Sydney's Restaurant Scene
Sydney’s dining scene has gone stellar in the past decade or so, embracing cuisines as far ranging as Greek, Chinese and Middle Eastern, although “Mod Oz” cooking—innovative takes using fresh local ingredients with a nod to classic French technique—still reigns. It’s possible to eat better in Sydney than just about any other city on earth; visitors are often astounded by the creativity of the chef’s and the quality and choice of produce available. Prices have risen right along with the quality of the food and the regional wines—expect to pay around $200 a person at top tables. Even at more casual restaurants, you may be shocked by the prices, which are effected in part by the high labor costs.
But typical Aussie anti-pretension still reigns at the most expensive restaurants, so you will notice a very casual dress code, including diners in shorts and sandals. In another nod to Australia’s deeply egalitarian mindset, some of the most popular spots, such as Longrain and Billy Kwong, refuse to take reservations. Sydneysiders, who swap dining opinions and tips with the same zeal that Europeans reserve for football, will stand patiently in line for a meal that’s worth the wait.
And all the action isn’t harborside. Increasingly, some of the most interesting restaurants are popping up in developing neighborhoods and leafy suburbs. While servers in Australia are paid far more generously than their American counterparts, tipping is common, especially at the pricier establishments (10 percent is customary).
Among Melissa’s favorite Sydney restaurants:
Icebergs: at Bondi for unforgettable views and ambiance
Bather’s Pavilion: for beachfront dining
Sailors Thai: for fantastic Thai food
Tetsuya: for true foodies, this is a pilgrimage worth making
Rockpool: for understanding Mod Oz food
FAMILY FRIENDLY Since few restaurants in Sydney are truly formal, it is easy to find family-friendly ones but among our favorites:
Hugo’s at Manly Wharf
Ripples at Milson Point
Bather’s Pavilion’s casual café
Aqua Dining (because Luna Park can be the dessert course)
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