Week 33: The Tourist Trap

Opera Bar, Sydney Opera House

After a life changing week from NN and a very different one from me that saw me ‘pitch to a crowd and judges, Sunday afternoon was a time to hit one of Australia’s most iconic spots. Would it work out well on the food front, or would the ‘tourist trap’ element over ride? 

Nutrition- 7

Taste- 7.5

Service- 4 (Order at the bar)

Ambience- 10

Extra mile- 7

Budget – Medium

*Scores are out of 10

Opera Bar, Sydney Opera HouseOverall rating – 35.5/50 on a medium budget

View from ferry on approach

Mike

If you’ve been living on Planet Earth then you’ll be aware of the Sydney Opera House. Unless you’re an infant, they might not know.

Cuddled closely next to the iconic Sonic the Hedgehog shaped building is Opera Bar, with one of the city’s best views on a clear day, which this was. One thing that needs to be taken into account with such a spot, of course, is the ‘tourist factor’.

Sydney has a few landmarks, but none is so blatant as this, so that ensures a constant flow of people coming to drink in, not only the stunning view, but the delights of the establishment.

 

celebratory vino

Look at that pretty lady!

Once you get into the reality of the bar you soon discover that every man and his dog is here, as well as every tourist and his bum bag/fanny pack (pic). For this day was one of winter’s great gifts- still, sunny and about 24°C.

We decided to hit this for the obviousness that I hope you’ve picked up already, but also the ‘tourist trap’ factor that so many cities have. Many don’t also attract locals, instead catering purely for those visitors well and truly on the beaten track, however, this has the fanny packs and the locals, making for a eclectic crowd.

 

The question then becomes; what does one do when hitting the tourist trap bar/restaurant if you’re trying to stick to reasonably healthy eating?

Every tourist trap is different, of course; however, we must start somewhere…

Opera Bar at The Sydney Opera House not only serves you with breathtaking views, but also pretty damn good food. As is the case in most places such as this, you order your food at the bar. This can go one of two ways- ze good, or … ze bad!

You know, the “Oh, this is just deep fried crap” realisation…

 Snapper

Well, the menu here suggest otherwise. Fresh Snapper fillet with cauliflower, kale, pine nuts, currants for me and King salmon, Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus, watercress for NN were both received warmly.

The mix of flavours on my plate were awesome, and definitely warranted the $30 price tag- not for the faint hearted or shoestring traveller. I’ll leave NN to talk about hers…

 

So, what does one take from perhaps one of the more ‘stand alone’ tourist traps out there? Well, you don’t have to sit on the corner of the road, eating fried corn and chestnuts while taking in the view. You don’t have to buy a baguette, salami, brie and a singular bottle of beer to breath in history. You don’t even have to put up with bottled water and salted nuts as your accompaniment for one of the globes wonders (all things I’ve done, on numerous occasions around the world). Sure these might help the dishevelled backpacker, but if you want to splash out a bit more and create a memory that will last with a view to match you can find them. And you might just do your health a little boost in the process.

 

(If you can get something out of that, I’ll be happy. Please share if so… ha!)

NN, all yours…

 Our view

Nards

 I remember going to the Opera bar as a tourist many, many years ago, and being in awe of the beauty that was Sydney.  As a result I fell in love with it and the city, packed my bags and moved here.  Hard to believe that it has been almost 10 years since I left the land of the long white cloud! 

 

No matter how many times I go to the Opera Bar, it still exudes the same magic that I experienced all those years ago, and as MC said, it is one of THE best places to bring anyone who’s from out of town.  Now, many only associate it with a great spot to have a few drinks; and yes, it is the perfect location for this, however the kitchen does have a menu that is worthy of its own accord.

 

If you get past the shared platters, and nibbles and move onto the actual menu you will find some good quality meals that will satisfy without breaking far from the eating plan.  Yes, you will be paying a little more than normal, however, I suggest you take into consideration that you are getting a spectacular view thrown in.

 king salmon

My Salmon was perfectly cooked, and came with a whole heap of roasted Artichokes (which I have never eaten in my life), and I was pleased to see something like these, which aren’t part of the norm, included on my plate.  Of course, it was made even better by the fact that it was washed down by a beautiful NZ Pinot Gris (a beautiful day at the Opera house always calls for a cheeky glass of vino!).

 

Not knowing much about the popular Globe Artichoke I had to go home and to some serious researching **ahem**googling to work out the nutrition.  Artichokes are actually part of the thistle family and have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal and health benefits.  According to legend the Greek God Zeus turned a potential lover into an Artichoke after being rejected – go figure.  This vegetable; is high in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Folic acid, and dietary fibre.  It is also ranked 7th on the USDA’s top 20 Anti-oxidant foods (in front of blackberries, strawberries, prunes and apples!).  If it is in season the Artichoke will be a great addition to any meal.

 table number style

To say I love the Opera Bar is an understatement, any place that gives me world class views, NZ Pinot Gris, beautiful meals with funky vegetables, and a Swing band with kick-ass Swing dancers is always going to be a winner in my books!

 

Get there.

MC & NN

Oh yeah, we ate some yam crisps, and here’s the menu…

Yam crisps photo 2 (1)

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