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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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