Sydney restaurants good for family dining?

Jul 8th, 2003, 08:12 PM
  #1  
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Sydney restaurants good for family dining?

Our trip to Australia is coming up in less than a month! I'd love any restaurant recommendations in Sydney, places that serve good food in a nice atmosphere but are still suitable for well behaved kids aged 9, 13, and 15. While informal fast food type places may be fine for some lunches, for at least a few dinners we'd like to eat somewhere special as a family. Any ideas would be welcome. I do have several Sydney guidebooks, but many of the restaurants featured (like Tetsuya's) look way too gourmet for my kids. Not to mention the bill for a whole family would be staggering!
Miranda is offline  
Jul 8th, 2003, 09:12 PM
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This may be out of place on a board that regularly discusses level 41,tetsuyas etc but I would...

when you arrive at sydney airport amongst several other chores I would go to the newsagent there and purchase a sydney morning herald and a
"cheap eats in sydney" guide.

If the kids are capable of coperative decision making let them choose a suitable restaurant
johhj_au is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 05:33 AM
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Hi Miranda,
If you take a stroll along Darling Harbour there are plenty of great restaurants. We had been eating at places like Planet Hollywood which my teenagers loved of course, but for the special family meals and on the last night we went down to Darling Harbour and strolled along taking our pick of what we fancied.
Prices were surprisingly reasonable.
Of course there are hundreds of suitable restaurants all around Sydney I am sure you will have no problem finding a lovely place.
We will spend New year in Sydney this year, so if you find any great places to eat, please let us know.
Have fun

Muck
Mucky is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 01:52 PM
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I vote for Darling Harbour. There's an international food court there with great food at very reasonable prices. The kids will love it.
John
John71cove is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 07:05 PM
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The food court at Darling Harbour is very informal (much like any food court at any shopping centre) and I would not recommend the food as anything special, great for a quick bite in a cafeteria atmosphere for lunch but nothing more, however . . . Darling Harbour and Cockle Bay have a number of good, child friendly waterfront restaurants, many that have outdoor dining areas with views of Darling Harbour and the city (City views from the Western side).

The restaurant in Centrepoint Tower would be a really unique and special dining experience. The restaurant revolves, and while the food is buffet style is is quite adequate. It may be best to do this for a lunch rather than dinner so you can take full advantage of the view. You can have fun identifying all the landmarks in Sydney with the kids and it will certainly keep them from getting bored.

Chinatown in Haymarket(Asian restuarants - Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai etc not just Chinese) has many terrific restaurants where children will be more than welcome to dine. You can get there on the monorail which will make the evening even more interesting.

Circular Quay has many excellent restuarants that will welcome well behaved children (again many with open air dining (particular in the buildings known as the Toasters), Doyles (Watson's Bay, Circular Quay and the Fish Markets) would be a great place if your children enjoy fish and seafood.

Don't discount the idea of dining in a pub either, many of them serve wonderful food at good prices and most of them have their dining areas as separate from the main bar.

As johhj says there are many, many fabulous restaurants all over Sydney most will welcome well-behaved children (even the most upmarket), with only very few being kind of unsuitable but only because of the exotic menu (but your kids might be very adventurous). Alot of restuarants have their menus posted on their windows so you can get a fair idea of the food on offer and whether your kids will like it. And the idea of a guidebook (either the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide or the Cheap Eats guide will serve you well). The concierge or receptionist at your hotel will also be able to point you in the right direction.
Daneille is offline  
Jul 11th, 2003, 11:31 PM
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Miranda-

I have an absolute favourite restaurant in Sydney (and I live here so it's from the horses mouth!) I go at least once a month, and have my birthday dinner there every year.

It's called Almustafa, and is Lebanese food. It's in Surrey Hills, which is an inner suburb of Sydney (about an AUD$8 cab ride from the city centre). The restaurant has been written up tons of times with glowing reviews.

