Opera Bar - Sydney Harbour
The Opera Bar is right under the Sydney Opera House. They have several restaurants and eateries in this area, however the Opera Bar is probably the more casual option. There's always a lot of people dining and wining at the Opera bar and it creates a lively, festive atmosphere.
While you enjoy your flat white and panini, you have an incredible view of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. It truly is a perfect spot to grab lunch or drink. This is also a fantastic spot to watch the fireworks during New Years Eve. For NYE, the Opera Bar books up quite quickly so make sure to book a couple months in advance.
MCA Café & Sculpture Terrace - Sydney Harbour
Although this café is in the Museum of Contemporary Art, which sounds strange, it's on my list as a must-eat place in Sydney. Every time I visited Sydney (which was 6 times over the span of two years!) I always made sure I stopped by the MCA Cafe.
Not only is the food high quality, but it’s also a great place to relax and have an amazing view of the Sydney Opera House from the other side of the harbor. Pro tip: I recommend the Dip Board or the burger with a charcoal bun!
Spice Alley – Chippendale
This is a tucked away spot near Chinatown that was shown to me by a friend! Spice Alley has hawker style eateries with various cuisines from Japanese to Vietnamese to Malaysian. Getting here, you walk through all the main roads and just at the very end you veer off into a small cobblestone alleyway. Immediately you feel transported away from Sydney as the eateries and lights engulf you in their magic. Pro tip: my favorite spot is Bang Luck Thai Street Food – their pad thai is fresh, flavorful, crispy and soft all at the same time.
If you're visiting Sydney, Spice Alley is right next to Central Station so it's easily accessible by public transportation. It is also walking distance from one of my favorite hostels to stay at - the Wake Up! Sydney.
Ze Pickle – Surry Hills
To be honest, it's really hard to find a good burger in Australia. However, Ze Pickle makes up for all the mediocre burgers with juicy, mouth-watering burgers. The patties are cooked to perfection and each burger comes with a pairing of unexpected toppings that create a flavour explosion in your mouth. Get plenty of napkins because the fats and juices will be flowing the minute you bite into your meal.
*side note, surry hills is known for their coffee and café scene in general!
Sydney Tower Revolving Restaurant & Bar - CBD
This fancy spot, 360 bar and dining, can actually be quite affordable. The trick is to not pay for the price of going all the way to the top with all the tourists, but going to their bar area the level before the viewing platform.
If you spend at least $20 you can sit and watch the city twirl before your eyes. When I went here, we spent an hour with this view! We were able to get bolognese pasta with a glass of white wine and calamari enough for two people and we were quite full. It was some of the most rich flavored items I've had.
I-Creamy Gelato – CBD
I-Creamy gelato is made fresh every day. This gelato shop, hidden in a shopping mall, has perfected the ‘flower-gelato’ where they make your gelato look like a blooming flower. They make flowers either with one flavor or multiple flavors to bring you the flower of your dreams. Not only is it an Instagram favorite, but the gelato is also extremely delicious. Pro tip: my favorite flavor was Taro.
Alexandria Grounds - Alexandria
Alexandria Grounds is not really near anything – it’s in the old industrial district and you can still see evidence of that. However, it’s a unique destination where you can enjoy several hours exploring the site. There’s shops and stalls selling flowers, doughnuts, baked goods, bread and fresh juice. There’s also several eateries including a firewood pizza oven, café and restaurant. All the food is incredibly fresh.
There’s also a Grounds in Sydney CBD now, but it’s a different experience – Address: Shop RG 12, 500 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia