About Monica U
Lives in Sydney, Australia
Since Jan 2014
35-49 year old female
Globetrotter, foodie and lover of good festivals, digital marketing and writing. I have visited more than 80 cities around the world but have called Sydney home for the last 10 years. Previously , I lived in Cancun, Mexico and Playa del Carmen for 5 years and learnt to scuba dive. Having a partner that skies, Queenstown is one of our favourite destinations both in winter and in summer, and just a little "jump" from Sydney. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to cook a meal and share it among friends.
Bars & Clubs
Thai restaurants abound in Sydney, but this original multi-award-winning restaurant has the "best food outside of Bangkok" according to local Thai people. Wentworth Avenue was the original Spice I Am, which has since opened doors in Darlinghurst and Balmain. The philosophy is fabulous - innovative and authentic Thai food using the freshest ingredients, mixed with exotic vegetables and spices imported from Thailand.
Having Sunday-morning lunch in this neighbourhood Woollahra restaurant, headed by Chef Matt Moran, is a heavenly experience. From the minute you walk down Chiswick's garden path and sit in one of the white chairs at the earthy wooden tables, you know you have arrived at a very special place. The menu is designed for sharing, and it is always changing according to the seasons. Most of the produce comes from the homegrown garden. This is warm, simple food prepared to perfection.
There is an old proverb that says food always tastes better when it is shared... Table for 20 is a no fuss, low-key restaurant, located in the heart of Surry Hills, with a great sense of community. Locals have been gathering there since 2006. There are 2 long communal tables; the food comes out on shared plates and the idea is that you serve the people around you share the food with your group. Chef Michael Fantuzey prepares a 3-course set menu every night. First, you will start with an assortment of original salads, followed by Michael's eccentric main dish recipes as a live performance gets you in the mood. Finally, the freshly cooked desserts are a little piece of mouthwatering ecstasy!
There are Chinese restaurants and then there is Spice Temple. This cavernous restaurant in the heart of Sydney's CBD, underneath Neil Perry's famous Rockpool, offers some of the best Chinese food in Sydney. The culinary focus is regional Chinese and and the different provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi and Xinjiang. The decor is magnificent, opulent, intimate, red - and very Chinese. One feels like being part of a very ancient Chinese Dynasty, and the food is superb. Every single time I have been to this upscale restaurant I've tried a different dish and all of them have been mouthwatering wonders. It's hard to pick a favourite but here are 2 of my utmost favourite ones: King Prawn wontons with aged black vinegar dressing and the Stir fried quail and peanuts with steamed egg custard.
There are many hotly-tipped Italian restaurants in Sydney but this local's favourite from Adelaide chef Eugenio Maiale is an all-time winner. Hand-made Italian pastas, like Pappadele, Maccheroni, Linguine and Casarecce are prepared daily and mixed with the freshest ingredients and sauces to produce outstanding flavours and authentic, simple food. The space revolves around a 10m-long communal Indian marble table and there are always daily specials on the board.
As a foodie, at least once in your life you need to try something truly superb, and the 10-course degustation menu at this Japanese-French fusion restaurant may just be that something! Tetsuya's impressive array of dishes, based on the Japanese philosophy of using natural seasonal flavours mixed with his own French cooking style, has made his restaurant a unique high-end gastronomic adventure. At $220 per person it is not your ordinary Friday night out, but you will never regret the experience!
If the name "Napoli" isn't enough to conjure up images of fresh, warm, delicious Italian pizza, how about a meter-long hand-kneaded pizza, baked for no more than 60 to 90 seconds in a wood-fired domed oven, by a third-generation pizza chef from Naples. This is simply the most impressive pizza place I've ever been to and well worth the 20-minute trip from Sydney CBD to Lane Cove. The garlic pizza, with roasted fresh garlic is so delicious that you could die right there and be sure you have tasted heaven.
I discovered this semi-industrial place in Redfern - designed by architect Antony Gill - almost by accident when my one of my favourite breakfast places in Surry Hills had a 45 minute waiting list. Oh boy, what a pleasant surprise I got! Their aim is to "Be a destination – to create a unique experience that people will travel for,” and that's exactly what they deliver. The menu has been designed by ex-Aria and Chiswick chef, Tim Bryan, and it is changed daily. Service is fast and attentive, drinks arrive in playful milk bottles with house-made seasonal sodas, peanut caramel shakes and smoothies to choose from, and the coffee is superb. You won't be disappointed, these guys seriously rock!
You will not find another authentic Argentinian place as good as this one in Sydney. All meals are prepared in a traditional "parrilla" (BBQ) and "asado" (pit of fire), including the 8-hour slow-cooked pig and lamb. The menu is designed to share, in the authentic Argentinian tradition - if you're feeling adventurous, why not try the Lengua en Escabeche (Pickled Veal tongue), the Morcilla (Blood sausage with Red Peppers in Garlic, or the Repollitos de Brusela (Crispy Fried Brussel Sprouts with Lentils and Mint).