Australia Restaurant Reviews

Reviewer: Foodnut.com

Sydney Opera House at night during VIVID festival (C) 2024 Foodnut

Opera House Lit Up during VIVID

Australia Restaurant Reviews is a complilation of meals from our 2024 trip to Sydney and Cairns. (Near Great Barrier Reef)  It was our first time vacationing here, so we include a lot of resources for your trip planning.

Australia Trip Suggestions

  • Australia is almost as large as the US with sites scattered, spend 2 weeks here
  • Visit Sydney during VIVID festival
  • Blue Mountains with some hiking is a must do outing – Getyourguide
  • Regretted not going to Kangaroo Island to see more wild animals
  • Chinatown’s Haymarket has cheapest prices on souveniers, including some aboriginal ones
  • Cairns deserves more time than we thought. It has world cup class mountain biking
  • Great Barrier Reef was choppy in early June, try going in the middle of our summer. Have several days there, so you can pick a better day
  • Skyrail in Cairns is a must do, the train not really
  • Cairns has beaches to the North that require a bus ride
  • Visit an island off Cairns like: Green Island, Fitzroy Island, the Frankland Islands, the Low Isles, and Michaelmas Cay

Our eating goals

  • Try local Australian dishes
  • Dine where locals go
  • Avoid Tourist traps
  • Avoid cuisine that are better at home

Sydney Airport Arrival Hall with Prepaid SIM Card from Optus and Vodafone (C) 2024 Foodnut

