The Grounds of Alexandria
Sydney favourite, The Grounds, is a great place to spend the day with friends and family. With its signature laidback, organic vibe, this popular Alexandria oasis is an all in one produce market, florist, café, restaurant, bar and bakery. All linked by outdoor paths, it is the best place for weekend coffee dates with your pooch.
Mohr Fish does one thing, and one thing well: seafood. For over 23 years, the casual eatery has been serving up fish in every possible way, from grilled, barbecued and fried fillets to bouillabaisse, fish pie and fish cakes. Its blue and white décor sets the scene, and the wine bar keeps the good vibes rolling.
Chapter Five Espresso
Before hopping on the train, Redfern locals caffeinate at Chapter Five Espresso. A welcome escape from the station scene, the café is cosy and tucked inside a terrace. The Mediterranean-influenced menu is scrawled on butcher’s paper, and the baristas whip up coffee using the café’s special house blend.
Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or the biggest carnivore in Sydney, you’re bound to find something that tickles your tastebuds at Oriental Healthy – and it’ll be healthy to boot. The Thai eatery has a meat-free version of almost every dish on the menu, making it the perfect spot for groups with different dietary requirements.
Redfern is brimming with cafes, and Urban Piccolo is one of its standouts. The wide windows allow light to flood in while customers tuck into classic breakfast and lunch plates, which are refreshingly priced on the low side. The staff are friendly, and there’s outdoor seating available.
Ribs & Burgers The Star
At The Star’s buzzing food court, Ribs & Burgers is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Its menu is simple: think burgers (which get bonus points for their sustainably sourced ingredients), wings and slow-cooked ribs, plus a few veggie options. The eatery is relaxed, and particularly popular at lunchtime.
Celebrity chef Luke Nguygen is the brains behind Fat Noodle, an upmarket eatery that serves a vibrant array of South East Asian street food. The open kitchen sends out Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai and Malay plates, and hungry punters sit at communal tables. Its trademark dish is the Fat Pho Noodles, made with a 20-hour slow cooked beef broth.
To avoid disappointment, make a reservation at Yuzu – the Japanese restaurant has a loyal following thanks to its simple, seasonal and delicious menu. Located on a quiet Pyrmont street, it’s popular among professionals escaping the city grind, and locals on the weekends. If you fancy a tipple, you can BYO or order from the full bar.
A reliable go-to, Pulse Express is popular with Pyrmont professionals and hotel guests of The Star. The café flings open its doors at 7am daily to serve coffee and breakfast classics like sandwiches, croissants and muesli, as well as lunch, dinner and snacks. It has an organic focus.
Flying Fish & Chips
Inside The Star, Flying Fish & Chips elevates the typical food court experience with an eclectic menu, hanging sculptures, and a liquor license. The perfect place to pop into before a show at The Lyric Theatre, the menu features a mix of fresh seafood as well as Japanese delights like sushi and sashimi.
Can’t decide between a sushi or burger? At Gojima, you don’t have to. The brainchild of award-winning chef Chase Kojima, Gojima is known for its ‘sushi burgers,’ made with Japanese sushi rice, crispy nori buns, and the usual fillings, like Angus beef, chicken or mushroom katsu, cheese, tomato and special sauce.
Din Tai Fung
Dubbed the home of the “world’s tastiest dumpling” by chef Ken Hom, Din Fai Tung is famous for its signature soup dumplings. Its outlet at The Star is busy yet efficient, and the dumplings are made just as methodically: each one is filled to a precise point, and cooked for exactly three minutes until juicy and delicious.
At Zilver, you can expect an authentic yum cha experience, with fast, frenzied service, and trolleys whizzing past piled high with steamed baskets. The seafood-focused restaurant also has a wall lined with live fish tanks – but the setting is on the sumptuous side. Think red and gold décor, and an LED screen wall flashing with images.
Yok Yor Thai Food Factory
From Thailand to Sydney’s Thai Town: Joe and Mek Phungsamphan’s parents founded the original Yok Yor in the motherland back in 1982, and the brothers opened the Aussie branch in 2007. While the menu touches on Thailand’s four distinct regions, but the signature street food plates offer a taste of Bangkok – which is where the family is from.
Do Dee Paidang
Can you handle the heat? Do Dee Paidang is a fiery foodie haven, and the menu lists a few heat levels: from 'Devil' and 'Volcano' all the way to the burn-your-tongue 'Super Nova.' The eatery also offers a refreshing range of Thai iced teas to help you through your spicy meal.
If Northern Thai food tingles your tastebuds, join the locals-in-the-know at Cheng Kitchen. Thanks to its cool climate, the region is known for its standout cuisine, which has a heavy focus on pork, veggies and all things deep-fried. This eatery follows suit, and adds a slew of spicy dishes and sweet desserts for good measure.
N2 Extreme Gelato
A social media sensation, N2 is known for their innovation in combining liquid nitrogen and gelato or sorbet. Staff don lab coats to whip up the desserts, which are bursting with flavour and layered with texture. The specials rotate all the time, so there's bound to be a new or downright quirky flavour to try every time you visit.
Instead of the usual plastic cup, here, bubble tea is served in light bulbs. While novelty bottles are common across Asia, Holy Shake was the first to bring the trend Down Under, and the Instagram crowd is loving it. Some of the bulbs have actual lights at the bottom, and the innovation doesn’t stop there: the menu is creative, and the shop surprises customers with new bottles regularly.
Sydneysiders are obsessed with pho, and this bustling eatery dishes up one of the very best bowls. There are over ten types of pho on offer, all of which are made with a broth that strikes the perfect balance between sweet, savoury and salty. Pho aside, Pho Pasteur serves stir-fries, dry noodles, grilled meats and rice paper rolls.
Once you taste Gumshara's thick tonkotsu ramen, you'll forget you're in a food court. The hole-in-the-wall specialises in tonkotsu ramen, a thick broth that's made from pork bones and collagen, slow-cooked for hours and then topped with ramen noodles, slices of pork, and a soft-boiled egg. There are vegetarian options, too.
Burgers Anonymous does one thing, and does it well: fuss-free, American-style burgers. They’re stuffed with house-made patties, pickles, tomato, onion and melted cheese, and if you’re feeling fancy, you can ask for double-smoked, triple-glazed bacon or extra cheese. With hip-hop music playing in the background, the team also serves up veggie burgers, fries, and fried pickles.