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Eats in central Sydney

Spice Alley, ChippendaleCREDIT: Destination NSW

Spice Alley filled with evening diners. Chippendale.

#ilovesydney

Eats in central
Sydney

Spice Alley, Chippendale CREDIT: Destination NSW

Spice Alley filled with evening diners. Chippendale.

#ilovesydney

Hashtags #ilovesydney

Welcome to the flavour capital of Australia. Sydney has it all: multicultural dining districts, internationally recognised restaurants, brilliant opportunities to try local produce and Aboriginal bush tucker, and more. Here’s how to get a taste of the city centre.  

Whet your appetite in Surry Hills 

Surry Hills, on the eastern fringe of the city centre, has long been a foodie magnet, making this a great place to base yourself for a culinary-centric visit. Bed down at the Paramount House Hotel. This well-designed boutique hotel has Paramount Coffee Project at its doorstep — so a good latte or burnt-fig muesli is not that far away. In the same complex you’ll find Golden Age Cinema & Bar on the lower ground if you’re after a cult film screening with a Gelato Messina choc top. Also downstairs: Poly, a wine bar with a smart drinks list and an inspired menu by head chef Isabelle Caulfield. Don't miss her sticky date doughnuts or fried potato snack with salted egg yolk. 

At Firedoor, just a five minute walk to the south, every dish is cooked over smoke and hot coals — even the salads and dessert. The open kitchen allows guests a clear view of the action and you’ll definitely want a front-row perspective of chef Lennox Hastie at work. He creates high-temperature magic by placing local ingredients over embers and grills; his mastery of fire has made him a local star on Netflix’s Chef’s Table: BBQ series. 

Learn about bush foods on an Aboriginal tour 

Sydney’s culinary history goes back millennia, which you’ll quickly learn on an Aboriginal Cultural Tour conducted in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Your Aboriginal guide will teach you about the Cadigal people, the area’s Traditional Owners, and point out significant plants found in this harbourside garden such as lemon myrtle and saltbush. You’ll get to taste some, too.  

Hit the markets 

Carriageworks Farmers Markets in the Inner West suburb of Eveleigh is the place to be on a Saturday morning. Overseen by Kitchen By Mike’s Mike McEnearney, the line-up of stallholders showcases growers and producers from across NSW — from Hilltops Free Range Eggs to Pecora Dairy. You’ll also encounter ingredients used by top chefs (like Randall Organic rice, which you’ll find in dishes at Quay and Lankan Filling Station). While you’re browsing the stalls, grab a coffee from Roasters with Altitude or a fruity drink from Parkers Organic Juice. Pick up some freshly baked bread from Berkelo, well-made cakes from Flour and Stone and the blueberry, coconut and chocolate flavours on offer from Crumpets By Merna.  

You’ll come across Pasta Emilia’s tortellini and ravioli at the markets, but you can also head to the Surry Hills restaurant to learn traditional Italian pasta-making via its cooking classes. Master making three types of gnocchi or try the beginner’s class, where you’ll get to shape fresh linguine strands and twisted strozzapreti. Afterwards, enjoy a three-course meal fashioned from your own creations, as well as a complimentary glass of organic wine.

Firedoor, Sydney CREDIT: Nikki To

Chef Lennox Hastie in the kitchen at Surry Hill's Firedoor restaurant.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Firedoor, Sydney CREDIT: Nikki To

Chef Lennox Hastie in the kitchen at Surry Hill's Firedoor restaurant.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Carriageworks Farmers Markets, Eveleigh CREDIT: Destination NSW

Crowds enjoying a day out at Carriageworks Markets in Eveleigh.

#ilovesydney

Carriageworks Farmers Markets, Eveleigh CREDIT: Destination NSW

Crowds enjoying a day out at Carriageworks Markets in Eveleigh.

#ilovesydney

Discover laneway gems  

Tucked away in the city centre’s Angel Place alleyway, Restaurant Leo serves delightful Italian dishes using seasonal local produce. Try the lobster maccheroncini and the veal saltimbocca. Around the corner, you’ll find Lorraine’s Patisserie, which is run by Lorraine Godsmark, one of Sydney’s greatest pâtissiers. Try her strawberry mascarpone cake, toffee vanilla choux puffs or the date tart, which became famous during her reign at Rockpool restaurant.

Back in Surry Hills, Brix Distillers took years to launch the first barrel release of its delicious rum, but you can take home your own special spiced rum blend immediately after participating in a rum-spicing masterclass and distillery tour here.  

For a late-night cocktail, head to Cantina OK!, an intimate mezcal bar in Surry Hills. Or if you’re looking for somewhere more roomier, head to the much-loved Surry Hills institution that is the Hollywood Hotel for a casual beer or spritz. 

Enjoy brunch with a twist 

Yes, Nour in Surry Hills serves eggs for breakfast — but there’s nothing generic about its brunch menu. This Middle Eastern restaurant skips the default toast option and offers Baalbek fried eggs with tahini yoghurt, smoked almond crumb and flatbread. Your crumpets are flavoured with falafel and, should you opt for the bottomless brunch menu, you can start your morning with Persian spritzes.

Also in Surry Hills, Dead Ringer, the sister restaurant to the award-winning Bulletin Place cocktail bar in the city centre, does brunch with a difference — and not just because there’s no avocado toast on the menu. Here brunch means pulled pork and black bean tostadas, baked ricotta tarts and slow-roasted chicken with braised zucchini and lemon yoghurt), which are paired with bottomless mimosa spritzes. You can “brunch harder” with extra espresso martini and dessert, too.

Picnic in a Sydney park 

Spend an afternoon picnicking in one of Sydney’s many relaxing parks. At the Gateway Sydney food court in Circular Quay, grab scoops of Gelato Messina or takeaway pancakes from Four Frogs Creperie to enjoy in the Royal Botanic Garden. Or pick up snacks from The Rocks Markets held nearby on weekends. Nearby Barangaroo’s foreshore has plenty of nice spots by the harbour — and an international selection of eateries to choose from, whether it’s Anason’s Turkish delights (make use of the simit cart if it’s around) or Ume Burger’s Japanese-inspired menu. 

Wander to Spice Alley and Darling Square 

For a fun evening, browse the Asian street food stalls at Spice Alley in Chippendale, a short stroll south of Central Station. Twirl your chopsticks around Kyo-to’s ramen, discover the rainbow dumplings at Shanghai Dumpling Bar, or check out KOI Dessert Bar for incredible sweets.  

Or head to Darling Square in nearby Haymarket, where you can find Barcelona-inspired tapas at Boque By Tapavino, Japanese green tea desserts at Matcha-Ya and new-wave Chinese food at XOPP. This eatery is named after celebrity chef David Chang’s favourite dish in the world, the pipis in XO sauce at XOPP’s sister restaurant Golden Century.  

Hotel Hollywood, Surry Hills CREDIT: Destination NSW

Art deco signage on the dacade of the Hotel Hollywood building in Surry Hills.

#ilovesydney

Hotel Hollywood, Surry Hills CREDIT: Destination NSW

Art deco signage on the dacade of the Hotel Hollywood building in Surry Hills.

#ilovesydney

Spice Alley, Chippendale CREDIT: Destination NSW

People enjoying Asian hawker-style street food at Spice Alley, Chippendale.

#ilovesydney

Spice Alley, Chippendale CREDIT: Destination NSW

People enjoying Asian hawker-style street food at Spice Alley, Chippendale.

#ilovesydney

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