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Impress Your Date ($35-$50)

Cheek

My dinner at Cheek was a very, very special one. Not only was it easily the most enjoyable meal I’ve had all year, it was also followed up by one of the most wonderful and exciting things that has ever happened in my entire life. But hold up, let’s start from the beginning (or y’know, just scroll to the bottom of this post if you really want to know right this instant – I’m not the boss of you).

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Despana

Today is a big day. Today is the day I finally find a good Spanish restaurant in Sydney. And that place is Despaña. Located down the quieter, more residential end of Glebe Point Road, Despaña is definitely a local’s haunt. Instead of the boisterous atmosphere you find at the Spanish restaurants closer to the city, Despaña is quiet and cosy, giving off a vibe reminiscent of a rustic family-run European bistro, with warm and personable service to match.

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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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Bella Brutta

Dinner at Bella Brutta was an impromptu affair. Or rather, as impromptu as my highly-considered dining plans get. I hadn’t even heard of Bella Brutta until earlier in the week, but after a couple of veteran Sydney bloggers described the clam pizza as one of their favourite pizzas in recent memory, I was sold. I immediately made a booking for the same Friday – my curiosity proved too much for me to wait any longer. As it turns out, Bella Brutta actually opened with quite a bit of hype around it. With alumni from the well-regarded LP’s Quality Meats and Porteno behind its conception, it’s definitely worth your while to grab a booking, as the long, skinny room fills up…

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Lupino

I had been promising my sister a pasta and gelato date for the next time I’m in Melbourne for months, only to realise a few days before coming back that the only day we can go out is on a Sunday… the day which Grossi Cellar Bar, my sister’s favourite place for pasta, happens to be closed. After a bit of frantic searching on my part, I found Lupino – a well-established and well-reviewed Italian restaurant that I’ve oddly never come across in all my years exploring Melbourne.

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Surly’s

Seriously, is there anything better than a feast of American BBQ? I honestly can’t think of many things more enjoyable than a platter of smoky meats, served with heaping bowls of mac and cheese, collard greens, and cornbread. Coupled with the fact that decent BBQ isn’t all that common in Australia, and how I won’t let myself indulge in it very often, it is a real treat when I do get to have it. Despite having been in Sydney for over a year now, I’ve only had BBQ once, at Bovine and Swine. This travesty was finally remedied with a long overdue trip to Surly’s – a heavily American-themed sports bar in Surry Hills.

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