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Encasa Tapas Bar: Cheerful tapas: Encasa
Cheerful and very popular Tapas Bar in the southern part of central Sydney down towards Central Station in 'Backpackers Domain'. It's big, it's loud, simple, unpretentious decor but subtle it ain't. No fine dining, but generous portions make this popular with backpackers, office workers, families.
Lots of familiar tapas - meatballs, patatas bravas, artichokes, grilled/sizzling prawns of various flavours, meat dishes galore as starters or mains plus plenty of pizza toppings with a Spanish bent.
I've read some rave reviews of Encasa. Personally, I wouldn't go that far - 'powdery' tomatoes in the salads, slightly overcooked prawns, lima beans etc but it's not a bad and cheap option for big groups or even a small, quick dinner place.
But book in advance - or get there at 6pm and be prepared to give back the table at 7/7.30pm
- or arrive at 9.30pm
Favorite Dish: The artichoke tapas.
Giovanni's: Pizza Snack
This was one of those places we came upon when we were hungry. Luckily for us, it was good and warm on a day of cold winds. We did have to wait for them to open up at 5pm but it was only a couple minutes before when we arrived. We had been out and about all day and needed a break and some food and didn’t want to eat where we were meeting friends at 530. So we decided to walk back up George to see what we found. And after a few blocks came across Giovanni’s.
Once inside, we took a table over by the window looking down George Street and took a look at the menu. As usual on this trip we were not drinking with dinner. There would be enough of that to come at Ryan’s later. Anyway, we quickly decided on the Libra Pizza as the purpose of the trip was a birthday now just hours away. This turned out to be quite good and we rather enjoyed it.
Something tells me we will make this a pit stop on one of our future trips here.
PJ O'Brien's: PJ O'Brien's
PJ O’Brien’s is one of the places I would hang out when I was here in 2005. My latest visit had us stop in here for a pub dinner. A nice multi level bar in the famous Grace Hotel they also serve a decent menu.
For dinner this day we both went simply with the burger. For about $15 each they offer up a decent burger easily paired with a schooner of your favorite beer.
This is also a place to watch sports from around the world all day long.
Musashi: Queues round the block for great Japanese
This came highly recommended by a Sydney-based friend, although with the understanding that they do not take bookings and most nights of the week you have to queue for a table. But on this particular night, 3 of us struck it lucky and bagged a table straight away (although as we turned up at 9.25pm and the kitchen closes at 9.30pm, this could have been a contributory factor :)).
It's a simple environment, tables of twos and fours pushed fairly close together, with the open kitchen bar dominating the room. It's not over designed, it's not underdesigned - a functional, clean, very friendly space and excellent value for money.
Favorite Dish: Wagyu beef features extensively on the menu - good thing is that its at affordable prices. Beef that simply melts but is also tasty - highly recommend Wagyu Beef Yakiniku (AUD$17.80) and the Wagyu Beef Ginger (AUD$17.80). Large portions - be warned. A bowl of rice for AUD$2.50 and one of the above plates is ample. But best is to share :) Also highly recommend the soft shell crabs (AUD$9) - the only disappointment was the Agedashi Tofu (I knew I should steer clear of vegetarianism :)) - very 'sloppy' tofu. And the Japanese plum liquer is a perfect accompaniment - not too sweet, served on ice. A stunning meal - we ate more (beef tongue - OK) and a main course chicken dish, plus rice for AUD$120 - very good value for what we ate (although we over-ordered :)).
Also serve Bento Box dinners (AUD$18.80), sashimi and sushi platters etc at very reasonable prices - you can certainly understand why it is so popular!
Central Sydney Restaurants: CBD - Top Restaurants.
Est. – 252 George Street – Contemporary – 92403010 (restaurant of the year)* For Atmosphere
Tetsuyas - Kent Street - Japanese/french - 9267 2900 ** For food
Sushi – Establishment Hotel – Japanese - 92403041
Summit – Australian Square – Contemporary - 92479777
Bilsons- Raddisson Hotel – French/Contemporary - 82140496* For atmosphere
Industrie -107 Pitt Street – French- 92218001
Infusion- 333 George Street – Asian - 92903333
Machiavelli- 123 Clarence Street – Italian - 92993748
Miltons - 25 Bligh Street - Mediterranean
Eat City- 349 Kent Street – Contemporary - 92625900
Certo Ristorante- 340 Kent Street – Italian - 92901145
Sky Phoenix- 77 Castlereagh Street – Chinese - 92238822
Aqua Dining - Northcliff Street Milsons Point - Contemporary - 9964 9998* For views
Omega – 161 King Street – Greek - 92230242
King 143- 143 King Street – Chinese - 93137100
Forty One- Chifley Towers – French - 92212500*For Views
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Lenôtre Afternoon Tea at the Sofitel Hotel: Lenôtre Afternoon Tea at the Sofitel, in the CBD
A special family occasion deserved a special family get together, and the chosen venue was the Sofitel Hotel for the decadent Lenôtre afternoon tea. Lenôtre is a French haute cuisine brand, and the chef at the Sofitel trained at the Lenôtre culinary school and is currently the only chef in Australia to have these qualifications. This means that he has the expertise to produce that delicate cakes and pastries that are served up at the Lenôtre experience.
