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Eat Like a Sydneysider at these 10 Affordable Restaurants

Words & Photography: Heather Schmidt

Uniquely positioned geographically, Australia’s varied climates lead to the availability of a wide range of local produce and fresh meats and fish. And with Asia only a flight away, the flavours of Sydney are diverse. However, quality in Australia doesn’t necessary mean expensive or elitist – in fact, many local favourites are a quick walk from top tourist attractions!

1. Bill’s, Bondi Beach

The famous ricotta and caramelized banana hotcakes at Bill’s are worth the wait, always.
The famous ricotta and caramelised banana hotcakes at Bill’s are worth the wait, always.

A Sydney brunch powerhouse, Bill Granger’s eponymous chain of outposts is famous with locals for their pancakes and delicious egg dishes. Yes, queues are the norm on the weekend and peak times, however it is worth it to fuel up for the day on the homemade granola. Grab a bite before hitting Bondi Beach or the Coogee-Bondi cliff walk.

2. Messina Gelato, Circular Quay or Bondi Beach

3 Blood Orange, Coconut, Salted Caramel, Strawberries and Cream.Thankfully you don't have to pick just one - M is more than happy to pile a cone high with thier freshly made ice creams
Blood Orange, Coconut, Salted Caramel, Strawberries and Cream. Thankfully you don’t have to pick just one—Messina is more than happy to pile a cone high with their freshly made ice creams.

Not limited to just warm summer months, this Sydney dessert institution draws a crowd all year round. With 10 branches around the city, and 5 gelato specials weekly, it’s no wonder queues start to form as soon as temperatures crawl upwards.  Perfect for a date night dessert at Bondi or a quick sweet treat on the way to jumping the ferry to Taronga or Manly.

3. Tim Ho Wan, CBD

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The famous Michelin-starred Hong Kong-based dim sum establishment has finally come to Australia.  Reasonably priced, and popular with local food critics and office workers alike, Tim Ho Wan is worth a stop for the perfect quick meal to grab whilst running around town. With a wide range of fillings, the famous baked pork bun is still king. The Michelin inspectors weren’t wrong!

4. Fratelli Fresh, CBD

Cheese, bread, olive oil, basil and tomato meet—a marriage of simple ingredients in a stellar combination. A heavenly pie by Fratelli Fresh, one of the city's best Italian places.
Cheese, bread, olive oil, basil and tomato meet—a marriage of simple ingredients in a stellar combination. A heavenly pie by Fratelli Fresh, one of the city’s best casual Italian places.

If you are craving a pizza fix, there is no better place to satiate that craving than at Fratelli Fresh, especially the one near Circular Quay and the Opera House.  After a tiring long day in Hyde Park, or a pre-Opera meal, Fratelli is yummy and won’t break the bank. It’s always busy and buzzing and the food is solid.

5. Ippudo, CBD

Its ok to slurp! In fact, it’s encouraged at Ippudo. Act like a local and slurp down the tasty broth for a hearty, filling, tasty, meal.
Its ok to slurp! In fact, it’s encouraged at Ippudo. Act like a local and slurp down the tasty broth for a hearty, filling, tasty, meal.

The famous Japanese ramen chain has arrived in Sydney. With four locations, a huge ramen menu, and even larger lunchtime queues, Ippudo has established itself as the go-to ramen for locals and tourists willing to wait. Prices are reasonable and portions are large. Aim for just before or after the lunch rush to waltz right in and take a seat. A meal here is the best way to stay full of energy whilst shopping the top Australian designer brands in Westfield’s downtown!

6. Mr. Bao, CBD

Little fluffy pillows of heaven with a myriad of fusion topppings, Mr. Bao knows how to do a tasty and quick lunch right.
Little fluffy pillows of heaven with a myriad of fusion topppings, Mr. Bao knows how to do a tasty and quick lunch right.

Some of the best steamed buns in the city! Little pillows of deliciousness, Mr. Bao also has some of the tastiest fusion flavours offered in the CBD. Super popular with local workers, Mr. Bao is the perfect on-the-go, wallet-friendly snack for loading up midweek and midday.

7. Belle’s Hot Chicken, near Barangaroo Reserve and Darling Harbour

The chicken at Belle’s is 100% halal, too. Image via Belle’s Hot Chicken Facebook Page
The chicken at Belle’s is halal. Image via Belle’s Hot Chicken Facebook Page

The perfect place to get your spice fix, Belle’s is renowned for their heat system of five scorching levels up to Real F**kin Hot. Belle’s is as popular with the local office employees as much as the tourists walking around the Darling Harbour. Grab a bucket and head to the nearby Brangaroo Reserve for views of Harbour Bridge!

8. The Glenmore, The Rocks

Iconic views call for a toast. Image via The Glenmore Facebook Page
Iconic views call for a toast. Image via The Glenmore Facebook Page

Head to the Glenmore roof in the warm months for cocktails and the best sunset views in town. High up in The Rocks, The Glenmore has an unbeatable view of the harbour and Opera House. Expect a business crowd at happy hour. Regulars swear that it’s still worth it!

9. Coogee Pavilion, Coogee

Formerly the Palace Hotel, the Coogee Pavilion is both classy and fun. Image via Coogee Pavilion Facebook Page
Formerly the Palace Hotel, the Coogee Pavilion is both classy and fun. Image via Coogee Pavilion Facebook Page

The Coogee Pavilion, located at the southern end of the famous Coogee-Bondi walk, is the perfect place for a pre- or post- snack and drink with views of the beautiful Coogee Beach. ‘The Pav’, as Sydneysiders call it, is a meeting place for all ages. The top floor is open-air with ample drinks and views of the beach. The lower level is kid-friendly and has a large and varied menu in a range of price options as well. A well-deserved break after the cliff walk. Also great from sunset onwards.

10. Carriageworks Farmer’s Market, Redfern

A former iron smith, Carriageworks hosts farmers and night food markets year-round. Cheese mongers, wineries, bakeries and butchers wheel out their finest for the perfect urban chic picnic with friends.
A former iron smith, Carriageworks hosts farmers and night food markets year-round. Cheese mongers, wineries, bakeries and butchers wheel out their finest for the perfect urban chic picnic with friends.

There is nothing quite like Carriageworks. A former blacksmith and railcar factory, it now finds itself home to a massive urban farmer’s market, in addition to their many art installations. The Saturday morning market (occasionally also in the evening) is an easy and cheap way to sample all of best offerings of New South Wales. Wines, cheeses, sandwiches, desserts, meats and more, all gather weekly to tempt the tastebuds of Sydneysiders. There is also ample seating available to make a meal of these treats.

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