They have a regular menu, but also do "Banquets". My favourite is the Carpet Room Banquet. Basically, it's a smorgasbord of Lebanese food, including coffee and turkish delight/baclava for dessert, for $32AUD per person. The food is wonderful, it's family run, and they'll cater to vegetarians. Also, they will not let you leave hungry (althought that's never been a problem!) They will keep bringing food until you're done!

Now for the best part your kids might really enjoy...on Friday and Saturday nights they have a belly-dancer come in. She does a good 20-30 minutes, and it's all free. Ask for a table upstairs in the carpet room, book dinner for around 8pm (she comes at around 9) and it's an entire evening's entertainment...for $160AUD for the whole family (so about $110US). If I remember correctly, Tetsuya's is $175AUD per person.

Anyway, just a thought. I took my parents there when they came to visit me and they loved it.
PixieChick is offline  
Jul 11th, 2003, 11:32 PM
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oops...the address for Almustafa in Surry Hills is 276 Cleveland St (on the corner of Elizabeth).

They also have a new place in Glebe, but I'd go to the original.
PixieChick is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 02:12 AM
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Hi Pixiechick.
Almustafa sounds fantastic. Never tried lebanese food any additional recomendations for what to eat?
We are in Sydney over New year will it be difficult to get in there then?
Muck
Mucky is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 02:21 AM
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Oh One other question...
Is Almustafa suitable for a family visit with 13 yrs girl and 16 yrs boy? I understand testosterone is high at 16 should I beware?
Muck
Mucky is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 02:54 AM
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Mucky,

I tried to bring some friends to Almustafa last Christmas and they were closed. I'd just say give them a call a week or so before to see if they'll be open.

As for a 16 year old boy, he should be fine! The belly dancer is well covered (well, as much as any belly dancer) and they actually have real normal figures...a curve here or there, even a bit of fat. It might actually be good for a 13 year old girl and 16 year old boy to see a normal sized woman who's perceived as beautiful and sexy!

As for other places to eat, there are heaps in Sydney. If you give me a hint of your budget or what types of food you like/dislike, I can have a think about it. I've eaten at the swish places in Sydney, but find that there are so many reasonably priced and delicious places that you can't go wrong!

Off the top of my head, two that might be interesting (and will be fine with your kids) are Red Lantern, a DELICIOUS vietnamese place in Surry Hills (not far from Almustafa, actually) that is so popular, booking is a good idea. Also, an experience not to be missed because it's an institution (and the food is good and cheap) is Bill and Tony's on Stanley Street in the city. There's a strip of street (Stanley Street) between Crown St and College St that has a bunch of Italian places. Bill and Tony's is very well known (their signature is that they serve orange cordial with the meals!) Great for a family with kids.

Let me know what you're looking for and I can send you more thoughts.
PixieChick is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 02:30 PM
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Hi PixieChick,
Sorry to Hijack Miranda's Post!!
We like good wholesome reasonably priced food, I don't mind paying for food but I object to paying for large plates and small food in swanky places.
We don't eat fish, and my wife is very festidious about what she eats.
We certainly like pub meals and informal kind of places, and in fact we ate at Planet Hollywood and had a really great meal there.
We like to eat at interesting places that don't charge a fortune just to sit down.But where smart casual dress is normal.
Does that make sense?
I guess where the "natives" eat is the answer. Bill and Tony's sounds good I will investigate this place.
Does that make sense?
any recommendations are gratefully accepted especially as we will be in Sydney over new year.

Muck
Mucky is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 06:44 PM
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Mucky, not to worry about hijacking my post --- I have enjoyed all the commentary.

Thanks for all the suggestions everybody!

