It was lunch time on Good Friday and we needed food. Everyone kept saying that nothing would be open, especially not the pubs. But they were wrong. The Kirribilli Hotel was open and they were serving lunch from their decent Bistro menu.
The Kirribilli Hotel is always a good option for those who want a relaxing drink or decent pub meal not to far from the city. It is located just across the road from Milson's Point train station. I have been there to drink and eat on occasion over the past 10 years and usually had a good time.
Favorite Dish: The pub was quite busy on our Good Friday visit. We ordered some lunch at the Bistro and found a nice table in the corner, via the bar to get some beers.
After a short wait our lunch arrived. Steak sandwiches for Alex and Alison and Fish & Chips for me. Both were very nice and good value to boot.
One of my favourite cafés in Sydney is Wrapido in Crows Nest. It is a favourite as it is renowned for serving up some of the best coffee in the area, and I used to live in Crows Nest for a few years so I have a soft spot for anything in this part of town ; )
Wrapido gets its name from the tasty variety of wraps that it serves up for lunch. They also have a reputation for dishing up some mean breakfasts as well.
On warm days the tables out on the footpath are always filled with happy Wrapido-addicts, and the inside tables are pretty popular as well. You have to order and pay at the counter and you will be given a small table number to place in a prominent position on your chosen table, enabling the waitperson to find you when your food/drinks are ready.
Favorite Dish: The last time I dropped past Wrapido was for a quick coffee. I chose a table on the street for a spot of people watching and was pleased to discover that the quality of the coffee was almost as good as I remembered. The Caramel Round wasn't bad either ; )
If you want somewhere relaxed and friendly for breakfast, lunch, or just a coffee, and you find yourself in the Neutral Bay area, then you could pop into Chaos, the colourful café situated on the car park opposite Woolworths. Ok, it's not the greatest location, but the locals don't seem to mind.
Chaos is always busy, and it probably has something to do with the huge meals they serve up during the day, along with the homemade cakes and excellent coffee. The chairs are all colourfully painted making this a popular place for families as well, though there is not much room for a pram as it is pretty crowded here - leave your Bug-a-Boo at home!
Favorite Dish: They do excellent all-day breakfasts and good lunches as well. Chaos has always been a favourite of mine for that 'morning after' fry-up, often eaten in the afternoon ; )
The Willoughby Hotel is a great 'local' pub located, not surprisingly, in Willoughby, not far from Chatswood. It has a downstairs bar and bistro, an odd enclosed courtyard area upstairs, along with a private function area.
Usually busy and buzzy, it is the type of place where you are likely to bump into someone that you wish you hadn't ; )
Having eaten there for lunch a few times over the years, when a friend suggested it as a venue for a girlie dinner I agreed to give it a whirl. Seven of us lovely ladies headed there one Friday night for a few drinks, some food, and plenty of gossip.
We started off sitting upstairs in the courtyard area, but it became too smoky so we headed downstairs and managed to get a nice table away from the hubbub so we could hear each other talk.
Favorite Dish: After ordering our food at the Bistro counter, it seemed forever till our buzzer vibrated and we could go and collect our dinner. The food was more than edible, though nothing gourmet. I had a chicken dish with Asian flavours and cashew nuts. A couple of the girls had the Mezze Plate which they were very happy with.
We were so busy talking that we forgot to order dessert, so had to make do with some chocolate smuggled in from the convenience store across the road!
I love dining at Ripples. Yes, the food is generally good, but it is the location that gets me. It is located at Milsons Point, right down by the water near the North Sydney Pool and the entrance to Luna Park. You can sit and enjoy your meal while watching ferries go by and checking out the bridge and the city. Love it.
One of the tricky things about dining here can be getting a table, especially for lunch on the weekend when they don't really take bookings. Oh well, get there early or perhaps late (when the early diners are leaving) and hopefully you will be in luck.
I have been to Ripples for breakfast and lunch and always really enjoyed the experience. The last time was for lunch on a sunny Saturday - there was four of us adults and one 18 month old who wasn't as impressed with us. Thankfully the waiting staff were fantastic and kept coming by to speak to the young man and keep him smiling.
Favorite Dish: The restaurant is BYO, so don't forget to bring a bottle or two of white along to accompany all the delicious seafood on the menu. At lunch we had the Pan seared John Dory on crushed kipflers with saffron pernod sauce and the Ripples famous crisp-fried fish and chips. Both dishes were really good, and the extra order of chips was a great idea ; )
The desserts were also excellent - our friends shared the Crème Brulee and my dessert eating buddy and I shared the decadent Chris's famous chocolate and honeycomb cheesecake with fairy-floss (candy floss) on top. It was as good as it looks in the photo!
Besides the fact that it was one of the few restaurants that I went to in Sydney, it gave an incredibly large and well cooked meal. Don't eat breakfast if you're going at lunchtime. It was old world steakhouse with an air-y feel with all the windows, and the situation next to Lane Cove River/Lane Cove National Park. It was an enjoyable meal out.
While we were eating there was a huge kookaburra sitting in a tree overlooking the river - unfortunately I couldn't hear him because of the thickness of the glass.
For this Canadian, it was also amazing to come out of the restaurant and find dozens of cockatoos in the yard - I'm not used to them being wild birds.
Favorite Dish: We were there for lunch, and I had the steak special for lunch. Normally here, the luncheon portions are smaller than a dinner-time portion, but not at Lane Cove River Steak House - it was huge, but excellent.
Upstairs/downstairs - there's a world of difference between the two. On top you'll want to make sure your credit card isn't near its limit, downstairs is your basic fish and chips with a salad on the side and make sure you keep brushing the flies away on a summer afternoon.
