1. Chaco Bar
It’s been called Sydney’s hidden gem because of its size, but don’t underestimate this 25-seat yakitori bar. This Japanese eatery will serve you skewers of wagyu tongue, fatty chicken heart, spicy lamb shoulder, chicken crackling and more on beds of raw cabbage. Not to mention some of the best gyoza (pan-fried Japanese dumplings) you’ll probably ever taste. Don’t go past the nibbles either – stir-fried spinach in ramen stock, Hokkaido scallop cooked with anchovy butter and leek, and duck breast sukiyaki-style (simmered in a soy sauce-mirin sauce). The service is quick, the food great and atmosphere jovial.
If you’re ticking off tourist attractions, then a lunch at Icebergs, serving up regional Italian cuisine based on the best of Australian produce, is a must. It overlooks the ocean pool and has some of the most spectacular views over south Bondi. Because of its popularity, we highly advise that you book. Once you’re there, we recommend starting with local oysters with champagne, followed by charcoal-grilled baby octopus with beetroot and potato gnocchi with slow-cooked duck and mushroom. It’s pricey but worth every cent.
Vini is an authentic Italian restaurant with a daily changing menu, which is scrawled on a chalkboard inside. On Tuesdays, a four-course regional Italian menu is offered and even that changes weekly. The only thing that you are guaranteed is being put on a wait list – enjoy a glass of wine while you wait for a seat – and loud chattering and food that will inspire you to go to Italy.
SEE ALSO: A local’s guide to Sydney, Australia
4. Mr. Wong
There is absolutely nothing on this menu that isn’t delicious. The chicken wings, duck pancakes and Peking duck are all must-tries. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll have to save some space for Mr. Wong’s deep-fried vanilla ice cream and butterscotch sauce – it may be a cliché dessert found in many Australian-Chinese restaurants, but that shouldn’t detract from the experience. Mr. Wong isn’t kind on the wallet but it sure pleases every one of your senses.
5. Spice Temple
Chef-author-TV presenter-restaurateur Neil Perry owns the Spice Temple, an award-winning modern Chinese restaurant which focuses on the lesser-known regional dishes from Yunnan, Jiangxi, Hunan, Sichuan, Guangxi and Xinjiang. Signature dishes include hot and fragrant prawns and Hunan-style steamed blue-eye trevalla fillet. He promises customers that the chilli “isn’t just about blowing people’s minds out. It really is about adding that flavour and mouth-feel excitement”. Try as many dishes as possible and know that you’re eating at a world-famous restaurant.