One of the best things about travel, let’s be honest, is the food. When I head OS the first thing I try to do is immerse myself in the local cuisine.
But lucky for us, we don’t need to travel long haul to experience international cuisine. You just have to head into Newy. Here are some of my personal faves.
Note: I’m pretty much recommending inner-city restaurants impacted by the roadworks here. Do your tastebuds a favour and show ‘em your support.
For me, this place is all about the pho. If you’re a pronunciation wanker like me, you’ll ask for ‘fuh’, but if you don’t wish to tie your tongue in a linguistic knot, they’ll know what you want when you ask for ‘fo’. This just tastes like a bowl of goodness with broth and rice noodles garnished with onions, coriander and shallots. You can then add in your own sprouts, lemon and hoisin chilli sauce to taste. I’m a fan of the rare beef – but am too wussy to go for the version with tripe and tendon.
They started in a food van (which still rocks around to this day) but now they have a restaurant in Newy West just around the corner from our office and HELLO LOVER! Bao buns are a delight on every level. Wee little clouds of deliciousness that surround tasty morsels of meat or veg with tasty toppings and sauces. One’s not enough, so you’ll probably need a truffled mushroom spring roll to fill that bit of your tum. Check out the smashed sundae dessert specials too. Mouth-porn.
Pork Knuckle. That is all. Order it in advance.
Actually, all the food’s good here, authentic German. With the entertaining Fren family at the helm.
Jeez Louise did Newcastle need a ramen restaurant. And this place delivered. Along with being Newcastle’s Most Instagrammable Restaurant (calling it) this is the sweetest place to slurp. I’m too busy working my way through the menu to have a favourite yet. But they keep adding specials that I can’t resist, so stay tuned in a year or so for me to come up with a definitive fave (maybe).
Authentic Mexican doesn’t come more tasty than this. Currently located at Carrington, the team are looking to move to Newy West with a fancy new building in an old warehouse on Steel Street. (I know I’m going out of my Newcastle construction zone here – but, you know – it’s so good I had to include it). These peeps make their own corn tortillas and you can taste the difference. High impact flavours happen here.
The Persian Place
I love this place. Located on the corner of Bolton and King Streets, this is Newy’s original Persian/Iranian restaurant. Ideal for sharing, this is a perfect place if you’ve got vego/vegan friends/family. Try the banquet because why would you not?
Ten years of sushi rolls making my lunchtime healthy. I love the original kiosk in the mall. Do the team a favour and try to find it amidst all the construction that’s happening atm. Or head to The Junction or Marketown. Side note: don’t you just love how sushi is the go-to for kids and toddlers these days? No vegemite sarnies necessary when you can have avocado hosomaki.
Sticky Rice Thai
I used to live in Newtown before moving back to Newy. HOME of Thai restaurants. Moving back here it took me quite some time to find a thai restaurant that suited my family’s multiple needs (chicken pad thai, cashew nut beef – ‘something different every time’). This is it for me. The Newcastle East store that’s always a goddam nightmare to park for 2 minutes to pick up takeaway – but it’s worth it. The peeps there are so friendly and the food’s consistently tasty.
I have friends who love this place so much that I’m amazed I haven’t had a wedding invite. I’ve yet to go, but these friends are foodies who travel the world, and I have to give the thumbs up to a team that brings something new to this city.
This cosy little Italian place makes you feel like you’ve been invited into Nonna’s home for dinner. Set course Italian food done really, really, really well. For a date night that’ll dazzle, snag yourself a table here.
Napoli Centrale and Popolo Gelataria
Authentic pizza, divine pasta and gelato for afters. What’s not to love about this King Street duo? Look, I know other places do pizza, but this is the authentic style. I remember one night they closed early as they’d run out of italian mozzarella (no ducking down to Coles to get the cheap stuff for this team). The ingredients are top-notch and it shows in the flavour. Oh, and Popolo Gelato? Swoon-worthy.
Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant
There are no knives, forks or spoons here (well, there are, if you ask for them…) It’s all about the authentic experience of eating with the Ethiopian Injera – a flat, soft and spongy bread. There’s a whole ceremony that starts with a ceremonial hand wash and ends with tastebuds singing in delight. The Ethiopian spices are incredible – taste them in the Siga Wot beef dish – and even if you’re not vego, make sure you indulge in the lentil dishes. They’re sublime.
You can pretty much eat around the world from Reserve, with a menu that evolves around the season and features the best of international cuisine. But when I come to Reserve, I’m all about the wine. France, Italy, Spain, Argentina… ask the staff to help transport you to a whole new world from a glass of something spesh. You won’t regret it.