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CELLINI'S

Cuisine: Italian

Muted tones, a pebble feature wall and banks of full-length windows provide a backdrop for the ever loud, brash and bubbly atmosphere of this place. The menu as vast as it has always been. Entrees include classics such as goat cheese-stuffed zucchini flowers $16.90and a lobster and scampi bisque $13.90. Mains feature pork cutlets braised in barolo $23.90and meltingly tender veal parmigiana $21.90. Then there are the pages and pages of salads, cold appetisers, pasta, risotto in two sizes and pizza, both traditional and “gourmet” $13.90–$23.90. Housemade tiramisu, panacotta and zabaglione (in winter), all $8.90, along with 50 flavours of gelato, round off the meal in perfect Italian style.

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CORNER 75

Cuisine: Italian,Hungarian

Notching up 17 years, this dependable Randwick eatery exudes old-world charm with Hungarian flags and embroidered tablecloths, green tiles and brass windows. The menu of central European fare stays mostly the same, as that’s the way regulars like it. Hearty goulash soup $9.50 might precede paprika chicken on the bone with nokedli dumplings (similar to gnocchi) $22. On weekends, chef/owner Csaba Cserfalvi often slow-roasts veal knuckle, served on mash with braised red cabbage $25.50, but you may find the aroma of roast duck $28 with cherry sauce $2 hard to resist. And you must fit in dessert: a unique walnut-filled Gundel pancake topped with chocolate $8.50 will take you beyond full. Peruse the vast Australian and imported wine list with oddities such as Hungary’s famous Bull’s Blood, plus numerous hard-to-find beers.

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ELYSIUM

Cuisine: Italian,Hungarian,Mediterranean

We imagine that when Elysium opened its doors after nearly a year’s hiatus while renovating its cosy new digs, locals were desperate to get a hit of the Mediterranean-Australian-influenced menu, which is why the Randwick eatery has been busy, busy, busy since settling into The Spot. Crispy, salty pillows of pecorino in fried zucchini flowers $14 is a favourite on the seasonal a la carte menu, as is zesty orange-cured ocean trout $15. Mains are just as eye-rollingly delicious. The pastry of their duck pie $25 is as flaky as the filling is robust. The wood-fired oven should be up and running now, with a preview of delicious-sounding pizza all $20. Wine by the glass is limited but the list is impressive, so it’s worth ordering by the bottle.

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JAVA

Cuisine: Italian,Hungarian,Mediterranean,Indonesian

This homely, canteen-like place boasts more than 89 dishes. Since the 1980s, Java has attracted a mix of diners: hordes of budget-conscious students from nearby UNSW, families and those eager to branch out and explore Indo cuisine. Start with a classic combo of nasi rames, rice with gado gado, aromatic spicy beef rendang, chilli, egg and prawn cracker $10.90. Or perhaps begin with the famous otak otak, grilled fishcake wrapped in banana leaf with flavoursome coconut, chilli and peanut sauce $8.90. If you can’t decide, the rijsttafel for two $55 allows a taste of two entrees and two main courses such as Indonesian chicken soup, spring rolls, prawn crackers, chicken and beef satays, chilli fried prawns, mixed pickled vegetables and eggplant with butter soy sauce ending with fruit and coffee. A long-time Randwick gem.

 

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JIMBARAN

Cuisine: Italian,Hungarian,Mediterranean,Indonesian,Indonesian

Offering something a little more elegant than your average Indonesian hole-in-the-wall, the decor is homely but contemporary, with wall-hung Indonesian artworks, twinkling tealights and a covered Balinese-style courtyard out back. The service is genuinely friendly and the food both accessible and authentic. The menu draws from all over Indonesia and includes perennials such as smoky chicken and lamb satays $12.90–$14.90 as well as more complex dishes such as sup buntut $17.90 (rich, slow-cooked oxtail soup), tender beef rendang $16.90 and udang goreng telur asin $20.90 (stirfried prawns with salty egg and chilli). The slow-cooked milk fish $17.90 is a textural marvel. And, if it’s on, try the crispy duck $22.90, marinated, deep-fried and served with chilli on the side.

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LEBANON AND BEYOND

Cuisine: Italian,Hungarian,Mediterranean,Indonesian,Indonesian,Lebanese

This noisy, family-friendly Randwick institution is the place for long tables, many friends, raucous laughter and amazement as oversized plate after oversized plate jostles for room on your table. Don’t worry if you over-order — and you will! — as friendly staff are adept at packaging leftovers to take home. Start with a mixed dip plate of creamy homous, garlicky baba ganoush and labne $21 then venture wherever your heart desires. The bahtra (warm potato salad) $18 is always welcome, chargrilled garlic chicken $21 is a tender ode to poultry and sheikh el meishi (eggplant cooked with mince) is a delicate dance of spices. Vegetarians are well catered for with an entire banquet $30 available. Finish with either a honey blossom or cinnamon tea $2.50 and baklava $3.

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MANDALA

Cuisine: Italian,Hungarian,Mediterranean,Indonesian,Indonesian,Lebanese,Nepalese

Randwick’s increasingly interesting dining scene is blessed to have this neighbourhood favourite, which showcases Nepalese cuisine’s harmonious blend of the subtle and the spicy. The deep crimson walls and gilded archway lead you to the culinary delights of Kathmandu, with tender goat curry $16.95/$21.95 and a ceremonial dish of diced buffalo stirfried with capsicum and sauteed onion $19.95. The very popular Gorkha grill $18.95 is chicken thigh fillets marinated in lemon, onion and coriander served with deep-fried potato cake. A range of fresh pickles and chutneys (achar) served with crisp pappadams is a great way to round off your meal. Gluten-free dishes are available and there’s a colourful, exotic cushion room upstairs.

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THAI CATHRIYA

Cuisine: Italian,Hungarian,Mediterranean,Indonesian,Indonesian,Lebanese,Nepalese,Thai

Running for over 20 years out of its Randwick home, Thai Cathriya has established itself as a more upmarket Thai restaurant. Dimmed lighting, crisp white table linen and intimate seating make it more of a date-night destination. Clear the senses with a bowl of tom yum goong $8.90 or a crying tiger beef salad $17.90, zinging with red onion, mint and lemon juice, then ease into a creamy yellow chicken curry with potato and cashew nuts $16.90. Not hot enough? Choose from the dedicated “spicy” eats menu. Crispy eggplant and basil chicken $17.90 is a winner with its tender stirfried meat slices resting on battered eggplant with hot chilli jam. Or try the chef’s prized duck breast choo chee $21.90 in a rich, thick curry sauce.

 

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