Image credit: Lisa Brooke at Miranda Hotel
It’s the birthplace of modern Australia and lays claim to Captain Cook’s landing site. It also houses one of Australia’s most famous beaches and set the scene for some of our best homespun reality shows (but let’s not talk about that). Despite its colourful past, The Shire (aka God’s Country) is forging a new reputation for itself as a foodie hub and even city-dwellers can’t resist its tasty pull.
When it comes to pub-bistro-nightclub-super-combos, Miranda Hotel really does have something for everyone, including the Courtyard beer garden where you can listen to acoustic musicians on Fridays and Sundays. Want more? Try the bistro, with amazing pub style food you can enjoy indoors or go out and bask in the alfresco section, and a nightclub featuring local and international DJs. Want more? You go it! Small bar and eatery The Lane is the perfect place to wine and dine. Be sure to gather a group of your nearest and dearest for a whole suckling pig done to juicy, juicy perfection by head chef, Adam Bolton.
Continuing our love of the Westfield Miranda dining precinct, Mejico is all about fresh and seasonal, market-to-table food that draws inspiration from across Mexico. There’s that famous table-side made guacamole, and the selection of small plates are epic (go for the tacos), but the big plates of sticky beef short ribs, swordfish steaks or Hunter Valley lamb with house made chimichurri are the real winners.
Paul’s Famous Hamburgers
As the name suggests, Paul’s is arguably one of The Shire’s most notorious foodie stops and one of Sydney’s best burgers. In fact, most people travelling south of Sydney have acquainted themselves with an old school beef burger (with the lot, of course), crispy fries, and a signature pulpy pineapple drink. It’s a far cry from the wagyu/brioche combos you see at upmarket joints around the city, but ask any one of the line dwellers and they’ll tell you that there’s no accounting for almost 60 years of greasy perfection.
If you’re used to leaving vegetarian cafes hungry and yearning for a bacon butty, you’re in for a pleasant surprise at Pilgrims. In fact, the breakfast burger is so chock-full of avo, cheese, roasted mushroom, egg, soy mayo and greens that meat feels kind of incidental. It’s small touches like house made pesto in the sourdough special and wraps filled with rustic hummus and tabouli that help this joint stand out from the seafood and burger restaurants chocking up Cronulla’s main drag.
It’s a Sydney Thai restaurant that looks nothing like your run-of-the-mill Thai joint. For starters, there’s not a tuk tuk or Buddha in sight. Instead, you’re faced with a bright and breezy dining space that suits its proximity to the beach. The menu at Alphabet Street is fairly standard Thai fare, but even dishes like pad see ew offer fresh and exciting flavours. Pro tip: Make sure you ask staff if the special “Thairamisu” is available for dessert.
The Italian Kitchen Miranda
Westfield Miranda is Sydney’s newest shopping-centre-and-dining-precinct and, with the likes of Messina and Kazbah under its roof, it’s doing a pretty stellar job of converting the skeptics. The Italian Kitchen Miranda is a casual eatery by day and glitzier affair at night. The food is at the level you’d expect from the Dedes Group (Flying Fish, Watergrill, Deckhouse), with family pleasers like antipasti and wood fired pizzas and a top-notch drinks list from which you should definitely choose a glass (or four) of Cavazza Prosecco.
We’ve seen a veritable explosion of Cronulla restaurant openings over the past few years, and none have been more anticipated than Giro Osteria—a laid-back Italian trattoria with views across Kingsway. Chef Ruben Martinez (last seen at La Scala in Woollahra) is all about local ingredients and very rustic touches like whole snapper cooked in filtered seawater.
What’s that? You’ve had your fill of contemporary Aussie fare and Italian classics? You need a bit of yellow fin tuna in your life? Perhaps you’ve gone all primal on us and need some wild rice sushi in your diet. Good thing Aomori sources their goods from top shelf suppliers like De Costi. Maguro (tuna), anyone?
The Duck Republic
Situated a stone’s throw from Cronulla Beach on Gerrale Street, this is the kind of hipster bistro you’d find in Surry Hills or Darlo, but thankfully you don’t have to go that far. There’s always a duck dish on the menu, but you can also try things like barbequed whole sand whiting and char-grilled Southern Highlands kangaroo strip loin.
Din Tai Fung
Sydney certainly has its fair share of Shanghai style restaurants. But then again, there’s always room for more soup dumplings from Din Tai Fung. Much like its other outlets, this restaurant is decked out in floating bamboo steamers and a good view of the mask-clad dumpling ladies patting and pinching each silky xiao long bao before they meet their steamy fate.
This Sylvania eatery is delicious proof that the craft beer phenomenon is officially everywhere. That’s right, hipsters, Blackrock has established its own micro brewery and it’s got the goods to prove it. The restaurant itself is substantial and looks a lot like the kind of brewery you might rock up to in the Hunter or Orange, but without the three or four hour drive.
Please note Blackrock Brasserie is now closed.