If you love good food and wine, you'll find Sydney has some of the best streets in Australia where there is a wide choice of dining experiences, and your palate will be tempted by flavours from around the world. 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, specialising in almost any cuisine.
At Darling Harbour there are restaurants of every variety all along the waterfront. Visit the Sydney Fish Markets in Pyrmont (within walking distance of Darling Harbour) for a lunch of fresh seafood of almost any description. For a seafood lunch at the fish markets, there are cafes and restaurants that can be a bit pricey, or you can go directly to one of the many fishmongers. Pick out the best freshly shucked oysters, cooked Balmain Bug or lobster tails, glistening prawns and sashimi. Take it out to tables outside and enjoy getting your hands dirty. Otherwise, head upstairs to Fisherman s Wharf Chinese Restaurant for some wonderful Cantonese seafood or yum cha.
Chinatown, Haymarket, City
Sydney has its Chinatown, located in Central Sydney at the Haymarket end, within walking distance of Central Station, and at the southern end of Darling Harbour. Dixon Street is the main thoroughfare. Yum cha in Chinatown is very good, arguably even better than Hong Kong since many of their best chefs moved to Sydney in the 1990s. Yum Cha is an entire meal comprising many small dishes called dim sum (Mandarin: dian xin). It s similar to Spanish tapas in serving style- but the food moves in roving, heated trolleys around the restaurant. Yum cha is very popular and queues form on weekends. Go early (11am noon) or be prepared to wait. Noodle markets are also held in Chinatown every Friday, starting from around 5:30PM. Many Chinatown restaurants hold open-air stalls, selling everything from finger food, to stir-fry noodles, to Chinese-style desserts.
Liverpool Street, City
Sydney s Little Spain is squeezed into 100 metres of Liverpool Street in the city between George and Sussex Streets. It all began with the opening of the Spanish Club here in 1962 and Sydney s Spanish Quarter has grown in leaps and bounds from this humble beginning. The the area is quite small, there is plenty of choice for the diner, with Tapas Bars, spicy Iberian cuisine, paellas, red wine, not to mention dancing and live Spanish music on weekends. Liverpool Street is a short walk from Town Hall Station on the City Circle.
This historic area is unique as it is here that tourists and locals mingle happily together, neither feeling they are on the other one s turf, as can so often happen in what are essentially tourist precincts. Its famous cobblestones and convict era buildings regularly come alive for visitors of all ages and tastes. The Rocks is known for its high-class restaurants, historic pubs, rustic cafes and curio shops selling Australiana. The Rocks Friday night markets are thriving and street festivals devoted to music, coffee, beer, and more activate throughout the year. Local artisans sell their independent wares from pop-up shops while troubadours busk on the street corners. It is common for patrons the nearby Opera House and Walsh Bay theatres to stop by The Rocks for an after show meal, and a little conversation, catching up with friends and fellow show goers. With billion dollar views taking in the Harbour, Opera House and Harbour bridge and ferry, bus and train connections close by, its easy to see why the place is so popular.
Circular Quay is one of Sydney s favourite destinations for visitors, with the Sydney Opera House, The Rocks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Botanical Gardens all together in one panoramic vista. Day or night there are eateries open to suit every palate and budget, from the fast food of the take-away snack bars on the ferry wharves, to the high class and often pricey, upmarket restaurants on East Circular Quay, in the Opera House itself or around the International Passenger Terminal on the west side that take full advantage of that fabulous view. Then there are the many places in-between these two extremes, most of which are scattered around the Quay s perimeter, where you can grab a quick bite to eat on your way home, relax with a cup of coffee as you take a well earned rest from exploring, or enjoy a meal at a cafe before going to a show or concert.
The restaurants in this area that are expensive tend to be those with a view, and most who frequent them do so more for the view than the quality of the food. There are (pricey) exceptions, however, such as cafe Sydney, Aria and Sailors Thai. The delicious food and stunning views justify the prices people are happy to pay at these highly rated dining destinations.
Military Road, Mosman
Nestled in a tree-lined cove off Sydney Harbour, Mosman is an affluent neighbourhood with residents who take shopping (and window shopping) very seriously. Mosman shopping centre is located along Military Road, which features many boutiques, cafe
s and restaurants. The shopping centre extends from the intersection with Bradley's Head Road and Middle Head Road, continues north up past the intersection with Spit Road at Spit Junction. It continues for some distance along both Spit Road and Military Road and extends down some of the side streets. The early 20th century shopping strip along Military Road has been identified as a conservation area. The awnings along the street were originally column-supported.
Willoughby Road, Crows Nest
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 cafe
s and restaurants, and a short after dinner stroll will take you by some of the best views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
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.
