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realoc Oct 22nd, 2004 02:13 PM

Favorite Restaurants
My wife and I will be visting Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast in late November. We have booked our hotels, but we are beginning the search for good restaurants. We enjoy all types of cusine, but especially seafood and italian. Also love steak, chops, chinese, greek, ice cream. We are staying in the South Yarra section of Melbourne and the Rocks area of Sydney. Any suggestions? Price is not an issue.

Neil_Oz Oct 22nd, 2004 09:17 PM

If price isn't an issue I suggest Tetsuya's in Sydney - but you'll probably need to book several weeks in advance. Also, although I haven't eaten there, the Flower Drum in Melbourne was described by a NY Times critic as possibly the best Chinese restaurant in the world - definitely sounds worth a try. From memory these two were one of only handful of Australian eateries to make it into a recent World's Top Restaurant lists published by a London gourmet magazine. I think Sydney's Rockpool also made it, although I'm not sure why - opinions are mixed.

Melbourne has the world's third largest Greek population, but I don't know if that translates into any outstanding Greek restaurants. Both cities have many good Italian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, in fact every variety of restaurant. One of my old favourites is Beppi's, a long-established East Sydney place with a northern Italian bias.

If you search on this forum you should find many threads dealing with restaurant recommendations.

Judy_in_Calgary Oct 22nd, 2004 10:14 PM

Hello Realoc,

I recall this being a good thread about Melbourne restaurants:;tid=34508882

Also, here is The Boston Globe's guide to eating and drinking in Melbourne, in case that helps:;formId=94251

Neighbourhoods that The Globe mentions that will be within easy reach of you will be South Yarra itself, St. Kilda, Southbank, City Centre, and Chinatown. That said, all of the neighbourhoods that The Globe mentions are fairly central, and none of them would be THAT far from you.

I only encountered one restaurant that I didn't like in Melbourne and that was the Lone Star Steakhouse to which we were dragged by our then-teenagers who were homesick for their previous home of Houston. Melbourne does a great job of every cuisine in the world, except Tex Mex. Mercifully the Lone Star Steakhouse is a long way from South Yarra.

When my mom came to us for a visit, I took her to Melbourne's "grand old lady," the Windsor Hotel, for afternoon tea. I was given the biggest, starched, white, damask napkin I have ever used in my life. As a matter of fact, it was at least double the size of the bath towel I received at a B&B during my September 2004 trip to Hungary.

Sorry, I'm not good at remembering restaurant names, and in any case my experience of Melbourne restaurants now is outdated. Hotel Sofitel does stand out in my memory, because of the impressive view from there.

Foods that I recommend trying in Australia are barramundi (a local fish) and lamb. I liked the beef there, but not all North Americans do, because it's grass fed rather than grain fed.

I tried kangaroo once, but found it a bit dry. I don't know if that's universally true of kangaroo meat or if it was just the portion I had.

Some visitors to Queensland try crocodile, but my sense of adventure fell short of that. People who have had it tell me it's good.

The quality of fresh fruit and vegetables in Australia is excellent. After we returned to Canada, it was ages before my husband could bring himself to buy an avocado in our local supermarket.

Australia has lovely wines, of course. If you are slightest bit fond of beer, do try Victoria Bitter (VB) while you're in Melbourne and XXXX (pronounced Four Ex) while you're in Queensland. (You will endear yourself to the residents of each state if you order local instead of alien -- meaning out of state -- beer.)

Oh yes, and whatever you do, be sure to have a Tim Tam (chocolate covered wafer) while you're in Australia.

Neil_Oz Oct 23rd, 2004 12:11 AM

Judy, kangaroo is a very lean meat and fillets need to be cooked rare/medium-rare or they'll definitely be dry and unpalatable. I haven't used casserole cuts but assume they'd give a similar result to venison. I tried crocodile cooked tempura style and thought that it didn't justify the premium over chicken.

Aside from "ethnic" restaurants the dominant style is what's been called Mod Oz, a "fusion" style that makes frequent use of south-east Asian flavours. There's also increasing use of native "bush tucker" ingredients like lemon myrtle - I read that they've now spread overseas, especially by Australian chefs working in London.

