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Margaritaville: Yup, the American Chain has Landed
While we were in Sydney in November 2013; Margaritaville opened in Darling Harbour. My wife and I are fans of this chain establishment so we had to check it out for ourselves. The venue is quite large with a huge bar area, inside dining and a large outdoor eating area with a water view.
We actually came here on opening day and the place was abuzz with activity getting things in order. We had no problem getting a nice table overlooking the water with a bit of shade. We looked over the menu here and thought: this place is definitely not going to last. The prices here were much higher than any other place in the area even with the touristy prices of Darling Harbour. The only deal we saw on the menu was for softdrinks. They actually come with refills; most places in the area charge for refills.
Even with the sticker shock we had a fun time hanging out with some drinks and enjoying some conversation with the staff. We'll see if this place is still here when we next visit.
Baia: Service was mediocre
So I went here to eat after a day out at the Blue Mountains. It was just me and I wanted something to eat. I chose this place because they had a "Sunset Menu" that included 2 entrees, desert and a wine for 30 AUD. I decided this was a good bargain.
I met the hostess, who I couldn't tell where she was from, but guest service didn't seem like her forte, who coldly asked "Are you all right"? As if I was lost and stupid. I asked if she could seat one, after I enquired about the menu item. She said yes and walked off to a table, I wasn't sure if she was gonna seat me or someone else next to me, but then she waved me down and I found a table. There were so many people there and I felt outta place being in a restaurant that was clearly a meeting point for get-togethers.
I waited about 20 minutes between each item of food. The food was average. It was okay. I had the brushcetta first, then the John Dory fillet with chips, and then a tiramasu for desert. Followed with a glass of red wine. I didn't like the service at all. One girl did ask me how everything was with a smile, but apart from that, I didn't enjoy it at all. I felt I could've gone to somewhere near my place of King's Cross and gotten something better than that.
Don't go to this joint. But if you do, maybe you'll get better service then I did.
Favorite Dish: The John Dory fillet was good! They have a "Sunset Menu" which is what they serve on special at night. 2 entress, red wine and a desert for 30 AUD. But like I said above, the service and coldness of the staff was awful. I didn't feel welcome at all!
- Family Travel
Baia San Marco Cafe: Tasty Mediterranean Inspired Dishes
After a nice walk around Darling Harbour and Cockle Bay we were feeling a bit hungry. We had pasted Baia SAn Marco the other night and remembered it was packed to the gills with diners. I thought it must be good for such a crowd. After looking at the menu posted at the fron of the restaurant we decided to dine here. We were seated at a nice table for two closest to the Harbour on a terrace. The evening was a bit chilly but there were heat lamps above that kept us toasty warm.
The menu was full of Mediterranean and Italian dishes; pasta, meats, salads and pizzas. We decided to split a pizza since a regular entree might be more than we needed. Warm bread along with our unsweetened iced teas were brought to the table soon afer our order was placed. Our pizza arrived rather quickly and steaming hot. The pizza was a good size for two to share. The toppings of pepeproni and eggplant added the perfect flavor to the pizza. I'm a big pepperoni and eggplant fan so this pizza was a hit for me. This was an enjoyable meal with good food and a nice water view.
Favorite Dish: The Pepperoni & Eggplant Pizza was incredibly good. The sruct was thin and crispy. The sauce had just the amount of spice and the cheese was creamy and bubbling. The pepperoni was sliced thinly and the egplant was nicely caramelized.
Helm: An Okay $10 Steak
Helm Bar/Bistro is located right in Darling Harbour next to the Aquarium. We chose to meet up with some friends here for some drinks and dinner during our last visit to Sydney in March 2012.
We arrived early and enjoyed a few drinks before meeting up with our friends downstairs for dinner. The upstairs has a bar area with tables and a covered terrace area as well. We chose to sit closer to the bar with our drinks due to some filthy smoking going on at the terrace.
Around 6:30pm we headed downstairs to meet our friends. Happy hour was still in effect and beer and bubbles were on special so us ladies enjoyed some bubbles. Tuesday is $10 steak night so we chose to try the special. The steak was a decent size but not the best quality of meat I have had but I was only a $10 steak so I couldn't complain. The chips were good and I liked the sauce.
As we finished up dinner the rain began to come down heavily so we headed upstairs for some more drinks. We sat on the end of the terrace awy from the smoke and enjoyed some more cocktails before calling it a night.
As always, I love seeing my Sydney friends and hanging out in theri fantastic city.
**There are nightly specials: Monday: $13 Chicken Schnitzel
w/ Fries & Salad, Tuesday: $10 Steak, Wednesday: $13 Fish & Chips, Thrusday: $22.95 All You Can Eat Mussels, Friday: $25 for a Kilo of Fresh Prawns and Sunday: $25 for a Kilo of Fresh Prawns.**
Lindt Cafe: Amazing Ice Cream
We first discovered this place when I was looking for a Kebab House in 2007. Housed where there used to be a cheap and so so kebab place we stumbled across it actually looking for said kebabs. I was in the mood for a quick snack that it would have provided and we were just steps away. We recently returned to this location during our 2010 trip to Sydney.
