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Sydney CBD

Ragu Pasta and Wine Bar

When I lived in Melbourne, I loved having after-work pasta dates at Grossi Cellar Bar. The casual yet cosy (not to mention convenient!) location, the simple but refined menu, and the comfortable prices made it just about the most ideal location for a mid-week date. Unfortunately, the Sydney pasta scene has so far failed to thrill me, and two years later, I’m still trying to find that place for a quick bowl of good pasta. When I first came across Ragu Pasta and Wine Bar, I was actually pretty reticent to try it. Being a food court restaurant, I wasn’t convinced at how authentic the experience would be, regardless of how much Italian they include on the menu. What finally…

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Tontaro Honten Ramen

Another day, another bowl of ramen. And up for review today is Tontaro Hoten Ramen, the relatively new venture by Jun Toyoda, whose artery-clogging ramen at O-San has a bit of a cult following. Though I’ve been told that Tontaro is a step up from the food-court setting of O-San (having never been myself), the set up here is nevertheless very no-frills. The blond wood panels a sparse, canteen-like space, and everything is pretty much self-serve. I do however appreciate the individual seats lining the edge of the restaurant, which makes solo dining a much less awkward situation if you’re bothered by that sort of thing.

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Old Garden Kaffe

I’d like to think of myself as too old and too world-weary to be sucked in by Instagram-worthy food. After all, I’ve been burned before by restaurants that proffer up food that looks good, but doesn’t do much else. Except as it turns out, I’m not quite as dead inside as I thought, because when photos like this started popping up on my Instagram feed, I was sucked in, hook, line, and sinker. Old School Ka-Fey, recently re-branded as Old Garden Kaffee, is currently the hottest (or is that the coldest) place to get your dessert on. For those of you familiar with Asian dessert cafes, the offerings are Old Garden are pretty typical. Think giant slabs of buttered brioche…

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Quanjude

I’m a total commitment-phobe when it comes to food. I absolutely loathe to order large dishes unless I absolutely can’t avoid it, because I’m always worried that it means I’ll be missing out on something else delicious as a result, even if I know that I love what I’m ordering. With that said, it really comes as no surprise that I haven’t had Peking Duck for a very long while, given that you’re often obliged to order the whole bird. But one thing I do love is a good bargain, so when I saw the Scoopon voucher that offered $100 of food at Quanjude for a mere $49, I was all over that. So what’s so special about Quanjude? Oh…

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Malay Chinese Takeaway

In preparation for my Thailand trip, cheap and cheerful has been the name of the game recently. Luckily, even in a city as expensive as Sydney, there’s still plenty of delicious food to be had for the penny-pinchers if you know where to look. And Malay Chinese Takeaway has been one of those places since 1987. Malay Chinese Takeaway is pretty much exactly what it promises to be – a canteen-like establishment specialising in the Chinese-influenced Malaysian dishes. The laksa is their biggest drawcard, the 13 different variations bringing in punters from all across the CBD and beyond. Laksa aside, there’s also a fair selection of fried noodles, curries, and stir-fries for those who prefer something a little less soupy.…

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Contrabando

The only thing better than tacos is cheap tacos, and until I can get myself to Mexico where they’re a dollar a pop, Taco Tuesdays is the next best thing. And whilst plenty of places have some semblance of that going on each week, no one does it quite like Contrabando. Instead of offering up subpar tacos at a cheaper rate, the entire taco menu is fair game at $3-4 each, instead of the usual $6-8. Talk about a bargain! Coupled with a discounted drinks list, it’s no wonder that the restaurant was absolutely frantic by 6pm on a Tuesday afternoon. Despite seating close to 100, the only seats available without a booking were in the rather sparse al fresco…

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