Yet another Thai on Victoria St in Darlinghurst - only this one has seriously upped the ante in terms of quality, surrounds and, be warned, prices. This is serious dining.
Large, double-fronted premises, all glass look into a predominantly black-marbled interior. A large bar dominates one side of the dining area - all discrete lighting. Add black tables and chairs, lots of reflecting glass and welcoming staff and it gives you, right from the off the moment you walk through the doors, the realisation that chances are this is going to be a dining experience to remember. And it certainly is - possibly one of the best Thai meals I have eaten outside of Thailand (and boy have I eaten a lot!).
(I understand there is a second - the original - Spice I Am in Surry Hills).
Favorite Dish: A large menu-selection made it difficult, but the first on the mains - Moo Gob Pik Pao (Pork Belly with chilli jam, cherry tomato, spring onion and red chilli) was absolutely devine and Gal Pad King (chicken with ***ake mushroom, ginger, shallots, chilli and soy bean paste) wonderous. An excellent bottle of wine, attentive waiting staff on a fairly quiet night - it was 930pm when we arrived - made this a meal to remember.
This restaurant offers meat and seafood dishes. A vast majority of their food is barbequed, hence, the meat should taste juicier and the seafood more exquisite.
It has changed decor over the years, but the quality is still good (might have been better 10 years ago I must admit). The food is of good quality, and it's not very expensive. Has better quality food than a pub for sure.
Favorite Dish: I like the mixed grill, but the octopus is really nice! :)
The Sydney Thai restaurant 'scene' has to be the best in the country. There's 000s of them, and whilst, inevitably, only a few get the foodies a-going, a new kid on the block that certainly has the critics a-talking is Rambutan. Its great to see this seedy part of Oxford Rd slowly moving up the quality food chain (Pink Peppercorn - see seperate tip - is only a few doors up the hill).
It oozes style - from the coffee-coloured sheer silks blocking views into the restaurant from the busy street through to the deeply impressive open kitchen at the rear of the ground floor restaurant; huge floral displays, lots of black and discrete lighting, it's a place to head. But not on a busy Friday or Saturday night though - downstairs is the Cocktail Bar and it gets mighty popular. But then if you see the weird and wonderful concoctions on the list, not surprising - when did you last drink a Smoked Peach Samui Sazerach (cognac, peach & Peychaud's bitters, vanilla sugar and Laphraoig's whisky)? Or a Lemongrass and Peach Sake Crusta? The clientele of downstairs do 'merge' with upstairs, so it can get loud and, with a large shared table the central focal point, this is not a place for the feint-hearted or seriously dtermined to have a romantic dinner for two. The side tables are the place for that, but they are, not surprisingly, something of a premium.
Food is spectacular (although I have heard a few mutterings about it - mind you, we did not go on a busy night, so maybe that helps), wine list wonderful and staff attention perfect.
Favorite Dish: The pad prik king – a sticky braise of beautifully cooked pork belly dotted with lime leaves and lengths of snake bean, balanced perfectly by the accompanying dish of chilli-garnished rice vinegar - is devine. And that's the point to Rambutan - it may be Thai, lemongrass, ginger, sweet basil may still feature - but not in the more standard fare ways of the local high street Thai. This is a place to savour.
And apparently the hit of the house is the wagyu beef, although we did not try it on this occasion.
I'd passed this place so often without trying it out, finally took the plunge, grabbed a table and was certainly glad that I had!
A somewhat incongruously named restaurant, but then it is in the middle of Oxford Street and gay Sydney. But that's not the important point, even if pink is the dominant (but not over dominant) colour, offset, thankfully, by lots of white walls and black tables. Importantly, it's not camp or OTT so it's not a case of sitting in Barbara Cartland's parlour. Stripped back contemporary pink, black and white is the order of the day. (My one minor criticism is that with two rows of tables running along each wall makes it a little too regimented).
The cooks are from Laos and Laotian food is a hybrid of Thai and Chinese with French colonnial influences! Slightly less fragrant than Thai but also lighter; I assume the salmon on the menu is either French influence or an adaptation for Australia :) Lots of dill, chilli and kaffir lime, less coriander, lemon grass and coconut milk (although it still features).
