Before visiting Australia pretty much all I knew about Australian cuisine was that Wagyu beef is expensive and good– aside from that I didn’t know what to expect. Luckily I got some great restaurant recommendations from friends in Sydney who steered me toward some of Australia’s newest hotspots. Firstly, it seems like everyone goes out to sit-down lunches during the week with coworkers which seems so civilized compared to the eat-at-your-desk style in America. For this reason, a lot of restaurants have set lunch menus. In general, the cost of living is higher in Australia, and tipping is not necessary, so food prices are higher to reflect that. Most of the restaurants I came upon were fusion style with asian influences and hearty meat-based dishes. Here are a few of my favorites and what NOT to eat while down under.
Nomad, Surry Hills, Sydney
Located in the posh Surry Hills suburb, Nomad has an extensive menu full of inventive dishes. With a strong focus on Australian wines, Nomad also has a wine delivery service which sources bottles from throughout Australia.
Nomad, 16 Foster Street, Surry Hills, Sydney (02) 9280 3395
Automata, Chippendale, Sydney
Recently ranked #9 in Australia’s top 100 restaurants, Automata serves lunch only two days a week with a constantly changing tasting menu with optional wine pairings. This is one of those sort of places where you don’t even question the ingredients, some of which you may have never tasted before, but rather trust and just go with it. Beautiful presentation and great tasting food.
Automata, 5 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008, +61 2 8277 8555
Favorite Australian Dishes
Even though I love kangaroos, I had to try some out of curiosity. We had kangaroo and crocodile skewers with Thai peanut sauce which turned out to be very tasty. Kangaroo steak is very flavorful, and the crocodile was like a thicker chicken. Crocs are pretty mean, so I didn’t feel badly about eating them. The seafood in Cairns was fresh and tasty with many fish coming from the neighboring Great Barrier Reef. I would highly recommend Coral Trout or Emperor Fish, two varieties I hadn’t even seen before.
Thai Fried Ice Cream Rolls at Supercow’s Dessert Farm in Sydney
What NOT to eat
1. Vegemite: It has a very strong flavor that I can’t even begin to describe, but it is definitely offensive. I had the tiniest bite on a croissant and that was more than enough to make me chug a whole glass of water. It actually gave me shivers. Ew.
2. Meat Pies: Maybe I just got a bad one, but the one I tried was virtually meatless. Imagine a pot pie shell filled with thick gelatinous gravy and maybe 3 chunks of steak. Gave up on that one.
Stay tuned for more posts on my Australia trip! I visited Sydney, Cairns, Uluru, and Brisbane. If you are planning a trip, I’d be happy to answer any questions for you via email email@example.com.