“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”
We all know how a vacation can leave us feeling rested and refreshed. It also helps us gain a certain, unquenchable peace that we long for sitting behind our desks. Travelling empowers a healthy lifestyle and gives the entire body a chance to activate itself in ways limited by our day-to-day lives.
People say to truly experience travelling one must leave the country, but there are numerous locations on home soil to give us a taste of what the lands across the seas have to offer. Let’s take a look at 13 of the best travel-inducing traditional restaurants in Sydney and see what makes them so special.
Walk into this Italian eatery and you will immediately feel the love. Every table receives a freshly baked loaf of sourdough, green olives from Sicily, and the most delicious olive oil. Their menu changes weekly, try and stop the regulars from indulging in their exquisite foods. The biggest attraction? Everything is made in-house.
Boon Cafe (Haymarket)
Loved your trip to Thailand and can’t get enough of their cuisine? The Boon Cafe has just what you’re looking for. Choose from a variety of congee at breakfast or just go for the classics like an omelette on a bed of rice with a mix of Sriracha and jalapeño sauce. The fermented fried pork, rice cake, and pickled cabbage sandwich is a standout in so many ways as is their pandan custard with a lightly toasted croissant.
Little Shenkin (Randwick)
Presenting great Israeli food, the Little Shenkin is known for Shakshuka and Hummus based dishes. Pita bread, labanne, avocado, and smoked salmon are some of their other signature dishes. Take a sip of their Mecca Coffee or Ovvio tea and you will feel a rush of freshness instantly.
El Topo (Bondi Junction)
The name itself induces a sombrero wearing dance-off. While El Topo in Bondi doesn’t condemn that, the visitors here would rather get lost in their delicious food. The food includes traditional Mexican ingredients such as avocado leaf, guajillo chillies, and jicama fruit. Combine that with a unique interior design that consists of table tops covered in tiles painted by hand, Dia de Los Muertos skeletons strewn everywhere, and even a Madonna shrine, and you have a winner.
Blue Nile (Blacktown)
Reliving your African Safari memories? Step into the Blue Nile Cafe and get transported back instantly. Offering delectable selections of Ethiopian coffees and traditional meals, this comfy eatery stands out for all the right reasons. Whether it’s breakfast dishes like Enqulal Firfir, salads like the South Sudanese Salata Aswad be Zabadi, or the all-time favourite, Sambusa, you’re sure to get nothing but the best.
Le Souk Beirut (Surry Hills)
Over the past couple of years, Lebanese cuisine has gained popularity and Le Souk Beirut is a definite hot spot. Dedicating their time to delivering quality tasting street food, snacks, and Alamaza Pilsner (Beirut’s local beer), this modern copper diner and wooden themed cafe excels in every aspect. Grab a Chicken Shawarma to go or sit down and enjoy dishes like Sweet Potato Chips with Hummus, Sambousek, Tawouk, or the famous Falafel and Baklava.
Bistro Papillon (CBD)
Nothing brings back memories of a trip to the Eiffel Tower other than a sweet crème brulée and a tall glass of Monbazzilac. Luckily that’s just a peek into what Bistro Papillon has to offer. This classic French establishment brings the finest foods from Europe’s most decadent country. Start with a baguette and salted butter and then move on to their famous Risotto or Ravioli.
Encasa Deli (CBD)
Of all the Sydney cafes dishing out Spanish food, the Encasa Deli seems to be one of the few that keep their customers wanting more. Keeping the menu simple with just bocadillos (sandwiches) and platters, they ensure everyone gets a fresh taste of Spain. Sandwiches like the Portugues, Argentino, and Escalivada are a huge hit while the platters are a great way to get through a quick lunch.
Dosa Plaza (Bella Vista)
We don’t usually think of Indian cuisine as a “quick meal” that you would find in a cafe, but the Dosa Plaza is about the change that. Offering traditional snacks like Samosa and Bhel Puri, breakfast and lunch items like Idly, Dosa, and Vada, and even dishes like kebabs and rich curries, the Dosa Plaza should definitely be a stop for foodies everywhere.
The Soda Factory (Surry Hills)
This unique setup brings a one of a kind ambience along with mouth-watering food on the side. Get amongst the cheeseburgers, hot dogs, fries, and baby back ribs; their most popular dishes.
Reminiscing on your visit to the Heidelberg Castle? Pop into The Bavarian – World Square and enjoy some of the most authentic German food. On-the-go snacks like Pretzels or Wiener Schnitzels are a definite winner while main courses like crackling pork belly, the Kanzler burger, and the Munich brewers platter attract both individuals as well as families. Combine that with a cold craft beer and you’ll find yourself back in Frankfurt.
Sushi On Stanley (Darlinghurst)
Located on Darlinghurst which is actually known for Italian cuisine, the Sushi On Stanley eatery is a great little place to dine on the most delicious Japanese treats. Offering the freshest sashimi and sushi, regulars will know exactly what to get. Other dishes include tempura, udon noodle soup, rice, teriyaki chicken, miso, and salmon salad. The interior design is comprised of handwritten planks plus customers can bring their own beer.
Hai Au (Canley Vale)
Anyone who has visited Vietnam knows how beautiful the country is. But those scenic landscapes are matched only with its amazing food and Hai Au gives every taste bud a reason to dance. Try the grilled chicken in banana leaf or beef wrapped in betel leaf called “bo la lop” and roasted in front of the customers on the grill. If the meat is overwhelming, combine it with pineapple, rice paper, or some mint. All in all – a wonderful experience.