Best of Sydney
My insider's guide to the Best of Sydney...
I’ve been working my way around my hometown to bring you some of what I consider the best of the city. It was a challenge to compress this list into just 10 hot spots, and although there are many more Sydney eateries, hotels and beaches and cafes that I consider amazing, I wanted to offer a shortlist. Tough gig, but here it is.
M Y T O P 10
ps. This is not a sponsored post. My favourites listed here are my personal choice and all recommendations are authentic and honest.
F A R M E R S M A R K E T
There are a whole heap of farmers markets around Sydney, offering local, organic and gourmet produce. We are seriously spoilt for choice.
I can’t look past the Frenchs Forest Markets as my go-to for fresh produce. I was conveniently living local to these markets when I first stumbled across them, and found myself a weekly devotee – rain, hail or shine each and every Sunday morning.
I was my most inspired and motivated with recipe creating and healthy living during this time. The produce is as fresh as it comes, with beautiful artisan bakeries (gf options), organic produce, fresh blooms and plants, as well as eco clothing, little eateries, hemp products and so much more. I don’t live close to the markets anymore, and can say it has been difficult to find a worthy alternative for my weekly produce.
If you’re after fresh and in season fruit & veg including pantry goods, clothing and the like, make a visit.
G R O C E R
There’s something super cute about Fourth Village Providores. Family owned and run, a visit to their Mosman store transports me straight to Italy (for a split second).
I love the beautiful set up, colourful variety of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, their extravagant deli and the general European vibe. They sell home-style pasta sauces, bottled jams, fresh made pasta and all the delights you’d expect to find at a local alimentari, in a traditional Italian village.
This image was taken at the Dank St Store in 2017 by Aubrey (The Love Assembly), just before they relocated to Mosman.
J U I C E S T O P
When I’m out and need something fresh and light, Bread & Circus is a convenient (& cute) option. They have a good menu, and some delicious cold-pressed juice options. Their Sun Shades combo is my go-to. If I’m keen for lunch, I’ll take their Gwyneth – which tastes just like something I’d whip up at home for an easy lunch option.
My favourite feature has to be their their blush / pastel interiors. Such a sweet space.
Bread and Circus is nestled in bustling Alexandria, just out of the busy industrial zone. They share the space with other retailers, including a coffee bar (Campos).
[ Both shots taken by Aubrey, The Love Assembly]
B L O O M S
As you’ve probably noticed, flowers are high up there in my list of loves. Nothing like a beautiful bouquet to lift my mood and add that touch of magic to my home.
The Ground Florals By Silva have just about all that you desire when its comes to beautiful in season, blooms. Being obsessed with colours and textures, I find they know just how to make an arrangement to suit my needs.
Alexandria isn’t a very convenient location for me. I find that I get stuck in traffic on most visits so I often place my order online – no fuss and guaranteed an impressive bunch of blooms with every order.
B E A C H H I T
Damn, this was a hard one. With so many beautiful beaches in Sydney, this one really comes down to personal choice – and for me – a little sentimentality.
If you’re a visitor to Sydney, Bondi Beach on Sydney’s East will be high on your bucket list. Definitely a must-visit, Bondi has all that you need when it comes to salt + sea, a world famous ocean pool, dramatic views (for that necessary insta shot), trendy boutiques / homewares, atmosphere and cafes /restaurants.
[TIP: If you’re keen for a good meal, try Lox Stock & Barrel – they have some delicious lunch and dinner options, and do a mean Turmeric chai latte aka The Golden Dandy.]
With a cool vibe, and a mix of locals and travellers, Bondi Beach has heaps to offer and is a definite must visit, as well as all the hidden or more-secluded swim spots and coves in its vicinity (ie. Gordon’s Bay, Clovelly Beach, Parsley Bay Beach).
Born and raised on the North side of Sydney, I have a soft spot for the Northern Beaches. With so many options, it’d be impossible to not find your favourite beach over on this side of the bridge. From Whale Beach, to Bilgola, Freshwater and Shelley Beach, there is beauty everywhere. I think a great starting point for beaches on the North is Manly.
With the most cruisy, down-to-earth vibes, Manly has been going strong for health lovers for decades. With an array of cafes, smoothie bars and restaurants catering to health conscious locals, it’s got something for everybody.
I’m pretty casual, so I love the no-fuss, barefoot vibe on this side of the bridge. Manly has all the things I need – the low maintenance lifestyle, beautiful beaches (Manly & Queenscliff), secluded bays (Shelly Beach, Little Manly), fab shops and great food options. The Bars on the wharf side are vibey yet not pretentious, and there are carparks all around, making a day visit super easy.
[TIP: Try Pure Manly for tasty wholefood meals; Bare Naked Bowls for a Smoothie Bowl hit; Banana Blossom for an indulgent Salad with all the trimmings; Yok for fab Thai; Barefoot for good coffee; & Hugo’s for drinks with friends.]
L A P P O O L W I T H B E N E F I T S
With general warm temps throughout the year, Sydney-siders are pretty much all about sun, sand and sea, for at least half of the year. Our summers are super hot and often humid, and our winter is pretty mild compared to Europe, UK, Canada, and much of the States. Spring and Autumn is beautiful down here, and definitely my favourite time for ocean swims and sun basking (without the burn of Summer). It’s no wonder (I’m) always looking for places to cool-off. And thankfully, we don’t have a shortage of swim spots.
