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.

Gourmet Pizza Kitchen in Chatswood, Sydney, satiates pizza cravings

When you’re jonesing for some quality pizza in Sydney, Gourmet Pizza Kitchen in Chatswood is a solid choice. The family-friendly restaurant, accommodating for big groups with a lively atmosphere, features wood-fired pies, stellar salads, salivating desserts and more.

Gourmet Pizza Kitchen in Chatswood, Sydney, Australia Gourmet Pizza Kitchen in Chatswood, Sydney, AustraliaI had a filling dinner there recently (I arrived as soon as the restaurant opened), the restaurant’s three-course meal for two ($29.50 AUD each), which was really four courses since the “twist” portion isn’t counted but is very filling. Each meal comes with drinks (you can get beer or wine, too) and choice of twists, a salad, a pizza and a dessert. It was a huge meal, and an affinity for pizza dough is a plus, since many of the offerings feature it.

For starters, there was the Sweet Chilli Twists (normally $7.90), dough brushed with a sweet chili glaze and served with sour cream. I loved the sweet and spicy combo, with cooling cream that made every bite delectable.

Gourmet Pizza Kitchen Sweet Chilli TwistsThe next course was a Rocket and Parmesan Salad (normally $12.90), with a heaping pile of parmesan, sun dried tomatoes, roasted pine nuts and balsamic dressing. The portion was plentiful, and I loved the restaurant didn’t skimp on all the goodies covering the greens.

Gourmet Pizza Kitchen Rocket and Parmesan SaladThe Martinique Pizza (normally $21.50, 26 centimeters, about 10 inches) was a fantastic vegetarian choice. It came with sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, basil pesto, arugula and roasted pine nuts. I loved the consistency of the dough — it was soft and chewy and not at all burnt. The toppings and cheese were again very generous, and with eight pieces for two to share, there will be plenty to take home if you order the same multi-course meal.

Gourmet Pizza Kitchen MARTINIQUE pizzaLast was one of my favorite parts, the dessert. If you aren’t sick of carbs by now, the Apple and Cinnamon Sticks (normally $12.90) are really tasty. Like a rolled-up apple pie, the dough was filled with apple and cream and topped with cinnamon and sugar, accompanied by melt-in-your-mouth vanilla ice cream and fresh whipped cream. I loved every bite and would come back to Gourmet Pizza Kitchen for this dessert alone.

Gourmet Pizza Kitchen Apple and Cinnamon SticksFor the abundance of food you get, the deal is a steal for only a little over $20 USD per person — and that includes alcohol! I’d recommend Gourmet Pizza Kitchen whenever you want a filling meal with fresh ingredients and flavors that will leave your taste buds happy.

To learn more about Gourmet Pizza Kitchen, head here.