Christmas Lunch in Sydney


Aug 29th, 2013, 08:57 PM
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Christmas Lunch in Sydney

Hello again. The planning for our 3 week trip to Australia continues and now I am thinking about Christmas Day in Sydney. We are staying at the Meriton Apartments on Pitt Street, CBD. And by Christmas Day we will be ready for a rest after seeing the sites of Sydney for a few days (and getting over our jet lag).

DH & I are in our late 40's/early 50's and would like to make Christmas Day our one special meal in Sydney. I am considering Café Sydney for our lunch. They have a 5-course lunch for $190 which seems to be in the ballpark in terms of how much places are charging for their lunches.

We are fairly adventurous diners, like local cuisine, and are looking for someplace special.

Has anyone had any experience in Sydney for Christmas Day? Or have you eaten at Café Sydney? Or someplace else special?

Your advice and opinions are welcome.
halfapair is offline  
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Aug 30th, 2013, 01:09 PM
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Cafe Sydney never appears in any of the local food guides which makes me wonder whether it's a tourist trap.

All of Chinatown will be open on Christmas Day, Golden Century is excellent for seafood.
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Aug 30th, 2013, 03:19 PM
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I will add my ignorance to Susan7's much more useful response and say I've never even heard of Cafe Sydney (but then, as I don't live in Sydney, perhaps no reason why I would, though generally you tend to be aware of the major restaurants in each city).

Personally, there is no way I would ever pay $190 for Christmas lunch. Not that we couldn't afford it if we wanted to but that sort of price is, to me at least, just a ripoff.

Having looked at the Cafe Sydney website, it's clear you're paying for the view. Sure, it's a great view but you've probably already seen the Bridge (and maybe even climbed it, though some would argue that's a ripoff...) so do you really need the view for lunch? As for the menu .... there doesn't seem to be one? It refers to "both traditional and gorgeous Australian summer seasonal fare." but for $190, I'd want a lot better explanation of what was on the menu. Depending on what you're looking for, bear in mind that Christmas is in the middle of summer here, so most people tend to have seafood for Christmas and not turkey etc. (though Cafe Sydney presumably has that).

Personally, Susan7's suggestion of Chinatown would be much more appealing.
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Aug 30th, 2013, 07:13 PM
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$150 -200 is probably about average for the full Christmas Lunch at Sydney hotels & non-Asian restaurants.

Most of the major hotels - Sheraton on the Park, The Wentworth, 4 Seasons, Intercontinental, the Langham ( formerly The Observatory),Sir Stamford & Hilton will probably do a good one. It's a while since we've had a Hotel Christmas lunch, but in the past, Sheraton on the Park, the Wentworth, Sir Stamford when it was the Ritz Carlton & the Park Hyatt were all great.

Have a look at other restaurants around Circular Quay. And the Harbour to capture the view + food.

Here are a few, in no particular order.
Flying fish
Pier (Rosé Bay)
Aqua Dining ( Milsons Point)
Pilu ( Freshwater) Take the ferry to Manly & get a cab
Ormeggio & Orso (the Spit ( Mosman))
Catalina (Rosé Bay)
Bondi Icebergs
Marque ( great food. No view)
Lucia's (Paddington) great Italian food - no view
You may also find some of the pub/bistros doing Christmas Lunch.
The Four in Hand in Paddington

I'm not a fan of Cafe Sydney. A lot of tourists seem to go, but I don't recall much feedback, don't know what their expectation v's experience is.
Bokhara2 is online now  
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Aug 30th, 2013, 07:43 PM
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Its been a few years but I loved Café Sydney. Food was great, you sit outside and can watch the bridge climbers walking across. Lots of business people on weekday lunchtime. I would double check with them to be certain they are indeed staying open for Christmas lunch.
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Aug 31st, 2013, 12:05 AM
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Two years ago I had Xmas lunch at the Bavarian bier cafe at Manly wharf

For $54 I had a cold cut platter for starters, Bavarian platter for mains and apfelstrudel for dessert. The weather was great for sitting out and the beer went down a treat

I've had the hotel buffets but I really feel seriously ripped off with them
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Sep 16th, 2013, 03:55 PM
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Bokhara2 and I have agreed that we were separated at birth! I agree completely with her recommendations. Aria is one if my favourite Sydney restaurants and would be my recommendation. The food is fantastic and so are the views and service. Something else to keep in mind is that there is always the chance that Christmas Day in Sydney can be 40 deg plus and I wouldn't make an outside table reservation anywhere for that reason alone. But that's just my preference.
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Sep 22nd, 2013, 02:30 AM
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I rather liked Cafe Sydney - but I haven't tried it for Christmas lunch.

A few years back we had Christmas lunch at Sheraton on the Park, and it was exceptionally good.

We did a Captain Cook cruise lunch one year - and that was OK - magnificent weather, so the harbour looked good. Food better than average. Service quite good.

We've also tried the Four Seasons, when it was the Regent, and it was quite poor - food just OK - but staff were appalling, untrained, inexperienced.
margo_oz is offline  
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Sep 22nd, 2013, 08:58 PM
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Café Sydney is already booked up for Christmas lunch. Aria is very expensive.

I do have a reservation at Galileo at the Langham hotel. They don't require a credit card to hold the reservation, which is nice. We may play it by ear and find an Asian place that is open on Christmas Day as we'll be staying near Chinatown.
halfapair is offline  
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 07:56 AM
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Not trying to put you off the idea, but it can feel strange to do a big Xmas lunch when it's blazing sunny and hot outside and everybody's mind is on the beach. Just doesn't feel right to many who hadn't thought about it until they get there. When I lived in Sydney for many years, I had European visitors who had planned traditional Xmas fare and quickly backed off that notion - instead we'd make it a splendid de-luxe picnic in a shady spot somewhere - champers and freshly plucked oysters and such. Not shabby, but not a sit-down five-course meal that would be hard to digest at the height of summer...
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 03:00 PM
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You could well be right Michel.

Nevertheless, many of us have and enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch, in our homes and in hotels & restaurants.

We usually have between 10 & 15 for Christmas lunch and over the years have flirted with the "all seafood & salad" option. The consensus was that a seafood starter, traditional ham, pork & turkey or duck with vegetables, followed by Christmas pudding and some form of trifle/ fruit dishes, is what feels like Christmas for us.

Some years we've gone out to hotels & reataurants, usually when there are only a few home for Christmas, and enjoyed that, too.

We can & do have lots of seafood throughout the year - and our group's big seafood bashes are usually on New
Year's Eve, New Years Day or Good Friday.

Every family has its traditions & I guess our 6 generations ago British heritage makes the traditional Northern Hemisphere Christmas fare what makes the "Christmas" for us.

The other aspect to keep in mind is that Christmas Day weather can be anything from boiling hot to wet & cold. So those picnics may be wonderful under a shady tree - or back at home / hotel room/ flat.
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Oct 13th, 2013, 10:59 PM
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A lot of people in NZ go to the beach on Christmas day and have a picnic or a BBQ. We do the traditional hot dinner, turkey and all the trimmings, plus a myriad of desserts ranging from Christmas pudding, trifles, to pavlova!!.

Christmas is not Christmas without the hot dinner.
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Oct 19th, 2013, 04:34 PM
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And plum pudding Nelsonian!!!
MissGreen is offline  
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Oct 19th, 2013, 07:40 PM
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That's the Christmas pudding MissGreen.
nelsonian is offline  
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Oct 27th, 2013, 08:58 PM
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I call it plum pudding!
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