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Dress Code for Melbourne and Sydney Restaurants; Tipping

Sorry, Phil's right. nobody tips here.

Dress Code for Melbourne and Sydney Restaurants; Tipping

You should definitely tip restaurant staff in australia. 10% is the general average for good service and less if it wasnt up to scratch. its completely fine to leave nothing for bad service. I've disagreed with PhilD on this before. I know that MOST people DO tip. As a restaurant manager, i see the credit card slips every night for many years, and i can assure you that the majority of customers (at least in sydney) DO TIP.

smart casual is fine for every restaurant in sydney. nice jeans and collared shirt is the standard. maybe a jacket for the very top few places.

Onde [Sydney]

Onde is awesome. they are consistent, food and service are always good and its also very cheap. Sunday nights there is full of chefs and restuarant staff from around town which is a good sign too. Bev and Eugine from Riva are in Asia at the moment working on a large Hotel project (i think its a hotel) Bev had a short stint at fish face before they took off just over one year ago. A loss to the sydney dining scene...

PhilD, you've just inspired me. decided im going to onde tonight or tomorrow, haven't been in over a month...

restaurant hopping in spain

in early august, im having dinner at el bulli (in Roses) and then 2 nights later i also have a booking at el poblet in Denia. On the night in between, i intend to stay in valencia. Im looking for a couple of things....

1)The best area to stay in Valencia, and a good hotel

2) a great place to eat dinner in Valencia, happy to spend money but realistically i think in between the 2 richer meals we'd probably go for some light tapas style food...decor not important MUST HAVE AMAZING FOOD

3) Im not really sure of the distances and travelling times...whats the best and cost effective way of transport between Roses and Valencia? If public transport isn't too hard, i d rather do it that way so i can avoid driving.

Appreciate any help, thanks,

Jun 04, 2009
brunelleschi in Spain/Portugal

Best Breakfast in Sydney?

Blacken is right,,,Strangers with Candy is great for breakfast. Its in the east part of Redfern.

sydney itinerary, looking for feedback

Quay - definitely request a nice table. If you ask you will usually get one in sydney.
Zilver definitely over marigold. Spice I Am is also a great pick.
Stop by the fish market to have a wander, but i would avoid eating there.... Better off heading to Chinatown, which is not far, and getting seafood there. You will most likely be very disappointed with the eating at the markets, especially after going to the great places you've chosen! A tip...If you're looking to not blow the budget but want to drink top wines with dinner at Tets, remember they are BYO. Head to a good bottle store and pick up a nice bottle and you'll spend far less. Mark up is generally 300% on wines in Sydney restaurants...

Need some advice for honeymoon Sydney/Melbourne

I love Universal. Truly unique restaurant, i mean the entire experience. From the staff to the amazing food. I've actually only been once but i really enjoyed it. Quay, the food is the standout (obviously the view is great too) but this is regarded by most Sydney chefs to be at the top of the Sydney game at the moment. Rockpool Bar and Grill in Sydney is definitely the HOT restaurant at the moment, and from what i hear, for good reason. I would stick with these 3 options in sydney and you won't go wrong.

Bottle shop that carries sake / nihonshu in Sydney?

hey IT. Apparently there are 2 places in Chinatown in the CBD and also over at Tokyomart in Northbridge (maybe a little far away...). Ill get more specific info and get back to you.

Where to purchase tonic water and club soda in Tokyo

thats what i thought too....not as easy as you might expect. I looked in about 15 supermarkets and convenience stores and finally found tonic water (i dont remember where... ) If you're really desperate, all the 4 and 5 star hotels have it and will sell it to you.

Mar 25, 2009
brunelleschi in Japan

reservations at Michelin (and ilk) places--any easier in this economy?

had lunch at quintessence last week and there was definitely a little attitude from the staff. The only place this has happened to me in Japan. A fantastic lunch though and amazing value. regarding original question of the post, it certainly wasn't easy getting the reservation! Booked 6 weeks out and had almost no choice of time and day.

