There is a charming little hotel on Bondi Beach called Ravesi's. It's been there for as long as I can remember. It started out as a two-star hotel and then they piled a lot of money into it. I'm not sure if they have their third or fourth star now. You overlook Bondi Beach there. That is just worth its weight in gold to me, because those are all my memories. Just looking at that beach and walking on it and eating fish and chips on it and swimming. My favorite thing to do when I was living there was to get up every morning around 6 or 6:30 and run on the beach. Even better was the walk from Bondi to Bronte, which is about two or three beaches away. Bronte is approximately 45 minutes from the center of town and completely clean. The color of the water is extraordinary. The temperature of the water, depending on the time of year, is pretty great. I would say the walk from Bondi to Bronte, back and forth, takes 45 minutes. It's got a lot of rocks and cliffs and beautiful beaches. It's just a priceless experience. For me, it's a nostalgic experience.
You must have worked up an appetite with all that walking.
There are a number of great cafes on Bronte Beach. They are literally stacked up next to each other. They have great vegetable or chicken pies, great smoothies. And the coffee in Sydney is arguably the best coffee I have ever had in the world. Better than Italian, Parisian, or from any major city. I don't know, they just have it right. It's good, strong, bitter, and how it's supposed to taste.
Where do you go to get a good cup of joe?
On Bondi Beach, I go to Gusto. You sit on stools on the street and have your coffee and juice. You can grab a sandwich, too. There's another place called Bondi Aqua Bar, on the north end of Bondi, that does great scrambled eggs. It's a very tiny place, a hole in the wall. It's sort of controlled chaos in there. The food is great, always fresh, but much of the allure is the ambience and spirit of fun.
You mentioned fish and chips earlier. You can get that in Sydney?
Yes, right there on Bondi Beach at a place called Bondi Surf Seafoods on Campbell Parade, where I've been going since about 1990. You can get your greasy-style fish and chips or you can get it freshly grilled, without the batter. They sell extraordinary seafood as well, if you want to cook it yourself. But the fish and chips you just take away in a box and sit with there on the beach at sunset. It's beautiful.
What about when you want to actually sit down at a table to eat?
Hugo's, on Bondi Beach, was always my favorite. It's a small place and they do great seafood, great cocktails, fantastic daiquiris with fresh fruits, and a great balmain bug [a slipper lobster], which is one of Australia's delicacies, somewhere between a crab and calamari. It's beautiful and fresh. I get a little upset with them now, because they always call the paparazzi. You can't go in there without it being in the paper the next day.