Sydney Dinners: His & Hers Picks

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We went over a few of the breakfasts and lunches we had in Sydney earlier this week. However, the two unique dinners I wanted to share with you deserved another post.

And so we continue…

Dinners

Carrie’s Pick:

Before we left for our trip to Australia, I did only a little research for great restaurants. I kept a list and descriptions with no real plan because everything depends on timing. What matters most is where you are when hunger strikes! But I thought I couldn’t let Rob miss one place that claimed the best burger in Sydney.

We took the train to Newtown, which is technically a suburb of Sydney. I stopped to ask a guy in a shop near the train station for directions. He hadn’t actually been to Mary’s, but he knew the general direction.

We turned down the street where it should be and found ourselves at a dead end within a block. Rob was annoyed. It had taken long enough to get there and we couldn’t find it. “Wait a minute,” I said and turned around. A couple of guys were standing outside and smoking by an unmarked entrance. I went back to go inside and take a peak. This was it!

It was dark inside, but very busy. We were directed upstairs for seating. It was dimly lit, mostly with candles. It was dark. Mysterious. I loved it. The cocktail list was written in chalk on the wall across from us. I had to lighten all my photos, but they still didn’t come out all that great.

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Mary’s was supposed to be known for cocktails, too, but they were just as expensive as at The Push, some even more so. I love the grungy look and feel of this place. The wines by the glass were listed on the wall right in front of me, written in what looks like AC/DC’s font.

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We opted for a bottle instead. The wine list was long and a little confusing. The were also pricier than other ones we had at restaurants in Sydney. We finally settled on one that was about $50/bottle.

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This was probably Rob’s favorite wine of the trip! Krinklewood Wild Red is a is a shiraz-based wine from a biodynamic vineyard in the Hunter Valley, the closest wine region to Sydney. When our server brought it to the table, he said that it was a killer wine and talked about his friend’s dad owning the vineyard. It was tasty. But we never did find it in any stores throughout our trip.

And the menu? Also right on the wall!

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Pretty simple! I’d like to note that we had exceptional service here. While we were waiting for our wine, a server came by and asked:

“Have you been looked after?”

Rob said:

“Why yes. Yes, we are.”

Huh? As the dude walked away, I asked him, “Why did you say ‘we are’?”

Now think back to what the server said and run it through your head again with an Aussie accent. Apparently, Rob thought that the dude said:

“Are you with Arthur?”

Because we saw only two servers working the upstairs, Rob deduced that the guy who was already waiting on us was named Arthur. That is why Rob replied:

“Why yes. Yes, we are.”

I almost doubled over with laughter. When I told him what dude really said, he did, too.

This isn’t the first time Rob has had a hard time with accents. Once, when dining at Fong’s, a Chinese restaurant here in the Twin Cities, Rob ordered a noodle dish. Our server, in her Chinese accent asked:

“You want extra spicy?”

Rob replied:

“Yes, Five Star Spicy.”

But he said “five star spicy” only because he thought he was repeating her. And he said it fast, too, almost if he had the accent as well. Here’s the thing, this restaurant didn’t use a star system on their menu.

After she left our table, I burst out laughing. Rob hadn’t realized what just transpired. When I told him, he said, “Ah! That makes more sense!” We still laugh about that one, especially when ordering spicy food in an Asian restaurant.

Back to Mary’s…

Ordering was a breeze once our server explained to us that a cheeseburger was your basic “McDonald’s burger with ketchup and mustard” and that the sauce on the Mary’s Burger was mayo based.

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The burgers arrive wrapped, in a basket with the fries. I was surprised that Rob went with the basic cheeseburger. I was all about the Mary’s sauce because I’m not a huge fan of ketchup.

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This most definitely was not the best burger I’ve ever had. And it’s kind of sad if people say that this is Sydney’s best! That being said, it still was very good, in my opinion.

The bun was soft and wonderful and the Mary’s sauce was just what I wanted. But the meat? Not so much. It was just a very thin patty – much like you’d think of a McDonald’s burger to have. No wonder they didn’t ask how we wanted them cooked. All of the other components seemed to be there; but the most important part – the burger – got lost amongst it all. But I still enjoyed it. I think it was best described here as a “really nice version of a McDonald’s burger.”

