La Dolce Vita: Five Italian Restaurants to Try

By Jac Taylor

As much a part of Australian food culture as meat pies and pavlova, Italian cuisine holds a very special place in the heart of Parramatta. Fresh seafood, meats and produce are sourced by the best of our eateries to make going Italiano in Parramatta a memorably delicious experience. 

For the family

New to Northmead, 10 minutes north of Parramatta’s CBD, you’ll find the unapologetically family-friendly Enzo’s Cucina. One of a small chain of restaurants, Enzo’s includes a dedicated kids’ play area, a television playing family movies and a children’s menu, while also offering special kids’ cooking events so your little one can be knocking up pizza at home in no time. The restaurant might be big but the attitude is all neighbourly: the family's nonna still makes the meatballs, and they are accordingly very popular. Don’t miss the pulled beef pizza and perfectly pillowy gnocchi.  

Shop 1,2-6 Campbell Street, Northmead 2152; Open Monday & Tuesday 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Wednesday - Saturday 12:00pm - 3:00pm & 5:00pm - 10.00pm, Sunday 12:00pm - 10:00pm.

Celebrate Sicilian style

For more than a decade, the foodie centre of Church Street in Parramatta has featured the Sicilian restaurant, a super-eatery that seats an impressive 350 guests, yet still manages to keep a warm, European ambience thanks to its tiled floors, comfy booths and intricate screens. The food here is full of flavour, from rich slow-roasted ragu on pappardelle pasta ribbons to roasted bone marrow, while also offering tasty salads that are delightful enough to have as a main course on their own. 

292 Church Street Parramatta 2150; Open daily 11:30am - late. 

Mama and Papas Cucina Italiana

The restaurant taking over the old City Extra site in the bustling surrounds of Church Street in Parramatta was never going to be a shrinking violet. The red neon at Mama & Papas Cucina Italiana is brash; the chianti by the glass is at the top of the bar menu, and the restaurant itself is open until 2am every morning. However, it’s the sweet treats from their Gelato Lab that really go over the top. Watch them make your coconut milk gelato as you wait, before serving it up back in the same coconut, or just go straight for the Industrial Chocolate creation, complete with a syringe full of chocolate ganache.  

295 Church Street Parramatta 2150; Open daily 5:00pm to 2:00am.

Sweet and saucy

A mainstay of Parramatta’s Eat Street, Liana’s is always casual and always busy. Get ready for some serious choice though, with six steak dishes, nine veal dishes, nine types of bread, 10 chicken dishes and 17 pasta sauces... and that's not the whole menu! The grilled seafood platter is a spectacular way to cover your bases, or simply choose a pizza – of which there are 20 different options. At least dessert is made easier, with a tasting plate of five dishes on offer. Traditional Italian tastes are covered, but there are lots of fusion dishes available too: try the satay chicken Bianca pizza if you're after something a little different.

306 Church Street (cnr Philliip St) Parramatta 2150; Open Monday - Saturday 12:00pm - 10:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm - 11:00pm.

Magnificent menu

On the peaceful shoreline of Homebush Bay, on the eastern side of the Parramatta LGA, La Piazza has recreated a bustling Italian foodie experience for its dedicated following of locals and visitors. Stop in for hearty breakfasts – including breakfast with gelato to spoil the kids – or grab a booth in the brand new gelato and espresso bar, complete with a shiny red scooter. There is an in-house bottle shop to select your ‘BYO’ tipple, plus a wide-ranging menu of Italian favourites. Try the pasta alla norcina – black truffle paste, pork sausage and cream – or seared sea scallops with squid-ink potatoes, pancetta and salmon roe.  

Shop 4A, The Piazza, 21 Bennelong Road Wentworth Point 2127; Open daily 7:00am - 9:00pm.

Main image: Nonna Maria's Place. Image: Carla Dibbs

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