Linda Marigliano’s career would put most type A personalities on notice. On top of being one of Triple J’s best-loved presenters for more than a decade, she’s a leading voice in Australian music media and a regular on the nation’s screens – from co-hosting (and creating) ABC live-music series The Set, to whipping up 10-minute meals on The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

But Marigliano isn’t slowing down – the creative powerhouse just released a book called Love Language: A Memoir of Family, Music and Pasta, as well as the second season of Tough Love, an award-winning podcast series unpacking the highs, lows and lived experiences of women of all stripes – including one of “the shittest times” of her own life.

Though she’s now based in LA, Marigliano’s love for Sydney is strong. Read on for her food picks, favourite suburbs and more.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a girl who loves fruit, dumplings, pasta, music, books and movies. My dad grew up in Italy, and my mum is from Malaysia. I was born in Sydney, but I live in LA these days. I’ve been a Triple J radio host and TV presenter, and now I have a podcast called Tough Love and a memoir titled Love Language, which are both out now.

What do you love most about Sydney?

The most exciting thing for me is the food scene! The variety of amazing cuisine is world class. Whether you’re in the suburbs eating Vietnamese, swinging past a classic Italian gelateria, or even in the thick of the CBD gobbling up a Thai crab omelette, there are always new places to try out with passionate people in the kitchen. Don’t even get me started on our coffee game – we’ll be here for hours.

Favourite restaurant in Sydney right now?

It always changes depending on my cravings, but now that I live overseas I ache for good Australian cafes like Pina in Potts Point. I dream about their chilli scrambled eggs and miso buttermilk cabbage! As for dinner, current favourites include Burwood’s Xi’an Eatery for their signature spinach biang biang noodles. I also need to consume braised eggplant and pan-fried dumplings on almost a weekly basis, so it’s Chinatown Noodle Restaurant on Bathurst Street. Another old faithful is Da Mario – my brother and I always smash a classic salsicce con friarielli pizza when I’m in town, because we are mad for that bitter broccoli rabe. Final shout-out to the all-round delicious menu, especially the fried potato, at Poly. It’s so good it should be illegal.

When you want to impress someone, where do you take them?

I’d take them in my car for a little dip at Parsley Bay so they can soak up some Sydney sunshine, lay on the rocks and jump into that clear water! After that I’d probably stuff them full of the aforementioned fried-potato heaven at Poly.

Sydney’s most underrated spot?
I adore all the Chinatown suburbs that are outside of the CBD – places like Ashfield, Burwood, Campsie and Hurstville that are filled with life in late-night grocery stores, bubble-tea kiosks and diverse Asian cuisine. Harris Park, aka Little India, is also easily one of my favourite places to eat in Sydney. You can feast on a curry or a dosa, then get a sweet jalebi for dessert!

Where do you go to escape the city?

I love doing a solo Hermitage Foreshore walk with a podcast in my ears. It’s a lovely way to escape the city without actually having to travel out of it. Similarly, doing a sunset stroll around Camp Cove and South Head is magical.

What makes Sydney a better place?

I love how Sydney has such a bustling and fun city scene, as well as serene nature and dazzling ocean landscapes. It’s a breathtaking place, and I’ll never take that for granted.

Essential Sydney song?

Mondo Rock – Come Said the Boy. I remember hearing this on classic radio stations as a little kid, leaning my head against the window and nodding off in the afternoon sunshine. It sounds like quintessential ’80s Australiana to me – and the music video, filmed on Maroubra Beach, nails it.

Tough Love season two and Love Language: A Memoir of Family, Music and Pasta are both available now.