Buying A SIM Card in the Sydney Airport
You can find SIM Cards at the Sydney Airport SYD from Optus and Vodaphone. The companies are next to each other near Arrivals A.  Avoid the resllers with booths in the hall. Try your device before you leave.
Optus was kind enough to try their SIM Card in our device.  Alas, The Optus Prepaid SIM would not work in our Huawei Mobile Wi-Fi Router.
The Vodafone SIM card did work in our Huawei mifi router. It costed AUD$35 for 60GB of storage.  Plenty of data for a week.
Australia Food Review Sites
Yelp has reviews but few
No Michelin Guide
Lots of Google reviews
Useful webpages:
https://www.agfg.com.au/awards/nsw
https://www.eater.com/maps/best-restaurants-sydney-australia
https://www.timeout.com/sydney/restaurants/the-best-restaurants-in-sydney
https://dishcult.com/articles/sydney/where-to-find-sydneys-best-food-courts
Local dishes
https://www.contiki.com/six-two/article/iconic-australian-foods/
===
Harvest Buffet Sydney (C) 2024 Foodnut
Last Visit: 5/28/2024
Harvest Buffet
Level 1/80 Pyrmont St
Pyrmont NSW 2009
(02) 9777 9000
https://www.star.com.au/sydney/eat-and-drink/casual-dining/harvest-buffet
Harvest Buffet is a top buffet in Sydney Australia, located in the Star Casino. We had not been to a buffet since before the Pandemic, so we gave it a try.  The Trip Advisor reviews made it seem a lot better than we found.
Monday-Friday Dinner costs AU$99.90 = US$66 per person. Other nights cost even more.  Coffee/Tea is included.  All you can drink plan for soda was AU$7.
Food Review:
Raw bar had Australian prawns, oysters, mussels, and crab. Solid selection. 8/10
Cooked foods included a decent steak and Peking duck that was pre-made for you.  Most of the other cooked items were fair including Asian, Indian fare. 7/10
Sushi selection was fair.  Salad area was also fair.  Pasta and Pizza selection was pedestrian. 6/10
Dessert selection was very good. 3 types of chocolate fountain. Cakes, fruit, puddings, ice cream and more.   Ice cream was decent. 8/10
Service consisted of plate removal and was fine, but not great.
In the end, we found this buffet slightly above average.  Food quality was okay but not great.  Selection was also fine but not great.
Overall – Good
Food – Good
Decor – Very Good
Service – Very Good
Value – Good
Would we come back – No
Mr Wong Steam Sydney Dim Sum platter (C) 2024 Foodnut===
Last Visit: 5/29/2024
Mr Wong
3 Bridge Ln
Sydney New South Wales 2000 Australia
 (02) 9114 7317
https://merivale.com/venues/mrwong/
https://www.yelp.com/biz/mr-wong-sydney
Mr Wong is a Cantonese Chinese restaurant that was recommend by a friend. Tucked away in a hidden alley, they serve dim sum only at lunch time.  Prices are high by even SF Bay Area standards. 4.3 stars on Yelp. Established about 12 years ago. Part of the renowned Marrivale restaurant group.  (sushi e, Queen Chow Enmore) Reserve early.
We did not have reservations and walked in when the restaurant opened. (Lined up 15 minutes before hand) It is a very busy hot spot, so reserve early.  Very loud scene with lots of business folks after work and well dressed Austrailians.
Dim sum is served at lunch, with 2 samplers available at dinner time. (Steamed or fried items)
The food was slightly better than we expected.  Do not expect miracles here, if you are a Cantonese food expert.  This is a great place for regular folks to try some solid cuisine.  Prices are expensive.
Service started very good and fell off to the point were we even had to ask for water. They do take allergies seriously.
Mr Wong was a nice spot to dine at, giving us a view into what the high end diner looks like in Sydney.  Prices are high compared to top spots in the SF Bay Area.
Safety Pluses – Not much, Online menu.
Food Review:
Pai Mei Punch (AUS$25) cocktail had a huge ice cube and just a little liquid. 3/10
Steamed dim sum platter (AUS$50) A selection of today’s specialties including shrimp dumplings, lobster dumplings, vegetarian dumplings and one other one. Fresh and hot. All dumplings are done well but not amazing. 8.5/10
Peking Duck ($62 for half) includes 8 pancakes still had a lot of fat on each piece. Thin pancakes with scallions, cucumber, and hoisin sauce. Skin was not crispy and too much fat. 8/10
Queensland king prawns ($58) Steamed with ginger, shallots, and white soy had a reasonable amount of prawns.  They were deshelled, making them solid and easy to eat. Should have had some vermicelli noodles underneath. 9/10
Broccolini, sugarsnaps and snowpeas (AUS$36) with garlic and rice wine hit the mark. Large dish of veggies. 9/10
Overall – Very Good
Food – Very Good
Decor – Excellent
Service – Very Good
Value – Good
Would we come back – Maybe
===
Last Visit: 5/29/2024
Emperor’s Garden
96-100 Hay St
Haymarket NSW 2000, Australia
http://www.emperorsgarden.com.au/
Emperor’s Garden is a popular bakery in Sydney’s Chinatown, right inside the Chinatown gates.  There is often a line for their popular custard puffs at the outside window.  They also have a bakery.
