Bondi is one of the most iconic suburbs in Sydney, New South Wales. Home to the famous Bondi Beach, a hugely popular destination in its own right, with over 2 million visitors per annum. Bondi boasts golden sands and turquoise waters; amazing and agile lifeguards (with their own TV show); a stunning coastal walk; amazing cafe, restaurant and bar life; plus the famed Bondi Icebergs’ white-washed rock swimming pool. It’s ever so easy to fall in love with Bondi – it offers you all that the good life possesses, and despite the crowds that gather at this sought after destination, there is a quintessential vibe of chill and ease here. If you visit the right places, then the happy holiday vibes will stay with you long after your holiday ends, and Bondi will become your trusted ‘return to’ vacay favourite.
HOW TO GET THERE
- FLY: Flights from every major city in Australia and around the globe fly into Sydney. From there, you can conveniently catch the train from the airport to Central, then jump on a bus that will take you right to Campbell Parade, the main street behind Bondi Beach. Alternatively, you can Uber from the airport.
WHERE TO STAY
QT Bondi – check out our review of the hotel, here.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
THE BUCKET LIST
Seaside views and people gazing at its finest. Add the Bucket List to your, well, bucket list, because this quintessential Bondi hang out is always buzzing with locals and tourists alike. Grab a cushioned bench seat facing the ocean and prepare to spend a decent portion of your afternoon sitting back, enjoying the view, downing a few drinks and munching on some tasty dishes. The seasonal menu includes everything from fresh barramundi to buttermilk fried chicken, to refreshing salads and a literal bucket of prawns. All washed down with a crisp wine, local tap beer or a Pimms Pitcher. The Bucket List also has DJ sessions on Sunday arvos or Friday and Saturday nights, so head in to see what’s on at this very cool yet casual Bondi hot spot.
Our favourite salad – watermelon, radish, feta, mint and prawns with a glass of Star Bay Sauvignon.
ICEBERGS DINING ROOM
A veritable icon of the Bondi coastline, the Icebergs Dining Room sits above the famed whitewash and aqua blue of the Bondi Icebergs Club pool. This fine dining institution not only boasts one of the most gorgeous views over the ocean, among soft hues of blue and white dotted with the glow of candlelight, but it’s contemporary seasonal Italian-Australian menu is full of fresh delicacies. Book this one in for a special occasion or reason to splurge. Sit back and enjoy the service and the view.
Our favourite dishes – Daily market fish grilled with lemon, sorrel and ALTO Extra Virgin Olive Oil // Spaghetti al Nero e Granchio – Ink Spaghetti No.8, WA Blue Swimmer Crab, Sorbello Tomato & Basil.
The Icebergs Bar, located to the left of the restaurant, is also a prime spot to enjoy a cocktail before your evening festivities. International DJs and signature cocktails make this a very cool place to sip your Aperol Sprtitz whilst marveling down at the surfers catching those big Bondi waves.
Our favourite cocktail – No 17. Campari, Rosemary Infused Antica Formula, Capi Sparkling Blood Orange.
If you’re after an aperitif with hearty bar snacks, then walk a few steps behind the Dining Room to the Iceberg Terrace. Serving up some tasty plates and a variety of cocktails, this spot is perfect for a warm evening or when the wind is calm, as the exposed terrace gets a little nippy in the colder weather. Again, brilliant views and every shade of blue you can imagine.
Our favourite vino – 2015 Boira Pinot Grigio from Veneto, Italia.
THE CRABBE HOLE
This literal hole in the wall serves up yummy food next to the Bondi Icebergs Club. Perfect for a post dip feed or if you need brekkie on the run, The Crabbe Hole serves up the most delicious fruit smoothies. Plus you get to enjoy a billion-dollar view whilst you wait for your toastie – win!
Our favourite smoothie – banana and berries.
PORCH AND PARLOUR
Super trendy corner cafe, Porch and Parlour is a welcome sight. With wooden bench seating outside, overlooking North Bondi beach and surf club, the interior is rustic and staff are super friendly. This is an excellent go-to place for breakfast, and thankfully we did not have to wait long for a table, but that will all depend on the time you rock up. Brilliant food, coffees and juices, oh and did we mention breakfast available all day?
Our favourite dish – Green pea pancake with ‘porched’ egg, avocado, feta, mint salad. Add a cold pressed beetroot juice.
Grab a seat at the window overlooking the North Bondi kids’ pool and out to Bondi beach as you enjoy Speedos‘ combo of clean eating and saliva inducing food menu, packed full of goodness and flavour no matter what your tummy desires. This is one cafe to return to on the regular as their food options for breakfast and lunch are varied and they have some great take-away options too, for both sugar lovers and health nuts.
