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good restaurants on Smith Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

mussels, carnitas, margaritas all good, fries limp (not good). staff friendly and attentive. room inside a bit warm (no fans), but otherwise good. recommended.

Aug 14, 2014
sneedy in Outer Boroughs

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

We'll be in NY soon and would love to get your tips on mid-range places.

Jul 13, 2014
sneedy in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

yes - many thanks for such detailed and informative notes. i agree re attica vs vdm - while i've only been to attica once, i'm ready to go back, whereas i've been to vdm twice (in the old CBD location - never made it to the carlton one) and that's enough. you've been a few places i haven't yet (brae) and now i'm pretty motivated to go.

re prices for what is basically street food, i am (as a long-time san francisco resident who's been in melbourne for over 10 years) continually disappointed by the quality and price of mexican food here. $8 for a taco is about par for the course, and it won't be comparable to one from an average SF taqueria - where you'll pay about $3 (and get free chips & salsa). i had a couple of tiny korean sliders from kong at rue & co (which quickly became a goopy, garlicky, sickly sweet mess): $11. almost anything that can be quickly turned into an exotic fad will be severely overpriced here (think 'pour-over' - ie filter - coffe: $5 and up).

but you're right: there are many excellent mid-range places where the quality is excellent. just wish more melbourne restaurants would focus on better service. too many lovely meals spoiled by being forgotten by staff towards the end.

Jul 02, 2014
sneedy in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

I'd love to know where these good sashimi places are - thanks!

Jul 02, 2014
sneedy in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

Ra-ther. There's clearly a market for this stuff, but then I'm a cynic. Personally I find the whole 'single-origin'/'third-wave' movement to be a hilariously misguided fad (eg plunger/french press coffee is better than filter/pourover; $7 for a cup of coffee is obscene), but horses for courses.

Possibly the best coffee I've ever had (and I was a barista for 5 years in SF) was a short mac at the Commercial Bakery. If you want a full-bodied, balanced espresso with just a hint of sweetness, avoid places like Dukes, 7 Seeds, etc.

Try South of Johnston in Collingwood. Just had the corn fritters w/ smoked salmon & eggs - delightful. And good coffee.

Feb 24, 2014
sneedy in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

Duke's is a case in point: $4 for a short macchiato ($1 more than most other places) that was undrinkably bitter and acidic. Go to the Postal Hall in Russell St (in the city) instead: cheaper, better, unpretentious

Feb 23, 2014
sneedy in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

true - the european, cws and siglo are restaurants, not cafes. however i've found the consistency in the cafes to be better than most. i haven't tried dukes so i'll get there soon.

note that karen batson, who's responsible for the food at cookie & the toff, is also running boney, which opened recently in the old pony space on little collins near exhibition. had a delicious lunch there recently and apparently they have a 24-hour licence.

Feb 16, 2014
sneedy in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne Advice - 5 Days

Re DOC: I have eaten in nearly all of their locations and can say that not only are they not comparable to even average NY pizza (I'm from San Francisco but have lived in Melbourne about 12 years), they are mediocre even by Melbourne standards, and so is the service.

Ladro and i Carusi are much better options, though the latter is a bit out of the way.

Re Cumulus, its reputation (and McConnell's) is undeserved. Small portions, relatively high prices, fairly medicore and uninspired flavors, and indifferent service. Sadly, that's common to many of Melbourne's high-end restaurants. I urge you to avoid it.

Re Vue de Monde, having eaten in the old city location a few times I can agree that it's not worth the money - but then I'm done with most of these high-end degustation-based places and their absurdly tricked-up food and matching prices. That said, Attica is a gem and I can't recommend it highly enough. Haven't been to Town Mouse tho have heard nothing but ecstatic praise from highly trustworthy sources and am going next month.

Re Cookie: my favorite Thai food in Melbourne. It's better at lunchtime, when the bar isn't packed out. Much better value than Longrain, which if you're going in Syd is only worth going here for the cocktails - and there are a lot of great places in the CBD alone for drinks. Speaking of which, the Supper Club is very Melbourne and when they say 'late' they mean sunrise. The roof is excellent though in May probably inclement (they'll have cover and heaters but still ....) - just be prepared for cigar smoke (they have a great selection if that's your thing).

If you do get down to St Kilda I always prefer Cicciolina - best steak in Melbourne.

