Restaurants

20 Of The Best Restaurants In Sydney’s Inner West Right Now

By Rebecca Mitchell
17th May 2022

The Inner West is one of the great foodie pockets of Sydney—embracing our city's eclectic multicultural heritage and our innovative hospo scene in one tasty collection of suburbs.   

The diversity of dining venues caters to every craving, occasion, and bank account balance. From authentic Egyptian streetfood and those now-famous canned martinis to a vibey Peruvian taberna and fine dining without the fuss—the Inner West is where it's at. 

Hungry? Dive into our edit of the best of the Inner West right now. 

Cafe Paci

Newtown

Ox tongue rye tacos, deviled eggs, and excellent martinis in a moody restaurant on King Street—yes please! Having closed its pop-up Darlinghurst digs in 2015, Cafe Paci entered a new, permanent era in 2019—and it's since become one of the best restaurants in Sydney. Award-winning Finnish-born chef Pasi Petänen's Cafe Paci 2.0 is a top example of Sydney's ever-growing upscale-casual restaurant trend, walking the line between midweek dinner spot and fine diner. Here, you'll find an a la carte menu filled with dishes that follow Petänen's signature European sensibilities—think fermented carrots with 'nduja on rye, gnocchi-like potato dumplings with XO trout, and the aforementioned ox tongue tacos with sauerkraut. Head in for a cocktail and a snack, or stick around for a full night of feasting. Book here.

Westwood Pizza

Newtown

While there are many pizza places in the Inner West, there are few that draw hungry Sydneysiders from near and far. Westwood is one of them. Opening in late 2020, this hole-in-the-wall on Australia Street is the brainchild of Mitchell Westwood, whose Sydney resume includes other top-billing pizza joints on this list like Queen Margherita of Savoy and nearby Bella Brutta. As for what you should try from the flavour-packed, minimalist menu? Anyone who’s had the pleasure will immediately point you in the direction of Westwood’s garlic-honey pizza made with confit garlic oil, fermented garlic honey, fior di latte cheese, and sheep’s milk pecorino. Or, you could go for the spicy spanner crab one with shellfish oil. But really, you can't go wrong with any of these woodfired pizzas. Walk-in only.

Baba's Place

Marrickville

People dining in restaurantAfter a couple of pop-ups, Baba's Place has found itself a permanent home on Sloane Street. From dishes like Bouillabaisse Bolognese to the colourful mismatched decor, Baba's is a melting pot of southwest Sydney immigrant culture. As you walk in through the warehouse roller door, you'll see the vibrant hues, ornately framed art hanging salon-style, Persian rugs, lace tablecloths, flags strung above the dining room, and armchairs that belong in your Nan's house. The eclecticism doesn't stop there either, with the food taking inspiration from Shanghai to Lebanon. There's the Tarama on Toast, which comes on Japanese shokupan; pan-fried rice noodles with chickpea miso and garlic oil; a crispy roast chook with toum and fermented garlic caramel; and the popular Bouillabaisse Bolognese made with Shangai noodles, XO, lamb, smoked koji, and cucumber. With tunes blaring and a fun wine list, Baba's is ideal for a night out with the crew. Book here

Lonely Mouth

Newtown

bowl of ramenIt’s pretty simple in Sydney—if it’s ramen from the folks at RaRa, we trust it. You can then imagine the collective cheer from Sydneysiders when the ramen experts opened a vegan-only venture on Newtown’s Australia Street. Lonely Mouth is a 100% plant-based ramen bar that offers all the usually bold and slurp-tastic flavours of RaRa’s restaurants, with a small menu you’ll still agonise choosing between. The fan favourite has to be the tatanmen ramen, with a spicy Sichuan-based nutty broth topped with house-made plant-based mince, black fungus, bok choy, Sichuan pepper and chilli oil. Book here

Cairo Takeaway

Enmore

This Enmore Road favourite specialises in Egyptian street food—and clearly, this was a gap in the market begging to be filled. Any night of the week you can find keen Inner Westies lined up out the door. The beloved pita pockets will set you back a reasonable $13 and it’s BYO for those wanting to share a bottle on a budget. The vibe is fun and unpretentious, and the food is flavoursome and of high quality. You can see why this is a local favourite. Walk-in only.

