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Must Try Sydney Eats for Tourists

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by Kellie (subscribe)
Kellie is a film and travel addict that is always looking for new things to experience.
Published December 7th 2013
The best of Australian cuisine in Sydney
Must Try Sydney Eats for Tourists

Entertaining international or interstate guests in Sydney is usually pretty easy with the beautiful harbour, stunning beaches and plenty of international events going on right in the city centre. However many international guests also want to experience the Australian lifestyle and culture, and that is where our unique and fine quality cuisine comes in. Here are just a few of the uniquely Australian options and some of the must-dos for out-of-towners.

Tourist, Sydney, Australian

The Pie Tin in Newtown
The meat pie is considered true-blue Australian fare so for a traditional meal with some new school flare take visitors to The Pie Tin in Newtown. Located on Brown Street, just 100 metres off King Street, spotting The Pie Tin from the main road in fairly easy on the weekend due to the line of people overflowing out the front door.

Open seven days a week, the unique bakery has made-over the humble meat pie into amazing concoctions with fantastic hearty sides including chips, salads and mash. Some of the savoury flavours include slow roasted beef brisket, slow roasted shredded pork, Sunday lamb roast pie and chicken carbonara to really only name a few of the more exotic. A savoury pie with a side of will cost between $10.00-12.00 depending on your selection of sides.

The real stars of The Pie Tin though are their sweet pie creations, they have invented indulgences such as Maltesers pie, brown butter pecan, Mississippi mud and creamy coconut custard pie, to again just name a few. It is hard to resist these sweets and absolutely impossible once you see their display case.

The Pie Tin, Newtown, pies, sweets, peanut butter
Tender steak pie, followed by peanut butter, choc pie and gooey caramel, choc pie

The Pie Tin certainly may have made over of the sweet and savoury pie, but they have kept the setting simple. There are only a few small tables and one large communal table in the centre of the bakery making it hard going to get a seat on the weekend; though the turn-over at the tables is usually fairly quick. They also do not provide any cutlery except for 'sporks', a fork that is scooped out on the end so it doubles as spoon, as they encourage patrons to eat with your hands - the way the pie was intended.

The Pie Tin, Newtown, pies, sweets, peanut butter
The Pie Tin, Brown Street Newtown

Gelato Messina – City wide
You can get good ice-cream the world round but the flavour creations and creaminess of Gelato Messina make it a must-do for impressing out-of-towners. Again you will be able to spot the popular gelato store from hundreds of metres away on the weekend, again by the line of people waiting to sample and buy this week's latest flavour. Each week there are six 'specials' flavours that are new to the store and will only remain in available for seven days. Sometimes these 'specials' do prove so popular that they make a return on the list, or sometimes to even higher accolades to become one of the regular flavours.

Gelato Messina, ice cream, dessert, darlinghurst, surry hills
Two examples of the amazing special boards, images from Gelato Messina's facebook page

Messina's regular flavours are not just your run-of-the-mill standards, but rich combinations like 'Poached Figs in Marsala', 'Milk Chocolate with Choc Peanut Fudge' and their best seller 'Salted Caramel with White Chocolate'. Of course Messina has all the normal chocolate variations and fruit flavours, so there really is something for every palette. A particular stand out is the 'Pandan and Coconut' flavour.

Gelato Messina, ice cream, dessert, darlinghurst, surry hills
Special flavour Robert Brownie Jr, chocolate gelato with brownie pieces, image from Gelato Messina's facebook page

Messina also creates bizarre gelato-cake creations, one of which featured as a challenge on this year's instalment of Masterchef; perhaps explaining the increase of in lines outside. There are currently four locations in Sydney, with three in the city at Darlinghurst, Surry Hills and in The Star Complex in Pyrmont.

Even more convenient for impressing guests, Gelato Messina have a new store located at the end of Hall Street at Bondi Beach, meaning it is the perfect excuse for doing the coastal walk with visitors. With all the ice cream and gelato choices available along the Bondi Beach stretch, Messina is still the busiest come the weekend but it is well worth the five minute wait in the line.

