Sydney Central has undergone a staggering transformation in recent years, cementing itself as a verified foodie hotspot. A walk through the neighbourhood will take you past fine dining venues, trendy communal spaces, warm gastro pubs, well-stocked dessert bars and those truly excellent cheap and cheerful spots that have stood the test of time.
Kensington Street is every food lover’s dream destination, offering at least one of everything from the above list. Spice Alley is a bustling hawker-like strip offering delicious and affordable Asian dishes and a wonderful communal dining area that also happens to be BYO. KOI Dessert Bar also lives here, offering Sydney siders a plethora of wonderful options every time they step through the doors. Will it be the trademark mango yuzu, a decadent chocolate creation or the four course dessert degustation? At the other end of the street you’ll find Kensington Street Social, a beautiful venue offering high end fare in a casual environment under the guidance of Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton, and The Old Clare Hotel, an impressively friendly pub serving everything from pints of beer to unconventional cocktails.
The best fine dining in this end of town can be found on the streets of Chippendale. Two fast foodie favourites are Automata, with its ever-changing five course menu, and ester with its beautiful gourmet share plates. LP’s Quality Meats is also highly recommended – albeit not for vegetarians – offering everything from succulent porchetta to smoked beef short ribs that will have you salivating from the moment they’re placed in front of you.
On the other side of Central Station, foodies flock to Café Oratnek and Three Williams for flawless coffee and breakfast goods. Oratnek is famous for its picturesque courtyard and subtle Asian flavours, while Three Williams made a name for itself with its ‘narnies’; bao-like sandwiches stuffed with all sorts of delicious fillings.
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A few blocks around the corner, at the bottom of Surry Hills, great tapas spots line the streets. Vini and 121BC are both owned by renowned Italian chef Andrew Cibej and offer delectable Mediterranean fare and enviable wine lists. 121BC in particular is perfect for romantic dinners thanks to its intimate 24 seat space. Bodega also serves tapas, but the menu here is very much Spanish inspired, right down to the Rioja heavy wine list. Nomad, just around the corner, straddles the best of both worlds, serving both small plates of tapas and heartier fare from their giant wood oven. The wine list here is legendary, filled with offerings from boutique producers you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
The last stop on the central Sydney foodie trail is China Town, an area bursting with venues which have well and truly stood the test of time. There’s Malaysian Mamak, famous for its mouth-watering roti; Chinese haven Golden Century (where you can often find Sydney’s best chefs once they clock off); Boon Café – the Chat Thai offshoot that, in out humble opinion, is better than the original; and the undisputed champion of Peking Duck, BBQ King.
If you’ve got to the bottom of this and are wondering where to base yourself to explore these gourmet delights, look no further than Rendezvous Sydney Central, which will put you within easy walking distance to them all.