The 15 Most Essential Food Experiences You’ll Have In Sydney

Not long ago, Sydney was low on the totem pole as an epicurean destination. Rival city, Melbourne took the title of Australia’s food capital. But over the last 12 years, Sydney emerged as a culinary icon, with chefs from all over the world venturing down to the Harbour to open restaurants, introduce diverse cuisines, and to learn from some of Sydney’s best resident cooks. 

Today, the city is dotted with good food, from fine dining to hole-in-the-wall corner establishments serving authentic Turkish fare. One just has to venture down to Surry Hills to find the pizza joints, serving the best slices in the city and the casual haunts delivering playful, but serious eats. Coffee culture has also had a resurgence, with many specialty coffee shops popping up all over.

Sydney re-established itself as not only a tourist destination but a city with a penchant for seriously good food. Some even started movements that adapted to the culture.

So what are the absolute must not miss food experiences in Sydney? Well, here’s 15 of them. 

barista making coffee
Photo By Alana Dimou


If you think New Yorkers love their coffee, they’ve got nothing on Sydney. Here, it comes in the forms of flat white, long black, ristretto, cappuccino, ristretto, short macchiato, and more. The best part, it’s quality coffee, not that drip coffee or instant stuff they serve in American diners. Sydney takes coffee seriously. After all, it is an essential morning pick me up and afternoon boost, if needed. The best cups come from Single O, Mecca Coffee, Skittle Lane, Paramount Coffee Project, and Brewtown

fish and chips
Photo By Nikki To

Fish and Chips

Is there anything more iconic than fish and chips? Maybe, a pie, but more on that later. Fish and chips are served in paper parcels soaking up the grease, on fancy plates with fancy sauce or with a side of smashed peas. It takes many forms, but one thing is for certain, it’s a summertime staple, a beach-side meal, and an iconic Australian combo. Fat Fish, Costis,, Sea Cow, Out of The Blue, Fishmongers, Fish Butchery, and Sydney Fish Market are just some of the places serving up the best fish and chips in Sydney. 

Photo Courtesy of Flour and Stone

Meat Pie

Okay, meat pies are truly an Australian icon. The heavenly puff pastry filled with any kind of meat or vegetable mixture and topped with sauce is a simple dish but holds a special place in every Aussies heart. Whether you remember stopping into the petrol station for a $2 pie or going down to the local bakery for a fresh treat, pies are a staple. Some of the best ones are made at Bourke Street Bakery, The Pie Tin Newtown, Harry’s Cafe de Wheels, and Flour & Stone.

Smashed Avocado Toast

For some reason, Sydney spends around $15 on a piece of toast topped with smashed avocado, but they love it and can’t get enough of it. It’s become a pop culture icon, with smashed avocado toast pillows and posters. The delicious green breakfast staple comes in different variations and with different toppings including poached eggs, crunchy dukkah, creamy fetta, and many other yummy ingredients. Some of the best-smashed avocados are being made by Two Chaps, Percy Plunkett, Bowery Lane, Preach Cafe, and Bills, the first restaurant known to popularise the humble smashed avocado toast. 

ice cream on plate
Photo Courtesy of Rivareno

Ice Cream

Ice cream is an essential food experience in any city, but Sydney is lucky enough to have an assortment of flavours and styles. From artisan gelato to unbelievably creamy, frozen treats, the city is run by gelateria’s serving happiness by the scoop. While there are a thousand places to get a scoop, the best ones are at Mapo, Rivareno, Gondola, Cow and the Moon, Messina, and Ciccone and Sons Gelateria. We could go on, but there’s just not enough room, so we scoured the city for the best scoops and wrote about it here. 

Photo Courtesy Of The Unicorn

Schnitzel Safari

Sydney loves a pub feed and most often or not, you will see plates covered in giant, crunchy schnitzel. Some topped with marinara and gooey cheese, others smothered in gravy with a side of piping hot chips. Although almost every pub in Sydney serves schnitzel, there is an art to getting it perfect. First, it needs to be well seasoned and cooked through, but juicy inside. The golden crust needs to be crunchy and slightly greasy, for that perfect mouth-watering experience. For the best slabs, we suggest going to The Unicorn, Una’s, Harpoon Harry’s, The Buena, and The Park House.

Photo Courtesy Of Maybe Sammy

Happy Hour

Sydney loves a good drink at a good price, which makes happy hour a meticulously planned out event where friends catch up with each other over delightful tipples at mate’s rates. The city’s bars are wide and far, offering everything from craft beer to Italian wines, and themed cocktails in a swanky space or historic prohibition establishment. If you’re looking for cheap drinks, that are seriously good, head to Maybe Sammy, Palmer and Co, Babylon, The Barber Shop or Hemingway’s. 

