Words and photos by Jillayne Adamyk, a CAPA Sydney alumna, food-lover and exercise science major from Simmons College.
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Trip Advisor brings up 4,519 restaurants in the Sydney area. That's a lot of options and there's obviously not enough time to try them all! CAPA alumna Jillayne managed to eat her way through quite a few of them and has gathered her top 10 favorites to share with us below:
1. MR. CRACKLES. I barely ate anywhere twice during my semester abroad, but Mr. Crackles was the exception. On King’s Street in Darlinghurst, it’s a small shop serving pork sandwiches and pork crackling. They don’t have much seating so it’s a good place to grab a bite while shopping around. My favorite was the sticky BBQ pork!
2. MAMAK. Mamak is located in Chinatown and it’s where I was introduced to Malaysian food and the wonderful roti. Roti is a fluffy pastry, and you can watch the chefs making them in the window outside. The catch is that you can’t make reservations and since it’s very popular there’s always a line! I recommend definitely going with friends to try a few types of roti, and going during off-peak hours.
3. SOUL BURGER. There are lots of burgers at bars and restaurants in Sydney, and this one was my favorite. It’s by Coogee beach and is decently priced too- the burgers were $10 (AU)! The thick French fries had three different seasoning options and the burgers were large and tasty. My friends really enjoyed the milkshakes too - refreshing and filling after a day at the beach.
4. COW & THE MOON. Mmm, gelato. There’s quite a few gelato shops and I would say Cow & the Moon and Gelato Messina were my favorites. Gelato Messina has a few locations and has strong flavors and unique combinations, but I liked the tiramisu gelato so much at Cow & the Moon! It’s a little beyond Newtown in Enmore. The line can get long, which gives you plenty of time between their 30 flavors!
5. HANOI STREET VENDOR. In the greenway mall food court connected to the North Sydney train station are amazing bahn mi sandwiches. With a student card, you get a discount and often they would round down the price to an even $5 (a steal in Sydney). I never got a picture since I ate them immediately! A must-try on class days when you are in North Sydney.
6. NECTOR CAFE. Very close to urbanest is Nectar Café, across from Max Brenner’s. They have delicious brunch and coffee with indoor and outdoor seating, and FREE WIFI! After a while in Sydney you experience the lack of free wifi, so I definitely recommend this café not only for the delicious food but also the chance to use wifi. The plates are also beautiful and definitely Instagram worthy.
7. GROUNDS OF ALEXANDRIA. You might have to take two buses to get here from urbanest, but it’s worth the trip! To skip the line, book online ahead of time (especially on weekends) for eating at the potting shed. You will get to eat surrounded by plants and flowers! There were so many good options here it was difficult to choose but I got the avocado toast and cold brew coffee. My other recommendation is to not go on a super hot day, as it is mostly outside there’s no AC! See if you can snap a selfie with Kevin Bacon, their resident pig.
8. GOVINDAS. If you have been on a diet of ramen trying to save money while abroad, go fill up at Govinda’s all you can eat buffet. The food was Indian inspired but it was not spicy at all, and vegetarian, so everyone can enjoy it. I don’t think I have been so full in my life. Everything was very tasty, and they had a wide variety of options. They have a movie and dinner combo deal in their own cinema. I recommend allowing a lot of time to eat before the movie so that you are not in a rush!
9. CUBAN TRUCK. If you explore the Sydney market scene as much as I did, you might get familiar with the food vendors that go. Other than cane juice (highly recommended) my favorite was this Cuban food. Unfortunately I can’t find the name of it, so this one is a bit of a wild card; if you find it, the paella is awesome!
10. FISHMONGERS. Fish and chips are popular in Sydney, especially by the beaches. Fishmongers has a few locations and I checked out the one in Manly Beach. I went with my family when they visited and had the family size fish and chips; it was so huge! The fresh fish selection changes daily and we got it grilled instead of fried which made it even lighter. This would be a great meal to split with friends. The calamari was my favorite!