February 26, 2016

5 cool places to eat and drink in Sydney

Confession: It’s been three years since I last jumped across the Tasman to Sydney. But Auckland’s bigger and more popular girl-next-door has so much to see and do, I really should go more often.

So with that little foible over, here are five really cool places I found to eat and drink in Sydney. Diverse and mainstream. A little taste for every bud.

1  Opera Bar
An oldie but a goodie. And let’s be honest, you’ll be wandering down here anyway! The name is a little misleading though as it’s more than a bar and is not actually in the Sydney Opera House. Instead it’s down the steps along the waterfront below the mighty angular caps of the tiled House. It sprawls along with tables and chairs and a few umbrellas for the lucky ones who get there first. Behind are various food outlets for dining there or taking away, perhaps to the Botanical Gardens behind you. I didn’t eat here, instead opting to people watch in the blazing heat of the late afternoon Sunday sun as girls teetered on ridiculous high heels and the band played.

Opera Bar Sydney

The hubub of Opera Bar looking towards Circular Quay

2  Tilbury
It’s a fancy pub that is more wine bar and bistro in Woolloomooloo. Pop upstairs for a cocktail from their gin or vodka list at an outdoor table. Order a light lunch of Greek lamb gyros and a bowl of beer battered fries and catch up with old friends in this newly gentrified neighbourhood.

Tilbury Hotel Sydney cocktail

My Heaven On Her Lips cocktail – gin muddled with strawberries and mint

3  Manta
There are about a dozen restaurants all nudging each other on the 100-year old Woolloomooloo Wharf (also known as Finger Wharf) under the very cool Ovolo Hotel. Manta is a seafood restaurant that serves up delicious, albeit spendy, fish. The hubby and I started sharing a sashimi tasting plate with a little of three types of raw fish, gently dressed with a tasty dressing. I then went for the entree of crayfish lasagne (a teeny square) with a crab bisque that was poured over it at the table. H-man chose the toothfish from the chilly waters deep in the sea of Tasmania. It was a small wedge for $55, but a meal to remember. We also had a side of green beans with caramelised onions and toasted hazelnuts. A lovely treat night.

Read my review about staying at the amazing Ovolo Hotel here >>

Manta Woolloomooloo

Manta is peeking through the art in front of the wharf

4  Din Tai Fung
If you’re a Chinese dumpling fan then these restaurants are a find. The main one is in World Square in Chinatown down George St (a couple more are in food courts). I love the freshly steamed homemade dumpling with liquid stock, and this place does them with crab and pork. We also had the kung pao chicken, battered calamari (husband is a sucker for this dish no matter the ethnicity) and some crispy wontons.

Din Tai Fung Sydney

Liquid stock in a dumpling is the best EVER

5  Meat & Wine Co
If you’re after a juicy steak, I was recommended Kingsley on Woolloomooloo Wharf and also Meat & Wine Co in Darling Harbour. The latter was within walking distance from our inner city hotel (Travelodge Wynyard) so we opted for a stroll down to the buzz and it was worth the uphill walk back! Without a booking we were lucky to be seated before our drinks at the bar were served – and it was a Monday night. I had a medium-rare rib eye and my red-blooded male went for a medium-rare New Yorker. We both opted for mash (chips or salad were the other choices) and picked sauces for $4. Mine was peppercorn and his was blue cheese. Washed down with a Barossa merlot and this was another fabulous meal to write home (or a blog) about.

Darling Harbour steak house

This is Monday night. It would pay to book!

After a day of food tripping in Sydney, you can relax into one of these top 28 Sydney Hotels With Perfect Harbour Views by HotelsCombined.

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I came here at the invitation of the generous team at Cheapflights.co.nz. Check them out for cheap flights, made simple, anywhere in the world!

About Megan Singleton

Megan

Megan Singleton is a travel writer, blogger and radio correspondent. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 16 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

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