22 Jul 2020

Darling Harbour restaurant guide: 8 bucket list dishes

Darling Harbour is home to some of Sydney’s best restaurants and most delicious dishes. Here are 9 absolute must-try dishes in a Darling Harbour restaurant near you.

If you know where to go and what to order, Darling Harbour can become your belly’s happy place.

In waterfront hot spots and laneway hideaways, you’ll find crunchy hot fried chicken, curry wrapped in flaky roti rolls, crab omelettes, wok-fried pippies in XO sauce and the best gelato you’ve ever tasted. 

To help you find these tasty gems in Darling Harbour’s best restaurants, we’ve put together a definitive list of the area’s most delicious bucket list dishes. 

1. XO at XOPP
David Chang, the man behind the Momofuku empire, once called the wok fried pippies in XO sauce by Golden Century the best dish in the world. Visit XOPP By Golden Century in Darling Square to try them and order at least a half kilogram with the vermicelli noodles. The pippies are freshly steamed, coated in a pungent spicy sauce laced with garlic that’ll bring a sweat to your brow and a smile to your face.
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2. Pork ribs at Hurricanes
The Pork Ribs at Hurricane are a meat eater’s dream. Order the full rack (1kg) if you’re hungry and get ready for slow cooked pork falling off the bone, caramelised fat melting in your mouth and a sweet, smoky barbeque to top it all off. The panoramic harbour views from the wrap-around terrace at Hurricanes don’t hurt either.
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3. Souffle Pancakes at Harajuku Gyoza Beer Stadium
Imagine eating a cloud with a subtle eggy flavour that strikes the perfect balance between savoury and sweet. That’s kind of what it’s like biting into one of the Japanese souffle pancakes at Harajuku Gyoza Beer Stadium - available on a limited basis every Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 3pm. There are three flavours to choose from but we’d order the creme brulee every time.
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4. Pho DSQ at Hello Auntie
Pho DSQ is a riff on the classic Vietnamese noodle dish unlike anything we’ve ever tasted. Just like your average pho, it’s got complex, savoury flavours and silky rice noodles, but it also features a few unconventional premium ingredients like wagyu meatloaf, beef brisket, and a generous slab of honeycomb tripe. A serious contender for the title of the best noodle dish in Sydney.
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5. Sex panther wings at Belle’s Hot Chicken
The fellow in the kitchen at Belle’s, Morgan McGlone, learned the art of hot fried chicken after spending years cooking in Nashville, Tennessee. The birds at Belle’s are always perfectly cooked - succulent and juicy on the inside and beautifully crunchy on the outside. If you’re brave enough, order the wings and dial the heat up to Sex Panther level - they’re so spicy they’re illegal in nine countries.
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6. Crab omelette at Auvers Cafe
Sorry Melbourne, Sydney officially has Australia’s best brunch and the crab omelette at Auvers Cafe proves it. This is art in breakfast form, featuring a fluffy egg omelette laced with delicate crab meat, served with umami bonito mayo on a buttery toasted croissant. Drool.
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7. Banh Mi at Marrickville Pork Roll
There’s a reason why the queues at Marrickville Pork Roll are always so long - because everyone knows these are the best banh mis in the city. The namesake pork roll is the go-to, featuring a freshly baked crunchy baguette, a generous swipe of pate, heaps of succulent barbeque pork, fresh herbs and a decent dose of chilli. Add extra pork crackle to your roll and thank us later.
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8. Super Dulce De Leche at Gelato Messina
Gelato Messina makes everything that goes in their gelato from scratch. They even produce most of the raw ingredients themselves, including Jersey milk from their own farm in Numurkah, VIC. They caramelize that creamy Jersey milk at high heat and add a little sugar to create their super dulce de leche gelato - which may just be the most delicious gelato ever made. A perfect place to end a weekend (or a date!) in Sydney.
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