Burger in hand
Photo Courtesy Of Mary’s On Top

Big Burgers

The burgers are big here and come with pineapple, egg, and beetroot. Well, not all of them, but it’s the classic choice for most backyard BBQs. In recent years, Sydney’s introduced American-style stacks, covered in sauce, cheese, and dripping with grease. You know, the kind we would only see in American movies. That’s not all, you can pick up a Japanese style burger, vegan and vegetarian stacks, and fancy burgers on charcoal buns. What are you waiting for? Head to Mary’s Underground, Pauls’ Burgers, Surly’s, or Bush and take a bite out of one of the glorious burgers on the menu. 

ramen in bowl
Photo Courtesy of Lonely Mouth by Ra Ra


Ramen is a recent addition to Sydney’s scene that seemed to pop up then spread throughout the city like a pandemic. Oops, too soon? Don’t worry, you can slurp your way out of stress with a big warm bowl of noodles, bone broth, and char siu pork. The umami-rich dish has many variations including vegetarian, but most of all the style of ramen is important. Are you a shoyu or tonkotsu? Whatever your preference, you can find a big bowl of goodness at Lonely Mouth by Ra Ra, Chaco Bar, Gogyo, and Manpuku

Banh Mi

We apologise in advance for any fights this section might start. Banh Mi, the Vietnamese baguette sandwich, filled with all kinds of meats and vegetables is highly regarded in Sydney. It’s a cheap meal, filled with goodness, and is easy to eat on the go. No wonder it’s so popular. Although, ask anyone and they will tell you where to get their favourite roll, which has started intense online debates. Don’t hate us, but the best rolls are from Marrickville Pork Rolls, Bahn Mi Bay Ngo, Alex N Rolls, and Great Aunty Three. Have a recommendation? Let us know and we’ll consider it. 


Pho is another debate-inducing dish Sydneysiders are passionate about. The Vietnamese soup soothes the soul and is good for you, which is just a bonus. Much like Bahn Mi, everyone has an opinion of the best Pho in the city. They come in different styles from Southern to Northern, ginger or cinnamon, and noodle size. Go get a pho fix at Pho 54, Good Pho Mi, Pho and Go, Pho Mom, and Golden Lotus. Again, have any recommendations, let us know.

Frango’s or Eljannah

Who knew charcoal chicken would divide a city? It’s the great chicken war, Frangos or El Jannah. Sydneysiders are loyal to one so we thought we’d add both to this list. Frango’s serves Portuguese style chicken, slow-cooked and served with a side of chilli sauce. The flagship store in Petersham was so popular, Frango’s expanded to five Western Sydney locations and emerged as one of Western Sydney’s top chicken spots. El Jannah has a Lebanese influence and focuses on finer details, including Lebanese pickles, pita bread, and the famous giant tub of garlic sauce. El Jannah also has several stores across Western Sydney.

saganaki in pan
Photo By Nikki To

Ordering Saganaki at The Apollo

The Apollo is a signature Greek restaurant, frequented by Sydneysiders and visitors. Those who have visited multiple times know to order the Saganaki. It’s a must-do when visiting the modern dining institution. What is saganaki? It’s a pan-fried cheese with honey that is the perfect combination of salty, sour, and sweet. At the restaurant, they serve it in the pan, with all the golden, greasy juices. The best part, it’s only $17. 
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Cheese Red Dragonfruit Bubble Tea from No Fail

Bubble Tea is another new addition to Sydney’s food scene, even though technically it’s more of a drink than food. Anyway, this popular item is a sweet treat filled with different ingredients including red beans, sugar (lots of it), milk, jelly, and cheese–just to name a few. It’s all blended with ice and is a great thirst quencher. The Cheese Red Dragonfruit Bubble Tea from indie brand,  No-Fail, from Sydney is one of the most popular orders and places to pick up the 80s era drink.

Cheese wheel spaghetti
Photo Courtesy Of Salts Meat Cheese

Cheese Wheel Spaghetti From Salts Meat Cheese

Family-owned Italian restaurant group, Salts Meat Cheese brought a 1kg cheese wheel filled with pasta, which has now become a cult favourite. Pre-pandemic times, people lined up outside the Drummoyne store to jump on the culinary bandwagon. During the pandemic, Sydneysiders missed the bowl of comfort, which was noticed. Salts Meat Cheese then introduced delivery, where people could order one kilogram of brie cheese spaghetti delivered to their door for $39. You can choose from four types of pasta, including classic, four cheese, truffle, and carbonara. The only difference is it’s served in a brie wheel instead of the classic, Parmigiana Reggiano. Head in-store or order online,
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