Although it was cut short, my time in Sydney was nothing less than amazing. My weeks were filled with learning so much at my internship while my weekends were all about exploring new areas of Sydney and new cities all around Australia. While it was challenging navigating a new city, learning new Australian slang, and missing home for the first few days, I became extremely comfortable and in love with Sydney as I immersed myself in every opportunity.
Now home, I have so many people reaching out to me asking how my experience was and what I loved best about my time in Australia. I tell them that Australia now feels like a home away from home, a place that challenged me constantly but where I have felt the most like myself in a very long time. My favorite things included going to the many beaches of Sydney whenever I had a free morning or afternoon, exploring the different neighborhoods of the city, and venturing out on my own in hopes of meeting locals at cafes or restaurants.
One day, I was eating at Buddha Bowl Café, an all-vegan café in Newtown, and a woman sits two seats away from me. Carol, an 80-year old woman, explains to me that she has traveled all over the world – from Jerusalem to Japan and has finally settled in Sydney as her children and grandchildren live here now. After hearing about her many travels, I asked her “What is your favorite part?”
Carol explained to me that her favorite part about traveling is the food. It is true when they say food it the key to a person’s soul and she loves experiencing new cuisines when traveling that she can bring back with her and keep forever.
Many of my friends and family have already contacted me explaining they hope to one day visit Australia as well and what I recommend for them to do. After going over all the places they should visit such as the Sydney Opera House and Bondi Beach(two of my favorite places in Sydney) and all the activities they should do, such as the Bridge Climb and surfing lessons, I explain to them a great way to navigate and learn so much about this amazing city is to visit different restaurants. The dining scene is Sydney is incomparable, especially for vegans, and forces you to visit different areas of the city, experience the many cultures that live in Sydney, and maybe even meet some locals like Carol.
So, when people ask me, “What was your favorite part about your experience in Australia?” I say the food. After I made this realization, I was inspired to create a list of my favorite places located in Sydney that when all put together, creates a map that extends throughout the entire city. Some restaurants listed are all-vegan restaurants and some with both vegan and non-vegan options, so here it is!
Eden – Bondi Beach
Before coming to Sydney, I knew I had to visit Eden as it was created by my one of my favorite podcasters, Simon Hill. Eden’s menu includes a range of all-vegan dishes inspired by cuisines all over the world and is nothing short of amazing. The best part about Eden is the atmosphere surrounding the restaurant. Filled with plants growing from the ground up and amazing interior design, the restaurant is tucked away in the busy neighborhood of Bondi Beach.
Sydney Vegan Market – Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park
Every third Sunday of the month, the Sydney Vegan Market takes places in the Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park. This is an event I was always counting down the days to. The Sydney Vegan Market is not just filled with incredible vegan food such as vegan mac and cheese and dumplings, but also all vegan products like essential oils, fashion accessories, and sustainable products like reusable food wraps. The Sydney Vegan Market is also a great way to meet locals from all around Sydney.
Acai Brothers – Manly
I am an avid acai lover and it is pretty difficult to impress me when it comes to smoothie bowls, but when I had a bite of my first bowl from Acai Brothers, I was amazed as they have mastered the creation of a thick smoothie base, not to mention, their addictive all-natural peanut butter.
Gigi Pizzeria – Newtown
Tucked away in one of my favorite neighborhoods of Sydney is Gigi Pizzeria, an all-vegan Italian restaurant with delicious pizzas. This restaurant is even non-vegan approved by my friends!
Lentil as Anything – Newtown
This restaurant not only serves amazing food but serves as a great cause in Sydney. Lentil as Anything is an all-vegan, not-for-profit restaurant. It runs as a “pay-as-you-can” restaurant and has a different menu every single day. When sitting in Lentil as Anything, you can meet so many locals, eat amazing food, and help out the community as well.
Nutie – Surry Hills
Anyone who knows me knows I have an enormous sweet tooth and Nutie did not disappoint. With two locations in Balmain and Surry Hills, I visited this café regularly to get my sugar-kick in. It not only has amazing desserts like Ferrero Rocher donuts, banoffee pies, and vegan smores, but also is a great brunch place serving amazing breakfast plates and avocado toast.
I would do a lot to go back to these restaurants that I love so much and give a final thank you for truly shaping my experience abroad. It hurts my heart knowing that most of these restaurants are about to struggle severely from the effects of COVID-19 and I send them nothing but the best moving forward during these challenging times.
If you do visit Sydney one day, please make a trip to one of these locally-owned, passionate, and delicious restaurants and let me know your thoughts! I hope wherever your travels take you, you allow them to be shaped by something that can bring people from all over the world together… food!