Eat your way around Leichhardt
The Italian cake shops and trattorias that line Leichhardt’s Norton and Marion Streets are testimony to its working class Italian history. From Roman & Neapolitan pizzas to quick and simple pastas, from traditional gelato to pastries, it's no wonder this area is known as Sydney’s ‘Little Italy’.
Leichhardt was first established as a suburb in 1871 and was named after explorer Ludwig Leichhardt. It features a strong European heritage with sturdy roots in its Italian community
Celebrated for its cuisine, Leichhardt's food and drink scene is largely found around the vicinity of Leichhardt's bustling Norton Street. This thoroughfare stretching from Parramatta Road to Lilyfield is dotted with Italian restaurants, cafes and shops.
For Roman-style pizza, it’s hard to go past Caffe Moretti, which is a local favourite so be sure to make a booking. Bar Sport and Bar Italia are also local favourites, serving home-style Italian fare. The nearby Aperitivo is another great spot for a drink and a bite, with fresh local ingredients used in their antipasto, share plates and pastas. For something sweet, try Mezzapicca Cakes on Norton Street. Here you can try classic amaretti biscuits, panzerotti, decadent tortas and crisp cannoli. Frattini has also been a long-time family run institution with a cosy and intimate dining room.
Set behind Norton Street, the Italian Forum is a classically inspired piazza featuring trattorias, cafes, galleries and shops. Its relaxed ambience makes this open-space quarter a perfect place to indulge in Leichhardt's 'Mondo Italianao' and al-fresco dining experiences. Sapore Della Vigna, situated just near the Forum's fountain, offers some good specials along with its traditional Italian menu.
If you are looking to mix some shopping or reading with culinary appreciation you can visit the Berkelouw Books' Wine Bar which allows you to sample boutique wines while browsing their extensive collection of books, or treat yourself to a cheese platter.
Along with the Italian Forum, there are substantial shopping hubs at Norton Plaza and MarketPlace Leichhardt, on Flood Street. Both contain cafes, supermarkets and retail stores. Norton Street is also home to a Palace Cinema, which screens a good selection of the latest in world, art and mainstream film.
One of the biggest events on Leichhardt's cultural calendar is the annual Norton Street Italian Festa, a celebration held in October of community, culture and cuisine. Check out the cooking demonstrations, traditional music, and hundreds of stalls on offer, and be sure to grab a strong italian espresso to dip your italian pastry into.
For a further exploration of the area's heritage it's also worth signing up for a walking tour of the area with Cos As It, the Italian Association of Assistance, to find out more about the food, language and heritage of the area. Take a stroll down Norton Street and check out the Leichhardt Town Hall, Post Office and Public School, all listed on the Register of the National Estate.