ultimately sydney: wining & dining our way through a new city

theromanticI’d like to take a moment to thank the genius who invented food tours. If you already know a city like the back of your hand, it’s the perfect way to navigate a neighborhood you may not frequent. Alternatively, if you only have a few days to explore, what could be better than eating your way through a new city?

Seeing as the latter was our situation in Sydney, I can tell you: little is better. We spent a half day with Ultimately Sydney, and by the end of it, I saw the city’s food scene much differently than I had expected. It’s not all shrimp on the barbie & fish and chips, after all!

So, where did we head on our Gourmet Tour of Sydney’s Inner West?

Stop 1: The Coffee Roaster

ultimately sydney-coffee

I didn’t realize this before we got to New Zealand, but both Kiwis and Australians are extremely proud of their cafe culture. Each morning, as we headed out from our guesthouse in Darlinghurst, we laughed at how many people were crowded around tiny little cafe tables, sipping their morning lattes. My favorite? A local spot that was always crammed with bulked up construction workers gossiping over tiny little espresso mugs before they headed off to the job.

This is why we weren’t surprised to learn that our tour would stop at The Coffee Roaster–one of the main brands we noticed advertised throughout the city’s cafes. We were led through the roasting process by Dan Fitzsimmons, who founded the company in 1991 with his wife JoAnne. With a focus on small batch roasting, each bean is browned to perfection.

As a non-coffee drinker when I’m home, I can at least say this: my latte at The Coffee Roaster was the beginning of my coffee-downing streak for the rest of our RTW.

Stop 2: Establishment 218
(which appears to now be called Meat Emporium)

establishment 218

We walked in here and the hubs was pretty much in immediate heaven. Donned in our finest winter coats as provided by the staff (see above), we made our way through what was, essentially, a giant meat locker. With packs of everything from steak to pork to kangaroo, it was clear that this is where locals go when they need to feed an army of about 45 hungry Australians.

At the end, we tried samples of steak tips and sausages dipped in some of their signature sauces, and the hubs sulked because we didn’t have a grill at our guesthouse.

Stop 3: Herbie’s Spices

Our next stop was stupid adorable.

herbie's spices

Founded by Ian “Herbie” Hemphill, Herbie’s is a tiny little shop full of every spice imaginable. The spices were broken up by region–with everything from Moroccan to American (where you find their signature guacamole mix, le duh)–and it was my turn to wish we were headed back to a kitchen post-tour.

Stop 4: P.R. Raineri

If I had to live on one type of cuisine for the rest of my life, it would be Italian food. Pasta, mozz, pizza, yes, yes & yes. Unfortunately for me, Hawaii, Fiji, and New Zealand didn’t offer much in this department.

Enter: P.R. Raineri

pr raineri

As soon as we walked in, I felt like we were in an Italian deli in the West Village. We wandered from aisle to aisle, exploring the fresh ingredients and pointing out all our favorite foods that we hadn’t seen (at least not authentically) in almost two months. I was pretty much in heaven, and then the cheese came out:

italian cheese

YEP, heaven.

Stop 5: Rino Saffioti

If you’ve been around for awhile, you may have heard: I don’t really do sweets… and when I do, I want, like, gummy bears. Not the classiest of candy eaters, what can I say? The hubs, on the other hand, is pretty much always on his period and could live on dark chocolate. It’s weird.

So while I wasn’t drooling over the offerings at the family-run Rino Saffioti, the hubs assures me it was delish.

rino saffioti chocolates

Based on the well-loved kitchen and the general adorableness of each handmade chocolate, I believe him.

Stop 6: Annandale Cellars

What’s a foodie tour of Sydney without some Australian wine? Our final stop took us to a local wine shop where we tried a few different types of Head Red wines from the Barossa Valley.

head red - annandale cellars

Because we never made it to the Barossa, I’m glad we had this little tasting. Head Wines has a tie to the shop (the founder worked at Annandale before become a winemaker), and I liked that the store showed so much support for boutique wineries.

In general, I appreciated that Ultimately Sydney focused on small, family-owned and operated stores throughout the city. Each stop felt integral to the neighborhood, and the tour was all the more authentic because of it.

If you’re headed to Sydney, be sure to check out their tour offerings, and if you opt to take a tour, do not eat a big breakfast!


the romantic

– Thanks to Ultimately Sydney for inviting us along for the day! All opinions are my own, pinky promise.



  1. _theHubs
    July 30, 2013 / 11:20

    dark chocolate is NOT just for ladies.

  2. August 2, 2013 / 17:18

    Great food review of my home town, without the cliche of the fish markets. I can also recommend the Eveleigh farmers market every Saturday in Redfern. There are also specialist food tours of Auburn & Lakemba for Middle Eastern specialties, and Cabramatta for Vietnamese treats.
    Jo recently posted..Real life one bag travel – man’s packing list for EuropeMy Profile

    • August 2, 2013 / 17:26

      we actually missed the fish markets, but not for sake of trying–just not enough time!

      those other tours sound delish, and to be fair, ultimately sydney did tell us that saturdays were best for the tour because of the farmers markets. i think this just means a return trip is in order 🙂
      Lazy Travelers recently posted..no travel required: #frifotosMy Profile

  3. August 3, 2013 / 15:21

    I never thought of the practicality of a food tour quite in this way. It is the one tour you can do over and over again and still enjoy as you always have to eat. This one looks like a fantastic one with meat and wine galore.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Cleveland Terminal Tower in clouds and blue skyMy Profile

  4. August 4, 2013 / 08:30

    I’m a fan off coffee art. It would be fun to do a coffee tour. I got to see a coffee plant for the first time in Hawaii. (I’m just closing my vegan eyes to the meat pic lol)
    Kate recently posted..New York Budget : Our First 30 Days.My Profile

  5. August 5, 2013 / 09:17

    How do you not like sweets?? That blows my mind. I’m with the hubs, though I’m not always on my period.

    Anyway, looks like an awesome tour, especially P.R. Raineri (yes, I happen to be partial to the Italian stuff). I spent several months in Sydney, but as a broke college student, so my food experiences consisted of PB&Js in the dorm dining room and fresh mangoes on the beach. I see I missed out on a lot.
    Francesca (@WorkMomTravels) recently posted..Traveling With a Large Family: Important Rules to RememberMy Profile

    • August 5, 2013 / 09:56

      i KNOW, i know. the sweets thing baffles everyone. it’s not that i don’t like them, i just wouldn’t kill a guy for some chocolate.

      a ball of mozz, however. def homicide worthy. also, fresh mangoes on the beach don’t sound too bad either.
      Lazy Travelers recently posted..#LTeuropa bucket list takedown: the strudelMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge