Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Vegetarian Guide to Sydney

In my opinion a Vegetarian Guide to Sydney could start and finish here, at Bodhi, so I will put it first, just in case you have no time to read the rest!

I have a Vegetarian friend who comes to Sydney a lot and tells me that she always come here for lunch, as they have great Vegan Yum Cha. We came for dinner with friends, definitely a more formal situation than Yam Cha, but as we don't have "elegant" Vegan restaurants in NZ, this was a real treat! The kids kept looking at the menu: "Mamma, are you sure that we can order anything from here? Is it really all vegetarian?" they couldn't believe their eyes! It was too dark to take photos, and we were so busy eating and talking with our old friends, but I can assure you that everything was good, and the service impeccable. I would love to come back again, possibly in summer, so that we can sit outside!

Dinner at Bodhi Restaurant and Bar

I don't know what our other three friends ordered, I was too busy trying to remember the name of all our dishes, and fortunately I got them from Bodhi's website (except for my main, the day's special, not on the menu). The kids enjoyed rolling pancakes with vegetarian Pecking duck.


We all shared:
edemame beans with rock salt
assorted – bbq, chickpea, chinese cabbage steamed buns

tempura australian field mushrooms, bbq sauce


sweet yam tempura spring rolls served with sweet chilli sauce


salt,pepper, chilli, corriander, tempura vegetarian ‘prawns’


Peter had:
dry roasted salted peanut spices topped on fried eggplant with a celery and asian mushroom stuffing
The Kids shared:

bodhi vegetarian peking ‘duck’, bbq sauce, cucumber and pancakes
and I had:
The day's special: Roasted Tofu and vegetables with Chef's special sauce

(Sorry, I don't have the price, but it is the bottom right photo, next to the veggie Peking duck, the tofu was soft and delicious!)

Check the rest of the menu here
As you can guess we didn't need dessert, but rolled back to the hotel on our bellies!
Thank you Steve for inviting us for dinner!

And now, if you like to read on, here are few more Veggie suggestions:

Sydney in winter, the view from our hotel's room.
We stayed here, but didn't use the pool: too cold!

On our first day in Sydney we strolled the city centre, and in the charming Queen Victoria Building we smelled pizza! It was lunch time and Vanto was very busy, but we found a table for 4. I didn't really plan this, but looking around at the other alternatives nothing quite took my fancy like this little Italian place. The kids can eat pizza any time, and in an Italian restaurant you can always find something vegetarian, so the decision was made, and a good decision too!

To be honest at first I didn't expect much, I thought that it was probably just another place for tourists, but the two pizzas (a vegetarian and a margherita) were lovely, and we tried some Italian pastries too. Coffee was good too, and so was the staff, all Italian men, some just arrived on their working holiday visas, ready to take on Australia! Good luck to them! 
You can find the menu for meals and pizzas in Vanto's website, they also do gluten free pizza, and take aways. If I'll go back to Sydney (possible!!) I would happily return here: well priced, unpretentious and with nice food.

I always like the older buildings better...

We found Bon Bon walking around looking for breakfast. Now, some of you may laugh, but it is quite logical for an Italian to look for breakfast where they sell chocolate, and this time I was ok even for the Anglo-Saxon breakfast eating boys!! In fact the cafe below the chocolate boutique was perfectly quiet and we were served in no time a full breakfast: poached eggs, sour bread toasts, fruit and yogurt, pastries, nice coffee and, of course, lovely hot chocolate (a 38% Ivory Coast milk chic, and a 70% Cocoa Ecuador dark chocolate). I bought a box to take away to the Central Australian desert, where I imagined we could have benefitted from hot chocolate in the evenings, and I was right again! Truly good chocolate!

Breakfast at Bon Bon

I didn't take many photos of the breakfast as the cafe downstair had poor lighting, but I wonder if they saw me trying with my iPhone, and thought that I was one of those food bloggers (you know the type?) because when we went to pay they gifted us with 4 little boxes to be filled with a chocolate of our choice each from the Bon Bon chocolate shop upstairs. Yum!! We all chose our chocolates, and I had one of the read hearts (a kind of gianduia!). For address, a menu, and prices check the Bon Bon website.

Bon Bon the shop

This is my friend Luca, he used to live in my village in Italy, in front of my house (yes, right in front), I hadn't seen him for over two decades (lets not get into how old we are now, but just say that we left the village very young!) and then I found out that he was in Sydney! So we finally met in Oxford St, at Lumière. Yes, breakfast again, but good to know that you can have it all day long, especially when they have a lot of veggie options, and the soy cappuccino is good!

I don't eat much for breakfast, but I do like a good coffee, and good bread. Thank you for breakfast Luca!

Breakfast at Lumière

Not far from Lumière, and still in the lively Oxford Street, you can also find one of the city's many Iku Wholefood stores, Vegan and macrobiotic. I remember eating here years and years ago (maybe it was the first one?) and now look here for how many there are in the city!