I guess I'm in the minority here, but I can't stand VB. Most Australian beers are like beers anywhere - undistinguished lager styles. I do recommend the James Squire range of premium beers, though - they're all excellent, as long as you like your beers with body and flavour. There's probably some residual sentiment in favour of "local" beers, but the fact is that they're all now the property of a couple of national corporations, one of them I think foreign-owned anyway - as indicated by the fact that VB gets sold everywhere. Another decent beer is Adelaide's Coopers, especially the original bottle-fermented Sparkling Ale. I've seen people actually shake the bottle to distribute the sediment - maybe they're looking for a cure for constipation.

realoc Oct 23rd, 2004 10:07 AM

Thanks Neil and Judy for your recommendations. We can't wait. We will probably pass on the roo and the croc though, lol.

mover Oct 23rd, 2004 11:36 AM

Hi Realoc - We leave in 3 weeks for our first trip to NZ and OZ. We also like GOOD food and looked at many sites and forums for ideas. Finally settled on the following -

Sydney - Tetsuya's; Aria; Pier at Rose Bay; Quay. Also had considered Claude's and Wildfire. Claude's had fabulous reviews however, it was recently sold. Wildfire was a real possibility but we opted for Pier because I think they will have a better seafood selection. Others that are highly recommended are Est, Rockpool, Marque and Becasse.

Melbourne - Flower Drum and Ezard at Adelphi. We only have 3 nights in Melbourne so we picked what we think are 2 of the best.

Can't speak for the Gold Coast.

You might be a little late in getting reservations at some of these restaurants. We made reservations some time ago for December. Also, you said that price is not an issue. That's good, because all of these restaurants are on the expensive side.

Google the Sydney Morning Herald and see the 3 Hat restaurants. Also take a look at


margo_oz Oct 24th, 2004 11:23 PM

Give some consideration to Edna's Table, in Sydney, which does bush food with amazing style. Their degustation menu was a thing of magic, but quite expensive.

Claudes was reviewed in the past week or so in the Sydney Morning Herald, and got an absolutely rave review, 18/20 - putting it right back up there with the really great restaurants in Sydney - can't say I've checked it out, though - it's a bit beyond my budget.

And, of course, there's my old favourite, Sean's Panaroma, at North Bondi, overlooking the beach.

Daneille Oct 24th, 2004 11:46 PM

Melbourne - The Stokehouse at St. Kilda is fabulous for seafood. Go for lunch if you can and sit upstairs (bit more expensive but v. nice) and when you book ask for a booth seat. These sumptious couches will make you want to stay for dinner as well.

Jordan's in Sydney has a great Seafood Platter (again pricey) but worth it.
For Italian, Beppi's or Mezzaluna or even L'unico in Balmain or the lovely Mixing Pot in Glebe. Also love (though not Italian)Astral at Star City Casino.

On the GC the ANA hotel and the Mirage both have seafood buffets which are well renowned and there is a good and cheapy Japanese restaurant simply called You which is next to Melba's Nightclub under the RSL building - at least it was yummy when I used to live there and full of Japanese (so that says something) - unfortunately it was closed for renovations last time I was visiting (Feb) - has anyone been there lately?

Jane_47 Oct 25th, 2004 12:58 AM

Also for cheaper options but very good experience.

The Fish Markets, has the fish auctions early before anyone is awake but for the rest of the day they have a seafood food hall, a deli and a wine shop so you can shop for all your lunch needs before trying to find somewhere to sit. (pier is best) They have also have plentiful fresh fish sales oulets if you want to buy to cook later.

On sale is everything fishy from sushi. fresh shucked oysters to grilled lobster for a lot less than a restaurant.

Also if you have a day at Manly you can grab some fish and chips from the Corso (almost to the end) and go and eat them while sitting on the sea wall by the beach.

A favourite with tourists and locals alike is Watsons Bay. Here the Doyle family have monopoly on fish and chips owning two restaurants, one take away fish and chip shop and also a pub that has a beer garden serving seafood. All budgets covered!

