Spice Alley, Chippendale, New South Wales © Destination NSW
8 of Sydney's best cheap eats
Sydney has some of the best top-end cuisine in the world, but it also has a food scene with great depth and diversity.
By Paul Chai
While Sydney boasts an impressive collection of restaurants with a view, you don't have to reserve an expensive fine dining table to enjoy Sydney's buzzing food scene. There's a range of affordable dining, from burgers to ethnic cuisine of every type serving great food and even better vibes. Here are just a few of Sydney's best cheap eats.
Where: Locations in the city centre and Chatswood.
A mamak stall in Malaysia serves local street food: spicy fried noodles, rich curries and roti, a flat bread with rich, thick dipping sauces. You will get the same delights here. Dine in at Mamak, where bustling tables are surrounded by lush, red walls, or join the queue for a tasty takeaway.
Where: Locations in Darlinghurst and Bondi Beach.
If the sound of an authentic ramen dish tickles your tastebuds then you’re in for a treat. Chaco Ramen's blend of classic ramen with a splash of modern flair has put this humble eatery at the top of Sydney’s ramen scene. Take a seat at the original restaurant in Darlinghurst or Chaco’s newest establishment in Bondi. Both are equally as stylish with intimate lighting, Japanese interiors and murals.
Where: Locations in the city centre and Bondi Junction.
This is not only the cheapest way to sample celebrity chef Neil Perry's famous food, but it's also one of the tastiest. Burger Project is about provenance, with ingredients like Cape Grim beef from Tasmania (thought to be among the best grass-fed beef in the world). The venues are light and simple, in keeping with the upmarket fast food approach.
Spice Alley is also home to KOI Dessert Bar where you can have a plated dessert experience or delectable high tea.
Sydney's current suburb of cool, Chippendale, is home to Spice Alley: a collection of kitchens in a laneway which have come together to create a hawker street similar to those in Singapore and Malaysia. These stalls are run by some of the best Asian chefs in Sydney. Be sure to try Alex Lee Kitchen, Bang Luck and Hong Kong Diner.
Dumplings & Beer
Where: Locations in Potts Point, Darlinghurst, Drummoyne and Randwick.
There is an artful simplicity in the naming of this restaurant and it's in the dumplings, too. At Dumplings & Beer, dishes are served in a fun and friendly Asian-inspired fit-out, with Chinese-language newspapers covering the table tops, zig-zagged patterned stools and street art wall murals.
Belles Hot Chicken
Where: Locations in the city centre, Barangaroo and the Tramsheds.
Belles is a rock 'n' roll diner with bright signage and loud music, serving up southern-style fried chicken with five different levels of spice. You can choose drumsticks or wings, a side of Carolina slaw, and a range of dipping sauces including Belles blue cheese and peach BBQ sauce. Your order will be served in a red basket lined with chequered paper.
A pastizzi is a traditional Maltese pastry filled with simple fillings such as cheese, but at this local favourite, in the cool inner city suburb of Newtown, the diamond-shaped Maltese morsels are given a modern twist. At the cosy, white-tiled Pastizzi Café, choose from fillings such as beef curry, chilli con carne, or chocolate and ricotta.
Where: Locations in Balmain and Bondi Junction.
The affluent harbourside suburb of Balmain is home to some of Sydney's best – and cheapest – pizzas, with locals queuing to eat at Rosso Pomodoro. Here, you'll find authentic Naples-approved pizza topped with only the best ingredients, such as prosciutto, shaved parmesan and fresh herbs. The room is as simply dressed as the pizzas, with colourful chairs and a few paintings decorating the walls.