Mar 24, 2009
brunelleschi in Japan

40th b'day in sydney

Mr Gimlet picked the same 2 that i would from your list. They're the 2 places on that list ive had CONSISTENTLY good meals. That's important (you only get one 40th dinner!!!)
However, here's my 2 cents
if it were my birthday, id be eating at Pier or otherwise, Est. (the chefs from these two places are brothers and there are great similarities in their cooking) I prefer Pier's food, only slightly (because they usually have more than one raw fish dish at any given time), BUT Est is a much nicer room for dinner, with a more extensive wine list, far superior service and a great ambience. They also offer what they call "Chefs Menu". A 5 course menu with 4 choices for each course (this would suit your dietary dilemmas, while still having a multiple course dinner. which i think is fitting for a special occasion) Regardless of where you decide, would love to hear how it goes! Hope it's fantastic for you, B

Sushi in Sydney

ive not been to either of the above mentioned. I think the best ive had in the city for quality and value is Azuma in Chifley Plaza. Definitely my pick for lunch. Otherwise, a friend of mine told me there was toro at a place called Makoto on Liverpool St in the CBD for under $4 per piece. and it's decent quality. thats great value. Also i like the sushi and sashimi at Busshari in Macleay St Potts Point, dinner only and great ambience too. This is also reasonably priced for the quality. Yoshii in the city is very expensive but great, considered more fine dining...

Omakase Etiquette?

davew666, maybe you can help me. (or anyone else...) Im headed to Mizutani in 2 weeks and I also only managed to secure a 5pm booking. I take it there are no later re-bookings??? Are they using a staggered system to ensure better service or am i expected to vacate my seat for a second sitting later in the evening? I cant imagine a restaurant of this calibre doing double sittings...but maybe because im gaijin??

Mar 03, 2009
brunelleschi in Japan

early lunch near Circular Quay?

Definitely avoid Doyle's (now called Peter Doyle @ the quay). Also, i would avoid the Rocks. Young Alfred (corner of Young and Alfreds St) under Customs house is probably one of the best breakfast spots in the city. Definitely my first pick.

Wagyu Steak dinner

I've never been to Prime but as mr gimlet says it has a great reputation for good steak, cooked well (i mean cooked properly!!! not WELL done) If the Rockpool grill is going to be as good as what ive tried at their Melbourne outpost, i would also recommend it also.
Although it is very expensive, Mad Cow in Ivy has some great steaks but what i go there for is the Wagyu Skirt steak. You don't find this cut in many places because there isn't much of it on the animal. It is a little chewier than most steaks but the flavour is generally the best of what wagyu has to offer.
In Potts Point, Fratelli Paradiso sometimes have wagyu on their dinner menu. Call ahead and ask if they have it on any given night. When they do, ask for it served just with spinach and a wedge of lemon. and a small side of rosemary potatoes. So simple, so delicious and not overly expensive.
Hope these help!

Oz Restaurants & Gratuities

To answer your questions're right about one thing only...YES, i am involved in restaurants and have been obsessed with food, wine, service and restaurants since i was very young.

No, this is not "what you are already paying for". In Sydney (compared to the UK, where you're based) the food is extremely cheap considering the quality of fruit, seafood and meat. All of which are generally superior in Aus to that in the UK in terms of quality. Go and find a place in London (or NY, Paris, Rome, Tokyo) with the same quality of food and service (including room, view, glassware and all aspects of the restaurant) for a comparable price....

No, staff in the top end restaurants are not paid much more than those in cheaper places. The difference, if any, is generally not more than a dollar or two per hour. In fact, young staff in a lot of top restaurants are often paid LESS because it is considered a learning opportunity.

I don't think your expectations are "far too high". I think you SHOULD get great service everywhere you go....BUT you should also reward it with a reasonable tip.

Babette, to answer your question, tips are generally shared between the staff and the kitchen usually get 10% of the floor's tips. Katrina Kanetani (Pastry Chef at Pier) has the most beautiful desserts. I think as a pastry chef you'll really appreciate it! I hope you enjoy Sydney.

Feb 09, 2009
brunelleschi in Not About Food

Oz Restaurants & Gratuities

Mains in Sydney's 3 hatters are now between $50-$60. Desserts are close to $25 in the best places. The cost of premium fruit in Aus is up over the last couple years (due to drought, floods, low yield etc) as is the cost of delivery from suppliers (petrol prices have been passed on in many cases). Labur costs in Aus are huge for restaurants and can make up nearly 40% of your total expenses in the fine diners especailly.

Babette, tipping IS expected for good service in Sydney. 10% is the standard. Many tip more for excellent service, including knowledge and advice, wine recs and general service.

Tipping in the USA (especially when you earn AUS$$) made it expensive for me, but i have to say the service that i had, even in cafe style places, was great over there.

