Sydney is one of my favourite cities.
I love it because it is alive and vibrant any time of the day, it is very multi-cultural (think a vast range of delicious foods and products to buy) plus the views are always stunning, whether you are walking through Sydney National Park or are standing on top of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
I also love that there are so many things to do, and everyone is catered for, whether you are into shopping, being out on the water, trying new foods, keeping active or just relaxing on a beautiful beach (I love Bondi and Bronte).
Check out the list below of my favourite foodie places (with recommendations), shopping, and activities in Sydney:
I haven’t actually been to many restaurants, as we usually eat at food courts or markets, but there is one restaurant that we always revisit, namely Mama’s Buoi, a modern Vietnamese restaurant in Surry Hills. We love the rice paper rolls, vermicelli noodle salads and they also serve T2 teas.
116 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills
On our most recent trip to Sydney, we planned to go to another Vietnamese eatery, however when we turned up, the wait time was going to be over an hour. Since it was around 8pm, we decided to search for another restaurant. Xage, located in Surry Hills popped up on my feed and it was excellent. The food was fresh, flavourful and the place was bustling – it is definitely a popular place with the locals. We loved the summer rolls and the grilled chicken, cashew nut and herb salad. The restaurant is also BYO.
U1/ 333 Crown Street, Surry Hills
If you are into healthy eating or are following a particular food plan, then my ‘go to’ lunch (or dinner) place would be About Life, part grocery store, part cafe and self-serve food bar – you simply fill a box with your favourite meals (like curry or lasagne) and/or vegetables, carbohydrates and protein. You can also make your own pizzas. There are many choices and I guarantee you will find something that you love to eat. They have several stores, but the best in my opinion is located in Double Bay at 1 Kiaora Lane.
If you love seafood, then I recommend the Sydney Fish Market – another great place to have lunch. You can buy fish, prawns, sushi, sashimi, seafood platters and salads all ready to eat and there is plenty of seating outside.
Pyrmont Bridge Rd, Pyrmont (get a map from the iSite)
If you are in the city centre, there is a great food court on the top floor of Westfield shopping mall which has a variety of restaurants and cafes – you will find dumplings, fresh fruit, smoothies/juices, Indian food, Turkish wraps and much more. It is nice to relax here after a spot of shopping!
Level 6, Westfield Sydney, 188 Pitt St, CBD
For an afternoon or after dinner treat, head to Gelato Messina for some of the best gelato in the city – the flavours are endless and seriously good! Pictured is their salted palm sugar caramel and mango gelato, with pandan fudge and coconut cake – melt in your mouth!!!
389 Crown Street, Surry Hills
If you are craving a savoury pie or sweet pastry, then Bourke Street Bakery is your place. It is a very popular bakery in Surry Hills and I can defintely see why… their food is delicious! They are famous for their pies and sausage rolls, especially the pork and fennel. It was a joy to eat for breakfast! Also loved their pear tart (pictured).
633 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
A most recent favourite discovery in Sydney is The Grounds of Alexandria – it is a mix between Ponsonby Central, La Cigale French Market and the gardens in the Auckland Domain. You will find freshly brewed hot coffee, delectable pastries and desserts, homemade lemonade, chocolates and doughnuts, and a cafe serving delicious meals, all set in beautiful garden surrounds. They also have farm animals including lambs and a pig called Kevin Bacon!
Bldg 7A, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria (catch the train there from Central)
Anyone who knows me well will know that I am obsessed with skulls. I currently have about 20 at home (all different colours, shapes and sizes) and am always on the hunt for a new one. That is why my favourite shop in Sydney is Holy Kitsch! You will find all things skulls and Frida Khalo and it is also a great place for gifts.
321 Crown Street, Surry Hills
I love visiting the David Jones Department Store – it is much bigger than Smith & Caugheys, but smaller than Harrods. There are two separate stores (across the road from each other) and it is a great place for gifts or general shopping. But the best thing is their food hall downstairs – they have amazing chocolate dipped strawberries and I also love buying lunch here and having a picnic in Hyde Park.