The Australian Hotel in the Rocks
The Australian Hotel on Cumberland Street in The Rocks is a great option for showing visitors some of the oldest parts of Sydney, while also offering a chance to sample some of Australia's native animals. Sampling in this instance means eating; the state-heritage listed pub serves pizzas with peppered kangaroo, saltwater crocodile and the very patriotic 'Coat of Arms' pizza topped with both kangaroo and emu meat.

Kangaroo and emu meats are quite gamey style meats that are often served rare, while crocodile meat is surprisingly delicate and the saying "taste like chicken" is true in this case. Both kangaroo and the coat of arms pizza are served with the traditional tomato base with your usual pizza style vegetable toppings. The crocodile pizza is Thai inspired with the meat being marinated in coconut cream and Thai herbs. Crocodile meat actually goes so well with these flavouring the meat seems to have a natural spice to it. All three varieties are priced at around $20.00 for a small size and $26.00 for the larger size.

Australian hotel, The Rocks, kangaroo pizza, emu pizza, crocodile pizza
The Australia Hotel on Cumberland Street, The Rocks

The Australian Hotel building itself is also a good talking point for guests; it was built in 1913 and based on the popular Edwardian architecture of the time that you will see around most parts of the harbour. Many of the awnings, signage and actual bar are the original pieces and there is even a very quaint bed and breakfast style accommodation upstairs. The short walk to bed no doubt comes in handy for many guests as the bar also stocks a huge variety of locally, boutique produced beers and even hosts their own beer festival in October each year.

More kangaroo meat in the city
Another option for trying our native meats is to head to one of the many steakhouses in Sydney that serve kangaroo steak. Kangaroo meat can almost be considered a super meat; it is extremely low in fat, high in protein and omega threes, a rich source of iron and is often recommended many healthy eating diets. As mentioned the steak is served very rare as it can become leathery if overcooked. You will find kangaroo on the menu at Steersons Steakhouse at King Street Wharf, The Blackbird Café at Darling Harbour and The Meat and Wine Co located at both Darling Harbour and Circular Quay.

All three restaurants serve kangaroo fillet or loin cooked quite rare and served with the usual sides you would expect with any steak or red meat dish. The Meat and Wine Co and Steersons' dishes cost around $34.00; The Blackbird Cafe sells their dish for just under $30.00 and the meat is finished in a Jack Daniels sauce. Despite all the good reports on the benefits of the meat, it has not been embraced as a staple food ingredient by most native Australians, probably due to the fact it is one of our more famous icons, but it does make for a novelty for guests.

kangaroo meat, kangaroo steak, meat and wine co, steersons
The kangaroo loin from The Meat & Wine Co, image from The Meat & Wine Co website

Cafe Sydney at Circular Quay
If you are willing to spend a little more money to impress guests, Café Sydney in Customs House at Circular Quay cannot be beaten. With post-card views of the harbour from their outdoor terrace area; the wording of café in their title actually sells the service and quality of food short. The food borders on fine dining and the impeccable service is what you would expect from a much more expensive restaurant.

The price for entrées ranges between $25.00-$30.00 and mains vary between $35.00-$40.00. The food itself incorporates a lot of the famous Australian seafood with lots of fish, oyster, crustacean and mussel varieties on the menu. The menu is updated regularly depending on what is in season; however regular stand-out dishes include all their fish creations and the Berkshire Pork - pork cooked three ways and with each piece worthy of being a full dish on its own.

Cafe Sydney, cumberland pork, Customs House
The Cumberland Pork dish from Cafe Sydney

The desserts keep the extremely high standard of quality and presentation going with chocolate inspired indulgent desserts and lighter options such as sorbet and pannacotta. Most desserts come in just under $20.00, however if you cannot choose just one, the full dessert platter is available for around $45.00.

Cafe Sydney, Customs House
Cafe Sydney, a top of Customs House at Circular Quay

While there are many fine dining restaurants around Sydney, few combine such high quality food, service and location as Café Sydney without costing a week's wage, like some of the other restaurants around Circular Quay.
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Where: All around Sydney
Cost: $5.00-$80.00
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