Bella Brutta

Newtown

cheese being grated onto pizzaBella Brutta sits at the north end of King Street and satisfies a sophisticated-but-affordable niche in the area along with Café Paci next door (also excellent). The restaurant is the lovechild of many Sydney dining heavyweights, including Elvis Abrahanowicz, Sarah Doyle, and Joe Valore of Porteño and Continental Deli, and Luke Powell of LP’s Quality Meats. Come for the delicious pizza and stay for a tiramisu. Book here.

Rising Sun Workshop

Newtown

This motorcycle workshop-meets-ramen house may be better known for its breakfast ramen, but it puts on an equally exciting dinner spread. The menu features creative and seasonally-changing takes on Australian fusion cuisine, often with a focus on fresh seafood and other native Australian ingredients with an Asian twist. The meal is best washed down with one of the local natural wines or boutique brews on tap. Book here.

Hartsyard

Newtown

Lobster dishHead chef and co-owner Jarrod Walsh led Hartsyard’s 2019 transition away from fried foods towards fresher fine dining with a Modern Australian twist. Having said that, the restaurant and bar has a trendy, relaxed vibe that many wouldn’t associate with a white table cloth-style venue. The menu changes seasonally and features locally sourced ingredients infused with Asian-inspired cooking techniques. The wine menu is also 100% Australian. Book here.

Tamaleria & Mexican Deli

Dulwich Hill

While munching down the odd taco and burrito is nice and all, if you want the real deal, Dulwich Hill’s Tamaleria & Mexican Deli is where it’s at. Headed up by Rosa Cienfuegos, what once started as a homesick foodie's pop-up venture has now escalated into a full-blown one-stop-deli for all of the most authentic Mexican essentials. Here, you’ll be loading up on chilli, tortillas, spices, antojitos, and frozen Mex meals. If you’re after ready-to-eat food, then you have to go for Cienfuegos' famous hot tamales ($9). Still hungry? You can also feast on empanadas, street tacos, and nachos for a steal.

Continental Deli

Newtown

This date-night favourite is the closest thing you’ll get to European café culture in the inner west. The cute deli, bar and bistro on Australia Street is ideal for enjoying an al-fresco martini (or “Mar-tinny”, one of Continental’s famous canned cocktails) or charcuterie plate by the wooden bar. Meanwhile, the formal dining space upstairs caters to those seeking a more substantial meal from the bistro menu, on which you might find a French-inspired roast chicken or ragu pasta. This Newtown favourite became so popular the team opened a second outpost in the CBD in 2018. Book here.

Emma’s Snack Bar

Enmore

Owner Anthony Sofy’s parents immigrated from Lebanon in the late 60s, quickly opening this little slice of heaven as a convenience store. Since then, Emma’s has survived decades of reinvention, evolving from corner store to sandwich shop to restaurant. Today Emma’s Snack Bar is both cosy and cosmopolitan. It serves up traditional Lebanese fare from charcoaled meats to meze (there are no fewer than four types of hummus on the menu) plus a few exciting additions to ensure vegetarians are well-catered for. 

Emma's Snack Bar is currently closed for renovations, but there are reservations available from 31 May onwards. Book here

Pepito's

Marrickville

restaurant interiorSelf-described as a "rocking neighbourhood taberna", Pepito's is a Peruvian party that goes deep on good vibes, great food, and delicious Pisco-infused cocktails. Head Chef Jeffrey Forrest is from the States, but does the Peruvian melting pot of influences (Italian, Japanese, Chinese) proud. Try the Leche de Tigre, prawn and Hiramasa kingfish ceviche drenched in "tiger's milk", or the Nikkei-style quail with ginger and sake. You won't be disappointed. Book here.

Sixpenny

Stanmore

Sixpenny brings fine dining to Stanmore, being one of only two restaurants in all of NSW to receive three chef’s hats in the last Good Food Guide. Celebrated chef Daniel Puskas and sous chef Aaron Ward focus on bringing out the best in Australian produce, carefully sourced from small producers. Throughout COVID-19 lockdowns, Sixpenny switched gears and became one of Sydney's most coveted bakeries. These days, dinner and lunch have become BAU once more, but baked-good specials (like hot cross buns) do pop up on the Six Penny Instagram from time to time. 