Favorite Dish: As mentioned, Thai and Chinese are the main influences, so you already sort of know what you are in for. Point being that the food is of a high quality and very well cooked - the chicken is tender, the lamb is tender, the taste explosions of tamarind, lime, touches of chilli and coconut milk, steamed fish and meats wrapped in palm leaves etc.. All very very good and a welcome addition to a seedier side of Oxford St that is srrounded by grungy and generally poor quality cafes and $2 pizza slice joints.
A terrific new place tucked away between Victoria St and Darlinghurst Rd on Liverpool Street. A single shop front, so not a particularly big place, and, in spite of it being a Middle Eastern restaurant, thankfully not a sign of OTT decor, velvet ottomans, nargilahs etc. This is most definitely contemporary Middle Eastern - white walls (although one wall is taken up by beautifully decorative carved doors - they lead no-where), bare tables, and leather stools.
Along with the food, the main attraction is the incredible friendliness of the owners and staff. Carol and Sharon (Syrian background) are the owners - the first time we went, made to feel like long term friends. Went back the next night (late on Saturday night - great option to avoid the full pubs in the vicinity) and the red carpet was metaphorically laid out for us.
Favorite Dish: The tapas is extraordinary (but be careful of the plate of almonds placed on your table - roasted almonds, sweet almonds and a fiery chilli paste almond). Not a huge list and to a large extent is what you would expect on such a menu - choice of three dips with pitta (A$17), but the baba ganoush is the best I have tasted and made me wish we had ordered the humus to check it out. Lamb patties were wonderful - incredibly delicate, and the haloumi was near perfection. Meat skewers are also on offer as are a few other things - but nice thing is that, with only a few things to choose from, you focus on the food order. Even the olives were fabulous.
Wine list is extensive and all in all, excellent value - A$80 for a bottle of shiraz, olives, the three dips, haloumi, lamb patties and 2 coffees.
Open from 4pm until late.
Fish Face - 132 darlinghurst Rd - Seafood - 9332 4803
Ristorante Riva -379 Liverpool Street - Italian - 9380 5318
Oh Calcutta - 251 Victoria Street - Indian - 9360 3650
Beppis - Stanley Street - Italian - 9360 4558
Two Chefs on Stanley - 117 Riley Street - Mediterranean - 9331 1559
Pink Peppercorn - 122 Oxford Street - Laotian - 9360 9922
Pello - 73 Stanley Street - Eurpoean - 9360 4640
Divino - 70 Stanley Street - Italian - 9360 9911
Fu Manchu - 249 Victoria Street - Asian - 9360 9420
Bistro Moncur - The Woolahra Hotel - French - 9363 6888*** For food
Claudes - 10 Oxford Street - 9331 2325 - French - 9331 2325 ** For food
Grand National Hotel - 161 Underwood Street - Contemporary - 9363 4557
Bellevue Hotel - 159 Hargrave Street - Contemporary - 9363 2293
Lucios - 47 Windsor Street - Italian - 9380 5996 *
Paddington Inn - 338 Oxford Street - Cometmporary - 9380 5913
Bills is a Sydney institution, pulling in the crowds since 1993. It is owned by 'celebrity chef' Bill Granger, who is famous around the world for his simple cooking with good quality ingredients, and of course those creamy scrambled eggs! There are now 3 Bills cafes/restaurants in Sydney, but this is the original and possibly the best.
Located on a quiet corner just off the main drag at the Kings Cross end of Darlinghurst, Bills is a small, modern café with a relaxed feel. We went for breakfast earlyish one Saturday and managed to score the last available table.
Favorite Dish: Bills make excellent coffee, so we ordered one quick smart whilst deciding what food to have. As we had a big day of eating ahead of us, I decided to just have the Homemade toasted coconut bread. This delicious bread is made with large shredded pieces of coconut, and was such a big serve that I couldn't eat it all. Alex had Bills famous Sweet corn fritters with roast tomato, spinach & bacon, and he wasn't disappointed.
I can also highly recommend the aforementioned scrambled eggs - which must be made with way more cream than you want to know about, and also the evil Ricotta hotcakes with fresh banana and honeycomb butter.
