Date Tart, Rockpool

If date tart sounds very ‚90s, that‚s because it is. Don‚t knock it, because this tart has withstood the test of time for a reason ‚ it‚s light, it‚s luscious, it‚s delicious. Indeed, you might say it‚s absolutely fabulous.

Criskin chicken, Tan Viet

Take a mass of egg noodles, take chicken specially twice fried until it‚s golden on the outside and moist in the middle, take iceberg lettuce and a mountain of herbs. Shove them all in an oversized bowl on a laminated table decorated only with a bucketful of Vietnamese condiments, tuck in and enjoy.

Green noodles with blue swimmer crab, Lucio‚s

It has been on the menu since Lucio‚s opened 32 years ago (yes, in 1983!) and that‚s because there‚s something kind of perfect about pasta and crab and tomato sugo (left) eaten in this beautiful yellow dining room. Belissimo.

Beef pho, An

You can have your ramens, your tom yums and your laksas, but the queen of soup in Sydney comes from this hilariously unreconstructed Bankstown pho house. The beef pho has so many layers of flavour it unfolds like a finely nuanced drama in your mouth. The medicinal benefits of pho are so intense it‚s said it can cure a cold, and, perhaps more helpfully, a hangover.

Sausage roll, Bourke Street Bakery

We were going to include the inevitable pie from Harry‚s Cafe de Wheels, but the judgment is that Bourke Street Bakery‚s sausage roll is Sydney‚s undisputed pastry king. The filling contains pork and fennel seeds. Bliss.

Japanese stones, Sepia

It may look a bit like a pile of roo droppings but this exquisite dessert by Martin Benn is a wondrous stack of crisp coco butter ‚stones‚ filled with cherry-chocolate liquid centres. This is such a cult dish it‚s not even on the menu, but available if you ask, very, very nicely.

Truffled egg pasta, Buon Ricordo

When the truffled egg pasta comes out of the Buon Ricordo kitchen it stinks out the whole dining room ‚ in a good way. Waiters make the dish at your table (a surprising joy in itself), stirring the egg stored with truffles through the hot pasta to make an absurdly rich dish that‚s the envy of the entire room.

Chicken and chips, Frango

Sure the service could be improved, but that‚s what you have to endure to get chicken as good as this. The charcoal chicken cooked over coals is the specialty, the sticky, salty skin hiding moist, flavoursome meat. And then there’s the chips. That are covered in chicken salt. Yes. Chicken. Salt.

Salted caramel gelato, Messina

Just about everyone does salted caramel now, but Messina‚s gelato was at the vanguard of the SC movement. Its popularity stems from the fact it is absurdly more-ish and just the right balance of savoury and sweet.

Stoner‚s delight, Ms. G‚s

Chef Dan Hong‚s creation of doughnut ice-cream, peanut dulce de leche, peanut and pretzel brittle, crispy bacon, Mars bar brownie, passionfruit curd, potato chips and deep fried Nutella is not for the dieter. Their loss.

Ricotta cake, Pasticceria Papa

This unassuming cake, filled with fluffy, sweetened ricotta, is sheer go-to comfort food for Italians, and more recently, non-Italians too. The mixture is so light, it‚s almost like you‚re not eating it, which, naturally, allows you to eat more. Win.

Poutine, Hartsyard

What‚s poutine? It‚s chips, it‚s gravy and it‚s runny cheese sauce, all melded together in one big delicious heap. It‚s so good we‚ll even forgive the fact it‚s a Canadian dish.

Pig‚s head, Four in Hand

Yes, it‚s a pig‚s head. Served on a board with a knife sticking through it‚s cheek. Sure, it‚s not for wusses but the combination of perfectly crackled skin and soft, salty meat makes the guilt of eating something that‚s staring you in the face a little easier to bear.

Confit of ocean trout, Tetsuya‚s

Tetsuya‚s ocean trout is the original posh degustation dish to end all posh degustation dishes. While it has changed over the years, the concept remains the same ‚ take the finest fillet of ocean trout and cook it tenderly in flavoured oil to achieve a melting consistency, then team with a delicate salad of, say, celery, witlof, apple and unpasteurised ocean trout roe, all served on A Big White Plate. It‚s an ethereal, old-world experience the likes of which you can‚t get everywhere these days.

Ricotta Hotcakes, Bills

There‚s a reason folk line up for Bills, a chain of cafes that opened in the ‚90s and stayed there. It‚s the ricotta hot cakes, stupid: so light, so fluffy, and topped with honeycomb butter. Did we say honeycomb butter? Yes we did.