Foodie Destinations with a Side of Culture
On chilly days, there’s nothing better than getting lost in a gallery and admiring art all afternoon. Sydney’s art scene has serious cultural cred – our galleries are diverse and ever-evolving, and most of them are free to visit. And a handful have cafes and restaurants, so you can get an art and foodie fix at the same time.
Wander through the exhibitions, and then chat about them over a cuppa at these Sydney galleries.
Welcome to Art 101. The Art Gallery of NSW is more than just a beautiful building. Inside, you’ll find carefully curated collections of Australian, European and Asian art. After browsing, settle in for lunch at CHISWICK at the Gallery. With views over Sydney Harbour, the paddock-to-plate restaurant serves up seasonal plates plus cocktails. Or, pop into the Café at The Gallery on Level 1.
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney
Gallery-hop your way quayside to the MCA, which reps Aussie and international artists plus blockbuster exhibitions by the likes of Yoko Ono and Jeff Koons. Fuel up with brekkie or lunch at the MCA Cafe.The terrace cafe dishes up Australian-European fare, plus snacks and wines on Wednesdays for Art After Dark. Downstairs, Graze MCA offers casual, alfresco dining.
40 George Street, The Rocks
In Chippendale, White Rabbit is a four-storey wonderland of contemporary Chinese art. It’s sensational. Start at the top floor, and work your way through the paintings, sculptures and installations of more than 400 artists. When you’re done, clink china and sip on Chinese and Taiwanese teas while nibbling on fresh scones and dumplings at the Tea House, which is on street level.
30 Balfour Street, Chippendale
It started as a small studio, and now, Gaffa has grown to become an art, craft and design hub. Tucked inside a converted police station in the CBD, its café is an oasis on the ground floor. Klink is a go-to forspecialty coffee conneisuers, with a rich, syrupy house blend and a selection of sandwiches and sweet treats.
281 Clarence Street, Sydney
This gallery is right at home in the cultural hotspot that is The Rocks. Nestled inside the National Trust Centre, which dates back to 1856, it explores Australian art through the years. Soak it all in, then discuss over a salad or a slice of cheesecake (and maybe a cheeky glass of wine) at Trust Café. It’s cash only, and BYO is available.
Watson Road, Observatory Hill, The Rocks
In Glebe, Yuga is a gallery that showcases new and established Aussie artists but above all, it’s a community of creatives. The walls are adorned with paintings, and the on-site cafe hosts regular classes and dinners with artists. The chefs whip up an all-day breakfast, plus sandwiches and Italian-style lunch dishes until 3pm most days.
172 St Johns Road, Glebe
Cruise to the Sutherland Shire and spend an afternoon strolling through Hazelhurst. The gallery-slash-community arts centre rotates exhibitions year-round, but you can expect to see plenty of contemporary Indigenous art. Between rooms, stop at Hazelhurst Café. Sitting in the lush gardens, it’s a popular spot for weddings and events – but you can dig into the delish ricotta hotcakes whenever you like.
782 Kingsway, Gymea
Let’s branch out Liverpool way. There, you’ll be treated to the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, which has six galleries to explore and holds big-name exhibitions like the Blake Prize. It’s also home to Bellbird Dining & Bar, a modern eatery that’s as diverse as the gallery itself, dishing up French, Asian and South American plates. It has a dedicated vegetarian menu, too.
1 Powerhouse Road, Casula
Okay, so this gallery and performance space isn’t technically attached to Yellow – but it’s in the same (iconic) building so we’re including it anyway. Run by the team behind Bentley and Monopole, Yellowis an achingly hip bistro that’s 100% vegetarian. It’s a foodie favourite thanks to its five- and seven-course vegan and vegetarian tasting menus.
57-59 Macleay Street, Potts Point