Restaurants

Your 2022 Guide To The Best Parmas In And Around Melbourne

By Megan Whitfield
25th Feb 2022

It’s hard to name a more iconic pub feed than the chicken parma. These slabs of perfection have found their way into the hearts of Melburnians, and it doesn’t look like the love affair is slowing down anytime soon. 

Here is our guide to the best parmas in Melbourne for 2022.

The Napier 

FITZROY

This Fitzroy classic has some of the best pub food you’ll find on the north side. And what’s the Tony Soprano–the don–of pub food? That’s right–the parma. Y’understand? Saddle up and enjoy the layers of cheese, napoli, ham and perfectly-crumbed chicken.

The Imperial 

CBD

Located in the CBD near Parliament steps, The Imperial serves up excellent, generously-sized parmas that will have you singing some made-up song about how good parmas are and how bloody lucky we are they exist. On board for support are a zesty slaw salad and perfectly seasoned fries. Yummo.

Grace Darling Hotel

COLLINGWOOD

The Grace Darling is Melbourne’s second oldest pub which happens to have one of the best parmas Melbourne has to offer–the Grace Parma. Featuring double-smoked ham, torched raclette and house sugo, it’s seriously good stuff. Add an ice-cold pint of craft beer into the mix and it’s game over.

Mrs. Parma’s

CBD

Are you wanting to try something different when it comes to parmas? No? Okay. Everyone moves at different speeds. Well if you change your mind, there’s always Mrs. Parma’s. They’ve got 10 varieties to choose from, plus daily specials for those who may have already worked their way through the menu. Their Parma’geddon is Melbourne’s spiciest parma, using a homemade chili sauce that contains four different chilis and takes four days to make. Brace yourselves. Other toppings include everything from turmeric-spiced lentils to oven-roasted field mushrooms.

Hardiman's Hotel 

KENSINGTON

This stylish pub in leafy Kensington is home to some golden-crumbed marvels, but the price is far from bougie. There’s a vego option in the eggplant parma, and the use of prosciutto instead of ham is always a nice touch. All come with thick-cut chips and ranch dressing salad, and on Tuesdays, the parmas are just $17 all day.

Duke of Wellington 

CBD

If size matters, then the Duke of Wellington–Melbourne’s oldest pub–could be the ticket. They have two options; the full-sized classic Duke, and the petite parma if you want to take it easy. Both come with chips and a green salad.

The Spread Eagle

RICHMOND

The Spread Eagle is an underrated Richmond classic. Did you know they also sling banging parmas? Well, they do. The atmosphere is cozy and comfy, and there’s also ten beers on tap to wet your whistle. Sunday is the day to go, with parmas costing $18 and trivia in the afternoon.

The Leveson

NORTH MELBOURNE

With enough mozzarella to please the cheese heads, a plump chicken breast and perfect crumbing, The Leveson parma packs a real punch. This North Melbourne pub is also a great place to watch the footy in the winter months, and on Thursdays they run a $25 parma-and-craft-pint special. Play on!

The Outpost Retreat 

NOOJIE

A good option for those wanting to get out of the city–but still with chicken parmas on the brain– this charming cottage and bistro located 1.5 hours out of Melbourne ticks all the boxes. Their traditional parma is something to behold, but if you’re feeling more adventurous they have other options too; the Italian with prosciutto and bocconcini, the Mexican with jalapenos and salsa, and–most controversially– the Toolshed featuring bacon rashers, cheese and ham with mushroom gravy. 

The Cricketer's 

PORT MELBOURNE

If you're not familiar with The Cricketer's, you should change that ASAP. They've got a range of tasty dishes at this establishment, but really, would you go past the parma? At least for your first trip. And maybe the second. And third, depending how you're feeling. Juicy free-range chicken breast, a crispy crumb, oozy cheese, tasty Napoli sauce and just enough ham to add to the experience (but not overpower the hero). And of course, a side of beer battered chips, because it's all about clean eating. No? Well there's a side salad, at least. Port Melbourne, love your work.

The Royston

RICHMOND

Located in the back streets of Richmond behind Bridge Road, you'll find the Royston, home to the popular Wednesday night trivia and also one of the best parmas in Melbourne. If you're not a chips-under-the-parma kinda kid, you'll like that the Royston put their fried delights alongside the parma to avoid any potential chip-sog that may occur during consumption. We dig that. We also dig their breadcrumbs, which they do perfectly, crispy but not too crispy and with the perfect chicken to crumb ratio. If you like ham, you're in good hands too because this parma has a strong ham flavour, but is by no means overpowering. 

