I can’t stress enough that there are heaps of places to eat in Sydney and I’m fairly certain that none of them will disappoint you. I’m just putting together a little list of places that I like to frequent. I’m a creature of habit. I haven’t been to every place in town. These are the places that I keep going back to. Every place here is pretty unique and they all have their lovely quirks that make them so special. Don’t be afraid to chat up your wait staff, they love a little banter.
Also – I purposely did not include addresses or directions to these places. Please ask someone you meet on the street for directions, they’ll be more than happy to point you in the right direction and you may even get an additional recommendation of something to try on the menu. Sydney is a special place, full of friendly, hard-working citizens. We’re all thrilled to have you in our great city. Thank you so much for coming and please make friends and be sure to come back again and again.
So it’s Thursday night and you’re just getting into town. You’re hungry, a little tired and you don’t want to take all night getting a meal. You need to get your booze, grab a quick nap and get out to see some of the great music that’s in town for the weekend. Fair enough. Here’s a few ideas of places that will get you out the door and into a cold one in two shakes of a fox tail.
You like a meal that is filling, delicious, a little out of the ordinary but still familiar. Flavour has you covered and it’s conveniently located across from the host hotel. Sandwiches are beautiful, sandwiches are fine, I like sandwiches, I eat em all the time. And I eat them at Flavour. Try the roast beast sandwich. Try the Joe’s Flavour Bomb. Try the 3-cheese tortellini salad or the Maple Spinach salad. The tomato soup is thick and tastes like real tomatoes. Gluten Free – No problem. Vegetarian – No problem. Vegan – No problem. Tunes on the stereo range from classic rock to your favourite modern indie sounds.
Truly a diamond in the rough. I’m going to put this on the list of must have burgers for the weekend. Probably the coldest beer in town as well. Melissa or Michelle will likely be your bartenders, please tip accordingly. This place is truly authentic, a standard Cape Breton neighbourhood bar. And the closest in walking distance to my place. Convenient eh? You’ll find the general greasy spoon items on the menu. Wings, grilled cheese, and home made soup. But seriously just get the burger, fries, and a side of gravy. They play a lot of the blues in this place, and Butsy often has some live concert DVD playing on the TV.
Allegro Grill and Deli:
Allegro is a great place for those who have a little longer to sit down and enjoy – that’s not to say the service is slow, you’ll just want to sit and enjoy yourself. The menu is wonderful and Chef Jared and his staff make every item from scratch. They are overly accommodating with any kind of food special needs you may have, gluten free, vegetarian and vegan. South of the Med platter is a good place to start. You’ll also want to try their Red Lentil soup – vegans can ask for this everyday soup without a dollop of yoghurt. I personally know a few of the dish washers here so you can be sure they’ll be nary a dirty fork. Almost forgot – if you get a chance to try the lemon flan, that is if I haven’t eaten it all already, make sure you give it a whirl.
The Old Triangle Irish Ale House:
I think the title leaves little to the imagination here. The menu is authentic Irish cuisine with all the right trimmings (Mushy peas!) and fair pricing as well. Serving sizes are filling without coming across as “we’re trying to make it impossible for you to leave you’ll be so bloated.” I would recommend the shepherd’s pie and the hangover burger. Gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options here as well. You can probably guess the soundtrack to this place too. Lots of great celtic and folk music with a slightly over the top amount of U2 thrown in. Not sure what that’s all about. Well I guess I am. Piles of beers on tap, good bar staff. Ask if you can sit in the Wee Snug out back if you’re feeling like a little privacy. Definitely do not leave without trying the soft, spongy, moist, mouth-watering, delicious ginger bread with whiskey caramel sauce. And they’re serious about the whiskey part of that sauce. Do say hello to Janet, Ashley, Kathleen and Dianne if you see them.
Governor’s Pub and Eatery:
Governor’s is a staple in the music community in Sydney. With over 160 shows a year, you would be remiss to not spend some time here. The atmosphere is warm, the staff are friendly and the food is served hot and served quickly. Try the pepper-pot soup, mussels, classic caesar salad, the pub steak meal, or the ruben. Actually try anything here, it’s all good. Say hello to Darryl, Sydney’s hardest working show promoter and tip Kanary and Joel well on the bar. Also – try the cereal killer from Big Spruce brewery, Cape Breton’s newest micro-brew. Eat upstairs too, only the fancy people eat downstairs. Well I guess if you’re fancy you can eat downstairs, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Lots of great tunes on the stereo here too, you’ll hear a pile of local acts and recordings from some of the hundreds of artists that have visited Governor’s over the past number of years.
There are lots of other places to try out as well for dinner, these are just a few that I tend to frequent.
