Traveling to Australia? Check out this Sydney Food Guide with suggestions for restaurants to try on your visit.
If you’ve known me for any amount of time, you probably know that Australia is #1 one my travel bucket list. Today, I’m introducing y’all to Sarah, American-born and Australia-living. She’ll be sharing a Sydney food guide with all of her favorite restaurants around Sydney, Australia (and I’ll definitely be going back to this post when I finally dish out the money for a plane ticket to the land down under).
As the largest city in the massive 7.6 million km² country, Sydney has developed quite a major food scene, catering to all kinds of characters that gather here. No matter what kind of tastes you’re seeking, atmospheres you’d like to be immersed in, or dietary restrictions you adhere to, you can find it in Sydney. You just need to know where to look and what to look for. That’s what this list is for, to help guide you to the places worth visiting.
THE ITALIAN BOWL
It’s only fair that I start this article with one of my favorites, both in cuisine and location. The trendy suburb of Newtown is known for its plethora of unique places to eat, and niche places to shop. Amongst upcycled clothing and endless quirky bars, this small pasta palace is always lively.
It isn’t uncommon to see a line filtering out the door at The Italian Bowl. Unless you’re willing to wait at least twenty minutes to get in the door, do not go here during busy periods (weekends in general I’d avoid). But if patience, or at least a keen attraction to good food, is under your tool belt, the humble bowls of pasta are well worth the wait.
Ordering your food is pretty simple: you choose any pasta you want, and then any sauce.
My favorite is easily the Penne Bolognese, but I’m a sucker for a good meat sauce, and I can’t stand the slurping of spaghetti.
Along with their pasta, they offer risottos, chicken, salads, and, of course, garlic breads. Whether you like pesto or puttanesca, The Italian Bowl chefs will leave your tastebuds buzzing.
LENTIL AS ANYTHING
Even avid meat-eaters can find something delicious at Lentil As Anything. When made mindfully, plant-based, vegan foods can be appealing to both the eye and the stomach.
Lentil As Anything is a dynamic, friendly place in Newtown.
With its open floor plan and constantly changing menu, it’s a local vegan gem. And as it’s right next to Holey Moley—another trendy venue with an internet-famous putt putt course—you can go play putt putt while drinking cocktails after your meal! Talk about a night to remember.
Beyond the food and atmosphere, Lentil As Anything is a brand to remember.
Active in projects across Australia, the restaurant advocates for all kinds of socioeconomic issues, not exclusively veganism. Furthermore, Lentil is non-profit. Not that questionable non-profit with embezzling from the CEO, but real non-profit: they’re completely run by donations.
None of the menu items have prices, and you pay what you believe the food is worth.
In short, Lentil As Anything isn’t only offering delicious food at delicious prices, they’re making a stand in order to make the world a better place.
You can find out more about Lentil As Anything and their missions here.
FRANKIE’S BY THE SLICE
Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice is a world-famous venue just a short walk from Martin Place train station. It’s known for rambunctious, sweaty live shows, attracting major celebrities, and even shooting a porno on its bar top once.
…Let’s just hope they’ve deep cleaned it at least 20 times since then.
My first time visiting, Iggy Azalea was across the bar, five feet from where I stood.
Hardly passing as a place to eat and more of a place to get the rowdiest of rowdy, Frankie’s is a place for all of you rock’n’rollers, crash queens and motor babies.
Take a step away from the typical clubs, the overpriced cocktails, and a crowd of people trying to act cooler than they will ever be.
Instead, dive into Frankie’s. Chow on a cheap slice of pizza, skol a vodka apple juice served to you in a plastic cup, and play a game of pinball, all while rock & metal favorites blast throughout the bar.
More than the pizza, strict no-cocktail policy, and abundant reputation, however, the people-watching at Frankie’s is insanely entertaining.
You’ll find anyone from the long-haired, 40-something year-old regulars, to men in tight suits and women in expensive jewelry at Frankie’s. Of course, there’s also the regular thrum of hippies, off-duty strippers, and normies, too.
If you’re someone who thinks they won’t feel at home at Frankie’s, don’t fret. You won’t be the only one.
In order to avoid sitting here all day, I’ve compiled all my burger recommendations in one part of this post.
Typically, it’s hard to find a good, American-inspired burger in another country. Fortunately, Australians seem to love the American culture, and there’s plenty of venues throughout to cater to my tastes.
Here’s a quick list of my favorite venues:
Down N’ Out: A popular place for foodies in Sydney, but the only reason I heard about them is because of their Pokémon Burgers. I actually ate a Bulbasaur Burger. It changed my life. While the burger itself wasn’t anything exceptional, it was an innovative idea. I’d go back for more trendy burgers.
Holy Heffa: Food trucks are everywhere around Australia. I like to think of food trucks as pop-up restaurants: most times you don’t expect to see them. Holy Heffa, alternately, is a consistent food truck with an inconsistent menu. I like the constant change, it keeps things fresh. My favorite thing about Holy Heffa is sitting on a milk crate at a palette table.
