Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Australia & the Pacific (
-   -   Restaurant recommendations in Sydney, Port Douglas, Alice Springs and Ayers Rock (

waliz14 May 20th, 2004 12:36 PM

Restaurant recommendations in Sydney, Port Douglas, Alice Springs and Ayers Rock
My family (2 adults and 2 teenage daughters) is traveling to Australia in July. Does anybody have any good restaurant recommendations in Sydney, Port Douglas, Alice Springs, and Ayers Rock area? We are looking for interesting places with good food. My kids have been all around the world (except for Australia so far) and are well-behaved in "adult" restaurants, so I never worry about taking them anywhere. We are used to Washington DC prices, so I'm not really concerned about finding most Australian restaurants too expensive.

cguest88 May 20th, 2004 02:05 PM


Can't help you out with Sydeny. The wife and I ate most meals in pubs and at Level 41 (probably alittle pricey for a family meal). But there are tons of good restuarants in the Rocks area. We enjoyed the pizza at the Australia Hotel on top of the Rocks.

Can't help you for Ayers Rock or Alice Springs but PD we went out most nights.

If you enjoy a quasi-Mexican, the Cactus Grill and Catina was very good. Barrumndi was good as was the steak. The Iron Bar has good food as well. They also have the Cane Toad races for entertainment value. Paddies Irish pub probably had the best chicken wings I have ever eaten. All of these places has Outdoor seating as well.

I am from DC as well and the prices were about comparable maybe a tinge more but that was b/c we were on ou honeymoon and went all out.

Paul_S May 20th, 2004 02:43 PM

In Alice Springs you might like to try the Outback Steakhouse. The food is good and they usually have a bit of a live act going. Try the Drovers Blowout that should satisfy your appetite.

There is also the Heavitree bar and grill that puts on a show with your meal.

As far as cafe's go we like Al Fresco's which is located at the top end of Todd Mall next to the cinema. They also do good meals for lunch and dinner, they specialise in pasta dishes but they also have a variety of seafood and steak meals.

I have never been too fussed with the offerings at Ayres Rock, I think the food places are all to expensive and not all that good.



Peteralan May 20th, 2004 02:47 PM

We ate at the main restaurant at Sails in the Desert . Admittedly it was my 50 th birthday but it was very nice although not inexpensive. Another must which you will all enjoy is the Dinner under the stars . These are both out of Ayres Rock.In Sydney there are lots of choices. Where will you be staying and are there any sorts of food you are particularly fond of ?

pat_woolford May 20th, 2004 02:53 PM

Hi waliz - we often dine in PD and for special occasions both Sassi's Cucina and Nautilus are hard to beat. The chili mudcrab at Sassi's is particularly wonderful. Locals rave about Salsa Bar and Grill, but haven't had a chance to try it yet.

mishoe01 May 20th, 2004 04:30 PM

Hi waliz14,
I would recommend Overlanders in Alice Springs ( home of the "Drovers Blowout" - not cheap ($50AUD per person), but good food, and entertaining (I live outside of DC, so I understand the prices thing too). In Ayers Rock - I would recommend the Sounds of Silence dinner - definately an experience unlike any other I have ever had.

Here is my trip report if you want to read where I ate in Sydney/Cairns too. Please email me if I can be of any other assistance.


mjs May 20th, 2004 06:35 PM

No real recommendations for Port Douglas or Ayres Rock. Did not find anything good or bad in either location. Have several recommendations for Sydney. Enjoyed Aqua Luna for Italian, Sky Phoenix for Yum Cha, Chinta Ria and Malaya for Malaysian, Shimbashi Soba for Japanese noodles and Hugo's at Bondi. Thought Tetsuya to be overrated.

Paul_S May 20th, 2004 06:42 PM

Sorry I should have said the Overlanders Steakhouse, the outback bar and grill is actually in the Todd Mall.

The Heavitree Gap Tavern has a roast night on Sundays with Scotty Dawson on guitar and a reptile show.

You might like to check the Date Farm also as they sometimes hold jazz sessions there from 2pm on Sundays, they have BBQ style eating and some of the biggest date scones you will ever see.



Neil_Oz May 21st, 2004 05:08 PM

Sydney: in terms of value for money I'd mostly steer clear of The Rocks and Darling Harbour areas, both touristy. Chinatown, at the south end of the central business district and next door to that end of Darling Harbour, is well worth a visit, with everything from cheap roast places to upmarket restaurants. A fairly short cab ride away are the Glebe and Newtown areas, each offering a wide choice of ethnic cuisines. A few kilometres further west is Leichhardt, with plenty of decent Italian places. Other readers will be better qualified to take about other parts, but I'll mention Beppi's in East Sydney for excellent northern Italian and a great wine list - not cheap but not outrageous either.

