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Sydney, Australia

Would love suggestions for local restaurants in Sydney. Hidden gems that may not be the first place for tourists to go.

Posted by
5003 posts

We have been to Sydney twice.

On our last visit, we stayed in the Tank Stream Hotel, 97 Pitt Street. The hotel was new and in an excellent location, just a few blocks from the Circular Quay, where the Opera House, the Rocks and the cruise terminal are located. The price was $265 AU instead of the $355 AU at the Four Seasons. The hotel had an excellent restaurant on the second floor (also used for breakfast). It was walking distance from a variety of good restaurants, museums and other attractions. We had spent five days in Sydney in 2013 and didn’t have much more to see on tours. We did take a wine tasting tour with Hunter Valley Wine Tasting Tours to the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney. We had taken this tour five years ago and enjoyed it, so we were hoping to see different wineries. As it turned out, we did visit one winery that we had visited before, but did visit three others that we had not visited.

I had signed us both on a short walking tour of “The Rocks,” a historical area were the city was founded, just overlooking Circular Quay.

While in Sydney, we visited several museums. The best was The Australian Museum, with it very good mammoth exhibit. We had visited the same museum in 2013, when it had different exhibits. The Hide Park Barracks was very good, it was in the original building for entry of convicts into Australia. The building had a lot of history in its structure or displayed in the museum. It explained much of the lives of the people coming into early Sydney. After visiting Hide Park Barracks, we went across the street and visited the St. James Church, the oldest church in Australia.

We also visited The Mint. It is a small museum where the mint was located. It is next door to the Hide Park Barracks. This museum was interesting, but not anywhere near as interesting as the other museums we visited. I also, visited the Museum of Sydney and the Justice and Peace Museum closer to Circular Quay. Both seemed to focus on the criminals in the early 20 Century. There was some repetition with visiting both these. I would pick the Museum of Sydney to visit and skip the other.

We walked through The Domain up to Mrs. Macquarie’s Point and then walked back through the Botanical Gardens, stopping to see the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The art was good and we spent a couple of hours there. We enjoyed the gardens (we always seem to enjoy such gardens).

Dining in Sydney during this time we had great meals at two notable restaurants. The first was Mr. Wong at 3 Bridge Land Sydney, It was about two blocks north of our hotel. Fortunately, we were there just before it opened, since a line had already formed outside. The restaurant was very popular and hard to get a table. The food was Cantonese Chinese and the food was exceptional. Dumplings were fantastic. The other restaurant, about a block south of our hotel was Jamie’s Italian on 107 Pitt St

Posted by
2 posts

Wow! Thank you for taking the time to write all that. What a great resource. I will make sure I keep this list handy to when my travel partner and I are searching for things to do. Thank you!

Posted by
1689 posts

hey hey colleen
i haven't been to sydney but did save these sites for later travel. or
different food and walk tours to introduce you to places and hidden gems to see and hear about. enjoy and have a great time.

Posted by
2013 posts

There are too many great restaurants in and around Sydney to count, including quite a number in The Rocks. Be aware though that when the cruise ships are in the area around Circular Quay and the Rocks will be clobbered with people until they return to the ship in the late afternoon.
Better (IMO) to pick up a couple of Oyster cards and head away from the downtown area on one of the ferries. It's a great way to enjoy the beautiful harbor and visit some of the off-the-beaten-track little suburbs - all of which will have cute little local restaurants for you to explore. For a nice stretch of the legs consider taking the ferry across the harbor over to one of the landings in the vicinity of Taronga Zoo. Sydney Harbor National Park is a very pleasant greenbelt pathway that follows the harbor around for several miles. You can debark from the ferry at one place, walk until you've had enough, and then jump on another to head back to Circular Quay. It's a very pleasant way to spend a morning or an afternoon, and you always have the option of heading up into one of the little neighborhoods to explore on your own and discover your own place to eat.
A personal favorite is the beach community of Manly - about a half hour by ferry from the city but a world away in terms of ambience. Lots of great seafood places over there. Another is the pretty suburb of Balmain.
There are restaurants and cafes dotting the promenade along Circular Quay all the way around to the Opera House. Though the quality of the food will vary, most are actually pretty good, and the upside of dining at one of them is that their locations are ideal for people watching and just enjoying the views. There are a couple of little cafes over in the Botanical Gardens that serve surprisingly good food at reasonable prices, and in one of the more pleasant venues in the city.