A tip for you, Pier restaurant's dessert in sydney are considered some of the best. Also the cakes and pastries at Yellow, in Potts Point (especially the cheese cake)

Feb 08, 2009
brunelleschi in Not About Food

lunch or dinner for quality and value?

Thanks, i had similar thoughts. I might try and get lunch reservations in the more $$$ places ie mizutani etc and then stick to the izakaya for dinner. CH and bento have been my main resources and ive found them to be much better than anything else. (i wish my kanji knowledge were better, it makes it impossible to read the japanese sites.) Thanks for the value tips Robb, with so, so, so many options, your shortlist is a huge help!

Feb 02, 2009
brunelleschi in Japan

lunch or dinner for quality and value?

Researching the places i want to eat at in Tokyo, ive seen that the lunch menu in many of the restaurants is often cheaper than the dinner menu. I'm heading over in a few weeks and the strength of the yen is killing me (and my budget more specifically)!! So i"m considering changing some of my dinner bookings to lunches. Will i get the same quality? Will we have as many courses? Is there a downside to the lunch compared to dinner?

Also, do you have any advice for good value restaurants/izakaya?? I'm staying at Cerulean Tower in Shibuya but am happy to travel around for good food. Any help is much appreciated. thanks

Feb 02, 2009
brunelleschi in Japan

Los Angeles Chowhounder visiting Sydney in March

so many good places for you to try...

Longrain is considered a benchmark Thai restaurant in Sydney. The food is up there with the best, the service is strong and the room is also really impressive. They dont take bookings but have a cocktail in the bar while you wait. Its a fun place to eat. Its in Surry Hills (5 minute walk from the CBD)

Mr Gimlet (above) mentions Tetsuya's - it is considered the best in the country and highly regarded around the world. Book early if you're interested and expect to pay around AUD$400 per person with decent wine and including a 10% tip. The food is Japanese using Australian produce and french technique. They only offer a degustation menu.

Universal (east sydney) - I am yet to eat here but am going later this month. The chef Christine Manfield is someone quite unique as her menu travels to asia, north africa and europe while using the best Australian ingredients. You'll hear many chefs describing their food as 'contemporary' in Aus, and Universal is probably one of the best example of that style.

Red Lantern - again in Surry Hills is supposed to be good Vietnamese but is quite trendy and im sure you'll find better examples of authentic vietnamese in the outer suburbs of Sydney. Im not too familiar with those so cant help too much there!

A restaurant i always recommend is Pier. In my opinion its the best restaurant in Sydney. The highest quality of seafood, prepared and presented beautifully. Service is professional but not always perfect. Its certainly not cheap but i can justify it once or twice a year!!

Also, have a wander around Chinatown. There is some really great stuff to be found. I like Golden Century. Its a safe option with consistently good live seafood which they bring to the table and show you the price before they cook it, so you know what you're in for. try a white fleshed fish steamed with ginger and shallot. awesome!! Service is abrupt and sometimes seems quite rude. Coming from the US you might be put off because your service culture is excellent. I just laugh it off and order more beer.

Hope these help a little. When you get here, head to a book shop and buy a "2009 Good Food Guide" Its $29 but then you will have most of the good restaurants in one book!


Rockpool have indeed returned to the fine dining formula they used to offer. Their mains are back up to $55-$65...and they're offering dego again. Mr Gimlet, i think you're right about Aria. I had dego at Aria 2 weeks ago and it was excellent. I think their service is better than most of the 3 hatters. The level of professionalism from first contact (on the phone) to being farwelled at the door is world calss (wine service leaves a bit to be desired...). If you'd told them you wanted dego at 9.30 at Aria, im sure they would have warned against it.

Los Angeles Chowhounder visiting Sydney in March

Personally, im quite unfamiliar with what you can and can't get in the US (and im sure it varies from city to city... So what CAN'T you find over there? And what would you like to try? Answer that and im sure heaps of people can help you out!! PS. From what ive expereinced in Aus, stay away from Mexican, that is one thing im sure you guys do much better!!!

10 days in South Australia - seeking recommendations please!

we could have been really unlucky. it does happen! im a fan of giving second chances and i really liked the feel and effort they've put into their little store, so ill be giving it another shot next time im there....its only fair!

Sydney & Melbourne - what is new and well regarded?

