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Mosman area guide

Restaurants, bars, shops and events in Mosman

Photograph: Herry Lawford

The suburb that spreads down from Military Road to the harbour may be known as a northside haven for moneyed up families with big houses and big SUVs, but Mosman has more to offer than a look at how the other half lives. For starters, the area named for its original owner, Archibald Mosman, is home to Taronga Zoo, one of the great places to see animals in the world. Plus, Mosman features a lively restaurant and boutique shopping scene, most of which you'll find along Military Road – we suggest starting the day with corn fritters at Avenue Road – and the area is also where you'll find some of Sydney's most picturesque harbour beaches.

Mosman highlights

Ormeggio at The Spit
Restaurants

Ormeggio at The Spit

Italian food in Australia has come a long way since powdered parmo in a can. Today, regional Italian cuisine is what it’s all about: Giovanni Pilu’s Sardinian restaurant, Pilu at Freshwater; Naples-style pizza at Lucio Pizzeria and Pizza Mario; specialist Italian butchers such as Pino’s Dolce Vita and Quattro Stelle. Importers such as Lario International bring in pasta from a fourth-generation Tuscan pasta producer, as well as chocolate so dark and acerbic you’d think you were eating medicine. Bitters. Grappa. Wine. Yes, we live in a country where multiculturalism is celebrated – especially if you can eat or drink it. So here’s Ormeggio, the jewel of the Spit. Brescian-born-and-raised Alessandro Pavoni, previously at the Hyatt’s HarbourKitchenBar, is now doing a regional menu from his part of Italy. His business partner Fraser Guthrie is running the floor with a dedicated team and a very drinkable, very Italian wine list. You can tell straight away Pavoni’s in his element – his menu is focused, strong and gutsy. There’s baked buffalo ricotta, for instance, moulded into a low-lying cylinder topped with cannellini beans and mint. There’s tuna, slow cooked and served with perfect fingers of green bean and potato. There’s also a mackerel fillet with burrata and balsamic vinegar that looks pretty exciting. The location doesn’t hurt either. You’ll find Ormeggio behind a boat shop, right on the water where vessels of all shapes and sizes bob and sway and schools of bream dart abo

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Taronga Zoo
Museums

Taronga Zoo

It's beautifully laid out, the paths are wide and meandering, and – most importantly – the place is full of animals. Really interesting ones too: along with the lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) there are impossibly cute new young elephants, chimps and giraffes, as well as Taronga classics (pygmy hippos, the komodo dragon, koalas, platypi, Andean condors) and many exotic creatures you may not be immediately familiar with. We don't want to play favourites, but if Malaysia's noble bear-cat is binturong, we don't want to be binturight. Taronga is also the most fun way possible to have your conscience pricked about the parlous state of the planet for many of our co-inhabitants. For an example of a sobering statistic: right this minute, you almost certainly have more Facebook friends than there are wild Sumatran Tigers. As that little factlet suggests, the zoo is also making a song and dance about its conservation work as well as its education, research and breeding programmes, so you can spend freely on site knowing that your money is going towards funding worthwhile causes. That stuffed penguin you bought for your nephew might be making the difference between the survival or the extinction of the Corroboree frog. Make a day of it and take in the shows (especially the bird and seal performances) as well as the feeding times, which are available at the website, in order to see the beasts at their most lively. It's worthwhile getting a combined ferry/skyway/zoo ticket if y

Avenue Road
Restaurants

Avenue Road

At this shabby-chic café you'll find outdoor tables with comfortable banquettes for people-watching with a relaxed and unpretentious vibe. Service is prompt and efficient, if a little brusque, but the café is buzzing and so are the waitstaff who attend to everybody in a timely fashion. Caffeine addicts north of the bridge will be happy to know that the coffee here is kick-arse. Avenue Road uses Paul Bassett coffee. The menu is succinct, with lots of killer and very little filler to be found, moving from inventive salads to heartier fare. There are also regularly rotating specials based on seasonal produce. The corn fritters with house-cured ocean trout topped with avocado salsa and a poached egg is a well-balanced dish. The fritters steer clear of stodgy territory and are light and crunchy on the outside. Squished between each fritter is the spicy, tart avocado salsa. This is all topped off with the smoky, salty cured trout - kudos to them for using something other than smoked salmon. Winking suggestively from the menu is the roast pork belly sandwich with apple and mint relish, rocket and aioli; sounds heavy, tastes heavenly. The apples are caramelised and squished between the tender roast pork, slices of melted saracino (a sharp sheep's milk cheese) and balsamic-drizzled rocket. This is delicious, flavoursome comfort food. Unfortunately, the crackling isn't as crisp as it should be, but over all, it's a satisfyingly rustic sanga. Avenue Road is all about good valu

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Chowder Bay
Things to do

Chowder Bay

Chowder Bay is on the southern side of Sydney's Middle Head Peninsula where a steep bushy backdrop is countered by a gorgeous harbour side frontage. The area hosts historical buildings and remnants of past military occupation; only reopened to the public in 2007, Chowder Bay - whose name grew from the whalers who made chowder from the bay's abundance of seafood - is a very charming spot.

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