Be sure to explore this pedestrian mall for various Chinese food items. Also visit Haymarket across the street.  A bazaar of low cost touristy trinkets, clothes, vegetables, and more.
Food Review:
Emperor’s Puff (AUS$0.60 each) are hot off the press. Small almost donut hole like treats with hot filling.  Watch out when they are hot! 9/10
Sesame balls are big and full of black sesame filling. 8.5/10
Deep fried pork puffs don’t have a lot of filling but are crispy. 7.5/10
Overall – Good
Food – Very Good
Decor – Fair
Service – Good
Value – Very Good
Would we come back – Yes
===
Last Visit: 5/28/2024
Funky Pies
2/144-148 Glenayr Ave
Bondi Beach NSW 2026
https://funkypies.com.au/
0451 944 404
Funky Pies is a vegan, plant based eater in Bondi, a couple blocks from the beach.  They specialize in plant based pies, treats and smoothies. Several gluten free items. 4.5 stars on Trip Advisor.
The pies were great, highly recommended if you are vegan or gluten free.
It was nice to visit a funky local joint outside of the tourist spots.
Safety Pluses – Online menu, Delivery services available, online ordering.
Food Review:
Funky Chunky Pie (AUS$7.95) with shiitake mushrooms, rich gravy, creamy mash is their most popular one.  We found it had a great crust, but not a lot of flavor. 8.5/10
Nepalese Lamb-Style curry pie ($7.95) had more flavor than the other pie.  Definitely recommended.  Not overwhelming curry. 9/10
Pie, drink and cookie AUS$20 special.
Vegan cookies – Carmel chocolate was decadent and great.  The chocolate chip one was a bit sweet.
Overall – Very Good
Food – Very Good
Decor – Good
Service – Very Good
Value – Very Good
Would we come back – Yes
===
Last Visit: 5/30/2024
Mountain High Pies
293 Great Western Hwy
Wentworth Falls, NSW
4757-3737
https://mountainhighpies.com.au/
https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Restaurant_Review-g504276-d3949428-Reviews-Mountain_High_Pies-Wentworth_Falls_Blue_Mountains_New_South_Wales.html
Mountain High Pies is a bakery on the way to the Blue Mountains in New South Wales Australia.  Our guide stopped us here for lunch.  This is like a local fast food pie place with several gluten free and vegan options.  Their pastry is classified VTF – Virtually Trans fat free.
Food Review:
Minced Beef Pie (AU$7) is a good sized Australian pie with solid filling. 8/10
Apple Rhubarb Pie ($5.70 vegan)is served cold but hit the mark without being too fatty. 8/10
Turtle Cookie ($4.50 Vegan/GF) is a large cookie with an interesting flavor. 7/10
Mango Frappe ($) was on the icy side, lacking flavor. 5/10
Overall – Very Good
Food – Very Good
Decor – Very Good
Service – Good
Value – Very Good
Would we come back – Yes
===
Tiger Praws at Prawn Star Cairns Australia (C) 2024 Foodnut
Last Visit: 5/31/2024
Prawn Star
Pier Point Road | Marlin Marina, E31 Berth
Cairns City QLD 4870
0497 007 225
https://www.prawnstarcairns.com/menu
Prawn Star is a restaurant situated on a floating ships.  They specialize in prawns and a couple other dishes.  Touristy but simple and effective.  Do not order too much. We took the excess and stashed them in our hotel’s frig.  Surprisingly, these hit the spot when we were hungry.
Safety Pluses – Online menu, Delivery services available, online ordering.
Food Review:
Mixed Prawns (AU$35) had a mixture of small and larger prawns. Cooked just right. 8/10
Tiger Prawns ($45) are the larger of the two prawn dishes. Fresh and lots of them. Dipping sauce and a lime slice. 8/10
Overall – Very Good
Food – Very Good
Decor – Very Good
Service – Good
Value – Good
Would we come back – Maybe
===
Last Visit: 5/30/2024
Pho Viet Noodle Bar
5/78 Abbott St
Cairns City QLD 4870
Pho Viet is a casual Vietnamese restaurant right outside the Cairns Night market.  We were looking for a quick bite and this fit the bill. Sidewalk seating.
They have several locations.
Food Review:
Pho Tai (AU$18.90) had a surprisingly decent broth and lots of noodles.  Beef was better than expected too. Bean sprouts included but a bit pale. 8.5/10
Pho Ga ($18.90) is a nice chicken version of pho.  8/10
Watermelon juice ($10.90 small) was as expected, fruity and refreshing. 8/10
Overall – Good
Food – Good
Decor – Good
Service – Good
Value – Good
Would we come back – Yes
==
Last Visit: 6/1/2024
Ochre Restaurant
Harbour Lights Boardwalk, 1 Marlin Parade
Cairns City QLD 4870
https://ochrerestaurant.com.au/book-now/
(07) 4051 0100
Ochre is a Modern Australian restaurant right on the boardwalk in Cairns, Australia.
We lived nearby and gave it a try.
Food was slightly above average as expected.
Food Review:
Wattle seed damper – native dukka, olive oil – DF, V (AUS$12) was a different pre-cut housemate roll. Includes olive oil and local spices. 8/10
Kangaroo Satays – macadamia satay sauce – DF, GF 20. 8/10
Scallops, prosciutto, tomato, asparagus, fine herbs – sunrise lime and honey dressing – DF, GF 25 5/10
Pork Chop, pepper berry Vietnamese style marinade – potato salad, apple, orange and fennel – DF, GF 44. 7.5/10
Overall – Good
Food – Good
Decor – Good
Service – Fair
Value – Good
Would we come back – No