Favorite Dish: Afternoon tea is served in the stylish Sofitel Lounge each afternoon. The cakes are bought out on colourful, tall cake stands, with the little treats winding their way up the stand. At the bottom there are the classic finger sandwiches and very fluffy scones with jam and cream.
As you climb the stand you will sample such treats as Almond Macaroons with fresh raspberries and lemon curd, a Chocolate pastry with layers of almond biscuit, chocolate ganache and coffee butter cream (topped with a gold leaf of course!), and the classic Tarte au Citron, to name a few.
At the top of the stand are the evil looking Cone au Chocolat, which are dark chocolate cones filled with berries and cream. You are doing well if you make it to the top - I couldn't!
Oh, and I highly recommend a glass of champagne to go with your afternoon tea - well, a pot of tea is great, but the champers just helps to really make it that extra special occasion. Cheers!
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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- Food and Dining
Ichi-Ban Boshi: Number One Ramen Stop
For those who enjoy a their Japanese meals in larger-than-just-sushi quantities and are looking for an exotic change from the regular udon, or beef noodle soup, Ichi-Ban Boshi is one of the best places to eat! Specialising in ramen (Japanese/Chinese wheat noodles), this restaurant is a definite recommendation if in the Sydney city area.
The restaurant isn't too noisy, usually only vacated by older teens and adults, and very rarely by children. The area is fairly small in comparison to most restaurants, and usually has a long waiting queue (you have an option of sharing a table with others to shorten the wait). It is assured, however, that the food is worth the wait.
There is a huge variety of different ramen dishes to choose from, including Tokyo Ramen, Miso Ramen, Shio Ramen and Tonkotsu Ramen. Of course, if you're not much a soup lover, there are fried noodles and rice dishes as well. Entrees include Gyoza (Japanese fried dumplings) and salads, as well.
Serving portions are incredibly generous, despite their very affordable prices (most ramen bowls costing $8.30AUD).
Drinks are available for ordering as well, though you do receive a complimentary glass of water. Beverages include soft drinks, ice cappucino, sake, beer and more.
The staff are very friendly, though the restaurant is always incredibly busy, and asking for things such as water refills may go forgotten. Waits for meals are not too long, they are bearable.
Ichi-Ban Boshi is definitely recommended to those who enjoy Japanese food, and those who enjoy ramen (as there aren't many restaurants that serve it in Sydney). It's location is great for those looking for Japanese books, as there it is located right beside Kinokuniya (Japanese bookstore selling Japanese and English books as well as comics and manga).
Favorite Dish: My personal favourite dish would have to be Yakisoba ($11.00AUD) which is fried soba. It's a little bit sweet, and very unlike ramen with soup. It's served with pork slices, pickled ginger, mustard and a dab of Japanese mayonnaise. The taste is incredibly different, and can be addicting!
A recommended drink would be the Ice Green Tea Cappucino. Ice milk and Green Tea with a sweet froth is served in a large glass, with melted sugar server seperately in a small silver cup allowing the drinker to add as much sweetener as they choose.
- Budget Travel
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-Brasserie Botanica: A Buffet to die for! - 'Botanica Brasserie'
Housed in the splendours of the 'Sheraton on the Park' hotel overlooking Hyde Park is Botanica Brasserie and its spectacular buffet .
I'm normally not the greatest exponent of recommending restaurants in hotels or buffets, but this is something else. Admittedly, with its high ceilings and full windows overlooking the park, fairly formal layout and its size, the restaurant is not exactly conducive to a quiet, discrete or even romantic dining experience - especially when most of the diners are there for the famed buffet (they do also a la carte - you simply need to inform your waiter/waitress which option you are taking). And not surprisingly, at its part of the Sheraton it ain;t cheap (AUD$58 per person). But all that can be overlooked - the food is stunning.
The central focus of the buffet is the seafood -- and what seafood it is. You could easily concentrate just on this - sushi, sashimi, oysters, king prawns, lobster, smoked salmon and so much more. And with any buffet, the rule is simple - eat as much as you like!
But there's plenty of other options, too. And, thankfully, although there is the requirement , as with any buffet, the keep the food warm, those copper dishes with the flame underneath are in evidence, the constant 'overviewing' by staff ensure that the food never runs out or dries up. Sensibly, the options here are based on food that benefits from slow coooking - stroganoff, 'stews' etc rather than meat that is better rare/medium rare. And as it was a buffet, not only did I over-indulge in the sea food, but had to try some of the hot plates too (although not that I piled different things on my plate). The stroganoff was superb!
Salads galore, and also a whole table full of desserts (not so interesting - much rather eat an extra plate of king prawns and oysters than a dessert!).
Open 7 days a week.
Favorite Dish: It's famed for its seafood buffet - and deservedly so. But the rest on offer is also excellent.
Central Sydney Restaurants: Vegetarian yum cha
The Bodhi restaurant sits conveniently close to Hyde Park but is situated away from the main thoroughfare so that street noise isn't audible. There is a nice outdoor eating area and the yum cha is quite good. I found it quite pleasant.
