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The Rise of Sydney's High-End Food Courts

You won’t find McDonald’s
here.

Sydney is joining the ranks
of various Asian cities by giving the bland, cafeteria-style food court some
high-end treatment. Think classy food bars and chic décor inviting shoppers to
actually linger over lunch instead of wolf it down.

In the CBD Westfield’s new
Sydney Room—dubbed a food “atrium,” not a court—shoppers can get lost in the
arc of dining stations surrounded by black marble and dim lighting. Branches of
the dumpling house Din Tai Fung and Mexican chain Guzman Y Gomez sit alongside
newer ventures like sustainable seafood restaurant Cloudy Bay Fish Co., by
Sydney fish chef John Susman. Charlie & Co. Burgers is a new gourmet burger
bar by Justin North, owner of French restaurant Bécasse, while Reuben & Moore
brings New York–style sandwiches from Summit restaurant chef Michael Moore.
Various dessert stands beckon diners to stock up on gelato, pastries or fruit
salad—or all three—after lunch or dinner.

The food court on the
ground floor of the CBD David Jones opens into a produce center that winds
around to shiny, silver meat and cheese counters, a wine bar, salad stalls, a
sushi stand and noodle bar. There’s even a carvery for the meat and potatoes
types. A mini-market, complete with a whole section of American items (hello,
Hershey’s syrup), gourmet goods and chocolate stretches down the back in
bright, clean rows.

Upmarket food courts are
rocking the suburbs, too, as seen northwest of Sydney in Top Ryde Mall’s new
dining precinct, La Piazza. Among the eight featured restaurants is Kazbah, a
Middle Eastern establishment featured in T+L’s July 2010 list of 100
Best City Restaurants
. You can watch dancers and musical acts while you
dine, too. Who knew fighting through crowds of shoppers could taste this good?

Lauren Fritsky is an American living in Sydney. You can read her blog, The Life That Broke, here.

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