Let's be honest, the idea of a traditional food court doesn't automatically carry synonyms of gourmet, healthy or delicious food. HOWEVER, Sydney's food court scene has experienced a foodie revolution over the last few years, and the typical oily, fast food and take away shops have been replaced with a handsome collection of boutique eateries that get our mouths watering. We've done our homework and our taste testings and now we're excited to bring you Sydney's best food courts.
*A word of warning: definitely come with an empty stomach, because with cheap eats in Sydney like these you'll want to try everything!
Central, The Living Mall | Chippendale
The food options at Central, The Living Mall on Broadway are so vast that we've seriously considered setting up camp on the Green so we never miss a meal. We challenge you to resist the soupy, porky xiao long bao dumplings at Din Tai Fung, the soft, carby, delicious sandwiches from Autolyse or the noodly ramen goodness that will tempt you from the soon-to-open Ippudo. Central even offer Long Lunch Sundays, with deck chairs, wine tastings, live music and $15 lunch specials for you and your mates to indulge in.
Eating World | Haymarket
Known as an Asian food mecca, Eating World at Haymarket is home to a very diverse range of Asian food choices – plus with a name like Eating World, you know it's going to be good. When we're in need of an Asian food fix we know we've come to the right place and won't be disappointed! Gumshara serves up deliciously thick Japanese ramen while Pondok Selera reflects the flavours of the best hawker stalls across Indonesia and Malaysia. From Japanese to Chinese, Vietnamese and everything in between, Eating World really puts itself on the map as a foodie hot spot.
World Square | CBD
You need go no further than World Square as they've brought everything to you. Enter this little world for all things fashion, food and lifestyle. As you well know, we're a hungry bunch over here at The Urban List and we sure enjoy stopping off at World Square to fulfil some of our many cravings. Ramen Zundo has some of the best ramen in Sydney – we love their tsukemen (dipping noodles)! If you're after dumplings, head downstairs to Taste of Shanghai where you can eat to your heart's content. To satisfy our sweet tooth, Oliver Brown's Belgian Chocolate Café is a must where we indulge in quality roasted coffee and a cheeky fondue of fresh strawberries, banana, marshmallows and chocolate, of course!
Westfield Sydney | CBD
Heading up the Pitt Street Mall escalator delivers us right into Food on Five's food heaven, where we suddenly morph into children on a sugar high running from eatery to eatery because it is All. So. Tempting. This food court offers up some big names in the business such as some of the best Thai in Sydney from Chat Thai, Guzman y Gomez's fresh and tasty burritos, Din Tai Fung's heavenly dumpling creations, Snag Stand's sizzling sausages and Iku Wholefood's nourishing arrays of yumminess… Need we continue? Find a seat early, as the place closely resembles packed sardines over the weekday lunch break!
Sussex Centre Food Court | Haymarket
If there's anywhere that you can rely on for a quick, tasty, well-priced and authentic Asian lunch, it's Sussex Centre Food Court in the CBD. You won't find any super fancy eateries here, but you will find a huge spread of lunch options. Make a beeline to Ramen Ikkyu and brave the queue for probably the best ramen you've had in a good while. If it's the end of pay month, or you've just spent all your cash at the shops, drop by Ajisai Sushi bar for a few of their $1 sushi rolls (no, that's not a typo).
Regent Place | CBD
Enter the hidden world of Regent Place and be greeted by incredible spicy aromas, the scent of freshly steamed dumplings and the waft of hot pho. Head downstairs and grab a stool around Misschu's Tuckshop or sit around the DIY milk crate tables and chairs while tucking into some crunchy, fresh pork banh mi, vegetarian spring rolls, homemade pho and don't forget a brownie for dessert. We get our Malaysian char kway teow fix at Sedap, authentic Japanese ramen from Tenko Mori and indulge in Chef Mabo's pan Asian cuisine at Chefs gallery. When we're in need of a little something shaken, not stirred at the end of the day we head on down to Assembly to get our cocktail fix.
The Galeries | CBD
This recently renovated green gem of a building is home to some seriously good cuisine. Ichi-ban Boshi has been a favourite among ramen lovers for years, and we enjoy Mero Mero for their fresh sandwiches, salads and brekkie options! Madame Nhu knows a thing or two when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine with her signature dac biet, a pho with three styles of beef, fresh rolls of shredded beef and honey tofu and sugar cane prawns (mmm!).
Macquarie Centre | Macquarie Park
Don't scoff, Listers, not only has Macquarie Centre has secured H&M (opening October 16), Zara, and a whole bunch of high fashion retailers, they have also tackled the food court business like a pro, leaving you in a panic about just where to start your eating pilgrimage. The Fresh Food Market features the heavenly roti and sinful deep-fried chicken skin of PappaRich, and the irresistible lure of a cheesy, meaty, crunchy sandwich from Reuben & Co. After hearing this, there's a very good chance we'll be travelling to the Macquarie Centre for food, and taking a few shopping breaks between courses.
Westfield Bondi Junction | Bondi Junction
Take a well-deserved shopping break at the Harbour Room at Westfield Bondi Junction. Sit back in the comfy lounge chairs, take in the gorgeous Edgecliff Harbour view, watch the world go past and tuck into some almighty good food. The hardest decision will be what to order first. De Costi's seafood offers up an incredible array of seafood platters ranging from oysters to lobsters to crabs and prawns. We recommend Chilli & Spice's tasty Indian naan and curries and noodle bowls from Hokka Hokka and Thairiffic. For a health kick stop off at Top Juice for freshly made juices and fruit salads and Luxe Bar for sandwiches, salads and, of course, coffee!
Still hungry? Check out our Restaurants and Cafés section for more of Sydney's best dining!
Image credit: Ramen Ikkyu, Snag Stand