Our favourite dish – fig, strawberry, blueberry french toast with pistachio crumb, lavender honey and ricotta.
Bills is a notorious hot spot for breakfast, however it serves up amazing lunches too (and dinner… come to think of it, there’s really no point ever leaving…). Showcasing modern Australian cuisine in a bright and luxe interior space, Bill’s has a great ambience and fabulous staff. Order a glass of bubbles as you pour over the menu options, reclined in your sophisticated leather bench seat.
Our favourite dishes – Sweet corn fritters, roast tomato, spinach, avocado salsa and bacon // Yellow fish curry, spiced butternut squash, roast peanuts, brown rice and cucumber relish.
Panama House serves up authentic and bold Latin American food that is so darn tasty. Not only does it have a cool ambience amid an exposed brick and subway tile setting, it has a fun vibe thanks to amazing and friendly staff. What’s not to love about a place that serves up specialty cocktails (one aptly named the ‘Mike Drop’ after former NSW Premier Mike Baird resigned, to the delight of many) and food that you can eat unashamedly with your fingers?
Our favourite dish – Pollo Al Pastor (Achiote-marinated bone-in chicken breast with cauliflower puree and pineapple salsa). Honestly, the most flavoursome piece of chicken you’ll ever eat.
NORTH BONDI FISH
We were walk-ins to this gorgeous restaurant that looks out to the ocean and were accommodated swiftly. North Bondi Fish is the perfect spot to dine at sunset, as the last rays of the sun filter in to the open space dotted with ceiling lanterns. Absolutely loved the atmosphere, view and the dining experience. With a tantalising and amazing selection of cured, raw, smoked, baked, steamed (you name it!) seafood fare on offer, there’s a crustacean or fish to tickle anyone’s tastebuds. Plus they do some fabulous cocktails too.
Our favourite dish and cocktail – Raw Hiramasa Kingfish // Caribbean Martini (Sailor Jerry spiced, lime, falernum, pineapple and passionfruit foam).
NORTH BONDI RSL
Ah the good ol’ RSL, your trusted location to enjoy a casual bistro meal and frothy tap beer. The North Bondi RSL boasts one of the most amazing views, not only in Bondi, but Australia. There’s no overlooking this gem for a comfortable afternoon of taking in the North Bondi sights as you enjoy a few beers, whilst paying respect to our country’s defence force men and women; a proud reminder when the clock strikes 6pm.
HOUSE OF LUIS TAN
Apparently named after the luxurious estate of a Peruvian hustler, the House of Luis Tan is a quirky hang out serving up South American fare with an Asian influence. With a 70’s vibe echoed in the colourful flight posters for Peru and Japan that adorn the wall, and the oversized parasol lights that hang from the ceiling, Luis Tans isn’t just a cool place to sit and eat a meal; it comes through with the goods for your tastebuds too. Start your night off with a Peruvian Pisco Sour and order two of everything from the tapas style menu.
Favourite dishes and drinks – Half Shell Ceviche (yuzu cured scallop, pomegranate, tobiko and coriander) // Duck Shu Mai (shallots, ginger, hoisin and plum sauce) // Roasted pumpkin gyoza (spinach, sweet miso, pumpkin seeds, black vinegar, chive oil) // Washed down with a Rosé.
Perfect spot to grab a couple of drinks as you take in the sights and sounds over Bondi. Looking directly out over the beach, the trendy Vue Bar sits atop the Campbell Parade shops and boasts a cool coastal vibe interior.
The facade of Hotel Ravesis has been refurbished to a striking blush colour, and showcases an interior of dark leather, honey marble and gold details. Pull up a chair on the upper floors’ wrap around balcony and sip on a Lychee Martini or two.
WHAT TO DO:
Swim at Bondi Icebergs Club Pool – Nothing compares to this gorgeous gem of the Bondi coastline, where the ocean waves crash over top to fill the pool with saltwater goodness. Hot spot to tan and take in the aquamarine sights.
Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk – Starting from behind Bondi Icebergs, the Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk is a stunning 1.5km path along the coastline and sandstone cliff faces, via Tamarama (a sensational beach in its own right, with a beachside cafe and famous cream and blue surf club), towards the rock pool of Bronte.
Check out some street art along Bondi Beach – Cool and quirky, astonishing and poignant, the street art murals on Bondi Beach are a colourful ode to local and international artists.
Swim at the beach under the guard of the Bondi Rescue Lifesavers.
Yoga at Tamarama SLSC or Icebergs Pool deck, run by Yoga by the Sea – There’s no beating the view or the serenity for a spot of Vinyasa Flow yoga run by wonderful teachers.
Written and photographed by Pen To Paper Media’s Editor-in-Chief, Lara Antonelli-Leorke.