100 Market Street, CBD (the food hall is on the ground floor)
Another favourite shop of mine is the Lindt Chocolate Shop and Cafe where you can purchase all the individual Lindt chocolate balls (most of which we cannot buy in New Zealand), and other chocolate gifts. There is also a cafe serving rich hot chocolates, coffees, desserts and meals.
53 Martin Place, CBD
If you love sweet treats, desserts and macarons, then check out Adriano Zumbo, one of Sydney’s most celebrated pâtissiers. Head to the Queen Victoria Building for their macarons – they are the best!
Queen Victoria Building, 455 George Street, CBD
Another place to buy macarons is Laduree – their macarons are flown in from France every day (crazy I know!) and they also offer high tea.
Westfield Sydney, Level 3 Corner Pitt St Mall and Market St, CBD
I love visiting The Rocks – it is a very historic part of Sydney, with hidden laneways, beautiful buildings, and not to mention many cafes and restaurants.
On Fridays (9am to 3pm), head down to The Rocks Foodie Markets (Jack Mundey Place) where you will find a lively open air fresh food market. Stallholders are selling roast pork rolls, German sausages, Turkish food, chocolates, BBQ skewers, gelato, French breads, Japanese food, fish and calamari, gourmet wraps and condiments.
After visiting The Rocks, head towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge – it is free to walk across and provides the perfect backdrop for picture taking!
The Sydney Opera House is undoubtedly the most iconic attraction in Sydney. You can see a show here, dine at their restaurant or just walk around it and marvel at its size!
2 Macquarie St, Circular Quay
Also be sure to check out the Opera Bar for a wine or cocktail – the bar overlooks the harbour, which means stunning views. It gets very popular, especially on a Friday night, so aim to get here early if you want to have drinks and nibbles. They also have a great cocktail list and their oysters and polenta chips are fantastic!
Lower Concourse Level, Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay
If you want to go for a nice walk/run in the morning, then I recommend the following route: start at Circular Quay, then past the Opera House, round the edge of the Royal Botanic Gardens to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, past Andrew Charlton pool, down Mrs Macquarie’s Road and then end up at the Royal Botanic Gardens (you can do a loop which is great). If you want to go further, extend the walk to Hyde Park and back to Circular Quay.
One of my favourite activities in Sydney is the Bondi Coogee walk. It simply is a must do! It is a lovely 6km walk along the cliffside, with views of the sea and you also pass small beaches. My tip is to catch the bus to Coogee from downtown near Circular Quay – you will have to buy a ticket beforehand, otherwise use your Opal card. Let the bus driver know you are going to Coogee beach, so he/she can tell you when to get off. The reason why I like starting the walk in Coogee is because Bondi is far more lively, has more variety in terms of cafes and restaurants and the beach is lovely (which is a great ending to the walk).
Head to Bondi Junction afterwards, where there are two large shopping malls (connected by a bridge). It is only a short bus ride away from Bondi Beach and the bus stop is on the main road on the beach side. One of the malls has a great food court up (my favourite eatery being Kingyo Japanese).
500 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction (the food court is on level 5)
Another great walk is the Spit Bridge to Manly walk – I would say it is underrated and not as popular as the Bondi Coogee walk, but it is definitely worth it. Catch the bus to Spit Bridge and walk 10km along the cliffside and through Sydney National Park – there are views of Sydney Harbour and the city along the way, plus bush land and Aboriginal rock carvings. It can take anywhere between 3-4 hours and you will end up in Manly, so I recommend having lunch here after your walk, as there are many eateries to choose from. Finally, catch the Manly Ferry back to the city.
If you are not keen on doing a 10km walk or run, then I still recommend going to Manly and catching the ferry there and back. Again, the views are beautiful – you will see the Opera House, Sydney City and the Harbour Bridge. It is a nice change of scenery being out on the water.
I hope you enjoyed my list and I highly recommend a visit to Sydney – a truly wonderful city with stunning views, fabulous food and friendly people. I cannot wait to go back!