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Restaurants in Sydney

A multi-cultural and cosmopolitan city, Sydney has a wide variety of restaurants and cuisines showcasing diverse influences from around the world, but particularly from Asia. Along with modern Australian ('Mod Oz') cuisine, which combines fresh ingredients with a creative blend of European and Asian styles, restaurants serve almost any type of fare imaginable, from Tibetan to African, from Russian to American. Some areas or streets are dedicated to one type of food, while other areas in the city offer a variety of styles. The range also varies from award-winning, fine dining restaurants - situated mainly around the harbour or attached to five-star hotels - to international fast food takeaways such as McDonalds or Pizza Hut. Fresh seafood is in abundance, and steak is a staple that can be found in a selection of steakhouse chain restaurants scattered around the city.

The main dining areas in the centre of Sydney are The Rocks, Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and Chinatown. Prices vary according to location, with harbour facing establishments generally charging more for their views. Some restaurants are BYO, which means they are unlicensed, but diners can bring their own wine (sometimes a small corkage fee will be charged). All restaurants are non-smoking.

$$$$$ | Seafood


With breathtaking views of the Sydney city skyline and Woolloomooloo wharf, diners at the stylish Manta will feel as if they are dining at a Mediterranean seaside eatery. The exquisite seafood is fresh and tantalises the taste buds in the form of grilled Atlantic scallops served with watercress, shaved fennel, orange and Mt Buffalo hazelnuts or steamed Murray cod, broccolini, shitake and oyster mushrooms with a white truffle butter and chives. Desserts here are something else - try the quince tarte tatin, pistachios and pinot noir butter ice cream. Reservations essential. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Address: 6 Cowper Wharf Rd, The Wharf, Woolloomooloo
Telephone: (0)2 9332 3822

$$$$$ | Seafood


Rockpool began as a fine dining restaurant serving top-class Australian produce with an Asian influence, and today chefs Perry and Danis create original dishes that combine excellence, especially when it comes to seafood, with Thai, Chinese, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours. The tea-smoked duck is highly recommended! The décor is glamorously modern with glass and chrome, and the busy kitchen hung with copper pots and pans is very much at the centre of the action. Dinner Tuesday to Saturday. Reservations essential.

Address: 107 George Street, The Rocks
Telephone: (02) 9252 1888

$$$$$ | Japanese


Sydney's most famous chef is arguably the internationally acclaimed Tetsuya Wakuda - a master at blending Western techniques with Japanese flavours in a unique way. The dining room is serene and unobtrusively stylish with views onto a Japanese garden and waterfall, and the changing menu offers specialities such as scallop sashimi with duck foie gras, tartare of tuna with olive oil and wasabi jelly, and marinated roast breast of duck with coffee. Everybody who is anybody wants to eat here and reservations are essential up to four weeks in advance. Open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner, and Saturday for lunch. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Address: 529 Kent Street (CBD)
Telephone: (02) 9267 2900

$$$$$ | Italian

Buon Ricordo

Rated as the top Italian restaurant in Sydney, Buon Ricordo's reputation is due in part to its jovial owner, host and chef, Armando Percuoco who creates innovative dishes based on Neapolitan and Tuscan styles of cooking. The ambience is akin to a private Italian home complemented by a genuine warm welcome and professional service. The signature dish of truffled egg fettuccine is one of the city's best pasta dishes, and the warmed figs with Gorgonzola and prosciutto is heavenly. Reservations essential. Open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner, Friday and Saturday for lunch. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Address: 108 Boundary Street, Paddington
Telephone: (02) 9360 6729

$$$$$ | Local


This sunny corner café has earned Sydney icon status for its outstanding breakfasts, with signature dishes including ricotta hotcakes with bananas and honeycomb butter, sweet corn fritters with roast tomato, bacon and spinach, and the best scrambled eggs in the city. The friendly communal table, nouveau café-style décor, professional service and consistently good food make Bills immensely popular. Open for lunch and breakfast. Closed Sunday. Reservations are not accepted.

Address: 433 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst
Telephone: (02) 9360 9631

$$$$$ | Seafood


This trendy restaurant with stylish décor and a fabulous menu to boot is situated above the Icebergs swimming pool on Bondi beach and provides some of the most breathtaking views over the Pacific Ocean. Dishes such as wonderful seafood risottos, Finders Island salt crusted suckling lamb and delicious char-grilled steaks make this restaurant a firm favourite with locals and tourists alike. Reservations recommended. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Closed Mondays.

Address: One Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach
Telephone: (0)2 9365 9000

$$$$$ | Indian


Situated in the Northern Beach suburb of Manly, Ashiana is one of the best cheap Indian restaurants in Sydney and is extremely popular for its friendly service, award-winning traditional spicy cooking, and local ambience. Portions are large and filling and covered in sauce, which is best soaked up with quantities of tandoori breads. The menu offers tandoori specialities as well as chicken, lamb, beef, seafood, pork and vegetarian favourites, such as butter chicken, Malia Kofta, Roganjosh, beef korma, and fish curry. Banquets are also good value offering a choice of entrée and main course, which are accompanied by rice and tandoori bread and followed by tea or coffee. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily.

Address: 2 Sydney Rd, Manly
Telephone: (02) 9977 3466

$$$$$ | Spanish


This busy tapas bar offers a selection of soul-satisfying traditional Spanish and South American foods in portions designed for sharing. Bodega is open Thursday and Friday for lunch and Monday to Saturday for dinner. Arrive early to get a seat at the big communal table that dominates the interior, as they don't accept bookings and fill up quickly.

Address: 216 Commonwealth Street
Telephone: (02) 9212 7766

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Candice Brissenden is a South African studying and performing as a musician in Sydney.

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