Sydney’s west is the new black, and Parramatta is at the heart of it all. So it’s time hit the M4 because boy does Parra have a whole lot in store for you (and if you live a bit closer than that, frankly, we’re jealous). Between sipping house-roasted coffee, biting down on guilt-free (kinda) feeds and sipping some delish cocktails, you’ll be dreaming that you knew about this gem of Sydney earlier.
Here are the absolute best places to eat and drink at in Parramatta.
Think the west is lacking secret bars? Enter Uncle Kurt’s. You’ll feel like you’ve landed in that New York City movie you’ve always wanted to be in, throwing back cocktails, eating deli-style meats, and bopping to the best RNB beats of all time. What’s the catch? It’s so secret it’s not even on Google, but don’t worry, we’ve got your fairy tale ending right here and it includes a street address.
The ultimate trick for your meat-eating friends is watching them tuck into a juicy vegan burger at this place and cheekily waiting to see if they notice there’s absolutely no meat in sight. Chances are they won’t and you’ve pulled off the sneakiest vegan-gotcha of all time. Not only is this burger place entirely vegan, they have gluten-free and dairy-free options too, plus with their overall plant-based approach, they’re borderline guilt-free! Just do yourself a favour and grab a coconut choc shake; you won’t regret it.
No doubt you’ve heard, eaten and returned to Neil Perry’s Burger Project, and now it’s opened its sixth location in Parramatta. Using only the best sustainable, hormone and antibiotic-free produce that is tasty beyond measure, you’ll eat with purpose as you work yourself into a mighty fine food coma. And we all know that no burger feast is complete without dessert (or at least we think so) because we can never pass up the bounty hunter.
Seems as though the 90s are well and truly back, even though we’re not hearing Spice Girls on the streets (yet), jaffles and milkshakes have made a triumphant comeback into our lives via Meraki Merchants. This Lebanese-inspired cafe is keeping it simple yet savvy with their menu, along with jaffles, you can expect milo mixed with rose water, fruit gazpacho blended with orange blossom and watermelon and hummus on sourdough. Yum is an understatement
You can put off that holiday to The States because the best of its food is coming Down Under. With its only other Aussie location in Melbourne, we are #blessed that these classic and ever satisfying hot dogs are now being served in Sydney. These are the hot dogs that pop up in every American movie you’ve ever watched, are sold at every sporting stadium that is worth a mention and they’re pretty much as quintessentially American as a frat party with red cups. Wrap your laughing gear around this 100% beefy goodness American-style snag and you’ll be finger licking allllll day.
Gelato Messina has taken over Sydney in the same way avo toast took over the housing market. These bad boys have popped up everywhere, and it’s about time that Parra got a taste of that oh-so-smooth and creamy gelato. Whether you’re loyal to a certain regular flavour (hellloooo coconut and lychee) or a bit of an adventurer with the weekly specials, Messina is your one-stop-shop for truly authentic tasting Italian gelato. Honestly, one scoop is simply not enough, go for the two (minimum).
The Meat & Wine Co.
Pick up your steak knife, the CBD’s haven of steaks and vino has headed west. But don’t be fooled, the Meat & Wine Co. is more than just, well, meat and wine. While it’s hard to look past the 200g grass fed rib-eye or the skewered peri peri chicken thighs, the salmon with miso and soy and grilled polenta are just as delish. And with a wine list to challenge all wine lists, you won’t be leaving thirsty.
If your (or your Greek friends) yia yia opened up a restaurant on a little corner in Parramatta, you’d basically get Kouzina Greco. Sticking to Greek tradition with all their dishes, showing off the best of the season with family recipes, the Laliotitis family will have you asking for seconds…especially once you taste their infamous lamb Kleftiko (slow-cooked lamb) followed by a couple (or ten) loukoumades.
Alex & Co.
Alex & Co. has managed to include all that’s good about leaving your comfy couch into one big area. AKA food, drinks, music and a whole lotta indoor and outdoor space to hang with mates and family. With a menu that has everything you could ever want – from pizza and burgers to sashimi, and an incred cocktail list, you won’t ever want to leave. The weekends see this joint staying open till late and there’ll also be local DJs on the decks.
Bay Vista Dessert Bar
If you fancy eating dessert before your dinner then Bay Vista is the place for you. With a menu that’s more like a short novel, the list of dessert options ranges from smashed choccy honeycomb with caramel on waffles to their infamous ice cream bowls and errryyything in between. It’s never-ending. The portions are freakin’ huge, but if you’re anything like us, completely manageable. Seconds anyone?
Lil Miss Collins
Wedged between a jungle of concrete office towers and just 50 metres from Parramatta Station is this little rustic farmhouse-like café. After two successful pop-ups, Lil Miss Collins has planted itself in Parra, serving up the same ol’ delish and locally-sourced feeds. A whole bunch of the usual brunch bites have a Middle Eastern twist like basic corn fritters stacked with spinach, toasted sourdough, poached egg and za’atar. These guys also roast their coffee in-house and have their own blend (we’ll take two).
Smack bang on the banks of the Parramatta River, Port Bar has those relaxed balmy vibes we just love so much about an Aussie lifestyle. Nothing beats sipping a crisp white and devouring a salmon carpaccio and pizza on the outdoor deck, not to mention, these guys serve up a hugeeee list of cocktails and over 24 international and local beers to wash down the Mediterranean-inspired bites.
The gang at The Emporium in Parramatta is bringing the vibes of Tuscany to Sydney’s west. A combo of bar, restaurant and café, this joint combines the best of the Mediterranean and modern Aussie cuisine to serve up bangin’ dishes and drinks for the Parra locals. The dinner menu is perfect for sharing, with tapas style bites like goat cheese croquettes to big plates like the 10-Hour slow-braised lamb shoulder. And to wash it all down? Cocktails and wine. Always.
Looking for places to head in Darling Harbour? Read this.
Uncle Kurt's | Image credit: Iris Tian