Favorite Dish: Enjoyed them all. There were too many choices to sample even a portion of what was offered. Looks like I'll have to make several return visits to taste everything.
The Summit - The "other" revolving restaurant: Not only is the food A+, the presentation is A+
Food - I was expecting the same type of quality food when I went to The Summit, but it was a great surprise that it was great food as well, naturally, great views
Ambience - I went on a Monday night, and there are two sections, one for people who want a drink and some "nibbly" food, whilst th other half is for people who want a good feed. Though its not as high as AMP Tower, the revolving restaurant is still high enough to see all of Sydneys landmarks
de Vine food and wine: Dining with "the Suits".
I guess the title above gives you straight away some indication of the clientele of this establishment. It was a bit more upmarket than my usual Lunch dining choice in the city, but I've been past it a few times & thought it was about time to check it out for both myself & also you dear VT reader.
You will be greeted by a polite & helpful waiter who will show you to your table. There seemed to be only male waiters in action this day & for a moment I thought I was back in Paris.
I really liked the complimentary bread with capscicum & olive dips which arrived shortly after. The only other place in the city where I've experience that is at Aria restaurant which is a very upmarket dining establishment (which you will have already read about to get this far. lol!). I liked it not just for the touch it gave, but also because it was very tasty & a good beginning to the meal.
The service overall was very good with friendly help always not too far away. The manager (I think the owner too, but I'm not sure) Terence hovers around in a very friendly way ensuring all is up to the standard he believes it should be.
You can buy an excellent range of wines by the 100ml serve, 150 ml serve or normal bottle. I'm not sure if the place aims to be a serious wine bar with very good food, but it is indeed this.
Favorite Dish: By now you're wondering what I actually had to eat.
I ordered what turned out to be the cheapest meal on offer from the daily specials on the blackboard - a Vegetarian Canneloni.
After asking the waiter which wine he recommended to have with this, he consulted what I assumed to be the sommelier & recommended a glass of 2002 Grechetto Antonelli which arrived in a business name (de Vine) monogrammed glass. I noticed they had the right sized (different) glasses for white wines & red wines. A very professional touch.
Now you don't have to Einstein to work out that I finished off with a Moch Coffee. They use Caffee Molinari (serving Italy since 1804 as it said on the accompanying sugar), a very mild smooth tasting coffee that finished off a very enjoyable meal just perfectly.
I strongly recommend you seek this place out for a great daytime dining experience that won't break the bank, but is a bit more expensive than a lot of the average daytime cafe dining options in Sydney.
Malaysian Satay: Westfield Sydney Central Plaza
On the basement level of Myer department store you wil find a great foodcourt. I believe it is the biggest in Sydney and for sure it has the most variety. My favourite is the Malaysian take away on your right if you enter via Pitt Street Mall.
Favorite Dish: They have amazing satay and although it's somewhat pricier than most of the other dishes, it is very good quality and worth a bit extra if you're very hungry.
Salt 'n Pepper: eat|in
At the eat|in foodcourt I have found one of the best sandwich shops in town. You choose two slices of fresh bread from an assortment of about 4 and then a filling. The sandwich is made exactly as you want it.
Favorite Dish: My favourite sandwich is 2 slices of dark brown bread, lettuce, cucumber, pineapple, mayonaise, ham, salt and pepper. Doesn't sound very fancy now does it? Well still it's the best sandwich in town. They have many different tastes. Like tandoori chicken or even a sandwich with mango chutney. Fancy or not the bread is delicious!!
Scruffy Murphy's: Rump steak, schnitzel or fish & chips for $5 ???
At Scruffy;s you can get some of the cheapest food in the city. For 5 dollars you get a pretty big meal. You choose between steak or fish, or schnitzel & salad and then you get either chips or mash potatoes on top of that. The only catch is that you have to buy a drink too, but hey, you want a drink with your meal anyway now don't you?
Favorite Dish: I am a big fan of their schnitzel. It is usually very nice. Ask the chips to be well done, otherwise you get those typical soggy Australian chips! Barbeque sauce and ketchup are free.
Sydney Central YHA Cafe: Avoid at all costs
Without doubt the worst place ate (or tried to eat) in Sydney (or anywhere else in the world for that mtter).
I went here on my way to meeting my sister who was arriving from Townsville at the airport as it was cheap and very convenient (i was staying at the YHA hostel nextdoor).
I ordered a pasta dish and a glass of orange juice. My food had still not arrived after 30 minutes so I explained to a staff member that I was on a tight schedule - they apologised, but 15 minutes later my food had still not arrived.
At this point I decided to leave the restaurant but the manager demanded that I pay for the drink even though I had waited 45 minutes for food which had not arrived. I left the restaurant but he grabbed me and informed me that he would call the police if I did not pay.
I am normally a fairly easy going person - but i was furious. I paid the guy, throwing the money down on the street and had the satisfaction of watching him scrambling after the rolling coins.
Terrible service - I would urge you to avoid this establishment, despite the convenience.
Favorite Dish: I wish I had actaully got some food here so i could review it.
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