The new Spice I Am in Darlinghurst is meant to be great, though i haven't had time to try it! I have not heard good things about Neil Perry's new "Spice Temple" in Sydney though, maybe just teething problems....
Gimlet's right about wine prices!! We're spoilt for food prices right now. So if you can find good BYO at the moment, take it!
In Melbourne there are some great buys on the wine list at Movida even though overall it is pricey. i love that place

Cheap Indian Sydney

I have to say that i dont eat much Indian food as i prefer lighter styles, but ive been told (by chefs from other fine dining restaurants) that Aki's on the wharf at Woolloomolloo is excellent and well respected by Indians in Sydney. It isn't the cheapest place for Indian but maybe if you eat there once, im sure the staff will then be more than happy to recommend other more casual places. Sorry cant help more, but its a start!

10 days in South Australia - seeking recommendations please!

you have some awesome recs from the guys above. I head to Adelaide 5-6 times a year and love it there. MrGimlet is right though, they dont have a very adventurous palate down there on the whole. Regarding Udder Delights in Hahndorf, 2 of 3 cheeses my friend bought were pretty old and not really great eating. If you can get into The Grange at the Hilton, you should go. Although the decor is not the best, Cheong Liew is considered to be one of the finest (and often under rated) chefs in Australia.

One night in Sydney

Fish Face is awesome, i live across the road and go all the time BUT......Pier is just so much better. The qaulity is just as good amongst these restaurants (because they are usually using the same fish suppliers) but Pier's execution is close to perfection. Katrina Kanetani (Pier) is regarded as the best dessert chef in the country and seen as you're eating by yourself, the list of wines by the glass is also something that you should consider. Where ever you choose out of Fish Face, Flying fish and Pier, you'll enjoy it!

Recs for Sydney's fine dining stops for CH from Hong Kong and Boston?

hey there, i copied and pasted an old post of my recs for sydney.

there isn't really a street food culture (unfortunately!) but head to Chinatown and go for a wander. I like Golden Century for its live seafood. hope these help. there are other people on this site who are much better with info on chinatown than me!!! but you wont go wrong with the places below.

Lucio's - fine dining Contemporary Italian in Paddington - great Italian food in an amazing setting. This restaurant has one of the best collections of Australian artists hanging on it's walls. Service is efficient yet homely with a great wine list containing some more obscure Italian varietals.

Quay - Fine dining modern Aus in the CBD - considered one of the best places to eat by Sydney's chefs. Quay also has an amazing view of the Opera House. Service is better in other places but this is definitely a chefs restaurant.

Pier - Fine Dining seafood - in Rose Bay. Probably my favourite restaurant in Sydney. I recommend trying a few of their entree dishes which i think surpass the mains in flavour, creativity and value. Super expensive mains here ($56 for a fillet of fish) but still worth every penny. The BEST seafood restaurant in the country without a doubt. This is definitely a lunch place. It looks out over Rose Bay.

Becasse - French fine dining CBD - This is great contemporary French food in an elegant, under stated room. Service is friendly and professional. I really like this place. the food is probably not as good as those mentioned above but still excellent and one of the best in Aus.

Bushari - Casual but trendy Japanese in Potts Point - my new favourite. I go here once a week. MUCH cheaper than all of the options above but its a funky little place where you should ask to sit at the counter where the chefs are. Sapporo beer on tap and lots of sake to choose from (also BYO), maybe not a birthday dinner but definitely worth a visit.

Oahu - update

Thanks guys, i was kind of sailing blind! Now really looking forward to my trip!

Dec 25, 2008
brunelleschi in Hawaii

Oahu - update

hey lizziee and bill, ive read both of your posts on Hawaii and thought either or both of you could help me out...Seeing Bill you seem to have eaten nearly everywhere !!!! and Lizziee a couple of the places, namely mitch's sushi and 3660, really caught my attention.

im going to be staying at Waikiki for 8 days from next week. id really love some suggestions. So far im thinking Alan Wongs, Mitchs and 3660 but could do with some more help. i eat enough at fine diners so im looking for smaller produce driven places. fresh local seafood and any other local specialties that i wont find without being helped!
Bill id love to know where i can get some more obscure American wines, again, id love to try some smaller boutique producers that i cant and wont ever find down here in Australia.
thanks, any help would be greatly appreciated!!
ps. thanks for all your previous posts, ive read them all (or at least most!!) and can't wait to try some of your suggestions

Dec 23, 2008
brunelleschi in Hawaii