A day of Christmas shopping in inner Sydney is festive, but also a little exhausting. As such, it’s worth having your spot for lunch or coffee planned in advance. Ideally, you want something that’s light and healthy, yet substantial enough to fuel you for more browsing.
Here are our pick of some of the best healthy, delicious cheap eats for Sydney Christmas shopping (with one splurge) —and be sure to share yours, too.
Yama Japanese Cafe
An iced coffee and a bowl of noodles here will give you the energy to finish your shopping. And Yama’s location, tucked away on level two of the famed Queen Victoria Building, will mean you can get back to your list quickly once you’ve refuelled. What’s more, service is friendly and the simple dishes include fresh salads, bento boxes and sushi.
Shop 2-4 Level 2 Queen Victoria Building, 455 George St, Sydney
Sometimes you just crave a burger. So if you want an energising lunch that won’t leave you needing a nap afterwards, the low-carb burger buns at Grill’d are a great choice. Here, you get all the satisfaction without the afternoon slump. There are vegetarian options, the chips are great, and they offer a few substantial salads, too.
Westfield Sydney, Level 6/188 Pitt St, Sydney
Pillowy soft, steamed bun goodness! Mr. Bao serves fusion food that sees the iconic Taiwanese street food, gua baos, filled with Vietnamese and Japanese flavours. And the pared-back menu has a select choice of delicacies on offer, none of which will bruise your wallet. From crackling pork belly to the crispy tofu, all bao is $6.50. Also recommended is the Asian slaw salad bowl at $10, along with the soft shell crab golden dippers.
Shop T07, 1 Little Pier St, Haymarket
El Loco at Slip Inn
Put a little fiesta into your lunch break with El Loco at Slip Inn. This Mexican cantina is all about the tacos apetitosos. Whether you prefer spit pork, beef, baja fish or vegetarian, these little tacos are only $7.70. The chicken and corn quesadilla is also good value at $11, as is the Flor de Calabaza (stuffed with zucchini flower, salsa roja, pico de gallo and mozzarella). With prices this reasonable, you just might want to celebrate with some churros ($10.50) and a margarita ($19).
111 Sussex Street, Sydney
Could any CBD cheap eats guide be complete without Mary’s? The burger kings have been capturing hearts and minds with their consistently good American-style wares since exploding on to the Newtown foodie scene back in 2013. The empire has since expanded and is now a firm staple of the Sydney diet. And now, the ever-growing empire has three CBD spots for you to nab your burger fix: Mary’s Pitt Street, CBD and Circular Quay. You’ll be able to grab all your favourites from each outpost, including the classic Cheeseburger ($19), Mushroom Burger ($19) plus a full vegan menu available at CQ and Pitt St.
Here’s where you’ll find Mary’s in Sydney’s CBD:
410 Pitt Street
154 Castlereagh Street
7 Macquarie Place
This light-filled cafe inside a heritage sandstone building on York Street doubles as a supplier so you can stock up on coffee beans while you’re here. Better still, if you have any coffee lovers on your gift list, there’s a great supply of reusable cups, water bottles, chai and cocoa on sale, too.
Brunch options are wholesome and satisfying, with fruit sashimi, evergreen omelette and overnight oats, plus takeaway rolls if you want to make a fast exit.
38-40 York Street, Sydney
Sydney certainly has no shortage of Thai restaurants, but only one Long Chim. That’s because Chef David Thompson has made mastering authentic Thai street food his life’s work, and his food is memorably good—he even makes his own fish sauce. Why not try the pad Thai or one of his rich coconut curries, but be warned—he doesn’t hold back on the chilli. It’s not exactly cheap, but it’s worth it.
Corner of Pitt Street and Angel Place, Sydney
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We’d like to wish all of our clients a wonderful Christmas and easy Christmas shopping this December. Please let us know your best spots for a quick, healthy lunch in the comments below!