For breakfast you’ll want to check out the following places:
Kay’s Kozy Korner:
Kay’s is a truly local spot as well.(Just a little heads up that it’s not licensed so you won’t be getting any breakfast beers). This place is an institution complete with chatty staff and squishy booths, with an extra big, extra squishy booth if you want to take a decent sized group for big breakfast. Relatively cheap, you should be able to grab a decent breakfast and endless coffee here for $10.00ish. If you’re after 11 AM, breakfast might have to be a hot-turkey sandwich with a side poutine. Fish and Chips are usually on sale on Fridays. Did I mention the endless coffee? Most likely they’re going to be rocking the AM radio at this joint.
You can’t order anything off the breakfast menu here that will disappoint you. If by chance that happens, find the manager Nolan Peters and fire him. Oh and they’re licensed. Breakfast beers. Sometimes, if you ask nicely, you can get a pulled-pork breakfast burger even though it’s been off the menu for a few years now.
Old Triangle Irish Ale House:
They have a great breakfast buffet on the weekends. May I suggest the Ulster Fry with a side of beer and tomato juice? Steak and Eggs? Or for something a little lighter maybe just the beer and tomato juice. They also have a great menu of brunch beverages and specialty coffees. Come for the delicious breakfast, stay for some morning dose of “With or Without You.”
Maple Leaf Restaurant:
If you go here for breakfast you can get breakfast quick and cheap and super hot coffee. And you can get all that for pretty cheap. A number of years ago, there was a lounge on the other side of the dining room, complete with living room furniture that would rival your parents 70’s chaise lounge. It was also the scene of some breathtakingly amazing rock n’ roll shows. I’ve never eaten anything here but the breakfast I don’t think. At least not that I can remember.
Okay – there’s a few options for breakfast – I’m sure there are plenty more places.
Okay you’re on the move and don’t want to break the bank for lunch. Something quick would be nice.
I would eat here everyday if I wouldn’t start smelling like garlic all the time. The Falafel here would rival just about any in the country I think. All their platters are gluten free and oddly enough come with a tiny side of crinkle cut french fries? The shish taouk platter comes highly recommended. The music is a mix of AM and what I think is Lebanese pop music (though I don’t claim to have my thumb on the pulse of that genre.) The baklava is sticky and delicious. I took my little lady out there for lunch today and we each had a falafel and split a baklava and got out of there under $20 together with a decent tip included.
I eat here constantly. Try a Mill Street Organic with your roast beast sandwich. Also, the haddock wrap with the chopped mango is delicious.
Best pizza in Sydney. There I said it. I have sampled pizza all across our great nation and throughout three continents. You will not find better pizza than in Cape Breton. And Napoli is the poo. Take a whiff. Seriously this place is magnificent. They also have a pile of different pastas. Established in 1962, Napoli is a family run affair and everything is made to order. Get a combination pizza and tell ‘em to bake ‘er dark.
Kenny’s has been mighty busy expanding in Cape Breton, and I think even on the mainland the past few years. A serious contender in the Pizza sector. I tend to go in once or twice a week for a pair of slices and a root-beer. I sit in a booth and read the paper and enjoy some the people watching. I get one of each, combo and pep and cheese. But I’m a glutton. You’d probably be okay with just one. Kenny’s is also licensed for those looking for a slice and a glass of draft. You’ll also find some other fare, poutines and whatnot on the menu here.
And just a couple honourable mentions:
Coffee – you’ll find the best coffees in city at Doktor Luke’s Coffee House, they also have an assortment of delicious things. Not to much meals, but maybe a light breakfast or a good afternoon snack. You may also enjoy Wentworth Perk that has similar fair plus light lunches.
If you are flying in and out of Cape Breton via the J.A. Douglas McCurdy International MEGA-AIRPORT – you might find yourself at the only restaurant in the airport, Chef Todd’s Catering and Deli. The food is so good here you’ll wish you lived at the Sydney Airport. This is deli eating at its finest. You will not find a single pre-made item on the menu. Rest assured if you want a turkey sandwich, it’s coming off a huge bird that was roasted right there at the restaurant. Please do try the Steak Hoagie and a bowl of homemade soup made fresh daily.
Are you leaving our fair island by automobile? Maybe you’d like to try the world famous “Lick-A-Chick.” Lovingly know locally as the “Dirty Bird,” the Lick-A-Chick is a fried chicken joint the likes of which a rarely found in this world. It’s crisp, salty, hand made fried chicken; the kind you dream of. Make sure you get the ‘slaw and a healthy portion of crinkly fries. You may remember the “Lick-A-Chick” from its brief moment in the lime-light for being next to Canada’s holy land – The Jesus Tim Horton’s. Where in the spring of 1998 someone saw the image of Jesus appear on the side of the Tim Horton’s in Bras d’Or, Cape Breton. People travelled from all over North America to see the holy vision. Seriously, Google it.