Urban Bites in Newtown, Sydney, is a patio destination

One of my favourite parts of town I’ve explored in Sydney is Newtown, a colourful area decorated by street art and proliferated by dozens of drool-inducing restaurants with lots of patio space for enjoying amazing Sydney weather. I recently stumbled upon Urban Bites, a friendly restaurant with a neighbourhood feel that has attentive staff and a menu serving tasty eats in generous portions.

Urban Bites Newtown Sydney patio

The spot serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and coffee, with a full alcohol bar. The dessert case is absolutely amazing, featuring everything from cakes and tarts, to pastries. Definitely save room for a tasty treat.

Urban Bites Newtown Sydney dessert case

I was there for dinner and opted for a delicious grilled haloumi burger with rocket and olive tapenade on Turkish toast ($17.90 AUD). It was served with thickly cut chips and was so huge, I had to take half of it home. The bread was perfectly crispy, there was a ton of haloumi, and the veggies were plentiful.

Urban Bites Newtown Sydney grilled haloumi

Here’s a look at the equally massive fish and chips burger with sweet potato fries:

Urban Bites Newtown Sydney Fish and Chips

Though all the cheesecake and tiramisu made my mouth water, I gave something I’ve never tried a taste, pavlova. I had no idea the dessert was born in the Australia/New Zealand region, which is awesome, but it just looked so gosh darned pretty, I felt it would be a dream to eat. It’s a meringue-based cake that was topped with cream. I’m not the hugest meringue fan, but it was sweet and light, and the cream was amazing. I’m sure it was a great version of the dessert, and its elegance evokes the beauty of the Russian ballerina the dessert was named after.

Urban Bites Newtown Sydney pavlova

From start to finish, the meal at Urban Bites was fantastic. I loved that my meal was enough to take half of it home, the servers were courteous, and the whole atmosphere is fun and laid-back. For more information on Urban Bites, head here.

 

Grill’d in Chatswood has healthy burgers in Sydney

Having walked past the tantalizing scents of Grill’d in Chatswood, Sydney, many times, I was excited to finally nosh at the joint touting healthy burgers.

Grill'd Chatswood Sydney interior

Grill’d serves a variety of burgers and sliders, made with chicken, beef, lamb and veggies, as well as offers steak sandwiches and salads. There are three — count ’em, three — vegetarian burger options! I definitely want to go back to try them all, but this time, i opted for the Field of Dreams ($11.50 AUD), a portobello mushroom burger that was one of the lowest-calorie options on the menu at about 470 calories for a huge sandwich. It was incredibly juicy and came with basil pesto, roasted peppers, cheddar cheese, lettuce and herbed mayo — and an Australian flag, for good measure.

Grill'd Chatswood Sydney Mushroom Burger

Be sure to pair your burger with some “chips” (French fries), too — I loved the thick-cut fries here because the seasoning was ample. The regular version ($4.80) is super-huge, and I wasn’t able to finish mine. Next time, I would get the snack version ($3.80).

I ordered the tomato relish thinking it would be ketchup-y (or tomato sauce-y, as Australians would say), but it was a sweet dipping sauce that didn’t satisfy my palate — though, with other ingredients, like on my mushroom burger, it was fine. Instead, I’d recommend the very spicy hot chilli mayo dipping sauce, which had a huge kick and is mighty tasty. Here it is, appropriately labeled “hot,” paired with the Friends of Falafel burger ($11.50):

Grill'd Chatswood Sydney falafel burger new

That’s the burger I might get next time, or the other veggie burger option, the Garden Goodness ($11.50), a veggie patty made with beetroot.

Grill’d is super-casual and popping on weekend nights, with street seating that gives plenty of opportunities for people-watching.

Grill'd Chatswood Sydney patio

The order-at-the-counter spot is stocked with local bottled beers and beers on draft. I loved the fun attitude, from the Australian burger flags, to the sassy copy on the knife holders:

Grill'd Chatswood Sydney knife

Learn more about Grill’d here.

Chelsea Hotel in Chatswood, Sydney, Australia, a happening place for hipsters

I found my new favorite place in Chatswood, Sydney, Australia, recently: a pub/restaurant called Chelsea Hotel that made me happy for its abundance of light, its beautiful patio in the heart of the city and its myriad hanging plants that brought nature indoors.

