Sydney’s Inner West is just a few kilometres from the city proper and boasts both authentic multicultural cuisine and paddock-to-plate delicacies. Whether you’re looking to sample Italian, Chinese, or authentic Australian dishes, you will find a myriad of delicious choices at these restaurants which represent the best of the Inner West.
Italian in Haberfield
Many Sydney-siders will proclaim Norton Street in Leichhardt as the place for Italian food, but neighbouring Haberfield has the authentic Italian charm without the huge crowds. As you arrive, your nose is guided by the tempting and intoxicating aroma of freshly baked ciabatta straight to Cassaniti Bakery. You join the queue to buy a pane di casa, and as the locals chat in Italian around you, you forget you’re not in a hilltop Tuscan village.
But for your meal, you have to order an elanzane pizza from Napoli in Bocca around the corner. With its smoky eggplant flavour, zesty tomato sauce, and crispy crust baked in a traditional wood-fired oven, your first bite transports you to a Napolese trattoria with a carafe of vino at your elbow. Buon appetito!
To finish off the night, you visit Pasticceria Papa, one of Sydney’s most famous Italian pastry makers for a sweet treat and coffee. Your mouth waters over the array of delicious biscotti and cakes, but you know that Pasticceria Papa is best known for the custard cannolis. Bite into the crispy shell and let it break joyously apart in your mouth as the rich, gooey centre oozes out. It won’t take long to understand why people queue around the block for these incredible treats.
Chinese in Ashfield
Liverpool Road is at the epicentre of Ashfield’s thriving Chinese community. Your food of choice in this neck of the woods is Shanghai-style street food. Shanghai Night is one of the oldest restaurants on this stretch, and while the decor is simple and functional, the food is well worth the trip. You choose a plate of fried seafood dumplings and take a bite into the crispy casing to reveal fresh, succulent prawns. You dip a steamed dumpling into chilli sauce and vinegar and mind that it doesn’t drip down your chin as you bite into this handmade little miracle. Next, you dig your chopsticks into the fried noodles with shredded pork. There are just a few simple ingredients, but the combination of the chewy, just-cooked-enough noodles, pork, fresh Chinese vegetables, and sticky Shanghai-style sauce makes it impossible to resist scraping every last morsel from your plate.
Paddock-to-Plate in Stanmore
Sixpenny in Stanmore represents the future of delicious Australian cuisine. The first thing you realise is that the elegant decor and small number of other patrons offer a chance for intimate conversation with your dining partner. Inspired by their commitment to local, seasonal cuisine (they grow as much food as they can on their farm south of Sydney), you choose from the large degustation menu with matching local wines and try to sample as many dishes as possible. You’re amazed by the creativity and talent of the chefs, especially when a puddle of cheddar cheese broth inside a poached curl of onion arrives at your table…and tastes unmistakably like the classic crisps combination. Each plate arrives with a thorough description from the waiter of the origin of both the food and wine. You finish your epic eight-course meal with a refreshing herbal tea and a crumbly chocolate biscuit from the restaurant’s homemade selection. Even after you enjoy a few hours of food and conversation, something about the warm lighting, the cute central wine bar island, and the enthusiasm radiated by the entire staff makes you loath to get up and go.