King Street, Newtown
Newtown is one of the most ethnically diverse and colourful areas of Sydney. Due in no small degree to it being on the doorstep of the University of Sydney, it is an enclave of alternative art, an ethnic eatery paradise and a hub of commercial activity. It is all a far cry from the small village settled nearby two centuries ago to service the many farms in the area. Newtown s ethnic diversity was birthed in the early years of the 19th century when a number of German and Italian shopkeepers set up business along King Street. After World War I a significant Eastern European Jewish community developed here and significantly influenced the cosmopolitan and Bohemian direction the area would take.
Today Newtown boasts a huge range of specialty corner shops selling novelty gifts, souvenirs, hard-to-find music and clothing, interspersed by eateries as diverse as Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Greek, Spanish, Italian, Middle Eastern, African, Serbian, Polish and Nepalese cuisines, not to mention Sydney s highest concentration of Thai eateries. This area isn't touristy, but popular with students from the nearby Sydney University. Newtown is located 4km from the City Centre on the Western Railway line.
Norton Street, Leichhardt
If you love all things Italian from handmade pasta, freshly ground coffee, and seasonal gelati to stylish shoes, then Leichhardt s Norton Street is for you. Sydney s Little Italy , Norton Street is lined with delis, cafes and cake shops. Casual dining is the focus here at cafes such as Bar Italia, Bar Sport and Berkelouw. Leichhardt is the yearly host of the Italian Festa on Norton Street where local traffic is temporarily closed on Norton and neighbouring streets transforming surroundings into a huge European style outdoor cafe, celebrating Leichhardt's cultural diversity with an International Food Fair, gift stalls, community expos and live entertainment throughout the day. Leichhardt is also known for its cafe culture with cafes in abundance. The oldest cafe in the area is Cafe Sport, which is located on Norton Street.
Cleveland Street, Redfern
Sydney s earliest Lebanese migrants pioneered the shopping and dining strip on Cleveland Street where Redfern meets Surry Hills. These days, the Lebanese community to made its home there has moved on into Sydney s west (Punchbowl and Campsie) but many of their grocery stores and restaurants remain. These days they have been joined by Turkish, Thai, French, Indian, Pakistani, Japanese and Nepalese restaurants which together offer a smorgasbord of generally inexpensive cuisine from a variety of places and cultures around the globe.
Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
Located 2km east of the Sydney Central Business District, Oxford Street is today one of Sydney s most lively, dynamic and most famous thoroughfares. Lined with fascinating shops of every size, kind and description, it also has bars, hotels and nightclubs on its night strip . Oxford Street, between Crown and South Dowling Streets, is where you ll find a plethora of fine and mostly inexpensive restaurants covering just about every type of cuisine imaginable. The annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of the main events of the street.
Glebe Point Road, Glebe
Whether you come on Saturday morning to fossick though the dozens of stalls the Glebe Markets, pop by during the day to wander up and down and window shop, or for lunch or an evening meal at one of the many eateries along it, Glebe Point Road is always an aesthetic delight. Visitors from neighbouring suburbs, inter-staters and backpackers from overseas, mingle with its eclectic of residents old working class dwellers, artists and yuppies enjoying together the village atmosphere that embues this inner-Western suburb.
Just east of the city is Woolloomooloo Wharf is a haven of serenity away from the bustle of the city centre nearby. Located just a short walk from the city (on the other side of the Domain from Macquarie Street behind the Sydney Hospital), the redeveloped finger wharf boasts fantastic views across the harbour and several upscale restaurants, including excellent steak, Chinese, Italian and seafood restaurants. Perfect for lunch on a sunny day. There are also a number of cafe
s on the wharf and if you wander a little further afield into Woolloomooloo itself, you ll come more cafe
s, the iconic Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel and Harry s cafe
De Wheels, where its famous pie floater is the signature dish.
Crown Street, Surry Hills
To the east of the city, Surry Hills was once the home to Sydney s rag trade, now it is the Sydney's trendiest suburb among the Inner Suburbanites. Crown Street, between Oxford and Cleveland Streets, has a large range of funky cafes, small bars, pubs, patisseries and restaurants. Like nearby Darlinghurst (with its Victoria Street cafe
strip), Surry Hills has it all, from cheap Asian take-aways 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. Crown and nearby Bourke Streets, not to mention the Surry Hills Markets, are the place to go for some seriously cool vintage clothing.
New Canterbury Road, Petersham
The Inner West suburb of Petersham has a reputation of being Sydney's Little Portugal . Most of the action is focused around the corner of New Canterbury Road and Stanmore Road, where you'll catch the fragrance of charcoal-grilled Portugeuese chicken, the sweet aroma of Portuguese pastries and the strains of fado (the traditional Portuguese ballad) wafting through the air. As well as traditional restaurants and cafe
s, you ll find cake shops, busy delicatessens and retail and foods shops that bring the traditions of Portugal to the streets of Sydney.