Depending how long you'll be in Sydney, it may be worthwhile to buy a copy of the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, a Penguin paperback of helpful restaurant reviews covering the best of Sydney, country New South Wales and Canberra.

pat_woolford May 21st, 2004 05:52 PM

Good grief, Neil - is Beppi's still there! In Yurong St, not far from the museum? That was a treasure, years ago when a flash dinner in Sydney was chicken-in-the-basket or carpet-bag steak. Beppi's stuffed artichokes were the best I've ever had - even in Italy.

Neil_Oz May 22nd, 2004 12:32 PM

Yurong Street it is, Pat, and I'm 99% sure he's still going strong. When I was last there they still had the very professional Italian waiters - he doesn't think Australians have a lifelong commitment to the job and won't hire them. I think there was a little more experimentation on the food front but otherwise much the same. We ate in the wine cellar surrounded by dusty bottles, any one of which was probably selling for the equivalent of my month's wine budget.

Among the old favourites don't forget chicken Maryland, Vienna schnitzel, steak Diane and beef stroganoff! I believe there's a restaurant on the Northside, run by a Greek family, that hasn't changed its menu one iota since those days and does a roaring trade.

KatieP May 22nd, 2004 03:54 PM

Can only help with Port Douglas.
Tried these ourselves and can recommend.
Sassis Restaurant(Italian and seafood), Nautilus Restaurant,On The Inlet (Seafood),Zeuss(Greek), Gone Bananas(International).

Neil_Oz May 22nd, 2004 05:19 PM

I might have been a bit hard on north end of town - I believe Sailor's Thai, at West Circular Quay is very good. The Rockpool has a big name, but on the strength of my one visit, admittedly some years ago, I found it pretentious and over-rated. (BTW, this forum has some restaurant reviews.)

USNR May 22nd, 2004 08:07 PM

Great place in Alice that you would like called Bojangles. Barrel of peanuts in the shell by the front door ("just throw the shells on the floor"), but great food served in the dining area toward the back. Reasonable prices, too.

While we were eating, we heard the roar of a motorcycle. Sure enough, some guy rode his Harley-Davidson right into the place. He was in tux and tails, and his 300-lb. bride was perched right behind him. Her dress was a couple sizes too small, and she had a small tatoo on her left shoulder. The crowd cheered the happy couple. We stared in amazement! But the steaks were great -- and it's a real fun place. On the main street, just a block down from the pedestrian mall.

jaschmidt May 24th, 2004 11:01 AM

We loved 2 Fish in Port Douglas. The staff was great about making recommendations, since we weren't familiar with the local fish. It was a fantastic meal.

Daneille May 25th, 2004 09:18 PM

An "interesting" restaurant worth trying is Govinda's in Darlinghurst in Sydney. A Hare Krishna restaurant - it serves a good vegetarian buffet for around $15 and for a small extra charge you can watch a latest release movie in their movie room.

Check out the website to see what makes it unique.

buchu May 26th, 2004 10:54 PM

(All Alice Springs)
I love Bluegrass in Alice Springs. Prices are around the $20 - $30 mark. Extensive menu, and absolutely delicious!
Red Ochre on Todd Mall is usually pretty good, and will offer bizarre fare such as kangaroo, camel and crocodile. Not cheap though.
Casa Nostra is ok for cheap pasta/pizza.
Hanuman Thai at the Plaza hotel is also excellent, but on the pricey side for Thai food. Bardoppio is good and cheap for lunch (but service is VERY slow). Red Dog Cafe does a good breakfast.

Hope this helps.

alise May 27th, 2004 05:56 AM

We enjoyed Philips Foote in the Rocks (if you don't mind doing a bit of cooking on the barbie!)

it isn't in PD but down the road near Palm Cove ---Night Zoo--- all you can eat and drink (for the adults) but you get the animals at night, gators, birds etc....and sing along songs. It was silly and fun! Food wasn't bad (steaks, chicken, potatoes) but nothing fancy.

We also ate at a great Greek restaurant in Palm Cove right across from the beach in the little shopping plaza upstairs.

We did the Doyle's thing at Sydney Harbor--more for the view but the food wasn't bad and the prices are reasonable for what you are used to in DC.

Sitting outside checking out the Opera House as the sun goes down is worth the extra buck or two!

AndrewDavid May 27th, 2004 08:11 PM

OK Pat, I'll bite. What is carpet bag steak?

If you are going to the Opera House, the last cafe on the esplanade next to the Opera gift shop is reasonable and you sit up on the esplanade and have boffo views of the bridge.
We took Margo there; her table manners are lovely.


Neil_Oz May 27th, 2004 08:45 PM

From memory, carpetbag steak is a big steak stuffed with oysters. (No, I'm not making that up.)

Alise - "gators" in Queensland??? A 'gator is a wimpy little thing compared to a Queensland saltwater croc. A "saltie" would regard a 'gator as a poor breakfast at best. The only way to experience either of them, in my book, is in a nice sauce.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:06 AM.