Sitting proudly along Balmain’s blossoming tree-lined streets are a generous number of dining spots pouring some of Sydney’s best coffee, and plating up tender treats for their patrons.
Many among them are already local institutions, but we think it’s time the word got out for people far and wide to swing on by, enjoy a cuppa and chow down for breakfast, lunch, dinner or any naughty snacking in between. We’ve done the intense work (if you call eating your way through two suburbs a life-ruiner), and come up with our favourite dining order – but that doesn’t mean you can’t commit to a future return for any other mealtime munching. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh
An adorable espresso bar tucked across the road from Gladstone Park, it’s fair to point out it can be a bit of a squeeze when busy. But if you’re hankering for a cuppa joe, nab yourself a cheap coffee (brewed on-site in their Annandale HQ) and rest yourself in the park to enjoy the morning sunshine – they’ll even bring it to you.
If you’re visiting on a quieter day, you might be in luck to score a seat under the gaze of their namesake marionette; otherwise they have a basket of blankets for an impromptu picnic.
Brekkie-wise, it’s all a balancing act. Their indulgent, made-with-love coffee suits the light menu, with toasties, pastries and Zumbo bites being a few favourites.
Ok, so it’s not exactly Balmain – it’s nestled in the neighbouring suburb of Birchgrove. But that doesn’t mean Charlotte deserves to be excluded from this mighty fine list. And why is that?
Everyone loves Mediterranean food.
Fusing together melt-in-your-mouth edibles such as delectable homemade kafta and falafels with a more Australian-esque cuisine is what they do best. And if you like to relax a little with lunch, why not pretend you’re on the French Riviera and opt for a glass of red?
Though if you’re a coffee fiend, we wholly suggest a good cuppa. And if you’d prefer somewhere a little quieter (this place is very kid friendly, lest the abundant toys provide no clue), they cater to anywhere in Sydney – so long as you’ve got at least one dining companion.
May we suggest snacking on a sanga in the summer breeze?
The brainchild of brothers Bert and Tony (the name makes total sense now), the Balmain restaurant still dishes out Mama Maria’s delizioso top-secret lasagne recipe ten years after opening.
Accompanied by four other Sydney city locations, we still think the original Bertoni is the best – something about the rustic character of a local establishment that’ll always win out.
Top menu choices include their famous lasagne burger (containing none other than the greatest concoction of pasta mince and cheese ever invented), pappardelle with slow braised lamb shoulder ragu, and the vegetarian Panini (eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, pesto, olives and mozzarella).
Yet if none of those are making your tastebuds tingle (shame on you), every other choice on the menu should do your expectations proud. Mouth-watering madness at its best, prepare yourself for the most rewarding carb-loading of your life – and they do have insalate if you’d prefer to nibble on something lighter.
Play time’s over folks/it’s time for the main event/any other opening line that commands your immediate attention.
Essentially what we need to say is – it’s dinnertime, we’re hungry and kind of craving a decent cocktail. Which is where this kitsch cottage time warp comes into effect as one of the top dining spots on Darling St.
Their focus on share plates and our focus on the oven-fired pizza is a restaurant romance. Tucking into a variety of creative toppings – from hoi sin duck to jerk chicken – we’ve finally found a place that beats a greasy 2am Dominos pizza when intoxicated. If you’re one of the few humans on this planet not into dough, share the roasted cauliflower lamb or seared scallops with someone – or don’t. We totally won’t judge if you eat the whole thing.
And feeling thirsty from your jaw workout? The extensive wine and cider list should have you covered – but we can’t help encouraging you to taste test every single punch bowl and sip on several of the zestiest cocktails north of the harbour.
Drink up and eat up, but don’t blame us if you’re in a food coma before your main even lands in front of you.
Reckon you’d dine a little differently? Follow us on our social media channels below and tell us your top Balmain eating order.