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Things to do in Woolloomooloo

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by Dora Bona (subscribe)
A freelance writer, and amateur photographer Dora also teaches creative writing classes. Check out her website at
Published March 1st 2011
One of the most uplifiting and vibrant areas of Sydney is the harbourside inner-city suburb of Woolloomooloo.

Once considered to be a poorer, working class district, the area has undergone some heavy duty gentrification over the last few years, and is now a place with diverse entertainment, and home to Sydney's finest restaurants, hotels and bars.

These days, probably thanks to some of its famous residents, the Woolloomooloo Wharf has become one of the most sought after and expensive places to live in Sydney. Actor Russell Crowe has a $14 million apartment there. Radio presenter John Laws, and Delta Goodrem are other notable tenants, and the chances are pretty good that you'll spot other celebrities who frequent the restaurants and bars.

There are a number of waterfront al fresco dining experiences along the restored Woolloomooloo Wharf, providing stunning views of the city skyline and harbour surrounds. Inside is the ultra modern five star hotel, Blue Woolloomooloo, and the stylish Water Bar, tended by master cocktail makers. Here are a few ideas for long leisurely lunches, romantic dinners, cocktails or late night snacks at Woolloomooloo.

Aki's. If you love the spicy aromas and delicate flavours of top quality Indian food, this has it all. Atmosphere, decor and wonderful food. The menu reaches outside the usual Indian restaurant offerings with innovative flavours and a deviation from what you'd expect. Try the tender slow-cooked baby goat with garam masala and tomatoes. Or the milder braised white rabbit. To book, call (02) 9332 4600.

Water Bar. The magnificent Blue Hotel on the Woolloomooloo finger wharf is home to the stylish Water Bar. If you're looking for a sit-down dining experience, this is not for you as the menu consists of canapés and sweets. The real reason for coming here is the huge cocktail and spirits list, and that the food is tailored to complement the beverages. Phone (02) 8356 2577

Otto . If you love your Italian food, then Otto will secure a special place in your heart. With views across the water to the Botanical Garden and Woolloomooloo, the place has its A-list regulars, like legendary radio presenter John Laws. Tuck in to delicious dishes like strozzapreti, taleggio, cauliflower panna cotta and quail saltimbocca salad. To book, call (02) 9368 7488.

Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse. The wonderful scent of the harbour and the subtle aroma of prime aged beef will lure you in to this iconic Sydney restaurant. As suggested, the restaurant specializes in steak and crab and does so simply and superbly. You won't find "fusion cuisine" here, but you might find confusion as to what to order. If you can't decide between the vast array of cuts from grain and grass fed quality beef, or the Alaskan King, Mud and soft shell crab then you must surely order the reef and beef plate. To book, call 1300 546 475.

Woolloomooloo is also home to one of the most famous post-party eating institutions, Harry's Cafe de Wheels. For over 70 years, Harry's has been serving its famous pies 'n peas and other munchy food to the hungry and the hung-over. Busy till the early hours of the morning, Harry's is more than a pie shop, it's an experience not to be missed. To order ahead, call 02 9357 3074

There's plenty to do in Woolloomooloo, and dining choices to suit everyone's budget. If it's pub grub you're into, then try the Woolloomooloo bay Hotel across the road from the wharf. You can also enjoy live bands there on weekends.

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Why? Because you'll say ooh to Woolloomooloo
When: All day every day
Where: Woolloomooloo, Sydney Eastern suburbs
Cost: Varies depending on what you like to do
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