Everyone (us included) has strong opinions on which bakery folds the best croissants and bakes sourdough, or which delis stock the widest selection of olives or cheese. Sydney’s chefs will happily cite favourite grocers where they buy the freshest apples and weirdest mushrooms, and the butchers who’ll sell you the most flavourful brisket. Each suburb has its local favourites, and each vendor is beloved for different reasons.
For Broadsheet Sydney Food, we wanted to represent quality above all else. To get the full range of what to buy and where to get it, you’ll have to buy the book.
As a taste, here’s 10 highlights from across the book’s 10 main sections: bakeries, grocers, delis, markets, fishmongers, butchers, sweets, coffee & tea sellers, bottle shops and cookware.
Dust has one of the only commercial stone mills in Australia, and third-generation baker Cesare Salemi works directly with local farmers to source rare and heirloom whole wheats such as bok (not to mention chickpeas, amaranth and quinoa) for his naturally leavened, wood-fired breads. Dust’s pastry section is also impeccable, with light, flaky croissants, crisp cannoli and fruit-filled Danishes front and centre at this Tramsheds bakery.
Japanese ingredients aren’t hard to come by at many Asian (and even mainstream) supermarkets, but Tokyo Mart is supremely specialised, with a laser-like focus on the best of Japan. One corner is filled with bottles of sake (colour-coded to help you choose your preferred style), plum wine, Japanese beers and soft drinks, while the others hold all kinds of edible treasure, such as frozen Hokkaido scallops and takoyaki balls, bags of fresh ramen noodles and wacky ice-creams. Shop 27, Northbridge Plaza, 79-113 Sailors Bay Road, Northbridge / 9958 6860 / Mo–Fr 9.00am–5.00pm, Sa 9.00am–5.30pm & Sun 10.00am–4.00pm.
Galluzzo F J and Sons
Ask any resident of Glebe what they’d miss most if they left the area and most will sigh and say “Galluzzo’s” with a dreamy look in their eye. This family owned grocer (and fantastic deli next door) has been in operation since Calabrian-born Salvatore Galluzzo opened the doors in 1934 and is prized for its hyper-seasonal, perfect quality produce and exceptional, knowledgeable service. The shelves aren’t filled with strictly organic fruit and vegetables, but the effort is made wherever possible. Same goes for labelling the provenance of each juicy pear, apple or bunch of grapes. 187 Glebe Point Road, Glebe / 9660 2114 / Mo–Fr 6.00am–7.30pm & Sa 6.00am–7.00pm.
Paesanella Food Emporium
Paesanella’s Marrickville factory has been transformed into a glorious deli and retail space, with three whole floors dedicated to Italian goodies. The top floor offers a cornucopic display of deli goods, such as buffalo mozzarella made from the milk of Paesanella’s own herd, and luscious ricotta in all different forms (fresh, dried, salted). In fact, it’s one of the only places in Australia where you can buy ricotta so fresh it’s still warm, made just downstairs.
Tucked just behind Sydenham Station, this long-time Marrickville favourite is the sort of fish shop everyone in the Eastern Suburbs dreams of having around the corner. Gumbooted attendants stroll the aisles assisting with the broad selection of whole and filleted fish, beautiful crustaceans, molluscs and smoked seafood. Around Christmas, queues stretch on by the hour. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. 34 Buckley Street, Marrickville / 9519 7878 / Mo–Fr 7am–6pm, Sa 7am–5pm & Su 8am–5pm.
The Oak Barrel
Paul Downie’s The Oak Barrel is one of the city’s oldest and most impressive bottle shops, in operation since 1956. Beer lovers will head straight for the beer cave. Arranged by country of origin, the range has grown to about 800 beers. Local Sydney breweries such as Batch Brewing Co and Wildflower are well represented, as are larger Australian breweries in general. Internationally, there’s a particular focus on Belgian brews (including a wide range of Trappist beers), as well a great selection of beers from small breweries in the US and New Zealand. The wine selection is equally hefty. The Oak Barrel champions small vineyards, with a big focus on natural and organic wines.
Ciccone & Sons
Ciccone & Sons’ owners Mark Megahey and Sean O’Brien have deliberately gone with a box freezer from which they scoop top down, so their gelato stays fresh for longer. Everything they can is made from scratch; so no pre-made bases, no paste flavouring from cans. Just fresh jersey milk, whole nuts, fresh fruit and chocolate. Traditional flavours such as vanilla or honeycomb mix with weekly specials such as mascarpone panna cotta, tiramisu, buttermilk, crème brûlée (with a dulce de leche base) or flavours based on Pepe Saya products. Take-home boxes are no sweat at all.
You won’t find anything stocked in the DEA Store anywhere else. Each item in the collection has been expertly curated by Karin Huchatz, a former gallerist with an impeccable eye for amazing things. You’ll find Japanese ginger graters handmade in Kyoto, solid brass pepper grinders, beer, whisky and sake glasses and piles of rare ceramics. Every time you loop around the small store you’ll find something new in each corner – so it takes a few turns.
Pino’s Dolce Vita
Pino’s Dolce Vita is a Sydney institution, opened in 1978 by Calabiran Pino Tomini Foresti who still runs the floor today. It crams a food store and cooking school into one large, chaotic showroom. Like in Italy, everything is available for tasting. We’re talking exceptional handmade smallgoods such as ’nduja and Calabrese salami, plus fresh lamb cutlets and smoked hams. They’re some of the best you can find in Sydney. Many swear by the bacon. 45 President Avenue, Kogarah / 9587 4818 / Mo–Fr 8.00am–5.30pm & Sa 8.00¬am–2.00pm.
This Sydney roaster has been operating for over a decade and just keeps getting better and better. There are three Mecca locations, the brand’s impressive flagship café and roaster in Alexandria and a smaller one in Sydney’s CBD, as well as a sister café, Soma, in Ultimo. The Mecca buyers look for florals, complexity and cleanliness in their beans imported from growers and cooperatives in Guatemala, Kenya, Ethiopia and more, so expect the best from this Sydney frontrunner.