Beamish Street, Campsie
Following the settlement of many Korean families in Campsie and the surrounding district in the 1980s, the once dilapidated suburb of Campsie has gained the title of Korean Town. Beamish Street today is a hive of activity, with Korean restaurants, grocery stores, supermarkets, offices and business premises predominant in what is still a relatively cosmopolitan shopping street. The Korean community has done much to make and keep the place looking clean and tidy and it is not uncommon to see busloads of Korean tourists visiting the area from time to time. There are about 20 Korean eating places in and around Beamish Street, as well as grocery stores and butcher shops.
John Street, Cabramatta
The western Sydney suburb of Cabramatta is the focal point of Vietnamese settlement of Australia, and the unoffical capital. Cabramatta is particularly fascinating and worthy of a day trip just to wander around and take in the atmosphere. 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. The Vietnamese population of 25,000 people who live in the immediate vicinity have turned Cabramatta into a thriving showpiece of culture and commence. Every Sunday there is an influx of over 15,000 people who come to enjoy this cultural experience. John Street is the focal point of the Vietnamese cultural experience in Cabramatta.
Anzac Parade, Kingsford
In a relatively short time, Kingsford has been transformed from being a relatively nondescript suburb, into an area dotted with good Indonesian and Malaysian restaurants, coffee shops, take-aways and by some of the best well-stocked Asian shops in Sydney. The change came about as a result of an influx of students from all over Asia attending the University of New South Wales, which is located in the suburb. It was the obvious place for these students to settle, being close to the University as well as the city, and serviced by good public transport. Anzac Parade, from Kensington right through to Marboubra, is now known for its quality, budget priced restaurants and the place to go for nasi goreng, laksa, or gado dado as well as Thai, Malay and Chinese cuisine. That section of Anzac Parade between the University and the Gardeners Road roundabout in particular has become a meeting place for south east Asian students. Further south, in the main shopping area of Maroubra centred around the intersection of Anzac Parade and Maroubra Road, there are a further 20 or so restaurants specialising in the cuisines of South East Asia.
Haldon Street, Lakemba
There are numerous Lebanese communities scattered throughout the south and south west of Sydney, Harris Park and Arncliffe being the first to be established. Sunni Muslims began arriving in Sydney in the late 1970s, establishing a small Sunni Muslim community in the suburb of Lakemba which grew into the Middle Eastern enclaves found today at Greenacre, Lakemba and surrounding surburbs on the Bankstown railway line. Because of the diverse localities of the Lebanese communities, you ll find restaurants serving Lebanese cuisine at any of these localities, though Lakemba is generally acknowledged as having the widest choice. Haldon Street boasts some unpretentious Lebanese eateries where you can dine cheaply and well. Lebanese Christians pioneered the multicultural eateries on Cleveland Street, Redfern. Though the communities that established them moved away to Campsie and Punchbowl in the 1970s, their eateries and shop remained, and were joined by Turkish, Thai, French, Indian, Pakistani, Japanese and Nepalese restaurants and shops.
Illawarra Road, Marrickville
Marrickville prides itself as an example of peaceful ethnic coexistence, which shows itself off annually at the Marrickville Multicultural Festival. This magnificent showcase of tolerance and understanding takes over Marrickville and Illawarra Roads on the third Saturday of September every year. Throughout the year those two streets reflect the cosmopolitan nature of Marrickville, with Greek, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Turkish and Lebanese restaurants and shops lining them. The eatieres are almost without exception no frills establishments where the food is tasty and fresh, and the languages you ll hear spoken, other than English, will be either Greek, or Portuguese, Mandarin or Arabic.
Campbell Street, Bondi
Many overseas visitors come to Bondi only to see its famous beach, not realising until they get there that there is far more to Bondi than its famous 1km strip of golden sand. One of the main appeals of Bondi to those who live there and the many from surrounding areas who come there to relax and unwind, is its cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic nature, which is reflected in the variety of eateries on Campbell Parade and surround streets that make up the Bondi shopping area. The Jewish presence constitutes the most distinctive ethnic aspect of Bondi. Polish and Russian Jews began moving into the area in the early years of the 20th century and their influence is still evident, both in the wide usage of Russian as the second most spoken language of the area, and in the presence of Russian, Polish and kocher eateries. New Zeelanders, Britons, South Africans, Hungarians and Chinese have also been drawn to establish themselves as part of the local community of the years, and their influence on the eateries here is also evident.
Bondi Road, Bondi
After soaking up the atmosphere of Bondi Beach, why not take a look at another equally interesting side of Bondi. Above the south-western end of Bondi Beach, Campbell Parade take a turn to the west into Bondi Road, which is one of the most interesting suburban streets in Sydney. Take a stroll along Bondi Road and you are in a different world. The Russian influence is obvious in the shops that line this picturesque street a visit to the Hungarian Wellington Cake Shop is a must. The street boasts some of the finest examples of the architectural styles of the Federation era the Free Classical style Waverley Council Chambers, Federation era cottages and Victorian terraces with characteristic wrought iron balconies. The east end of Bennett Street is a shopping strip that includes older shops and dwellings in a mixture of Federation and Victorian styles, plus conspicuous influence of the Arts and Crafts style.