Inner west, you have done it again. If the waterfront views, vintage charm and boutique gems weren’t enough, Balmain is also officially home to some of the hottest cafes and restaurants in the city. So to make it easy for you (aren’t we just the best?), we’ve narrowed it down to the best of the best; from old favourites to new hotspots, Mexican food to good ol’ pub grub—this suburb has every food coma taken care of.
As if you weren’t already permanently envious of the lucky residents of Balmain, here are 11 delicious new reasons to be.
Turkish food lovers rejoice! Efendy is bringing Istanbul to the streets of Balmain and to your hungry bellies. We’re talking all the hummus, fresh pita and charcoaled meats your heart's desire and bellies can fit. For the perfect combination of crispy pastry and gooey cheese you can’t go past the borek pastries, or basically anything else on the menu (seriously, it’s all delicious!) Our advice, gather the troops and order to share for a great evening out.
Bringing the hustle, bustle and diversity of NYC to Balmain, Contessa cafe and restaurant has something for everyone. Whether you’re gluten free, vegetarian, all organic or a good ol’ fashioned omnivore; Contessa has you covered. Inspired by owner Marco’s italian roots and love of travel, the menu delivers a unique mix of American and Italian inspired dishes. From house-made Italian meatballs to some of Sydney's best French toast, complete with brioche, crispy smoked bacon, caramelised banana and a generous drizzle of maple syrup to top it off. Anyone else drooling already?
The Cottage Bar & Kitchen is giving us all the feels and bringing back childhood memories; delivering fine dining in Grandma's farmhouse. The stylishly mismatched decor features vintage furniture, rustic farm equipment and kerosene lamps. The perfect spot for some summery cocktails in the front courtyard, or a cosy dinner inside with a serve of lamb shoulder or oven fired pizza. They say nothing beats Grandma’s cooking, but in this case we tend to disagree, unless your grandma works here.
There’s not much that beats good food and good company. Luckily for us Sydneysiders (in particular all you inner-westsiders), Wilhelmina’s is the perfect spot for both. The menu is designed to share and based on providing top quality, seasonal produce to deliver simple (but seriously delicious) offerings that change weekly. To top it all off, the extensive winelist focuses on local wines and features 60 brilliant drops. Food, wine and friends—sounds like our kinda night!
The Riverview Hotel
What's better than a Sunday roast you ask? Not having to spend 6 hours in the kitchen preparing it! Thanks to the team at The Riverview Hotel you can get your Sunday roast fix and all the trimmings for just $25. And trust us, the roast beef and Yorkshire pudding may just be the best you have ever had (sorry Mum!). If roasts aren’t your thing, or you’re after something a little fancy, The Riverview also offers $45 high tea every Saturday. Scones anyone?
Nobody does pub food like the English, so it’s only appropriate that The London pub in Balmain just happens to offer up some of the best pub grub in the city. The friendly staff will welcome you with a smile and serve you up a tall glass of Redback on tap, Stella Artois or a Coopers brew. Nachos, four kinds of schnitzel (because you can never have too much schnity in your belly), burgers and fish and chips all feature on the menu.
Kafeine is a standout amoungst Balmain’s bustling Darling Street; serving up Campos coffee, freshly squeezed juices and an all-day breakfast menu. For all our health conscious #inspo friends, Kafeine is a super food haven with quinoa and kale served with a side of tasty. We can’t go past the corn fritters; GF and seriously good, this dish is comes with quinoa and avocado salad and of course, bacon. It’s all about balance right?
As the saying goes, one should eat breakfast like a king; so grab your royal carriage and head on down to Euforia for a meal fit for royalty. In the mood for something sweet? Of course you are. Order a serve of the brioche French toast with ricotta, walnuts, blueberry compote and honey. For something a little more savoury, the smashed avo and poached free-range eggs with crumbled feta garnish on organic quinoa and soya seeded sourdough toast is droolworthy, and totally grammable. And for a little afternoon delight, two words—gelato milkshakes.
Mr. in Balmain has you covered for morning pick-me-ups, courtesy of Will and Co coffee. We should mention their liquor license kicks in at 10am (we see that wry smile on your dial). If you’re not quite up for a 10am affogato, the booze and ricotta filled doughnuts may be more up your alley. This boozy and creamy delight is topped with cinnamon, grilled peach, honey and ginger crumb.
Appropriately named after the buttery final stage of making risotto, Mantecato in Balmain is an Italian lovers dream. And who doesn’t love Italian? Brothers Marco and Paolo Orso bring authentic Italian food and wine direct to your table at this risotteria. Feast your eyes (and bellies) on buttery ravioli under silky parmesan veils, or the gorgonzola, walnut and pear risotto, or if we’re being real—both. Then chase it all down with a shot of grappa (or two).
Cantina Bar is spicing up the streets of Balmain with its colourful interior and flavourful menu. With a mix of Latin and Mexican style food and drinks, the cantina boasts an impressive menu of nachos, quesadillas and pulled pork. These authentic dishes are perfect for sharesies, and with tequila a-plenty your guaranteed a good time.
Here's where you can find the best coffee in Sydney's Inner West.
Efendy | Image credit: Caitlin Hicks