The view from the Sydney Tower Eye: go up late in the afternoon and wait for the evening!

Children are the best excuse to spend the entire day at the zoo! I have seen many zoos in my life, and Sydney's Taronga Zoo may not be the best one, but it definitely has the best views ever! You reach it by ferry, then with a cable car, and at the top you can take in many beautiful prospectives of Sydney Harbor in the new scenic boardwalk between the African Safari and Big Cats Trail. And then, of course there are all Australian animals, so different and wonderful.

Please note, the dead kangaroo near the Tasmanian Devil is actually a statue...

But a bonus point to Taronga Zoo goes to fact that we could actually eat there!! Zoo food usually is quite limited and expensive, and local families with children tend to carry their picnic (no matter which country you are in), something that we didn't plan or wanted to do. We avoided the big Taronga Food Market which smelled of chips and meat pies, and opted for the quiet albeit more expensive looking Harbor View Cafe. And look at this: there was actually a choice for vegetarians! Nice one Taronga Zoo!

This is another place that we visited again and again and again: the food court at David Jones! A bit expensive, but everything looked really tempting (and inspiring).

Food Court at David Jones

One evening we ate at the sushi bar in David Jones, as they had a few vegetarian sushi rolls beautifully cut and presented, and drunk fresh coconut milk and fruit smoothies from the juice bar in the same food court. But there are many more things that you can buy there! 

In fact I was really taken in by the delicatessen section, and the department store was so close to the hotel that a couple of meals were just 'improvised' when we were too tired to go out again for dinner. All we needed to do was to pop next door, buy some nice crusty bread, antipasti, spreads, and other little treats and take them back to our hotel room. 

Shopping at David Jones

Well, we only had 4 nights in Sydney, which equal 4 dinners, 4 lunches and 4 breakfasts, plus snacks, and I reported only what I thought was worth reporting. But I will return for sure, so if you have any more places to add to this list please leave me a comment :-).

Bye Sydney!

Photos  by Alessandra Zecchini ©


  1. It is quite a while since we went to Sydney (my SIL lives there) so the photo reminders brought back many memories. The restaurant sounds interesting even though I am not vegetarian. Have a good day Diane

  2. I haven't been to Sydney for WAY too long by the look of that fantastic selection of eating experiences. Are you sure you were only there for 4 days??!! Thanx for a little trip down memory lane (the zoo) and also some great places to try on my next visit!!

    1. Hahahaha! Do you think that I ate too much??? Actually, 4 days is a good time for Sydney, the other 6 were in the desert :-).

  3. I have never been to Australia, but your information are a real pot of gold! The photos are always amazing, but top of all is the meeting with your old friend from your village here in Italy. Thanx! chhers

  4. What an amazing trip! My stomach's growling over the dishes and how wonderful you were able to see your childhood friend once again. :)

  5. thank you for the reportage from Sydney.

  6. sono sempre più convinta che ci siano splendidi posti da visitare laggiù!

  7. Che bel reportage alessandra! ...e che bello incontrare un amico proprio lì!! In un attimo sembra che le distanze siano piccolissime! Baci

  8. Thanks for the Bodhi restaurant review, my best friend is Vegan and I'm always looking for new yummy spots to dine! :)

    - Stef

  9. Stef, I just wish that there were more places like Bodhi, one in Auckland would be great!!

  10. I love reading about Sydney through someone else's eyes! And I'm glad that kangaroo was a statue, I was startled for a moment! :P

    1. I know, they also put meat inside the hole in the statue where the Kangaroo ribs are, so it looks like the Tasmanian Devil is eating the carcass! Super realistic!

  11. I'm sure your Vegan readers will appreciate your recommendations. Everything looks delicious. Have a good week. Blessings...Mary

  12. ma potessi essere a Sidney ....che bello!!! :)

    1. Bodhi ti piacerebbe tantissimo Lo, ne sono sicura!

  13. Thank you for the treat...what fun and so yummy. I love the city of daughter is named after it..I visited many years ago. xoxo Hope your week is going well.

  14. Wow! Ottime indicazioni, spero di poterne fare uso al più presto :-) Sarebbe un sogno che si realizza! Bravissima!

  15. Sono sicura che prima o poi ci arrivi nei tuoi viaggi :-)

  16. che resoconto meraviglioso, dettagliato e ben curato! Molto utile per chi in effetti vorrebbe andarci e necessita di consigli veg*, peraltro i locali che hai segnalato mi sembrano tutti davvero bellini.
    la colazione così sostanziosa per me sarebbe troppo però, nemmeno in Sicilia riuscivo, preferisco caffè e credo che in un posto simile potrei anche fare uno sforzo ^_^

  17. I love Bodhi! The meat eating Mr. doesn't mind it either! I love that I can eat everything on the menu so I can understand the kids delight!


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