Rob, on the other hand, hated his burger. It’s not because he’s a burger snob. It’s because the whole thing was slathered in ketchup and mustard. It was all he could taste.

“I did think that it was strange that you ordered that one.”

“No really, that’s all I taste! You try it!”

I tasted it. The condiments did overpower the entire thing. I’ve actually never had a burger with that much ketchup and mustard before. I completely understood how this was a total burger disappointment for him – especially for $14/burger! He only had a couple of bites and stuck to his fries. He did have a bite of my burger and said that it was much better. But I think his mouth was tainted with that mustard for him to have a real opinion at that point.

Overall, if you are looking for an elevated fast food burger – get the Mary’s Burger. If you are looking for the best burger in Sydney – continue your hunt. What we loved most about Mary’s was the service and ambiance.

~

Rob’s Pick:

Generally speaking, I do most of the planning for our travels. I’ll ask Rob for his input here or there. But I typically know what amenities he prefers and what locations work for us within our budget. Sometimes he tells people I’m his travel agent or that I should have been one. But then I have to remind him that not everyone likes what we like. Planning for ourselves is much easier!

But just a few days before our departure for Australia, Rob sent me some links of some places he found. One was called Frankie’s Pizza.

I’ve decided that, for our vacations, I’ll let Rob plan our dinners out instead from now on. This ended up being our favorite dinner in Sydney!

We arrived on a Tuesday around 5pm. We walked down to the lower level to find a bar and a dining area covered in kitschy Italian decor. It was early, so there weren’t many people there. But wait, did you read that there was a bar? A bar! We found that, in Australia, it was so hard to find a restaurant that had a bar where you could pull up a seat, even if alcohol was served. We jumped at this opportunity.

We started with a bottle of vino, choosing an Italian varietal grown in Australia.

Our wine was served in plastic cups. Sound preposterous? It wasn’t. Here it just felt, well… right.

Frankie’s is known for it’s pizza by the slice – for just $5. If the pie is available, you can have a slice. Otherwise, you’ll have to take a number and wait for it to show up on the wall when it’s ready.

Rob and I opted for a whole pie.

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This sausage pizza was perfect in every way – the chewy crust, the perfectly spiced sausage, the tangy-but-not-too-tangy tomato sauce, the mushrooms, the olive oil… This pie was huge. But we finished it off, eventually.

As more and more people piled in, we realized that these Sydneysiders knew the secret, too. It started to get really busy. Before we left, it was completely packed – on a Tuesday night! But there was another secret that we had yet to learn.

The man sitting a few seats down the bar was the chef. And he was from Naples. As in… Italy.

Yeah. That’s why this pizza was so wonderful. I guess this joint wasn’t doing too well for a while. Bring in someone who knows how to do pizza, sell it for $5 a slice and you’ll have customers there all night long. Genius.

Then Rob spotted the taps.

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This was the first time we found local craft brews on tap in Sydney. {I’m sorry, I tried to do Australia’s favorite Victory Bitter, but I had to choke it down! I guess I wouldn’t drink our nation’s favorite either, though.}

Murray’s Fred IPA quickly became his favorite. I had a little bit of dessert instead…

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That probably looks disgusting. And it might even sound disgusting to you, too, once I describe it. Frankie’s has a juicer, specifically for apples. In went three Granny Smiths, out came this frothy delight. {With a touch of rum added, too!} I had been watching our Kiwi bartender make them. So I had to inquire, which resulted in ordering one to end the night. The tart and sweet flavors together were the perfect combo!

Rob really wanted to go back to Frankie’s the next night; but I wanted to try something new. Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda. Our next dinner was no where near as good.

When it comes to food, we have a much more to discover should we return to Sydney. But if there is one place we’d recommend as a must-do, it’s Frankie’s Pizza.

Have you ever had a frothy mixed drink made with apples?

What’s the most interesting frothy or frozen drink you’ve tried?

~

You can read my other posts on our Australia trip here:

The One Thing I Didn’t Need to Bring to Australia
The Wattle and Bush Tucker
Scenes from Sydney
A Morning at Bond-Eye

The Blue Mountains
Sydney Eats

Cheers~
Carrie

 

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