Still, the ambience is hard to beat. Water lapping the quayside and an array of boat styles in the foreground playing to a backdrop of sandstone cliffs and gum trees.
Favorite Dish: Let's be honest, the food downstairs was basic. Nothing to write home about but it did fill my stomach.
Hunters Hill is one of my favourite Sydney suburbs. The splendid sandstone buildings of yesteryear have not been torn down. Nay, in some cases they have been embellished and the "Hill" sits on a peninsula jutting into the western reaches of the harbour. It truly is a lovely place and both this restaurant and the one immediately across the road have a history attached.
This place was actually an old butcher's shop but that mode is totally unrecognizable today and the daddo boards beneath the historical photos on the walls lend an air to this place that we all found immensely satisfying.
Favorite Dish: Of the four dishes we tried, the overwhelming favourite was the angel hair pasta; which is not to say that the rest were poor, just that this one stood out.
North Side of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Bathers Pavilion - 4 Esplanade Balmoral - Mediterranean - 9969 5050 *For atmosphere and views
Watermark - 2A Esplanade Balmoral - Contemporary - 9968 3433 * For views
La Grillade - Alexander Street Crows Nest - French - 9439 3707
La Goulue - Alexander Streey Crows Nest - French - 9439 1640
Manly Wharf Hotel - Manly - Contemporary - 9977 1266
Milsons- 17 Willoughby Street Kirribilli - Contemporary - 9955 7075 *For food
Pilu at Freshwater - Harbord Beach - Italian - 9938 3331*** For food, views and atmosphere
Sakana-Ya - 336 Pacific Hwy Crows Nest - Japanese seafood - 9438 1468 * For food
Sea Treasure - 46 Willoughby Rd Crows Nest - Chinese - 9906 6388 * For Food
Whitewater - 35 South Steyne Manly - Contemporary - 9977 0322
Le Kiosk - Shelley Beach Manly - Contemporary *** for atmosphere, stunning views
Yings - 270 Pacific Hwy Crows Nest - 9966 9181
Nu's Restaurant - 178 Blues Point Road Mcmahons Point - Thai - 9954 1780 *** for food.
The Oaks, a fantastic pub - not very touristy on the north shore, just 10-15 minutes walk from the north side of a famous bridge!!!
A great sunday afternoon pub where you can spend all day chilling, eating, playing pool or pokies!!
Favorite Dish: I'd never tried a gourmet pizza before eating here but all your fave foods can be pizza topping. The best was chilli con carne pizza with guacamole, sour cream and nachos on top - absolutely fantastic.
The Mosquito Bar is in Crows Nest and you can get there by taxi from the CBD over the Harbour Bridge. The food is Eyptian, Morrocan and Goan style and hsa unique tastes. There was a smorgasbord on Thursday nights if you want to try it out. The prices for meals are excellent and the Host is most helpful.
Modern setting - upstairs - serviced by Thais. They have another outlet more for quick meal. This place is popular with the office crowd in the north Sydney and also lots of Friday night do.
Lunch Mon-Friday 12-3pm
Dinner Tuesday - Saturday from 6 pm
Favorite Dish: We had barrumundfish with slivers of mango on top - crisp and tangy and really nice - and then we had also a really thick green curry - chicken - and a simple dish of stir fry - vege with prawns. it was yummy and with drinks it came up to AUD100. big serving!!!
I was told by an Italian man (not in Australia), that Bravo is the name of a gelato maker -
like an ice cream maker.
I like gelato - best from Italy in San Crispino (their fruit flavours are too real to be true). But this is also good....if you cannot make it to Italy!
Favorite Dish: possibly the best gelato in Sydney - if not Australia.
They have 16 flavours - and yum.....all are good. I love their tiramisu, hazelnut and mango flavour...but all are good. If you sit down, you can have mini scoops of all 16 flavours...really mind boggling to try to make up which is which then.
their pasta and pizza are also good....
very crowded - so go early!!!
There's great places in Crows Nest: I'm a regular at Montezuma's Mesa, New Orleans Cafe, Stuyvesants' and several others.
Each of these places are preferred for their atmostphere and reasonable prices. For a meal that will fill you, it would be about $20 (no alcohol). Stuyvesants is more expensive, about $50 for three courses. There's great cheap Thai and other takeaway places.
Favorite Dish: At my favourite places, everything is delicious!
Yum cha here starts at 11am every day. During the week if you turn up at 11 ( as I frequently do) you will have to wait until the staff have finished their own meals!
The Interior was recently refurbished but it is typical chinese restaurant in that it is unflatteringly lit by neon lights that can be unforgiving after a bit night out! Anyway, it is functional and not quite as cramped as other chinatown yum cha staples.
The food is a dream for someone like me who does not eat a great deal of meat but just adores everything with prawns and crab and lobster! Every kind of prawn, scallop and mixed dumpling - both fried and steamed. Salt and pepper crab and lobster & prawns as well as the usual bbq pork and duck and BBQ pork buns!
Prices are good and quality is also good!This restaurant also does good dinners and has won many many awards for their food!
Favorite Dish: Steamed Garlic chive prawn dumplings with plenty of chilli paste - salt & pepper prawns absolutely melt in your mouth!
Also, sesame prawns, spring rolls, scallop dumplings...oh the list goes on! In my opinion you cannot beat this place for yum cha - however I would suggest you have calamari somewhere else as they use the tentacles not the body and I have always found it to be quite tough and not too pleasant to eat - for that dish try my other tip on Manly Phoenix!