You may well need a second coffee to wash it all down with - thankfully it is some of the best in town!
great bistro style food. Steak/ Frite and a pate of stunning quality, each around $20. They also have a great rillette, original wines (BTG) and a fabulous atmosphere in a very funky part of town
Favorite Dish: Sirloin & Frite, Pate
Una's is a great place to dine out.
The servings are big, the food tastes great and it is relatively inexpensive.
Una's has charm and a good atmosphere.
Dress is casual and the waitstaff are so friendly.
Just watchout for the lady who comes around and takes photos of you with an antique camera. She sells the momento's, however she is not employed by Una's.
They do not take bookings, so try and get there early. They do have a lounge upstairs where you can wait for a table.
I have only been to the one in Darlinghurst, so I can't comment on the other two locations.
Favorite Dish: The Schnitzel is amazing!
I read about this place,and it sounded so neat I had to go, its an all you can eat indian veg buffet, then you go upstairs to a quaint 50 seat, well its huge cushions on the floor, and you see a movie. Very intimate, you can even bring your desset with you, all this for only $15, what a deal. We saw Garden State, It was a really fun unique idea, dinner and a movie in a very Zen environment.
This is a lively place. It seems likely that it is busy all of the time, because no matter when I visit you join a queue to gain a table. The wait is never for long though, probably due to the fast service. It is a no fuss type of restaurant upstairs ............it spills onto the balcony and caters to many people.......it's hard to say how many can be seated..........they might fit 50 upstairs. Downstairs caters for coffee and cake and snacks mostly.
The food is traditional Italian with substantial servings and as I said all pasta is properly cooked. hmmmm.
Favorite Dish: Penne with bolognaise sauce and fresh parmiagiano cheese on top. Very simple and simply ymmy. It is served with a basket of crunchy bread and a bottle of cordial. As I said, no fuss but plenty of bustle and small price.
The newest Thai on the block here - making it 5 within a 100 metres of each other! And it's very good (but then it has to be to survive). Amazingly, directly opposite 'Thada Thai' and a direct challange, although 'Eat Thai' is targetting a slightly older market (but not by much). It's slightly more expensive than Thada Thai, but not by much and even though I'm a fan, 'Eat Thai' will feature as first option between these two in the future.
It's a funky space - bright colours, discrete lighting, square pouffes to sit on and fairly small (probably no more than about 30 covers). It's also BYO which helps keep the bill down (bottle shop across the road).
Favorite Dish: The Beef Massaman curry (with pumpkin and potato) was the best I have ever had!
Yet another restaurant on the Victoria Street strip, and to my mind, one of the best. The food is traditional Thai, the setting simple but contemporary. White walls, simple but practical decor - two long tables down the middle of the room, more 'private' tables for two and four at the sides. First reaction when the menu is bought out was one of 'oh no' (I tend to not like the picture menus) but the food was great, and for Sydney, cheap. Its also a BYO - so this makes it even more attractive if you're on a budget.
Favorite Dish: The whole experience was excellent. There was enough ambience to create an atmosphere but enough padding in the walls, floors and ceiling to deaden the sound so you could hear your own conversations. Its a young crowd attracting all types who are out for good food without breaking the bank.
Muy muy Buenos!! This is a very good Mexican Cantina here in Sydney. Believe me I’m a big Mexicana fan, and this is a real good place.
Very Mexican-American atmosphere, their famous dishes are Fajitas, Tortillas, Enchiladas and don’t forget Tequila. Reservation is needed, the tables are always FULL, no kiddin’ call 02 9360 3811 at least 3-4 hours before getting there.
Open Tuesday-Sunday at 6 p.m.
Fast-food, contemporary SE. Asian style. Chose your noodle (from 4), chose your style (Chinese, Malay, Thai) and then chose your main dish. Go sit down at the big shared stainless steel table in the centre of the room and wait a few minutes for a big bowl of your selection. Add your own chilli, soy or whatever from the bowls in front of you and away you go. It may not be the most sophisticated food you have ever had, but its fresh, its tasty and its cheap!
Even more appealling now that it's main competitor, Noodle King, has closed down.
Favorite Dish: Hakkien noodle Thai style with Chicken and vegetables.