If you really want Greek in Sydney then head to Brighton, Italian head to Leichhardt (the forum) or Stanley Street, East Sydney.

I have actually heard great things about Margo's suggestion, Seans Panoroma but never went there myself.

Also many pubs in Sydney have great restaurants but purely because they are in a pub hardly rate a mention. But to be honest the best meals I have had the last 6 months have been in a humble pub.

Not long now, hope you have a great trip!

PinotNoir Oct 25th, 2004 05:42 PM

How much of a taxi ride is it going to be for us if we wanted to get to the new Icebergs restaurant at Bondi coming from Circular Quay? Also any comments on Longrain, Marque, or Paua, all in Surry Hills, I believe.

Daneille Oct 25th, 2004 06:05 PM

Hi - I reckon about 20-25 minutes for a taxi from Circular Quay to Bondi (depending on traffic)and about $25 - $30 for cab fare.

Daneille Oct 25th, 2004 06:40 PM

BTW - Sean's Panaroma at Bondi got a 16/20 in the SMH - Good Eating guide.
The summary was "stunning food in beach-chic surrounds. Sean Moran's honest mod-bistro food is generous both in size and flavour.

On the downside the reviewer said the restaurant was noisy "bring your earplugs" and the service was "casual". On the upside value was "superb".

Guess I better go and try it out!!

realoc Oct 25th, 2004 07:12 PM

Once again, from the Mrs. and me.. We are very excited about visting such a wonderful place...

Any thoughts on: Melbourne..Da Noi/Cicciolinas'/circa?

Sydney: Otto/margue/est/mezzulina versus's beppis/agua luna?

margo_oz Oct 25th, 2004 07:25 PM

Longrain is fantastic - the most original Thai food around. Refectory type tables, and they don't take reservations (except maybe for lunch), but, in my opinion, one of the best Thai restaurants around. There's a bar to linger if you need to wait for a table. Not your cheap Asian restaurant, though.

maryk Oct 26th, 2004 11:49 AM

As you're staying in South Yarra, do try Da Noi in Toorak Rd. One of Melbourne's great dining experiences. Small, wonderful Sicilian food. Don't order from the menu - have the chef's choice, which is series of 'specials'. You wil need to book as soon as possible, particularly if it's a Friday or Saturday.

Peteralan Oct 26th, 2004 04:59 PM

Hi realac. The recent Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food Guide lists the favourite seafood restaurant as Fish Face ( 132 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst )..about $45 US for three courses. More upmarket seafood places with great seafood would be Pier at 594 New South Head Road, Rose Bay and Rockpool 107 George Street, The Rocks where you will be staying. My favourite Italian would be Buon Ricardo at 108 Boundary Street, Paddington...this the real deal ( no spaghetti and meat balls here !).Also..comments to Pinot Noir. You can get the 380 bus from Circular Quay to Bondi and it stops right near Iceburgs or for a quicker journey..train from Martin Place or Town Hall to Bondi Junction station and pick up the 380 from there. Marque is a wonderful modern French restaurant which I'm sure you will enjoy. Haven't been to the others but Longrain gets rave reviews. Cheers !

realoc Oct 26th, 2004 06:00 PM

Waffle: You all have mentioned so many fine establishments, both pricey and non, we just might freelance and take our chances with cafes/pubs/mod oz and let the food flow... WoW.

drb Oct 26th, 2004 06:21 PM

Recently returned from Sydney and Melbourne. Try the Harbourview Hotel restaurant(It's under the Sydney side of the Harbor Bridge) great bar and great food. Best fish (especially barramundi) and oysters we had in Sydney was Billingsgate near Coogee Beach. Chocolate Buddha on Federation Square in Melbourne is very good food and an interesting concept.

robbieb Oct 27th, 2004 05:42 AM

I would definitely vote for Tetsuyu and book now !!! Lunch is perhaps better value but always go for the "desgustation" menu with wine.
Doyles at Watsons Bay is still somewhat of an institution and has a great outlook over the harbour

realoc Oct 27th, 2004 08:39 PM

not cheap but free..I like them both. Fav. Restuarants is a pretty fun topic, imo..

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