Coffee: there are many places around town for excellent coffee. However, some of them - 7 Seeds and St Ali come to mind - are obsessed with 'single origin' and frequently brew coffee so acidic it's like licking the top of a battery. Or they'll offer you cone-filter-brewed 'pour-over' coffee as if it were cutting edge and charge you anywhere from $5-$7 a cup for it. Auction Rooms is good, though it's a cab or tram ride out of the DBD. I tend to stick to the Con Christopoulis places because they have consistently excellent coffee without the fads - Journal, Commercial Bakery/Gill's Diner, City Wine Shop (the last two have excellent food). The Spring Street Grocer (another of his places) is next door to the Wine Shop and has excellent gelato. Another excellent place for coffee is Oli & Levi, hidden down the end of Coromandel Place, just off Little Collins between Exhibition & Russell.

Have a great time -
Sneeds

Feb 16, 2014
sneedy in Australia/New Zealand

dining alone in Sydney

I second @debbieann's comment about Mexican in Sydney - don't try it no matter where you're from (tho I happen to be from SF and so am spoiled). It's better in Melbourne, but you'll still be disappointed.

As for Surry Hills, I tried Red Lantern but they were a bit ... 'up themselves', as the Aussies say. The hostess treated me as something the cat dragged in (or something the cat had left on the sidewalk and then attached itself to the bottom of my shoe). It did not leave me with the feeling of wanting to eat there, tho in fairness they did call me when my table was ready.

But by then I was happily ensconced around the corner at La Tana (www.latana.net.au), a recent runner-up in Timeout Sydney's 'casual dining' category. This is a great place for Italian. A warm, friendly waiter who knew the food as well as the chef; delicious, inventive, unpretentious food; great wines I'd never heard of before. A handmade pasta with leek, proscuitto and a touch of cream - subtle but gorgeous flavors. Amazing cheeses. It was a Friday night about 8:30 and it wasn't half full. That won't last long. An excellent option for the lone diner in Surry Hills.

Oct 03, 2010
sneedy in Australia/New Zealand

Seeking food-related recommendations for Sydney & Melbourne

went on a mini gastro-crawl in melbourne last night to coda and movida nextdoor. coda is ... over-rated, over-priced and bland. the spanner crab in betel leaf was watery, and the taste of bitter lemon complete obliterated any hint of crab. the coda roll was a decent spring roll, nothing more - hardly worth the nearly $11 each it costs. lovely staff - very attentive and friendly - pity the kitchen is letting them down.

not far away at movida nextdoor, on the other hand, while the staff were friendly they could have been a bit more attentive (less flirthing with the drunk blondes from templestowe, more noticing that i have been twisted around on my stool trying to get your attention for the past 5 minutes), the food was sensational. the crumbed anchovies on curd ... i can still taste them. hints of lemon zest, parsely, amazing olive oil, and anchovysaltanchovySaltanchovySALT - washed down with an albarino ... heaven. the mushroom croquettes were not only amazing but also served to remind us how ordinary the smoked trout croquettes were at coda. the citrus and cinnamon custard - i've run out of superlatives. yum yum yum.

Sep 17, 2010
sneedy in Australia/New Zealand

best brekkie in melbourne?

I would have to agree that Bill's in Sydney is incredible for breakfast. The ricotta hotcakes and corncakes are divine. But I don't understand the fuss with Cumulus Inc. I have been there three times for dinner and breakfast. My experience is poor service, small portions and food that is high on concept and low on taste. I went for dinner with 8 friends, we spent $1,600 and the waiters couldn't even be bothered to pour our wine or say good-bye when we were leaving. When we asked for water, they pointed to the jug at the bar. The restaurant was not busy!

I would suggest Mitta in Nth Fitzroy, great coffee, delicious food, and consistent friendly service. Babka on Brunswick St has amazing Boston Beans, Bircher Muesli and pastries to die for. For coffee you can't go past, Atomica in Fitzroy and North Island in North Fitzroy.

Jul 24, 2010
sneedy in Australia/New Zealand

Sydney restaurants open Monday

hi all - need some help. all the groovy-sounding sydney places (like sean's panaroma) are closed mondays - can you suggest a good place that's open mondays?

many thanks!
sneeds

Jul 08, 2006
sneedy in Australia/New Zealand