The Local Taphouse

ST KILDA EAST

Head Chef at The Local Taphouse, Wayne Seberry describes the chicken parma as a simple dish that needs to have every component done right for it to be a success. Makes perfect sense doesn't it? This is why The Local Taphouse serves up one of Melbourne's best parmas. Place your parma order to find a mouth-watering free-range chicken breast, topped with wood-smoked ham for a slightly different flavour and a generous finish of good ol' fashioned cheese. While it's not as big as some of the aforementioned parmas, it definitely ticks all the other parma boxes and is one of our top picks.

Newmarket Hotel

ST KILDA EAST

There are two ways you can go at The Newmarket Hotel. The 'Little Fella' parma (with beer battered fries and salad), which is basically a vegetable. Or the 'BIG Fella' parma, which is way more speed. You get a parma that basically hangs over the plate, plus a hefty whack of chips and a side salad, all for a cool $26. We've done the legwork, and can confirm this chicken breast is substantially juicier and crispier than your average, and they don't skimp on the cheese either. Keep an eye out for their legendary parma + pot nights. 

Great Northern Hotel 

CARLTON NORTH 

This classic pub situated in the depths of the northside easily joins the ranks as one of Melbourne’s best parma’s, its reliability and no-frills approach to the crumbed cuisine makes it a menu staple to the many eclectic folks that regularly frequent ‘The Northern’. A pinnacle location for its range of top-notch craft beers and communal vibe, the $19 parma night on a Monday which also includes the options of an eggplant parma and plain schnitzel can help take out the sting of the working week ahead. In case that wasn’t enticing enough, there’s also a strict doggos welcomed policy which adds to the experience of waiting for your parma. 

The Birmingham

COLLINGWOOD 

Right in the thick of it on the corner of Smith and Johnson Street Collingwood, The Birmingham’s unassuming exterior hides one of Melbourne’s best parma. There’s a fair amount of clout on this one, ranking at #1 by the parma enthusiast Parma Daze, The Birmingham’s parma has taken out the prize of Melbourne's best parma since 2016. This classic parma steeped in award and adulation well and truly lives up to expectations with an eloquently layered parmigiana with each layer dancing into the spotlight as you plough through. With six different parma variations, there’s something for everyone and the typically overlooked and underappreciated accompaniments to the main event also stand tall with crispy chips that add a delightful texture to the experience and a salad that freshens the palate with each bite. 

The Cheeky Pint 

FOOTSCRAY

The phrase ‘the west is best’ is thrown around a lot but The Cheeky Pint’s slab-size parma in the western suburbs of Melbourne is helping the claim ring true. Located on the main drag in town, Barkly Street, The Cheeky Pint’s parma is served up a regulation-sized chopping board and is an imposing threat at the table with cheese oozing out at every edge; it's also served up with a batch of crunch-perfection wedges making it an extra hearty affair. Best tackled on an empty stomach with a couple of pots to get you through. 

The Quarry Hotel 

BRUNSWICK EAST

Described as the parma with the most perfect ratio of toppings to chicken, The Quarry Hotel has earned its stripes with its balanced and hefty-sized chicken parmigiana. A favourite on Lygon Street in the Brunswick East region, The Quarry has a steady flow of eager punters entering its halls for the ‘famous parma’ which follows standard procedure; no frills or added flourishes, just an honest, good old fashioned schnitzel with ham, sugo, and cheese. Is it the best parma in Melbourne? We’ll let you decide that one. 

Park Hotel 

ABBOTSFORD

Another oldie but a goodie, The Park Hotel in Abbotsford has been serving the goods since 1864, and they’re not about to stop in 2021. They're an absolute haven for some of the best parmas in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, with an idyllic beer garden which is doggo friendly of course. Now down to business, the parmigiana here is held to a higher standard than your average pub, with the highlight being their perfectly crumbed schnitzel, deep-fried to perfection with a cabbage slaw in lieu of a tired and over-dressed leaf salad.

The Hawthorn Hotel

HAWTHORN

The Hawthorn is famous for many things, the vibrant uni-pub has long been the early stomping grounds for many a student or surrounding local coming of age. Alongside the many activities and events at the Hawthorn Hotel, a date for one of their parmas is a timeless venture—and there’s good reason for it. You don’t mess with a classic, and the Hawthorn has honoured the traditional recipe serving up a golden cheese coated beauty with a stack of beer battered chips resting underneath. They also do a ripper parma and trivia night every Thursday, a match made in heaven. 

Looking for some real Italian, check out Melbourne's best here.

Image credit: Newmarket Hotel | Griffin Simm

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