We are fond of Italian food, so any more recommendations along those lines would be especially welcome. And my 15 year old son would like it even better if the Italian place had pizza on the menu (some of the more upscale places don't).
Miranda is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 07:02 PM
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Miranda-

In my humble opinion, Arthur's pizza is the best. Unfortunately, you may get hoodwinked as there are a fair number of pizza places named Arthurs! The one I'm speaking of is on Oxford St in Paddington (phone number is +61-2-9331-1779). They have some pasta on the menu (I think) but it's really the pizza you go for. Either get there early or be prepared for a wait...or you can order to your hotel for delivery! Last night I had one delivered: half spinach and goats cheese, half "TNT" (ham, chilli, onions, etc).

The other place that is actually quite good is called Limoncello, in Double Bay (on Bay St). I normally wouldn't suggest Double Bay, but I live in DB and took my parents there for dinner (it was close and easy). I was amazed at how good the pasta was, and I had a wonderful mushroom pizza. They have a large wood-fired pizza selection, and a varied menu otherwise. Reasonably priced. My pizza would have fed two people and cost about $17AUD.

The other Double Bay place that's great, and a locals only kind of place, is Spice Market. It's amazingly good thai food. It's very small, with communal tables, but if you find yourself out this way it's worthwhile having a look.

And, as I write this, I'm thinking of other great places that you wouldn't hear about from your concierge. If you like Indian food, there's a place in Edgecliff (all these places are within 3km of the city centre, and easily accessible by taxi or bus) called Flavour of India. Very good indian food in a nice, sit down restaurant. The front is painted orange (sort of a turmeric colour) and it's on the block before the Edgecliff train station (so a very easy walk from the train, and the Edgecliff stop is 2 stops from the centre of the city).

Phew....hope all these suggestions are helpful to you and Mucky! As you can tell, I love food and don't feel you have to spend an arm and a leg for good stuff.

Oh, one more....if you like fish and chips, do try Doyle's on Watson's Bay. Although every tourist goes, it's actually VERY good. Once you've done that, then try the fish and chips at Sea Cow, on Boundary St in Rushcutter's Bay. Tiny place, does take away as well, but man is it good. I had a hankering for F&C the other night and got some to go. The chips are seasoned just right, and they make their own tartare sauce that's to die for.
PixieChick is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 07:09 PM
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One other thought (I seem to be dominating this thread...sorry!) if you are going to be in Sydney for a few weeks, it might be worth investing in one of the Sydney Entertainment Guide books (check out www.entertainmentbook.com.au). It has discounts on lots of attractions and places to eat, and is well worth the money. For example, they have buy-on-get-one free at the Aquarium, lots of harbour cruises, etc. And hundreds of restaurants have buy-on-get-one main meals, or 25% off the bill sort of things. Not bad restaurants, we're talking Bel Mondo, MG Garage, Cafe Sydney, Beppi's, etc). The book costs about $55AUD, but you will save that in two meals.

Just a thought.
PixieChick is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 11:03 PM
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Pixie Chick,
I am so glad to see that you are recommending so many great choices of restaurants -
It always makes me sad/cross that most of the visitors on this Forum seem to be only aware of Level 41, Tetsuyas etc. when there are so many good more middle of the road ideas, as you are suggesting.
Also I think by going to some of these they will have a chance to mix with a much more cosmopolitan group of people - rather than the expense account/high income patrons of the others, which should be more fun.
prue is offline  
Jul 13th, 2003, 05:19 PM
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Italian Food -

Mixing Pot in St. Johns Road Glebe (5 min. taxi ride from town)
Mezzaluna in Potts Point
Beppis in East Sydney
L'Unico in Balmain
La Lupa in Balmain

All v. good - slightly upmarket italian restaurants.
Daneille is offline  
Jul 13th, 2003, 05:57 PM
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Mezzaluna is great...and along with Beppi's probably the most upmarket of the group. Mezzaluna will average about $35 for a main, $25 for an entree and $15 for dessert.
PixieChick is offline  
Jul 19th, 2003, 03:29 AM
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Topping
PixieChick is offline  
Jul 19th, 2003, 02:37 PM
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Thanks again everybody for your suggestions. I can see we will eat well! I will print this thread out and take it with me.
Miranda is offline  

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