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RichardJ Jan 8th, 2006 02:53 PM

What are the best Sydney restaurants?
We will be staying at the Four Seasons in Sydney for 5 nights? Should we make restaurant reservations before we leave the states? We recently went to New York City. I am so glad I made reservations a month in advance because the most popular restaurants book up so quickly. I have been reading posts and have compiled a list of popular Sydney restaurant choices mentioned by other Fodorites. Could someone help me narrow down the list or add to the list if I missed some good ones?
Guillaume at Bennelong
Forty One
Palisade Dining Room
Aqua Dining
Flying Fish
Icebergs (Bondi)
Pier at Rose Bay
We don't necessarily want fancy/gourmet --views are always enjoyable with really good food. Thanks

johhj_au Jan 8th, 2006 03:39 PM

The fine dining crowd would probably add
tetsuyas to that list.You should book ahead for most of that list.Also increase the credit limit on your card...coz they charge nyc prices as well.

IMHO you'd be better off to take a picnic (from david jones food hall) and a bottle of cowra chardonnay to Bradley's head.

BTW..what's the weather like in southern colorado and Taos in mid april?

Peteralan Jan 8th, 2006 06:01 PM

You have some great restaurants on your list including my second favourite ( Est)but please also consider my very favourite...QUAY. It has great views, great service and views of the harbour. As well,it is within walking distance of your hotel.And no, I am not connected with that establishment! Have a wonderful time!

Peteralan Jan 8th, 2006 06:02 PM

Forgot to say I agree with John..reserve a table in advance.

Travelnick Jan 8th, 2006 10:11 PM

Catalina Rose Bay (just down the road from Pier) is one of my favourites. Ate at Shangri La's Altitude last month and thought it was excellent. Icebergs looks great, but couple of friends went there and thought it was really overrated.
Prices of most of the places you mention are of the order of A$23-28 for entree, $35 - $40 main course and $15-$18 for dessert. You will get a few bottles of wine at under $50 but more over that mark.

eschaton Jan 8th, 2006 11:48 PM

I agree with johnj about tetsuyas. The last few years it has been consistently rated a genuinely world class restaurant. The food cannot be easily classified - best described as a creative fusion of french and japanese. On popular evenings, you need to book several weeks in advance. A close second is Claude's in Woollahra.
I have no interests in either one of these establishments, though I have the chefs at a function.

eschaton Jan 8th, 2006 11:50 PM

A typo - "though I have MET the chefs..."

crazymina Jan 9th, 2006 11:19 AM

Tetsuyas is good (although I had the flu at the time, so it might have been great. My tastebuds weren't quite up to par). It's a fixed menu, from what I recall, so hopefully no one is a really picky eater.

And yes, expect a big bill. It was about AUD $1000 for 4 people. We were celebrating big time, so that was fine...however I wouldn't make a return visit anytime soon. I agree with the David Jones food hall suggestion. An array of their wonderful goodies eaten on a bench in the rocks with a view of the Opera House would rival any fine restaurant in Sydney, IMHO.

Peteralan Jan 9th, 2006 02:01 PM

Second vote for Claudes.

mjs Jan 9th, 2006 07:39 PM

Tetsuya is thought by many restaurant critics to be among the best. It is fixed price with one menu per night and quite innovative french-Japanese style. Cost for four was about $1000/4 Aus three years ago. I love both Japanese and French food but my wife does not care for Japanese food. We both thought the food was interesting but were not overwhelmed by the experience. It rates as good in my book but at a rather high price. We got our reservation through the Four Season's concierge.

Peteralan Jan 10th, 2006 08:59 PM

Tetsuyas now charge $178 without wine per person. You can choose to take your own wine if you are prpared to pay $18 corkage.

eschaton Jan 10th, 2006 10:26 PM

I just reread Richard's orginal message - that 'gourmet' food is not what they are necessarily after, but a good view to go with good food. I still maintain that Tetsuya and Claude are the places that serious foodies must go to at least once; but if views are just as important, then you are better off with some of the others places on the list.
There is another place which my wife and I dined at a couple of years ago - Cadmus Restaurant in the Quay Building right above the Opera House. Ask for a table with a view closest to and right above the Opera House - you get to see the icon from a unique angle. The view was absolutely spectacular. The food, I think was modern Australian with Lebanese influences. They have ala carte at the prices mentioned by Travelnick and a de gus offering as well - like Tetsuya.
The whole idea of a de gus experience is to put yourself in the hand of the chef (so to say) and sample his creative offerings. Non adventurious diners tend to go for the same old things - and creative chefs often groan in the kitchen at their choices and wish that more would venture to try something more adventurious. I know, having worked in a kitchen before. Some narrow their menu down more and more - and risk driving away ordinary diners, but there is always that scotch fillet just in case; some offer both ala carte and de gus; or if the chef is enough, only de gus is offered.

fuzzylogic Jan 11th, 2006 03:10 AM

All the restaurants you mention are of course in the SMH Good Food Guide - I am sure they are all absolutely wonderful - and why not book in advance if it so important to eat there.