The Cafe has a huge display case that takes up most of the center of the area and tables on the far left along with the tables on the outside. This is all well and nice but rest assured that the main reason to come here is on the right. This would be the ice cream. They have a small variety of flavors but trust me their ice cream is very good.
The desserts here are incredible and we often find ourselves here for some ice cream and a piece of candy.
Favorite Dish: I love the White Chocolate and Chocolate Sable ice cream..it is incredibly good. Liz loves her 70% Chocolate ice cream. They put it on a cone after they put a squirt of rich, hot chocolate in the cone. This is SO good. I really do miss this ice cream and can’t wait to come back and get some more of it.
Sadly it is not the everyday experience I wish it could be as each cone is now $7.00 as of March 2012.
- Food and Dining
Thai-Foon: Great Thai food, great location
Thai-Foon offers indoor-outdoor options on the first floor overlooking the water and the entertainment at Darling Harbour. Excellent authentic Thai food, large selection of dishes, friendly service, fully licensed.
As with all Australian restaurants, smoking is only allowed outside.
Favorite Dish: BBQ Chicken and Chilli Basil Noodles are our two favourites - but all the dishes we've tried have been excellent.
Olivo: Top quality Italian
Olivo is in an excellent location in Darling Harbour, with friendly informal service in a casual atmosphere.
They were happy to change the make-up of the dishes - garlic mash changed to risotto cake for example.
Favorite Dish: The Osso Bucco and the Risotto al Funghi are excellent. Aussie wines from about $7 a glass.
Mi Casa: Good basic Italian food
Mi Casa is located on the second level of Harbourside at Darling Harbour, with views across the water to the city.
Excellent service and good, honest, basic Italian food plus a good selection of wines.
Favorite Dish: For me, Cotoletta alla valtellinese - crumbed veal with ham & melted cheese - or pollo alla boscaiola - grilled chicken breast with a cream & mushroom sauce and parmasan cheese, and for Geina Risotto con salsicce - arborio rice with Italian sausage. All are top quality.
Darling Harbour / Cockle Bay Restaurants: Great dining with a view
This is such a great area to dine due to the electric atmosphere and the harbour views.
Favorite Dish: There are so many different types of foods available in the resturants on either side of Darling harbour.
They include Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Italian, Seafood as well as plenty of bars with harbour views.
The website below has a listing of them with individual websites and contact details.
- Beer Tasting
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Dining
Darling Harbour / Cockle Bay Restaurants: A BBQ lunch @ Pontoon Bar
The food is always a 10 out of 10. I particularly enjoy the lamb skewers.
The menu consists of BBQ food such as steak sandwiches, hamburgers, lamb skewers etc. Served with fries and a salad, some meals come with a free drink.
Everything is under $10.
Favorite Dish: Lamb Skewers
Blue Fish Restaurant: Eating Nemo
Nice little restaurant on Darling Harbour. Friendly and helpful staff, who helped explain to us the ins and outs of Oyster eating, and they were delicious. I also had a pint of prawns and a beer - bonza !!!
Favorite Dish: Oysters - Kilpatrick style
- Food and Dining
Darling Harbour has about 30 restaurants to choose from, including steak, seafood, Asian, and Italian. If you are spending the day here, you do not have to go far to find a place to eat. Although I have only eaten at 4 different places here, I enjoyed coming here to eat at an outdoor restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night because of all the different types of people walking around. It is a fun atmosphere.
Baia San Marco: Baia San Marco
Baia San Marco had very good food but we had terrible service. The server screwed up our order more than once. The location was great, as was the setting on Cockle Bay Wharf at Darling Harbour. We probably just had a bad server, but we were happy the manager was very helpful and resolved our problems.
Favorite Dish: I had the Fettuccine di Mare, which was seafood fettuccine. It was good.
Blue Fish Cafe: Blue Fish Cafe
Blue Fish Cafe is an Australian and seafood restaurant. I came here for breakfast one morning and it was very good. It is a nice setting right on Darling Harbour.
Their dinner menu looked great, so it might be worth coming for dinner if you are here.
Favorite Dish: I had the Full Breakfast, which was fried eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, toast, mushrooms, and roasted tomato.
Breakfasts are from AU$5 - $25 per person. For dinner, the lowest priced meal on the menu was around $20.
Hurricane's Steakhouse Darling Harbour: Good enough place for steak
Before coming to Sydney, I had heard a lot about this chain of steakhouses. I made it a point to set aside some extra time to try and sample their food. When I arrived in their branch around 6 PM, I was a little surprised that it was already quite full and I had to wait 20 minutes or so to get a table. The server assigned to the table was less attentive primarily then I had hoped for because there were so many tables assigned to her care. Perhaps the management could add a few extra servers just to make it a better experience. As for the food, I ordered a steak as well as a rack of ribs. The serving sizes were as expected quite large. It was quite good taste-wise. It wasn't great but then again perhaps I was expecting too much given all the glowing reviews I received prior. The restaurant also has a wide selection of wines and beers to choose from.
Overall I thought I had a good enough an experience eating in Hurricane's Steakhouse.
Favorite Dish: Ribs
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