For a cuisine that’s so well-loved, it’s often hard to find Italian food that ticks all the boxes. While super cheap, home-cooked Italian is more mythology than reality in Sydney these days, it’s still possible to find that perfect blend of fresh, rich and made-with-love Italian food in a lively, cosy setting. Here are some of the best Italian restaurants in the area.
Whether you’re keen for pizza, a burger, or pasta Criniti’s offer a broad menu range combining traditional Southern Italian & Contemporary Australian cuisine. This place has received a lot of mixed press, but if you don’t mind paying for it the quality of food and the experienced staff here make Criniti’s a great option for high-end Italian dining in Parramatta. From Mamma Rosa’s traditional meatballs to Papa Cosimo’s homemade salami, these dishes are inspired by traditional Criniti family recipes. Kids can choose from their own menu featuring all the classics as well as some dessert options to bribe or should we say treat them after their meal.
291 Church Street Parramatta 2150; (02) 8026 7700; Open Monday - Friday 9:00am - 10:30pm; Visit Criniti's website.
Sicilian has been a local favourite on Church Street for the past decade and offers good food, good service, and a warm, lively dining experience. They have a great selection of appetisers, pizzas and pasta are all served in a relaxed, terracotta-toned space with booths and potted palms. The seafood platter is outstanding quality, although it’s not particularly big. Ten points goes to every inch of the lasagne, which is topped with mozzarella and they do mean lamb cutlets for the kids. The seating capacity for Sicilian is 350 and they do cater for larger groups and functions if you don’t mind a tight squeeze. Weekends are particularly busy, so a mid-week meal is a good option if you’d prefer a more chilled out vibe. Sicilian also offer pizza making classes for all levels of cooking experience – definitely worth a crack if you’re passionate about the art of pizza.
292 Church Street Parramatta 2150; (02) 9633 2299; Open weekdays 11:30am - 9:30pm and weekends 11:30am - 10:30pm. Visit the Sicilian Parramatta website.
With sensational food at excellent prices, and all served in a beautiful restaurant, Enzo’s Cucina at Northmead is our top tip for an Italian dining experience in the area. Enzo’s puts a modern twist on home-style Italian food with southern Italian inspired tapas plates, pizzas and pasta's, with family is at the heart of everything they do. Enzo’s mother’s homemade meatballs, loved since the doors of the first Enzo’s Cucina opened in Chipping Norton in 2010, remain unchanged on the menu, the soft gnocchi is made from scratch by Enzo’s nephews, and the pastry chef is Enzo’s sister Rosetta. Logistics-wise, parking is easy, it’s kid-friendly, and the value and service here is consistently good.
Shop1, 2-6 Campbell Street Northmead 2152; (02) 9683 4022; Open Lunch Wednesday - Saturday 12:00pm - 3:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm - 5:00pm and Dinner Monday - Sunday 5:00pm - 10:00pm. Visit Enzo's Cucina website.
New to Church Street, Mille Uno promises hearty authentic Sicilian-style 'Italian grub' that won't break the bank. The pasta lunch special is $12 and you can choose from classic bolognese to boscaiola and everything in between. When you can't make it to Nonna's house, Mille Uno serves the aptly named Nonna meatballs cooked in rich house-made tomato sauce. For dessert, we recommend the tasting plate because why choose one when you can taste five! If liquid desserts are more your thing, the wine list has a decent offering including nine Italian herbal digestives starting from $10.