How to have a taste of 'culture and travel' in Sydney

·Features and Health Editor
·6-min read

With international travel – sadly – still some time away, finding hidden gems in your own backyard remains top of the travel agenda for at least the rest of 2021.

Despite the news that borders could stay shut until mid-2022, wanderlust remains strong among Aussie travellers, as a recent study by Hilton Honors highlighted. And it seems food remains at the top of people's minds when heading to new, or even previously-visited, destinations.

Cheerful women enjoying ice cream in Sydney, in summer.
Sydney plays host to a whole range of hidden foodie gems. Photo: Getty

The research (conducted with 1,000 avid Australian travellers aged 20 to 45) actually revealed the top activity that attracts Australians to a new destination is visiting a local food market to pick their own ingredients for an authentic meal, with 47 per cent emphasising this as a ‘vital’ factor.

And so we decided to see what local foodie finds one can discover with a quick trip to the Sydney CBD, and there are definitely some gems that can provide the dose of 'culture and travel' you may be needing.

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Sydney is home to some of the world’s most recognisable icons, which sit alongside authentic, unexpected and hidden gems for all people to discover and enjoy.

Here are a few if the notable places we discovered:

Fabbrica

Fabbrica – which translates to “factory” in Italian – is a deli, pasta shop, sandwich joint and wine store, which you'll find on King Street, underneath the super slick Acne Studios boutique.

A pasta shop by day, head there for lunch to grab an appetising baked pasta or fresh-made sandwiches, which rotate every couple of days and feature whatever fresh produce happens to be in the shop for the week. Or pop in as the sun is setting for an aperitivo with a glass of wine and a cheese board. 

Fabbrica on king street in sydney
Pasta shop by day, wine bar by night. Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle

Brix Distillers, Surry Hills

Head to Brix Distillers in Surry Hills for a tour and cocktail making experience, which includes a drink on arrival, followed by a short distillery tour to discover how they make their rums. 

Then you can enjoy a cocktail making session (Brix Mojito) and learn how to mix the perfect drink. Top the visit off with a delicious Charcuterie or cheese plate which will be provided to enjoy alongside your beverage which you crafted yourself.

brix distillers surry hills
Head to Brix for a NYC feel and fun cocktail experience. Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle

Marble Bar at Hilton Sydney

Marble Bar is one of three vibrant bars to enjoy cocktails, wine and live music at the Hilton Sydney. It remains one of Sydney’s best-loved bars, featuring live music Tuesday to Saturday. 

Built in 1893, it is a heritage-listed and very ornate Victorian-era bar, that features ornate ceilings, massive arched columns and carved and gleaming bars. Every surface is lushly decorated either with marble, stained glass panels, mirrored surfaces, carved mahogany, or large, elegant paintings.

The bar actually used to be located elsewhere and faced demolition in the 1970’s. But in an effort to preserve the history, piece by marble piece, the entire interior of the bar was painstakingly taken apart, and reassembled in the Hilton Hotel in 1973. If being surrounded by marble columns doesn't give you Rome vibes we don't know what will.

the marble bar hilton
For History and marble columns head to the Marble Bar. Photo: Supplied/Hilton

Restaurant Hubert

Hubert is a French restaurant located in the heart of downtown Sydney and is as much about the ambience, good conversation and laughter, as it is the quality of the wine and food. 

Hubert is reminiscent of post-war Paris. The dining room is dimly lit with low ceilings, red leather booths, vintage prints on the walls and even a tattered grand piano. The space is warm and to say we didn't feel like we were in Sydney anymore would be an understatement.

The menu is made up of classics like oysters mignonette, duck parfait, beef tartare, chicken fricassee and cote de bouef. Choose something from the French-focused wine list or a cocktail. The kitchen is open late, until 1am.

restaurant hubert french classics
The menu is made up of French classics. Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle

Glass brasserie restaurant and wine bar at Hilton Sydney

Combining unique culinary creations, exquisite décor and great service, glass brasserie provides a truly definitive international dining experience in the heart of Sydney.

The French brasserie, located at Hilton Sydney, features a raw bar, an extensive grill menu and inventive cuisine in the French tradition, with mod-Australian ingredients, created by chef Luke Mangan.

Try the standout organic egg crab omelette with enoki mushroom and enjoy a perfectly selected glass from the double-height wine cellar on display.

Photo: Supplied/Hilton
Photo: Supplied/Hilton

Bar 83 at Sydney Tower

Relax, unwind, and socialise away from the hustle and bustle of the city down below. 

From pre-dinner drinks, to after-work sessions and special occasions, Bar 83 is a can't-miss Sydney social experience, day and night.

If you've never made it to the top of the Sydney Eye before (guilty) then this is definitely the best way to do it.

Bar 83 in Sydney Tower.
Bar 83 is at the top of Sydney Tower. Photo: Destination NSW

Carriageworks Farmers Market, Erskineville

Finish your weekend Sydney adventure with a trip to the weekly Carriageworks Farmers Market.

The Sydney institution provides the freshest seasonal produce from the best growers and producers from around NSW, all curated by acclaimed chef Mike McEnearney.

Chat to farmers about how they're doing, try some of the delicious treats on offer, and leave the. everything you need for a hearty home-cooked meal, and some beautiful fresh flowers to decorate the table.

Carriageworks Farmers Markets
Carriageworks Farmers Markets highlight the best from around NSW.Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle

Stay at the freshly renovated Hilton Sydney

Hilton Sydney is the heartbeat of Sydney’s vibrant central business district and was the perfect base to explore all the foodie treats the city had to offer.

At the beginning of 2021, the hotel unveiled a $25 million renovation which included an extensive redesign and refurbishment of all 587 guest rooms.

One of the major changes is the addition of two new room types: the Corner Room and the Family Room. There is new furniture, new carpet, new curtains, leaving the rooms feeling spacious and relaxing.

new King Corner room at hilton sydney
The new King Corner room offering takes views to the next level. Photo: Hilton

Yahoo Lifestyle was a guest of Destination NSW and Hilton. For more Sydney CBD inspiration visit sydney.com.

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