Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My fav cafe's and restaurants

So as you all know I like to eat......A LOT and I try to get to as many new places as I can. I have a hit list which I have not even made a dint in (and this is only in relation to Sydney, don't even get me started on Melbourne).

Many of you ask me for recommendations so I will start writing out some of these places and continually update the list with new ones.



(in no particular order)

  • Balkan Oven (Just off Princess Hwy, Rockdale)
A small authentic Macedonian Burek kitchen. As soon as you walk into this thin cafe you are hit the aromas of the cripy pastry hot ot of the oven and are then presented with the 3 varieties they offer - cheese, cheese and spinach or meat - which come as either a whole, half or quarter of a pie. There are also mini burek sticks for an on the go snack. You can also enjoy pizza topping varieties of burek which as opposed to a 'pie' are pastry with topping open on top. Sit on seating in the plaza strip which is lined with numerous Macedonian cafe's which you will find locals enjoying their days catchign up with friends over a coffee.
Such good value and absolutely delicious. Sometimes you will have to wait for a fresh pie to come out of the oven, but believe me, its soooo worth it.

  • Kaimaki Cafe (Montgomery St, Kogarah)
  • Trianon Cakes (289 Homer Street, Earlwood)
Very well known in this inner west suburb Trianon is sought out for its Greek and Cypriot delicacies but especially its Olive and Haloumi breads which are usually sold out by 9am. Don't fret though cause you can order ahead or ask for a few to be put aside. If you were looking for smaller snacks try their olive pockets or their bureks which come in cheese and spinach or just cheese....and I haven't even started about the cakes which line the shop front from Baklava, Galekaboriko, kouabiethes and paxamathia.

  • Napoli in Bocca (73 Dalhouse Street, Haberfield 9798 4096)
The best pizza I have had in Sydney. You may be shocked when you walk in, are seated at your table and look around. It's a simple restaurant with a basic fit out, a theme that also extends to the service, very standard. Drinks are forgotten and meals take a while, but once you take a bite into that huge thin authentic pizza you won't care about any of the above. Even the most simple of pizzas which consists of a tomato base and herbs is so flavoursome it was extremely surprising. One down and onto number two. TWO you say? Of course.......they are so light and thin and irresistible that one is simply not enough, but to go for the crispy bruschetta pizza which I can still smell the garlic and basil, or maybe the calzone which is stuffed with ham, mushroom and ricotta.
Desserts are not their specialty so if you are having lunch I would go across the road to Pappas and have a slice of their baked ricotta cheesecake and if for dinner then find a gelato bar to cap off the evening.
  • The Nut Roaster (71-81 Chapel St, Lakemba)
As you park you are loured in by the wafting smell of freshly roasted nuts. There should be a sign at the entrance "Enter at your own risk" as you will without a doubt leave with much more than you planned to get. Part impulse and part spoilt for choice, even when you know exactly what is there. So you walk in and think, where do I start? I figure on the left is my best bet, this is where all the canned foods, grains, pulses and pastas are, then I will move down the back where I can see a huge fridge full of cheeses and a huge selection of olives. I will finish on my right where the nuts practically line the whole side of the warehouse, an of course you will always have a choice 'salted' or 'unsalted'.
Owned and run by a Lebanese family, they are so warm and helpful and you will see they always remember their regulars, which includes my Yiayia, and since one of the older members of the family remembers me coming in with her, he slips me a few olives on the sly... and I thought it couldn't have gotten any better.
  • Miro Tapas (Liverpool Street, Sydney)
Located in the Spanish quarter, this secluded Spanish restaurant, as it is underground, and boasts the best of both worlds: good food and an intimate atmosphere makes it attractive for both groups and couples to enjoy the world of tapas. There are two rooms one which has more tables for two and another which has larger tables. This separation is successful in creating different moods within each space.

NOW lets go on about the food. Chorizo, a must, was nicely bbq'd and tender on the inside. Lomo con Roquefort which was bbq'd eye fillets which had Roquefort (strong blue cheese) on top which melted as it was served was an interesting combination of flavours, but it worked as the cheese wasn't creamy but rather the strength of the cheese and the intense flavour of the meat, especially since it was barbecued, allowed all flavours to be experienced and enjoyed without dominating each other. Calamares al Sol comprised of tender strips of char grilled calamari which were so tender and not chewy thankfully, as that would have made it an interesting and possibly very messy time considering I was on a date. Above all meals we had the one that truly stood out to me was the Gambas al Ajillo, i.e. Garlic Prawns. Now I have had my fair share of Garlic Prawns, Greek, Italian, Spanish styles many times over but these are the one I often crave and I know it is a huge call, but I have to say they were the best garlic prawns I have ever had. There was a strong garlic flavour, oil to dip your bread in and large plump prawns which were succulent and fresh. Served in a clay pot they were just divine and a must if you end up going.
  • Old Saigon, King Street, Newtown

This is a simple, very tacky restaurant with aluminium can aeroplanes decorating the place and objects hanging from the ceiling, but sometimes its such places which boast the best and most traditional food. It is a Vietnamese restaurant and although I haven't had too many things on the menu I can say that the rice paper rolls are large and full of stuffing and the prawn soup is the best thing ever on a cold day where you want something nice to warm you up. It is full of prawns in a nice sweet and sour broth with vegetables, no noodles, which is just the way I like my soup.