But may I make a suggestion - why not just busk it one evening - do what most people who live here do, and go down to one of the local eateries - well, perhaps a local eat. The tables will be beautifully set napkins and cutlery and clean glasses and all that sort of stuffa dn ;l laid

fuzzylogic Jan 11th, 2006 03:16 AM

All the restaurants you mention are of course in the SMH Good Food Guide - I am sure they are all absolutely wonderful - and why not book in advance if it so important to eat there.

But may I make a suggestion - why not just busk it one evening - do what most people who live here do, and go down to one of the local eateries - well, perhaps a local celebration eatery. The tables will be beautifully set - napkins and cutlery and clean glasses and all that sort of stuff. The menu will be interesting; the location too. It may be BYO. And you will have the pleasure of an adventure and maybe an excellent meal (at a fraction of the price) that you wouldn't have found otherwise.

Just a thought. If you are interested I am sure lots of people will chime in with neighbourhood favourites a taxi or ferry ride from the Four Seasons. Or you could just find your own.

Happy eating.

RichardJ Jan 11th, 2006 05:15 PM

Actually I have more interest in just finding a local favorite place more than booking into fancy haute cuisine restaurants. I haven't decided if I will take a jacket, definitely no tie which will mean we won't be eating in most of the places on the list. Just winging it might be more fun. How would we find the local favorites? Could we rely on the concierge at the 4 Seasons or would that desk only try to steer us to the upper end?

Bokhara Jan 11th, 2006 06:56 PM

Richard, Sydney is jam packed with "local favourites" as it is with "best restaurants". What is #1 in either category for one person may well be #10 for another, as you will have seen from the responses to your original post seeking "best Sydney Restaurants", and to others on the Forum on this subject.

As your preference appears to have changed vastly since your original post; my suggestion would be to wait until you arrive, then go to the nearest newsagency/bookshop & buy "The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide", and "Cheap Eats". There's another one put out by SBS but it's name escapes me at the moment.

Alternatively, take a cab or bus to Newtown, Balmain, Surry Hills or East Sydney and simply wander along until you find something that appeals to you. This is what the locals do.

The quality of food in Sydney is excellent, especially in the trendier areas (above) with the fickle & fussy Sydney market ensuring that only the popular survive.

Neil_Oz Jan 11th, 2006 07:09 PM

I'm open to correction here, but I'm not aware of any Sydney restaurant, no matter how pricey, that would demand a jacket and/or tie. I would think that any place that indulged in such un-Australian conduct would see its business nosedive.

Peteralan Jan 11th, 2006 08:37 PM

Neil is right. None of the restaurants mentioned so far or any other will require you to wear a tie.

crosswords Jan 11th, 2006 09:30 PM

May not rank in Sydney's top 10 but the Oceanic Cafe in Elizabeth Street opposite Central Railway Station is well worth a look. Booth-type dining with orginal Formica table tops. The place hasn't had a coat of paint since the 1950s and fare is certainly reasonably priced. A fellow worker actually ventured into the Oceanic feeling peckish for some fish and chips but (because he WAS wearing a tie) was refused service, being informed he wasn't "our type of customer".
The Oceanic is apparently one of a half-dozen or so shops owned by one particular lady who refuses to sell ... the Aurora pub (on the corner of Elizabeth and Kippax streets) has been desperately trying to acquire the adjacent property for bottle shop extensions but it remains a derelict eyesore.
So, I guess, if the wallet is a bit stressed in Sydney it might be an idea to dress down and venture up to the good old Oceanic. Tell 'em Crosswords sent you.

fuzzylogic Jan 12th, 2006 02:20 AM

Hi RichardJ,

Agree with Bokhara 100%. And those two eating in Sydney bibles are great to browse through.

If you choose to go somewhere in Balmain one night there is the added bonus of being able to get here by ferry. You need to take a bus up Darling Street from the wharf, but there is always a bus (unless you are really unlucky) as the schedules for ferry/bus are meant to interlock.
Ride over at dusk; maybe have a drink in one of the pubs; unless you are very late eaters you can go home by ferry too.

There aren't any places in the area with waterfront views that I can recommend but there are plenty with courtyard or outdoor eating.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Doyles at Watsons Bay. I've never eaten there; the food may well be overpriced, but the location is superb. Somewhere for Sunday lunch, maybe, but you would have to book in advance!!

Hope you have a wonderful time.

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