10 Lunches In Sydney’s CBD That Beat A Sad Desk Lunch

By kimmi
21st May 2015

Image credit: Red Lantern on Riley

Rushing out the door in the morning with a coffee and keys in hand is the reality for most of us busy Sydneysiders. And after that caffeine hit dies down, we’re already looking at the clock and counting the minutes to lunch. In the CBD and not sure where to get your lunch fix? We’ve found 10 lunches that will keep you smiling until dinner. 

Pei Modern

Quick lunches don’t have to look like boring sandwiches or leftovers from last night. Pei Modern now offers ‘Eat Pei Quick’, which promises ‘good food in a timely fashion’. Located within the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney on George Street, you can enjoy a satisfying midday meal in a beautiful and casual dining space. From Monday to Friday, experience a two or three course lunch that will have you returning to your desk with a happy tummy. Think about a salad of watermelon, mint and peas, or Spring Bay mussels with jamon and organic zucchini, followed by a mouth-watering O’Connor striploin with grilled cucumber and caramelised yogurt. Drool.


In the heart of Sydney’s bustling central business district lies Yayoi restaurant and sake bar. They specialise in Japanese teishoku cuisine, which is a set meal consisting of a main dish, sides of vegetables, miso soup and bowl of steaming rice. Their menu also offers a selection of other Japanese dishes such as udon noodles, salmon teriyaki and miso pork katsu. Find your inner zen among the chaotic city scene with the balanced (and tasty) lunch options at Yayoi.

Red Lantern

Luke Nguyen is a name that is synonymous with authentic Vietnamese cuisine in Sydney. He leads Red Lantern on Riley Street, Darlinghurst which is only a short walk from the CBD, but you'll feel like you're miles away. For lunch, you can choose from fresh papaya salads to oven roasted duck, or satisfy that mid-afternoon sugar craving with chocolate spring rolls or a coconut crème caramel. If you’re feeling particularly ravenous, then indulge in their lunch set menus from $30 per person – they’re delicious!

The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room

Fine dining mixed with a quirky energetic atmosphere is what The Morrison is all about. Internationally awarded Executive Chef Sean Connolly has designed a menu using seasonal fresh ingredients from local Australian suppliers. Overdosing on oysters is also possible with their oyster bar that offers over 30 different varieties to be complimented with expertly recommended wine. Not feeling oysters? They also do light salads, filling mains, finger foods and desserts for a complete lunching experience.

Hotel Harry

Wanting to spice up your lunch? Hotel Harry is a Latin-themed pub offering Cuban cuisine in a vibrant space. With a mixture of tacos, salads, seafood, BBQed meats and desserts on their menu, Hotel Harry is a great option for a work lunch. Get your daily dose of protein and choose from a plate of jerk chicken, beef short rib, or go with a mixed grill platter to share with a lunch buddy. Burgers are also $10 all day Wednesday and tacos are a tempting $5 on Thursdays.


Mary’s in Newtown are definitely the talk of the town when it comes to the ever-present debate on Sydney’s best burgers, and now that they’ve opened up on Castlereagh Street, inner-city workers can get their Mary’s fix. The chalkboard menu includes other foods like fried chicken and hot chips, but it’s their hamburgers that are the shining star. With the perfect mix of soft buns, meat, cheese and sauce, their burgers will have you racing over to Mary’s. 

Bowery Lane

Bowery Lane captures the industrial era of New York through their rustic yet refined menu. Enjoy a wholesome lunch made from farm-fresh local and seasonal ingredients all week long. Choose from a tempura soft shell crab burger to a 300g pasture fed New York strip to enjoy with a range of sides and light entrees. Make it a group event and invite some friends along to share a platter of slow cooked lamb shoulder or feast on a four-course banquet set menu if you have a little more time and tummy space.

Din Tai Fung

DTF has a new meaning in the Sydney food scene and it includes the world’s tastiest dumplings. Din Tai Fung specialises in hand-crafted dumplings made in three minutes, making their way onto your table in seconds. This means you don’t have to scoff down lunch as you race back to your daily duties – win! They also do a range of other dim sum dishes, rice, noodles, soups and buns to please any appetite, and with four convenient locations within the Sydney CBD, there’s no reason not to have these delicious parcels of deliciousness for lunch. 

Little Vienna

Little Vienna in Martin Place brings sandwiches to a whole new tasty level. Take your pick from a range of fresh pork, chicken, beef or fish sandwiches or customise your own sandwich to suit any cravings you may have. Regardless of whether you’re enjoying it slowly on a quiet park bench, or having it on-the-go, Little Vienna sandwiches cater to every schedule.

Home Thai Restaurant

You can now literally go Home for lunch at Home Thai Restaurant on Sussex Street. Add some spice to your regular midday meal with a steaming bowl of pad Thai or indulge in a hearty bowl of slowly cooked beef noodle soup. Takeaway options are also available for those busy-bees who don’t have time to eat in. Lunch time dining can also be a bit of a show as you watch the chefs expertly toss fresh ingredients in woks, stir steaming pots of soup and cook up your favourite curry in the open kitchen.

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