The Chelsea Hotel Chatswood Sydney Australia

The place was packed around 6 p.m. on a Friday night, mostly with young hipsters listening to disco tunes and a lot of David Bowie from the live DJ.

The Chelsea Hotel Chatswood Sydney Australia

Food was mostly American fare, with some Aussie twists. The fried blue corn chips bar snack was perfect to share between two people ($4 AUD). The chips were freshly made and had the ideal amount of salt, and came with sour cream to dip them in. I admit, I’m a pretty picky vegetarian eater, but I’m trying to expand my palate more in Australia, including noshing on this sour cream side. I actually liked it a lot because it cooled off the warm chips and had a nice flavor to it.

The Chelsea Hotel Chatswood Sydney Australia

All “between bread” options come with thick-cut fries, which are my favorite type. I’m not a shoestring gal and never could find enough thick-cut fries in the States, but in Australia, everywhere I’ve had fries, they’ve been nice and thick. Score! Check out the chicken burger ($19), which came with habanero mayo (mayo is also big in Australia, and you’ll start to enjoy it on restaurant sandwiches if you don’t already), jalapeño, tomato and pineapple:

The Chelsea Hotel Chatswood Sydney Australia

I nommed on the spiced vege burger ($16), which came with yoghurt, tahini, tomato and lettuce. I swear I eat more than veggie burgers, but I was craving one this night, and I loved the spiced patty made with black beans and served with those delicious fries. Note: Aussies call ketchup “tomato sauce,” and be sure to ask for it if you like it, because it doesn’t always automatically come with fries.

The Chelsea Hotel Chatswood Sydney Australia

The bar was fully stocked with beer, wine and fruity cocktails, and Chelsea Hotel also offers several “cocktails to share,” which serve four people and are $25. There was lots of tumbler shaking at the bar, so try one of their signature drinks if you’re craving a cocktail.

The Chelsea Hotel Chatswood Sydney Australia The Chelsea Hotel Chatswood Sydney Australia

There are plenty of televisions playing Australian sport (that’s singular — even if you’re talking about multiple types of athletics, it’s still “sport” here), and the vibe is friendly, relaxed and chatty. Beautiful weather beckons people to the spacious patio, and I’d say it’s hard not to instantly fall in love with this spot’s tasty eats and comfortable atmosphere.

Learn more about Chelsea Hotel here.

The Hayberry in Crows Nest, Sydney, great for American food lovers

The first time I’ve ever tried a veggie burger that reminded me of a fish taco happened while I dined at The Hayberry in Crows Nest, Sydney, and boy, was I thrilled. The Vego ($15AUD) patty is made with mixed bean, corn and coriander, and topped with citrus rocket, tomato and jalapeño mayo, and this monster of a sandwich had me reminiscing being on the Rocky Point beach.

The Hayberry_Crows Nest_ Sydney_Vego Burger

The burger wasn’t the only stellar reason why this bar and restaurant made me happy. Head through the dimly lit pub area to the back of the restaurant to discover a fresh air patio filled with lots of natural light and quirky decorations. It’s relaxed and will make you feel right at home.

The Hayberry_Crows Nest_ Sydney_2 The Hayberry_Crows Nest_ Sydney

The Hayberry_Crows Nest_ Sydney_3

Back to the food. I was so excited to try the waffle fries that usually come with the burgers and sandwiches, but unfortunately, the fryer was down — or “f*cked,” as a humorous sign pointed out. The restaurant compensated for the lack of fried potatoes by giving us complimentary chips and guacamole, normally $10. The portion was plentiful and would be a great appetizer option, and the guac was creamy and sprinkled with some heat.

The Hayberry_Crows Nest_ Sydney_Guacamole with Corn Chips

For those in Australia hankering for Mexican or American food, The Hayberry is a great choice because of its wide selection of tacos, fajitas, buffalo wings and burgers. Service was super-friendly, and the casual atmosphere makes it a top-notch place to stop for after-work drinks and bites, as I did, or to meet big groups, since there are lots of spacious tables to spread out on.

The cocktail menu is also fun, as it offers margaritas and fruity drinks with fresh juice. It quickly became one of my favorite places I’ve checked out since I’ve been in Sydney, and you can learn more about it here.