Sydney Food Gleanings – The CBD

September 26, 2012

It can be expensive eating in the Sydney CBD.  If you’re travelling through Sydney and are spending time in the city, but don’t want to have to eat greasy food court fare, here are some of my favourite cheap and stylish places to eat within walking distance of Pitt Street Mall.

I didn’t intend for them to all be asian, but that’s how it worked out (the bonus for me is that this makes it easy to avoid gluten!)

Sushi Hotaru
Galleries Victora, Level 1

Fresh and varied sushi train, one level down from Japanese bookstore heaven Kinokuniya.  What really makes this place great is that everything (except sashimi) is $3 – so you can pull off all the scallop, prawn and salmon sushi you like and know that it will only cost you $3 a plate.  Really easy to keep track of what you’re spending, and I almost always walk out of there spending less than $15 (unless I order the chawan mushi!).

537-551 George St

You could go to Wagamama (next door to Hotaru in the Galleries Victoria) and order a small rice and side of curry sauce for $5, or you could walk a block down George Street to Oiden (in a small arcade half a block down from Event Cinemas) and get a choice of curries, side salads and tempura for about $8.  This place is a small canteen style eatery that offers amazing value.  You get your basic rice and curry for about $3.80, and then just load on the extras until you feel you’ve spent enough.  There’s a sister udon restaurant next door that uses the same basic meal + extras model.  Perfect comfort food.

Miss Chu: Queen of Rice Paper Rolls
Regent Centre, 501 George Street (take the escaltor down to the underground level)

A good place to grab food on the run before a movie (I ate here a lot during the last Sydney Film Festival).  They do fast and portable rice paper rolls, dumplings and rice noodle salads for $7-15.  Fresh and delicious.  There’s another location in the Opera Bar food strip under Sydney Opera House as well.

Iku Wholefood
Westfield Plaza, Level 5 (Daytime only)

Delicious and filling vegan and gluten free options that will cost you under $10.  It’s just an over the counter place in a food court, but I love their minimal plastic-free packaging (they just twist a sushi roll in a piece of paper, like a giant lolly).  Wraps, rice paper rolls and brown rice sushi rolls are all healthy options, and the fact that everything is made with unrefined ingredients means that a quick over the counter lunch will keep you going all afternoon.

Queen Victoria Building, Level 2

More of a cafe than a restaurant.  While this place on does serve tasty Japanese food like green tea noodle salad, I would really recommend it as a cheap, peaceful place to sit and rest your feet during a day in the city.  I don’t drink coffee, so most CBD cafes leave me cold.  But this place does Tea – ALL the TEA.  They have an extensive menu and every pot of tea I’ve had here has been delicious.  An affordable alternative to the fancy Tea Room on the very top level of the QVB.


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