Sixpenny’s wine list is also expertly curated by sommelier Bridget Raffal. Wines are sourced from across the world but continue to focus on small producers, with Raffal also aiming to achieve gender parity of producers on their list. Book here.

Little Lagos

Enmore 

Little Lagos provides a permanent home for Nigerian cuisine in Sydney. Owner Ade Adeniyi has been operating pop-ups and stalls across the city for a while, but Little Lagos is the culmination of these efforts. While Nigeria is home to hundreds of tribes, each offering a different cuisine, Little Lagos attempts to represent a range of Nigerian dishes. The menu offers a variety of hearty and spicy Nigerian stews among sides of pounded yam, fried plantain and, of course, the famous Jollof Rice.

For something sweet—you need to try Little Lagos’ spongey, plus-size Nigerian doughnuts or Puff-Puffs, as they're called in Nigeria. Deep-fried and dusted in sugar, they're a little different to regular Puff-Puffs, mostly due to the fact that they're so big. Book here.

Gigi Pizzeria

Newtown

After enjoying years of success as a mainstream pizza parlour, in 2015 Gigi’s owners, Marco and Daniela Matino, announced the restaurant would no longer serve animal products on its menu. This radical pivot to veganism has more than paid off. You will tend to find a line down the street to get in to the eatery. The menu still adheres to Neapolitan pizza-making traditions and delivers perfectly textured and tasty results every time. So much so, that meat-loving pizza purists won’t know the difference. Walk-in only.

Two Chaps

Marrickville

pastaWhile Two Chaps is better known as a daytime cafe, it does offer a special dinner menu Thursday to Saturday nights. There are two sittings each night with an ever-changing set menu. You can typically expect a pasta or two, with some exciting in-season veggies. As the venue is unlicensed, they are BYO beer and wine only. Book here.

One Penny Red

Summer Hill

Located in the historic Summer Hill post office, One Penny Red endeavours to uphold the elegance of its heritage venue in both its vibe and menu. The cuisine is simple and sophisticated, offering a seasonal selection curated by chef and co-owner RJ Lines, and packed with Australian ingredients. While the lunch menu is a la carte, the dinner menu is offered in four or five course packages ($70-85). Expect to find fresh seafood, roasted meats and elegant veggies along with an excellent selection of wines. Book here.

Bloodwood

Newtown

Located in the former Newtown Conservatory, Bloodwood Restaurant & Bar is decked out to suit its industrial surrounds with recycled and reclaimed furniture and finishes throughout. The space is divided into four unique areas: front bar, mezzanine dining area, deck dining and communal tables in the basement gallery. Head chef and owner Claire Van Vuuren dishes up an ever-changing menu of share plates using fresh-as produce from local and small-scale producers and farmers. And to accompany it: an extensive wine list, cocktail options and local beers. It's crazy to think this South King spot has been around for over a decade—but it's easy to see why it's remained such a neighbourhood staple. Book here

The Stinking Bishops

Newtown

This boutique restaurant and cheese bar is perfect for treating yourself without breaking the bank. The three-cheese plate is the perfect light meal for two, ideally paired with a glass of wine or cocktail (cocktails are $10 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). Hungrier patrons may want to level up to a full meal, such as a delectable Mac and 4 Cheese. The staff is the next best thing about The Stinking Bishops. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by choice, they are there for a guiding hand and won’t steer you wrong. Book here.

Maiz 

Newtown

Walking into Maiz feels like you’re in a courtyard in Oaxaca or Puebla. It’s a brand new Mexican joint that breaks away from the typical taco offerings to serve up Mexican brunch with a vision of linking authentic food to the Aussie culinary scene.

Head chef and owner, Juan Carlos Negrete, is philosophically dedicated to this mission, describing food as “a language we use as family to express care to our close ones connecting generations, culture, and traditions. Every plate we create and serve is full of all of this.” The passion is evident in their hand-pressed blue and white corn tortillas, their chilaquiles breakfast bowls, and their heavy use of prickly pear. Book here.

Now, check out the absolute best restaurants in all of Sydney right now. 

Image credit: Pepito's, Cafe Paci, Cordelia Williamson, Lonely Mouth, Bella Brutta, Christopher Pearce, Hartsyard, Continental Deli, Pepito's, Sixpenny, Little Lagos, Two Chaps, The Stinking Bishops

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