Sydney is home to some of the most amazing ocean pools. With the likes of Bondi Icebergs, Bronte Baths, Coogee’s McIver Baths & Dee Why Rock Pool, I’d say you could easily find your ‘pool’ ocean side.
But there’s something special about this lap pool that you have visit to experience. Located just near where I live, North of the Harbour Bridge, The North Sydney Olympic Pool is one of Sydney’s landmark swim spot, and for good reason.
With amazing views of Sydney Harbour, the North Sydney Olympic Pool facilities include a 50-metre heated pool, gym, sauna + spa, an indoor 25-metre pool and a cafe.
Seb and Cam love coming for a swim here. There are a few dedicated swimming pools for kids which suit different ages – there’s even a creche.
It’s all the little details that make give this pool the wow factor – from the jaw dropping views, the architectural details, the fab facilities, the ease and the convenience, it’s got it all. Pack some food with you, and spend the day here. It’s seriously soul soothing.
C O F F E E S P O T
If you don’t know already, I’m married to a part time cafe designer, full time coffee nerd, lol. My husband’s main gig is Gabriel Coffee, a boutique coffee roasting co., supplying coffee to cafes around Australia. Standards are high when it comes to a good coffee, + my matcha and rainbow latte obesession makes SML cafe the winner when it comes to best coffee spot in Sydney.
I’ll be honest, this little hole in the wall is part owned by my husband, so you may assume I’m biased. The truth is, I get a lot of say when it comes to the menu, so they usually have all the fine details covered, making SML my ultimate coffee spot.
I love coffee, but choose matcha and blue lattes for their healing and regenerative properties. They do a mean Iced Matcha too ;
Small, cosy and compact, the menu really packs a punch.
Here’s a pic of a standard brunch meal:
C A F E S P R E A D
When I’m looking for a healthy and satisfying meal, I don’t look past Back n Forth in Castle Crag.
15 minutes drive from central Sydney, it’s worth the effort to get here to have a taste of their changing seasonal menu.
My fave is their green bowl which is a combination of all my favourite things – green hummus, roasted pumpkin, dukkah dusted avocado, asparagus, crispy kale chips and so much more. There is something for everyone on the menu, including a trailblazing deconstructed açai bowl and a tantalising sticky coconut rice (YUMMM) – the hardest part is choosing what to have ’cause everything is 100%
They do a mean coffee, and they make you feel right at home. It’s always busy yet I’ve never had to wait for a table – exactly how I like it – you don’t want to see my when I get those hangry feels lol.
Plating is beautiful yet not too fancy, meals are bang on, and wait times are short – all the right combinations to make this my fave Sydney Cafe.
B E S T D I N I N G
We are so lucky down under – we truly have such a high standard when it comes to delicious food, amazing local produce and on trend multi-cultural cuisine. You generally can get yourself a good meal in most suburbs of Sydney, whatever your budget.
When it comes to eating out, I’m a big fan of Japanese. I love the fresh flavours and all the delicate details of Japanese cuisine. A massive plus is knowing that I can have gluten + dairy free options for most of the dishes I love, which is an amazing bonus, as well as the assurance that most dishes are light on sugar compared to many other asian cuisines.
If I had to choose one venue for my best dining, It would have to be Cho Cho San in Potts Point.
From the design that is minimal with cream tones, to the funky tunes, beautiful curated menu and to-die-for cocktail and sake list, this fun izakaya-style gem is my kinda venue.
With an array of tapas style dishes, the dishes are served small so that you have the opportunity to try their many tantalising options. Best when shared, the menu has lots of vegetarian options, including their mouthwatering fried eggplant, king oyster garlic mushroom side, and their divine agedashi tofu. They have a super fresh shaved cabbage salad and signature edamame dip that is a must have while sipping on your sake.
Their spicy sushi bowl is beautifully presented (not vegetarian), and their fried brown rice is the ultimate comfort dish.
Service standards are high, as is their cool & friendly factor – bring your girl gang for a low key Friday lunch to get your weekend started, and experience it for yourself.
[Snaps at Cho Cho San taken by Aubrey @theloveassembly]
Ps. Their Matcha soft serve & Tiramisu (TO-DIE-FOR) and black sesame desserts are next level – not what I would consider ‘healthy ‘ or dairy free – but totally treat-yourself worthy, that is if you’re not super inflexible about your dietary choices. In my opinion, it’s all about balance, and if you can tolerate dairy in small doses, indulgeeeee baby – no judgement here.
H O T E L W I T H A V I E W
My long time favourite accomodation (with a killer view) has to be Park Hyatt Sydney. With beautiful rooms with all the necessities and old-school personalised service, this boutique award-winning hotel sits right in the heart of The Rocks.
Offering sophisticated rooms and suites, the best views of the harbour and in an ideal location to explore the city, The Park Hyatt is all kinds of luxury. Definitely one of the more pricey hotels in the city, it really is a ‘splurge’ kind of stay.
From the warm welcome, to the super comfortable beds, the lush spa treatments and the professional and attentive staff, The Park Hyatt doesn’t miss a beat.
So that wraps up my Best Of Sydney list. Drop me a message with your feedback if you happen to visit any of the spots on my list, or whether you have any suggestions.