Thankfully the days of meat pie and chips as the staple Australian meal have gone. The immigrants from Europe and Asia have brought with them their own culture and cuisine, and the big cities have been the main winners. Sydney is an excellent place to enjoy Italian and Greek cuisine, and a superb place to try other dishes that you may not have had before - Lebanese, Thai and Vietnamese for example. Some of the most popular suburbs for eating out in Sydney include the CBD, Chinatown, Surry Hills, Newtown, Darlinghurst and Manly.
There is a vast array of places to eat in the city - far too many to list here. Sydney has embraced the café culture with open arms, and you would be hard pressed to miss places offering Foccacia, Ciabatta and pitta sandwiches. If you prefer a more traditional sandwich then there are great deli places all over the city where you can pick your bread, stick or bun and choose from a bewildering display of cooked meats and salad. Combine this with a coffee, which may be a "flat white", "café au lait", a "latte", a "long black", "short black", "mochaccino", "cappuccino", and you have got a lot of café etiquette to catch up on.
Fear not though, café owners and restaurateurs are well used to visitors scratching their heads in disbelief at their menu boards, and are happy to translate. They are also almost guaranteed to offer you beetroot with everything. Take a stroll around the city, you will find somewhere that suits you, whether you want to meet people, or sit quietly supping a Mocca and leafing through the Sydney Morning Herald.
Restaurant-wise, Sydney has a lot to offer. With Asia relatively close at hand, places like "The Saigon Metro" (South Vietnamese) 760 George Street, Chinatown, CBD, (02) 9212 3822, are great for extending the breadth of your palate. Your hosts will be happy to guide you through their selection of noodle soups and traditional Vietnamese dishes at this simple but friendly restaurant.
Three inside the Blacket Hotel on the corner of King and George
Streets in the CBD, is an exciting new concept in food and entertainment
with a delicious and extensive menu offering luscious Australian cusine.
Level three is perect for an intimate dinner or just afternoon cocktails.
The chef is Andrew Carrol and prices range from $12 to $20 for an entrée,
and $18 to $28 for a main course and from $10 to $20 for dessert.
Please make use of the voucher for Level Three above, which offers 20% off
your meal. Just click the voucher for more information.
San Marco Cafe is located in the heart of Cockle Bay Wharf, right by
Darling Harbour. The view from the restaurant is spectacular - beautiful
waterfront views accompanied by a relaxing ambience. Specializing in
Italian cuisine, Baia offers an extensive menu catering for everyones
needs with freshly made pasta available on a daily basis. Voucher number 3
brings you a 15% discunt on the cost of your meal at Baia, courtest of
G'day Sydney and the nice folks at Menulog. Just click it for more
If you fancy Lebanese, then Surry Hills' Almustafa Lebanese Restaurant, 276 Cleveland Street (cnr Elizabeth Street), Surry Hills, (02) 9319 5632 is a good bet with a wide selection at good prices. Also the Habibi restaurant on Oxford Street is a great place with belly dancing and floor cushions to boot. Thai food is a big thing in Sydney, and usually at an extremely good price. Newtown is awash with Thai places on King Street, and "Thai Potong", Shop 4, 294-298 King Street, Newtown (02) 9550 6277 is the pick of the bunch. Established for more than 10 years, this restaurant has rightly earned many plaudits and won a number of awards. Best of all, the prices remain at a down to earth price.
Melbourne is the Greek capital of the Southern Hemisphere, but Sydney's "Hellenic Club", 251-253 Elizabeth Street, CBD, (02) 9264 5128, weighs in rather well with it's roots going back to the 1920s.
There is great food at a good price, coupled with the experience of sweeping views across Hyde Park and authentic bouzouki music. For a taste of Africa, why not take the trip to Manly and check out the Moroccan fayre at "Out of Africa", 43-45 East Esplanade, Manly, (02) 9977-0055. Great vegetarian, Hare Krishna food is available at "Govindas", 112, Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst, (02) 9380 5155, and here there is the added bonus of what is probably Australia's most laid-back cinema upstairs where you can lounge about on cushions, sofas and beds after a good feed downstairs. Great fun!
In short, Sydney is a fusion of cultures and cuisine, and you would certainly do yourself a disservice if you only sample the fayre in the hotel restaurant - get out and discover what the city has to offer your palate!