It is such good value for money and if you are adventurous they do offer such dishes as crocodile or wild boar, just don't go expecting much from the staff or decor, but fantastic fro a low key budget dinner.
  • Badde Manors, Glebe Point Road, Glebe (Uni end)

Now this cafe has been an institution for years. I started coming here when I was 7 years old with my Godsister who has been going for about 10 years at that stage. I had the strawberry gelato that day and was so overwhelmed with how good the gelato tasted I think I dreamt of it for years, but as I kid I did not know where I had gone and always wished to go back. Eventually I found out where the place was and took my brother and some friends. I knew they did good toasted foccacias and their dessert fridge was always impressive, but it was the gelato that was to die for, such intense flavours, like nothing I had ever had. It was this day that we discovered something that was probably something simple to overlook but huge in the scheme of things..........the whole cafe was vegetarian, and for my brother, that was a tragedy. He hated his Caesar salad with avocado dressing and no bacon. He was not impressed at all, but then I convinced him to have the gelato and he said 'its ok', which in the context of the day meant he liked it a lot, but did not want to give off he liked it. The lemon gelato is so strong it tastes like traditionally made lemonade. When I told my Godsister it was vegetarian, she was gobsmacked as she had been going there for 15 years and had never ever noticed as she always had toasted sandwiches.

Anyways, it is still a nice place to go for a light meal, a coffee or gelato and is great as it is open till late at night. They have a courtyard out the back which in the afternoon is nice and relaxing with the sun coming in. The interior is nothing special, old school wooden tables and benches and it has a certain character about it, but 'being vegetarian' obviously isn't it, rather a warm place for friends to gather, chat all afternoon and loose track of time.
  • Glebe Point Diner
  • Perama
  • Pendolino, Level 2, Strand Arcade
  • Azuma, Regent Place or Chifley Plaza
  • Nostos, Norton St, Leichhardt
  • Cafe Sopra, of Fratelli Fresh
Dank St, Waterloo
Macleay St, Potts Pt

  • Thang Binh, King St, Newtown
  • Fratelli Paradiso, Challis Ave, Potts Point
  • Fishface, Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst
  • Icebergs, 1 Notts Ave, Bondi Beach
  • Mad Cow, The Ivy
  • Pier, New South Head Road, Rose Bay
  • Bayswater Brassierie, Kings Cross
  • Pink Salt, Cross St, Double Bay
  • Kazbah on Darling, Darling St, Balmain
  • Pastizzi Cafe, King St, Newtown
  • Adora Chocolates, Homer St, Earlwood
  • Belgium Beer Cafe, Harrington St, The Rocks
  • Central Baking Depot, Erskine St, CBD
  • Coffee places in Sydney - Mecca, Campos, Toby's, The Source
  • Cyprus Club Cafe, Stanmore Rd Stanmore
  • Bodega, Commonwealth St, Surry Hills
  • Hot Chocolates - San Churro, Max Brenner, Lindt, Guylian, CBD

PLACES STILL TO TRY (so if you want to try one let me know and I'd love to go with you!)

  • Toko, Crown St, Surry Hills
  • Souk
  • Claude's
  • Cru54, Foveaux St, Surry Hills
  • Intermezzo, GPO
  • Prime, GPO
  • Medusa, Market St, Sydney
  • Buon Ricardo, Paddington
  • Lucio's, Paddington
  • Viva Goa, Pyrmont
  • Cafe Sydney, Custom's House
  • Otto's, Finger Wharf, Woolomolloo
  • Sugaroom, Pyrmont
  • Flying Fish, Pyrmont
  • African, Newtown
  • Nepalese, Surry Hills
  • Subsolo, King St, Sydney
  • Sushi-e, Establishment complex, Sydney
  • Est, Establishment complex, Sydney
  • Sean's Panorama, Bondi Beach
  • North Bondi Italian, Bondi Beach
  • Teppenyaki, Ivy Complex, Sydney
  • Table for 20, Surry Hills
  • Macleay St Bistro, Potts Pt
  • Nostimo
  • Quay, Overseas Passingers Terminal, Sydney
  • Yellow Bistro, Potts Pt
  • Universal, Darlinghurst
  • The Burlington, Crows Nest
  • Bentley Bar & Restaurant, Surry Hills
  • Area, Circular Quay
  • Bird Cow Fish, Surry Hills
  • Oscillate Wildly, Newtown
  • The Light Brigade, Woollahra
  • Efendy, Balmain
  • Berowra Waters Inn
  • Yoshi, The Rocks
  • Guillame Bennalong, Circular Quay
  • Tabou, Surry Hills
  • Etch, Sydney
  • Marque


DanKell said...

Hey Trish!

Saw your facebook link to your food blog so I thought I'd check it out and just realised that I actually read the whole thing! :)

I think I'm going to have to get you to cater next time I'm having a house party from the sounds of your culinary skills...

I like the list of favourite restaurants too.... I also want to try Table for 20 (was going to have b'day drinks at Sticky Bar upstairs from there but didn't end up happening) and I'm very fortunate to work directly next door to Bambini Wine Trust so I eat there all the time!

Keep it up and look forward to reading more!


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