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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Doyles on the Wharf, Watsons Bay

Too often I think we Sydneysiders tend to take our beloved Harbour for granted.

Overseas tourists travel thousands of kilometres to see our sunny shores and yet too few of us take the time to really stop, stare and smile at our picture perfect city.

The best way to appreciate Sydney's spectacular waterfront is by hopping on a ferry. We made a day trip to Watsons Bay on what turned out to be a glorious summer's day, basking our happy faces in the warmth of the sun and relishing the wind in our hair as we ploughed through the rollicking waves.

A Sydney ferry and the Sydney Harbour Bridge

It's only a brief journey to Watson's Bay--about 17 minutes including a stop at the naval base, Garden Island. On that way it's mandatory to wave at the Opera House as you fly on past, try to spot a giraffe as you go past Taronga Zoo, and then indulge in some window shopping for your next property purchase. On the waterfront or high on the hill? Decisions, decisions!

Watsons Bay ferry wharf

And to work up our appetites, we got off the ferry and walked straight up the hill to the notorious Gap. The cliff face is steep and awe-inspiring.

The Gap, Watsons Bay

Continue along the scenic pathway past the South Head signal station, close toward Macquarie Lighthouse (Australia's first lighthouse, established 1818) and then make a slow meader down through suburban streets and past Heritage-listed churches and schoolhouses on Old South Head Road.

Watsons Bay lookout

By the time you arrive back at Watsons Bay wharf, you've more than earnt your reward of fish and chips from Doyles.

You can of course eat a la carte at nearby Doyles on the Beach, but if you don't want to pay $36.40 for a fancy version of Doyles Fish and Chips, then simply order at the takeaway counter of Doyles on the Wharf and pay less than half price ($11.80 for two pieces of fish with chips).

Grilled sea perch with chips and salad $15.90

Geet has the grilled sea perch, moist and buttery, served with chips and salad.

Battered flathead and chips with salad $16.90

I eschew any thoughts of health and go straight for the battered flathead and chips. Four golden fried fillets stand majestically on a mountain of crispy chips. The salad is a generous mix of tomatoes, capsicum, carrot, cucumber and mixed leaves but I'm not a big fan of the salad dressings, one of which tastes as though it came straight from a bottle, the other with an odd sweet Chinese flavour which I discover later is actually "Doyles own chilli plum sauce".

Our meals don't take long to cook -- even with the significant lunchtime queue. Onceyou collect your meals from the counter, head down the back to the tables set up inside or on the covered verandah. Grab a glass of wine from the bar and then sit back, relax and enjoy the view.

View Larger Map
Doyles on the Wharf
Fisherman's Wharf (Watsons Bay ferry wharf)
Marine Parade, Watsons Bay, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9337 6214

This has been included as an Intrepid Eat on Grab Your Fork's Top 10 Sydney Eats for Tourists. Read the entire list here.

Opening hours:
Lunch 7 days 11am - 5pm (closes later in the summer months)
Wharf bistro/takeaway menu

Fully licensed (alcohol only available for dine-in customers)
No reservations
Closed on Christmas Day
10 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/11/2008 11:14:00 pm


  • At 12/11/2008 11:40 pm, Blogger ragingyoghurt said…

    omg. me and the kid went to doyles a few months ago, and took our takeaway to one of the picnic benches in the park across from the kiosk. the seagulls gathered, yes, and then one of them SWOOPED DOWN AND PULLED A WHOLE PIECE OF FISH OUT OF OUR PACKET (of two) and delivered it to the squawking mass. and then another vile bird pecked at the kid's fingers trying to get a chip. we were very unhappy! there were tears! and screaming! soon after, we caught a ferry back to the safety and cupcakes of the city.

  • At 12/12/2008 9:31 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yummmm, fried food. I must be the only person in Sydney who has not been to Doyles Watsons Bay.

    Seagulls aren't so shy there. For public safety and our stomachs sake, they should start a narcotic baiting program to 'control' these flying rats.

  • At 12/12/2008 1:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The chips on the grilled perch plate loo really good! Nice and fat and do I see some skin left on? That's the best kind of chip.

  • At 12/12/2008 2:06 pm, Blogger OohLookBel said…

    I love your first photo - so 'summer in Sydney' with the fish, ferry and sunshine.

  • At 12/12/2008 4:01 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mmmm golden crisp fish and chips! I haven't been to Watson Bay Doyles either but I went to Fish markets one recently and it was quite meh compared to previous times :(

  • At 12/12/2008 8:56 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    You have just made me VERY homesick. Enjoying reading your blog from 0 degree London

  • At 12/13/2008 7:44 pm, Blogger Miss Honey said…

    Good call on the batter with your fish - I can never seem to turn it down. YUM!!! Did you get any tartare sauce?? I love that stuff lol.

  • At 12/14/2008 1:01 am, Blogger Jen said…

    this post is making me homesick... will live & eat summer vicariously through your blog!

  • At 12/14/2008 10:52 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Bowb - Oh no! Sounds like a scene out of The Birds! We've experienced similar gull attacks at the fish markets but a whole piece of fish! And pecking kids fingers! Poor kid! I hope a cupcake made everything all right :)

    Hi Veruca Salt - Ahh it's never too late. And yes swooping seagulls can be quite terrifying, especially when they're trying to steal your lunch!

    Hi Christie - No there was no skin on the chips - just a warm honey tan :)

    Hi Belle - Yeah you can't beat fish and chips with a view. It was a bit of staged shot as I had to stand on the pier with plate of fish and chips in one hand, camera in the other :)

    Hi FFichiban - I've only ever had takeaway from Doyles at the fish markets - all the other fresh seafood is much better value so I'm yet to be swayed to dine in :)

    Hi Gourmet Chick - Ahh you poor thing. At least the cold weather brings roasted chestnuts, the ice rink at Somerset House and the best ever appetite for a huge roast dinner and Christmas pud in strangely appropriate weather!

    Hi Miss Honey - No tartare sauce supplied. You had to pay extra for that. Tomato sauce too :( Probably the last thing I could justify though, what with the glory of batter and deep-fried chips!

    Hi Jenjen - Ahh how are you surviving in Ol' Blighty? Obviously busy as you haven't posted in ages :) Think of all that good English fare you can tuck into. It never seems to get cold enough here to warrant the delightful stodginess of toad in the hole and Yorkshire pud!

  • At 4/20/2014 10:03 pm, Anonymous DroolWorthyWorld said…

    Visiting Watson's Bay tomorrow for the first time! Great blog post! Can't wait to try the fish and chips!


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