Cuisine: Modern Australian

Bohemians, travellers, families — the crowd is as diverse and pleasing as its surrounds. Get comfy inside on a banquette or try your luck for a table on the pavement where you can take in revitalising breaths of fresh sea air. There are well-received offerings at breakfast, like the Bondi Benedict, smoked salmon, potato roesti, poached eggs, tomato and hollandaise $16.50. Lunchtime sees to it you get your greens, with grilled salmon salad with crisp greens, orange segments, radish and roasted almonds $22.50 a particular favourite. Dinner turns elegant with hearty options such as slow-cooked lamb shoulder with warm eggplant salad, mint and feta $31 or angelhair pasta with seared tuna, capers, chilli and rocket $25. An impressive all-rounder.

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Cuisine: Modern Australian,Modern Australian

Typical Bondi cafe by day, casual bistro by night, this local gem fits the Bondi bill of serving good food in stylish surrounds. Brother-and-sister team Neil and Lianne Gottheiner are giving the people what they want, serving quality produce that’s neither pretentious nor showy. You’ll be excited by breakfast with offerings such as Moroccan eggs, a lightly spiced stew of red and green peppers, onions and tomatoes with baked eggs and spinach on za’atar toast $15. Lunchtime keeps it simple with a green salad of crisp greens, avocado and parmesan served with a hardboiled egg and a lemony tahini dressing $16.50. Dinner is comfort at its very best with the signature fish pie with leeks, truffle oil and creamy mash $32.

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Cuisine: Modern Australian,Modern Australian,Tapas,Modern Australian

It’s easy to walk past the Flying Squirrel on the corner of Bondi Road’s busy dining strip. Inside, it’s quirky and laidback with world globes, statues, knick-knacks and old books adorning the long wooden bar and bookshelves. Spanish-themed tapas is just part of a multicultural menu — Asian, Mexican, Italian and American flavours also feature, with dishes arranged according to origin. The dishes are small and priced from $5 to $18, but that means you get to try more. Crying tiger of Angus beef skirts in oyster sauce marinade with garlic rice and spicy jao sauce $14 is a winner, as is the standout chorizo and fennel $11. Flavoursome miang of betel leaves with roasted coconut, ginger, lychee, cashews and peanuts $10 made our trip worthwhile. Try a cocktail, such as Lychee Long Time V2.0 $16, a mix of Belvedere orange vodka, Grand Marnier and lychee puree.


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Cuisine: Modern Australian,Modern Australian,Tapas,Modern Australian,Cafe

Two of life’s greatest pleasures — good food and good books — come together in this quaint Bondi institution that has developed a bigger following than the beach. Well, maybe one day. This cosy gem serves homestyle dishes with flair and the added bonus of being able to browse second-hand novels and non-fiction while you eat. Early risers could catch the breakfast fruit crumble $10 and then linger over a latte. Later in the day, something hearty such as a hugely popular Moroccan tomato-based lentil stew $12.50 could suffice or, for a light option, grilled haloumi salad with roasted kumara and lentils $14. Owner Jane Turner has recently transformed the space into a delightful spot at night, complete with Australian wine list and assorted tapas such as meatballs and cheeses, from $9 and available after 4pm.

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Cuisine: Modern Australian,Modern Australian,Tapas,Modern Australian,Cafe,Modern Australian

Its higgledy-piggledy layout boasts six separate eating and supping spaces, catering to a seriously hip crowd. Out front there’s pavement seating, inside a pizza bar. Two upstairs bar areas where cocktails, snacks and pizzas $18–$22 are served feature comfy sofas, plus there are two covered balconies. Intriguingly, pizzas — such as the Ben Buckler (prawns, white anchovies, tomato passata and provolone $22) — come with scissors. Downstairs at the rear is a modern dining area with deep-buttoned bronze leather banquettes, offering more refined fare, such as chicken liver pâté $18, truffled potato gnocchi $28, spaghettini vongole $28.50, slow-braised beef cheek $28.50 or lamb rump $32. Market fish might be a fillet of barra with an Atlantic king crab salad $31. Popular with locals, at weekends it’s jumping.

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Cuisine: Modern Australian,Modern Australian,Tapas,Modern Australian,Cafe,Modern Australian,Tapas

Hunter S Thompson’s Puerto Rico this ain’t, but it smacks of retro-authenticity with Brazilian undertones. Dark wood predominates. Recycled wardrobe doors (hinges intact!) double as tabletops, with mismatched wooden chairs. The service is enthusiastic and the food charmingly eclectic. Pumpkin and caraway breads with dips $9 plus two oblong shared tasting plates did the business for three of us. The Great Shark Hunt, $34 for two, is a phantasmagoria of ingredients: citrus prawns, chilli and coconut squid, and seared Atlantic salmon. The meat-hitting plate Where the Buffalo Roam $39 comprises grilled lamb, beef and chicken with a variety of reductions and relishes. A tofu green curry $22 sits happily alongside feijoada $19.50, a Brazilian beef stew. For dessert there’s a flambe caramel banana blazer $14.50. If this is gonzo cooking, bring it on.

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