Like many great friendships forged in the 21st century, Abby and I became friends through Instagram. She’s a Sydney local and has recently launched Travel Scavenger to introduce travelers to off-the-beaten-track adventures and hidden local gems. Her advice kept me happy and well-fed while in Sydney, so I couldn’t think of anyone better to share her favorite foodie spots!
Sydney is an absolute stunner of a city and it’s all too easy to get distracted with the sun, surf and sand and forget about all the delicious food, drinks and desserts on offer. After burning all that energy learning to surf or exploring street art in the hip backstreets of Inner West, you deserve a good feed. As a Sydney local, I can safely say that each and every one of these is tried and tested and gets a giant thumbs up!
Inner West (Newtown, Marrickville and Enmore)
This awesome little cafe with in-house bakery is tucked away in the side streets of Marrickville’s old industrial area. It boasts an inventive menu (hello, charcoal doughnut!) and great coffee with cool vibes. They also make their very own Sticky Chai and have a very vegan friendly breakfast and lunch menu. They get pretty popular on the weekends so definitely try and search them out on a weekday! EDIT: I just found out these guys are now in the running for Best Cafe of the Year, so they’re bound to get even MORE popular. Get in while you can!
Just around the corner (pretty much) from Two Chaps is this new local coffee roaster. Quite frankly, my coffee loving soul can’t help but get excited when I walk into a cafe and I can sit right next to the very machine that’s been used to roast the beans I’m now humming over with pleasure.
These guys won best gelato in the world a couple of years back and who am I to argue with that? They get super busy in the evening (lines around the block) so I try going a little earlier to avoid a long wait.
This entirely vegetarian restaurant epitomises a lot of what Sydney’s Inner West is about; quirky community, ethical produce and culture. They work on a pay-what-you-can model, which is great for travellers (just don’t be a cheap arse about it!)
I almost forgot this place and I feel borderline blasphemous for doing so! Three words: strawberry watermelon cake. I know, I know, I questioned it at first too but then I tried it and ascended to another level of being. The perfect summer cake!
Just a few steps from Two Chaps is The Henson, which is my local pub and therefore worthy of a visit! A cool blend of new hipsterdom and old school Australiana. They have a great range of locally brewed beers on tap and some good pub fare too. They’re also dog friendly, so if you’re a dog person like me and end up there at the right time, it can be doggie heaven!
One of those local brews you may see on tap at the Henson is The Grifter. This place is off the main street in what looks like a series of warehouses, you wouldn’t know it’s there except for a tiny sign. Of course this means it’s all locals sipping on some fresh brews and having a good time. Definitely recommend the Serpent’s Kiss Watermelon Pilsner.
Another very popular local brewery-bar tucked away in a warehouse in the back streets of Newtown. They’re also one of the few Australian breweries I know of busting out a seasonal Pumpkin Spiced ale!
City & Surry Hills
Bourke St Bakery (633 Bourke St, Surry Hills): These guys have a few locations now (one in Marrickville, one in Alexandria, one in Potts Point etc) but their Surry Hills location is the original (and therefore best, right?) They have some great sweet and savoury pastry options but I definitely recommend the lamb, almond and harissa sausage roll.
This cool little underground pizza spot is the food equivalent of a mullet: business in the front, party in the back! The front has a cute old-school Italian vibe, complete with fake vines crawling over the ceiling, family photos on the wall and checkered tablecloths while the back is full 80s grunge. They also have regular music gigs.
This place is pretty unassuming, you could easily walk right past it. Don’t. Go there for the muffins! If you’re lucky they’ll have the Magic Muffin! To this day I still have an American friend asking for me to get the recipe (sadly, it’s top secret!)
This is your classic Australian pub, nice and cosy with a beer garden. A definite Sydney staple and worth a visit if you like to get a feel for local drinking holes.
The Hero of Waterloo (81 Lower Fort St, The Rocks):
This is one of the oldest pubs in Sydney (which itself is a highly contested and debatable title), and a listed Heritage site. Good hearty Aussie pub food that has me craving a pub meal right now as I write this!
This place is a little pricier than other pubs in the area but the rooftop views of Sydney Harbour are top-notch! I recommend the poached chicken, kipfler potato, snow pea and shallot salad with a refreshing Dark n’ Stormy made with home-made ginger beer!
One of the reasons I love this place – it’s super casual. The other reason? The weird and wonderful characters it attracts, including both the furry and the scaly kind. These guys do a full menu but I definitely recommend coming here for a no frills post-dip drink or two.
Total drool-worthy goodness! These guys are a serious Sydney favourite and they now have 10 stores across Sydney but, let’s face it, gelato while strolling along Bondi Beach is the best way to devour a couple of scoops of this deliciousness. They’re also busting out new and unique flavours all the time often with bonus pun-worthy names. Former favs of mine include the Tim Tam Slam and Pavlova.
Avocado toast, beach, cold drip coffee otherwise known as my perfect Sunday morning also happens to be a morning at Harry’s Bondi. Their menu is all locally sourced produced and littered with on trend food items.
I’ll openly admit that I come here purely for the mango bier and the stunning sunset views. And maybe a pretzel. This is great outdoor dining with views out to Sydney harbour and a short stumble to the Manly ferry to take you back into the city.
This is a beautifully open and airy beach-side cafe. Great for lunch after a stroll along the Cabbage Tree Bay Walk from Manly to Shelly Beach. Also, I’m a total sucker for the chocolate dusting anchors on their cappuccinos.
Honestly, I’m not a seafood fan but I am a true believer in fish-and-chips and their rightful place as the one true beachside meal. So, if I don’t eat seafood what do I eat? Potato scallops aka potato cakes with a side of chips. Yep, two different forms of fried potato. Hey, you’re on holiday! If you do eat seafood, I hear the fish is nice and fresh!
Abby is an avid traveller in constant search of the next great adventure. She has recently started her own travel start up, Travel Scavenger to help others discover theirs in her hometown of Sydney, Australia.