The 21 best Japanese restaurants in Sydney
Japanese food isn't just made to be eaten. It's an art of vibrantly coloured cuts of fresh fish, delicately layered condiments and the showmanship of an itamae (a sushi chef dishing up umami bites right in front of your table). And so it’s good that, thanks to all of the incredible Japanese chefs gracing our shores, we are never short of options here in Sydney. From the sushi roll lunch-run to the full sashimi-laden dego, here’s where to do Japanese in the city. Keep the culinary experience going with this list of Sydney's best ramen.
The best noodle soups in Sydney
There are few things more satisfying than hunkering down with a bowl of piping hot noodle soup. The basic broth and noodle combination is a staple in so many cuisines for good reason. Apart from the obvious deliciousness, the steaminess and hydration factor help to relieve cold symptoms, it certainly helps that the broth is often laden with immunity-boosting ingredients like garlic and ginger. Not that we need an excuse. Whether you prefer your bowl filled with rich tonkotsu, deeply herbal pho, or scattered with tongue-numbing Sichuan pepper, there’s no shortage of soupy goodness in Sydney. Here are our favourite noodle soups to warm your cockles. Some like it hot. Why not sweat it out with one of Sydney's five spiciest dishes?
Sydney’s top five spicy dishes for die-hard chilli fans
Ever eaten a dish so hot your mouth feels like a lava flow and yet you keep on eating? Chasing that chilli burn isn’t necessarily a sign of masochist tendencies, but rather your brain on capsaicin, the active element of chilli that radiates heat onto whatever surface it comes into contact with. The burning sensation capsaicin produces can trigger the release of dopamine and endorphins, lighting up the pleasure centres of your brain in a similar way to runners' high. Also, spicy food is delicious and extremely fun to eat. Sydney is not a city that fears the heat, so there’s plenty of places to get your chilli kicks, whether you’re chasing the tongue-numbing burn of a Sichuan hot pot, or the more blatant, vinegared hit in American hot sauce. We nearly burned a hole through our tongue to find you the five must-eat dishes for chilli fiends. NOTE: We've double-checked that all these restaurants have re-opened after the lockdown hiatus, but things change quickly at the moment. Check with the venue to see if you need to make a booking before your visit, and be aware that opening times may have changed. RECOMMENDED: The best ramen in Sydney
The best bakeries in Sydney
The city’s best bakeries have history built into their starters – some smuggled back from California, arguably the birthplace of modern sourdough, and others multiple decades in the making. For a bread to be a true sourdough, there should be no added yeast (hence the supermarket scandal), as the starter provides the raising agent for the bread as well as lending the characteristic sour quality. A good sourdough, the kind that’s fermented for more than 12 hours and has a depth of flavour akin to aged cheese, demands your attention. The right kind of bread, helped along with a generous swipe of cultured butter, is one of life’s great pleasures. Here are the best places to get your bread fix in Sydney. Check out our guides to the best Sydney patisseries and best cakes in Sydney. Want your bread with bacon and eggs? Here's our list of the best bacon and egg rolls in Sydney. Plan your weekend: here are the best things to do in Sydney this weekend.
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This little sushi joint on the southern fringe of Surry Hills has the makings of a winner. Chef RK Tamang has traded his time among the Sydney sushi glitterati – Soyko, Flying Fish and Saké at the Rocks, where he was executive chef – for his own little shop with a pared-back, low-key feel that’s more suburban haunt than hatted resto. On a weeknight, Tamang is the sole chef in the open kitchen, calmly moving between the sushi bar and deep fryer, turning out elaborate maki rolls filled with fresh prawn tempura and tuna tartare. The menu is a favourites list, from nigiri, sashimi and hand rolls, to skewers over the robata grill, and a few ‘RK San Classics’. One classic – the maguro hana – is a throwback to his Soyko days, with sashimi tuna atop deep-fried sushi rice cubes with a whack of spicy mayo, and rides heavy with that LA-style crunchy sushi vibe. The best approach here is to order up and settle in with a bottle of sake for the wait. There’s five on offer, including a crowd pleasing Kikumasamune Kimoto Junmai ($19 for 370ml) and a sweeter, sparkling Takara number. Nearly all the wines on the list come in under $50, including a Tasmanian Cape Bernier chardonnay and a Z Wines Eden Valley riesling – hello, cheap date night. Forget crisp-based gyoza. Here, a steamy basket of Tibetan momos will land on your table: round, plump and home style, with coarse-ground pork mince and chunky red onion at the centre, and achar, a tangy Tibetan dipping sauce, to the side. Tamang says th
Sonoma may be a giant in the artisan bread game, but the bakers have maintained a high level of quality in their product. Sonoma’s first sourdough starter was smuggled back from Northern California, where co-founder Andrew Connole learnt how to bake, in the ’90s. The signature miche loaf is a good deal darker than the other sourdoughs on this list – you can tell it has spent time in a wood-fired oven from the deep coloured crust and its intoxicating, slightly smoky aroma.
The Grumpy Baker
Originally based in Darlinghurst and now spread throughout Sydney, the Grumpy Baker is a must-try for lovers of rye. Using a rye starter culture, baker Michel Cthurmer churns out German-style kibble, black Russian, Pugliese and pumpernickel breads with a distinct, slightly cheesy flavour imparted by the starter. The speciality breads are also impressive: the roast potato sourdough has notes of olive oil and rosemary, and the walnut and fig sees butter and honey folded through the dough
At Pioik, your introduction to Egyptian breads may be the wood-fired flatbread that arrives as fat soft pillows with the Sultans lunch and will have you licking olive oil, salt and spice from your fingers. It’s delicious gateway to Enkir, Kemu and Aftoni (an ancient cereal loaf, rye and sourdough, respectively) and eventually, the heaviest of Sydney breads, the Epooro. Clocking in at two kilograms in weight, this whole wheat heavyweight needs to be ordered in advance and is also available by the quarter.