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Tapas

SaltVine

Call me naïve, but when I first moved to Sydney, I was astounded by how much everything cost. Having grown up in Melbourne, where things already don’t exactly come cheap, I scoffed at everyone who lamented at the cost of living in Sydney. After all, how much worse than Melbourne can it really be? As it turns out, quite a bit. Not only was rent mind-bogglingly expensive, the food was also markedly dearer. What started as a joke between Chris and I that one Sydney dollar is worth one-and-a-half Melbourne dollars became woefully true – we did indeed find that if we multiplied the cost of what we think a meal should be in Melbourne by 1.5, we ended up…

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Seven Lanterns

Despite having lived just 20 minutes from Cronulla for over a year, I’ve never once gone down to the beach. A packed scheduled combined with a general apathy for being outside meant I had no real interest in making even a short drive – until now that is. As it turns out, all it takes me to get out and about to explore Sydney is the promise of good food. Seven Lanterns may not be directly on the water, but at barely 20 metres away from the surf, it’s more than close enough to benefit from the laid-back beach vibes. It boasts an Asian-inspired, seafood-driven share menu that doesn’t do anything too scary, but promises enough pizazz to still feel…

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Belly Bao

Long days call for fried chicken. And seeing as I’m far past the age where I can have a meal of nothing but fried foods without mentally preparing myself for at least a week in advance, I decided to hit up Belly Bao for some modern Asian tapas – with a side of fried chicken, of course! Despite serving food that is best described as pan-Asian, Belly Bao (isn’t the name just adorable!!) is decked out in a very much funky tropical style. There is greenery galore, and a huge, colourful mural depicting summery fun-times.

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Bar Tapa

As someone who usually identifies as a glass-half-empty sort of person, I can be remarkably optimistic when it comes to food. Despite an appalling experience at the well-rated Encasa, as well as the general consensus that Spanish food in Sydney just isn’t that great, I was still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when I heard about Bar Tapa, which promises to be unapologetically Spanish. On a Saturday night, Bar Tapa has a convivial, buzzing vibe, and if it feels a little everyman, it’s made up for by the energy of the diners. The wall-to-wall Spanish memorabilia makes for some good conversation starters, and definitely adds to the authentic feel.

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Osteria Ilaria

Rarely has a restaurant impressed me on the first visit the way Tipo00 did. Their meticulously hand-crafted pasta dishes were melt-in-the-mouth scrumptious, and each subsequent visit has been similarly astounding, and well worth the ridiculous wait times. So when the geniuses behind Tipo opened Osteria Ilaria a couple years later, all of Melbourne were waiting with bated breath to see if it lived up to its reputation. As it turns out, we needn’t have worried. Following Tipo’s example, Osteria Ilaria soon snapped up another Best New Restaurant of the Year Award, with accolades coming out of its ears, and queues extending down the street. But unlike Tipo, Osteria Ilaria is not a quaint little pasta bar. Hot on the tail…

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Embla

There’s nothing that perks me up quite like a good meal at a wine/tapas bar. The cosy venue, sophisticated and indulgent atmosphere, and parade of small but exquisitely designed dishes (and maybe a drink or two!) never fails to put me in a good mood. And for the longest time, my go-to spot has been MoVida Next Door. Of course, I knew about Embla – who doesn’t? It’s only the Age Good Food Guide’s best new restaurant of 2016 – but I’ve never quite mustered myself up for the visit, despite having almost-went several times.

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