==
Last Visit: 6/2/2024
Frogs Restaurant
4 Rob Veivers Dr
Kuranda, QLD 4881
07-409308952
https://frogsrestaurant.com.au/
Frogs Restaurant is in the touristy Kuranda area. Goal was to find something okay. It was surprisingly decent.  4.5 stars on Trip advisor.
Safety Pluses – Online menu, Delivery services available, online ordering.
Food Review:
Beef Bacon cheese burger (AU$24) with fries hit the mark. Decent beef and quantity on this burger.  Fries were fine.  8.5/10
Classic Fish & Chips ($28) had a huge portion of solid meaty fish and some fries.  Get it if you like this dish. 8.5/10
Overall – Good
Food – Very Good
Decor – Good
Service – Good
Value – Good
Would we come back – Yes
===
Last Visit: 6/2/2024
Vitalia’s Italian
Shop G9 2 PierPoint Road
Cairns City, QLD 4870
07-4000-0865
https://vitaliasrestaurant.com.au/
Vitalia’s Italian is an Italian restaurant on Cairns touristy boardwalk.  We had tried nearby marginal Ochre and decided to try this spot next.  The food was actually very good and the service fine.
Food Review:
Pacchetti Guanciale e Funghi (AU$35) is a wide chopped pasta with lots of mushrooms.  Cooked pretty well and lots of pasta. 8/10
Risotto Calabrisella ($35) is an egg less dish with lots of chopped up sausage. Nice balanced flavors. 8.5/10
Verdure Grigliate ($17) is a cold vegetable side dish platter with several types.  8/10
Overall – Very Good
Food – Very Good
Decor – Very Good
Service – Very Good
Value – Good
Would we come back – Yes
==
Last Visit: 6/3/2024
The Chambers
21 Spence St
Cairns City QLD 4870
(07) 4041 7302
https://the-chambers.com.au
The Chambers is a beautiful cafe in Cairns.  Large outdoor seating area is right outside.
We stopped by for a quick breakfast.  Service was solid and competent.  This is a great spot for brunch or lunch.
Safety Pluses – Outdoor seating.
Food Review:
Smashed Avocado Toast (AU$12.50) had 2 nice pieces of quality toasted bread.  Could have used more avocado. 8.5/10
Acai Smoothie ($14) hit the spot with a nice smooth drink. 8.5/10
Overall – Very Good
Food – Very Good
Decor – Very Good
Service – Very Good
Value – Very Good
Would we come back – Yes
==
Last Visit: 6/3/2024
Lilipad
72 Grafton St
Cairns City QLD 4870
(07) 4051 9565
https://www.lillipadcafe.com/menu/
Lilipad is a casual restaurant in Cairns, Australia that specializes in food that is Vegan but with options for Omnivores.  Many items can be adapted to dietary requirements. You order, pay at the counter, and food is brought to your table. 4.5 stars on Trip advisor.
Safety Pluses – Online menu, outside seating.
Food Review:
Muesli (AU$15) with fruit, yogurt with oat milk hit the spot.  Lots of fresh fruit and tender muesli. 8.5/10
Crepe Trip ($22) Sautéed mushrooms, zucchini and Spanish onion in a reduced sour cream sauce, wrapped in crepes and served with a Greek salad had 2 large crepes.  Sightly different style than French Crepes.  Solid dish. 8/10
Lilli’s Obsession Dessert Crepe ($12.80 half portion) French crepes filled with a mix of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and crème anglaise, drizzled with chocolate sauce and served with whipped cream were vegan and surprisingly close to real ones.  A nice sweet dessert with the vegan egg-free crepe that was close to the real thing. 8/10
Overall – Very Good
Food – Very Good
Decor – Good
Service – Very Good
Value – Very Good
Would we come back – Yes
==
Continental Deli Sydney (C) 2024 Foodnut
Last Visit: 6/3/2024
Continental Deli
210 Australia St
Newtown, NSW 2042
44-600-893-678
https://www.continentaldelicatessen.com.au/
Continental Deli is a gastro pub in Newtown, not far from the Sydney airport.  We had time before a flight and found this spot on a Best of Eater.com list and gave it a try.  Very thankful we did! This spot is more of a cool bar serving up high end food. Lots of counters, just a couple tables up front.
Service was very good as was the food. Staff was friendly and insightful. A nice upgrade from the usual airport food.  We went mid week and found it quiet, but heard there is a line during peak times. Lunch brings some cool sandwiches to the menu.
Safety Pluses – Online menu.
Food Review:
Pina Colada (AU$20) was short but well made. Not strong strength. 8/10
Continental Sourdough & Olive Oil (AU$5 per person) is a necessity while waiting for mains and to add starch to the mains. 8/10
‘Continental’ Free-Range Pork Smoked Sausage, with Sherry Cont Onion & Grilled Pepper ($45) was a large sausage with some sides.  Decent but not as good as the lamb. 8/10
S.A Grass Fed Roasted Lamb Rump with Celeriac Purée & Mustard Seed Jus ($55) was very tender and full of nice flavor.  No starch or vegggies, so be sure to order some separately. 9/10
Fioretto Salad with Sauce Ravigote ($14) or broccoli was a must get to add some veggies to entrees. 9/10
Overall – Very Good
Food – Very Good
Decor – Very Good
Service – Very Good
Value – Very Good
Would we come back – Yes
Restaurant Map:


Overall Rating: (Very Good 2.5)

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