cafe. They offer a good range of options at an acceptable price (a bit expensive but not so much considering it is a more upscale type of cafe) and it’s delicious! My favorite go-to is the Thick Dark Hot Chocolate, a cheaper item that’s still tasty and filling and comes in a fun “Hug Mug”. I’ve heard great things about the fondue but really everything looks amazing!

Hug Mug from Max Brenners Chocolate Cafe

☆☆☆☆☆ Pancakes on the Rocks (Breakfast + More – The Rocks/Darling Harbour) – Two thumbs up! The Devil’s Chocolate Pancakes were absolutely heavenly. This place is always busy and there are tons of sweet and savory pancakes to choose from, as well as burgers, pizza, salads, etc. And with prime locations in The Rocks and Darling Harbour, why not give it a visit? It attracts locals just as much as tourists, and the prices are actually quite reasonable considering. I think it was only $12 or so for the pancakes (and you will be sickeningly full after!).

Incredible Devils Chocolate Pancakes from Pancakes on the Rocks

Four Stars

☆☆☆☆ Burgerz (Australian Burgers – Kings Cross/Potts Point) – We ate here a lot as they often have very cheap deals (buy one get one free, half price, etc.) and really good, personalized burgers (you can pick and choose your toppings and they have plenty to choose from).

☆☆☆☆ Hugo’s (Italian – Kings Cross/Manly) – Despite all I said about disappointing Italian food, there’s a difference when it comes to pizza. I can’t comment on the prices or quality of the food in Manly or in the actual downstairs restaurant (Hugo’s Bar Pizza) but upstairs in the Hugo’s Lounge you can get delicious $5 pizzas (top notch pizzas big enough to serve a few people). Though I should note the Lounge is only open Thursday to Sunday nights. Not only is it a good place for really amazing and cheap pizza, it’s also a good place for a night out. (It’s a place where we spent many a Friday/Saturday night.)

☆☆☆☆ Pontoon Bar (Australian – Darling Harbour) – This is probably one of the cheapest places to eat in Darling Harbour with a menu of “under $10” meals. It gets pretty crowded at lunch time (and at night as a club), and I highly recommend supplementing a day of wandering the area with an order of wedges and a beer at Pontoon.

Delicious wedges and a beer from Pontoon Bar.

Three Stars

☆☆☆ Bourke Street Bakery (Pastries/Bread/Pies/Sandwiches/etc. – Surry Hills) – This place has a long line outside the door every morning (at least on the weekends), and people rave about it. I think it’s maybe a bit overhyped, but the food is good and prices are OK. We each had a meat pie and split a creme brulee which were yummy, but I’m not sure I’d ever wait in line again just to eat there. It is also a bit of a fun place to meet new people and have a chat (or even just people watch).

☆☆☆ Churrasco (Brazilian BBQ – CBD/Coogee) – This place is popular so you should probably make a reservation if you decide to go. The concept and atmosphere is fun (they keep bringing you different meats – and bread, potatoes, rice and other things – until you flip your little green coaster over to red/stop). The food is decent but not amazing (I’ve heard Coogee is better than CBD), but you certainly get plenty of food to get filled up on. At $35 a person it’s a pretty good value for all you can eat and a fun dining experience. I went here with my Dad and we agreed it was fun and different (eating chicken livers and hearts……..) but not exactly on par with Brazil (he says).

Chicken hearts at Churrasco!

☆☆☆ Lindt Chocolate Cafe (Chocolate – Darling Harbour/CBD) – I first went here in 2008 and enjoyed it (especially if you splurge on a real/main dessert), but going again in 2010 I found it to be a bit of a disappointment and very expensive. The milkshakes were not good at all, certainly not worth the exorbitant price. You’re probably better off spending more (a lot more) and getting a cake or other dessert. Max Brenner wins in the Battle of the Chocolate Cafes in my opinion.

☆☆☆ Woolpack Hotel (Australian – Redfern) – I used to go here for lunch with co-workers sometimes. The food is pretty good at a decent price. A bit crowded atmosphere (it’s a pub that gets quite busy at lunchtime) and not the fastest service. But if you want a decent meal in that area under $15 this is the place.

Two Stars

☆☆ Sugaroom (Modern Australian – Pyrmont) – I’d have to say so-so on this one. Again, this was a place I ate at with work and we could spend $60 each, which got a meal, a drink (soda) and dessert. The dessert was quite good, but my main dish (gnocchi) was a bit disappointing. Maybe I’m forever spoiled from all the amazing gnocchi I had in Italy, who knows. The selection is limited and all very fancy/sophisticated (with prices to match), so if that’s your thing you might enjoy it. I believe the crowd favorite was the caramelized pork belly.

One Star

Criniti’s (Italian – Darling Harbour) – Again, maybe I am just picky/spoiled when it comes to Italian food, but this place is very pricey and gives off a fancy/snooty atmosphere while serving up very disappointing dishes. Overall, people rave about the food and restaurants in Sydney so maybe I just had high expectations but I was often disappointed, especially on the Italian front.

Five O’s (Basic Australian – Coogee) – There are a lot of choices here (burgers, steaks, salads, pastas, etc.) and the name is supposed to (at least used to) mean that the meals are $5. Not really. I’m pretty sure the only things that were $5 were the starters and the kid’s meals. Overall, I was unhappy with my meal (some sort of pasta or lasagna) but Oscar got a burger that he enjoyed. I wouldn’t highly recommend it, but if you’re looking for a so-so won’t-break-the-bank meal with views over the ocean that’s not McDonald’s, this is the place.

Oscar recommends:

Dim Sum (Chinatown) – Yes, the name of the place is just Dim Sum. It’s in a cluster of restaurants in Chinatown (wish I could be more specific). It’s cheap and a great late night eat. Get the dumplings!
Mr. Ho’s
(Chinese – CBD) – Very cheap, fast – a lot of food for a low price. But go before 5:00 or everything will be gone!
Puffy (Asian/Custard – World’s Square, CBD) – Get the Portuguese egg tart!
Thainatown (Thai – CBD) – Good food, decent price.


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