Thick, greasy, ooey-gooey burgers for less than $15? $5 Ferrero Rocher Milkshakes?! Sign me up!
Bar Luca: I had no issue waiting forty-five minutes for a table at Bar Luca, and plenty of other people don’t, either. BL has the best burgers in Sydney, and it is attested for. The burgers are hand-crafted, full of grease, and flavorful. I hardly had the stomach to eat the entire Blame Canada; fries in a burger is just too many carbs for my small belly. I was remorseful putting it down. I cursed my small stomach that day.
Cheeky Burger: While there are burgers, Cheeky Burger sells the one thing I struggled to find for so long in Australia: hotdogs. But worry not, for at Cheeky Burger you can find the hotdog trio of love: a simple frankfurt, a messy cheesy dog, and a loaded chili-cheese dog. If you’re not as keen on hotdogs as I am, there’s always the burgers, philly cheesesteaks, and salads, too.
Chicken and Sons: Last on this list is a place for all you chicken burger-loving folk. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of chicken burgers, but that didn’t stop me from visiting Chicken and Sons. I tried The Royale With Cheese (who can deny a Pulp Fiction reference?), and wasn’t disappointed. It was a brisket patty, so it wasn’t chicken. The chicken burgers did look preeeeetty good, though. Add a side of Mac & Cheese chips (fries) and your mouth will be singing!
Any time is Doughnut Time!
With doughnut names like the Slim Shady, the OG, and Sia Later, Doughnut Time was a big hit from it’s very beginning. Since then, it’s grown huge. You’ll find Doughnut Times all over the country. If you’re lucky—or smart—you’ll pop in during a holiday, and find an limited time doughnut, such as a red velvet doughnut for Valentine’s Day, or a rainbow doughnut for Mardi Gras.
Personally, I like my dessert simple. But if you’re the type to go all-out for your sweet tooth, spend the extra dollar to get a filled doughnut. We’re talkin’ Nutella or lemon cheesecake filled doughnuts.
If you want something on trend, get dough-naughty and try You’re Bacon Me Crazy. Bacon on doughnuts shouldn’t work, but it does so much.
Warning: Be prepared to shell out $6 per doughnut.
WOK ON INN
When I lived in the bustling suburb of Zetland, I was lucky enough to live close to a shopping center.
After a long night out on in the city, it was heaven to come home to the sound of shops opening, food cooking, and coffee roasting. (You know those nights where you’re just going to have to tough out the next day, sleepless? Plenty of those in Sydney.)
Of all the restaurants, Wok on Inn had the best price for the best quality.
Punny name aside, the Thai-inspired food was always cooked fresh and always cooked quickly. While dine-in was an option, living so close by, I usually would opt for take away.
With savory snacks like Spicy Chicken Dumplings and Chili Squid served with Sriracha Mayonnaise, and delicious ‘Street Food’ like Pad Thai or Mee Goreng, there was nothing on the menu to dislike.
For one of the first times in my life, I had a consistent dish somewhere.
Part of the Signature Street Food, the Korean BBQ Noodles were a nonstop delicacy. What kept Wok On Inn fresh is the ability to choose a new meat (or veggies for vegetarians) every time. When there was a shortage of prawns in Sydney, I’d simply opt for roasted veggies or chicken.
Forever fresh, forever enticing.
Located inside one of the coolest venues in Sydney, Hudson Ballroom, Belly Bao is the ultimate dose of fulfilling snack to keep your party mode persevering.
At its simplest, a bao is a steamed bun with the filling of your choice: slow braised pork, panko crumbed chicken breast, crispy tofu, crackling roast pork, soft shelled crab, or slow braised beef. As they fit nicely in the palm of your hand, you can order however many you need.
Feel like you need something more? How about their original Baoger? Or give a try to their innovative, handmade Bao Noodles, available in onion or spicy, both vegan friendly!
Belly Bao can also be found on King Street, in Newtown.
PANCAKES ON THE ROCKS
If you’re used to IHOP, you’ve never known a pancake’s true potential.
While Pancakes on the Rocks doesn’t limit themselves to pancakes alone, they specialize in creative, surprising short stacks. In fact, you may as well count your trip to Pancakes as a dessert trip; the Nutella, Lemon Meringue, and Coco Berry stacks are enough sweetness to border sickening.
If you’ve got an undecided group, Pancakes on the Rocks is always a good option! Along with pancakes, you’ll find gourmet pizzas, salads, steaks, and delectable sticky ribs.
Seated along Darling Harbor or The Rocks (there’s actually a suburb named ‘The Rocks’), you’ll have a Instagram-worthy meal with a divine view.
Dessert for dinner, anyone?
In conclusion, Sydney’s packed full of venues that cater to every character, diet, and age group. Be sure to keep a keen eye on Good Food’s annual Sydney drinking and dining list.
What’s your favorite ambiance to dine in?