50 cuisines to try in Western Sydney

Western Sydney is one of the most diverse places on earth and you can experience that in its cafes, restaurants and street food stalls. From Sichuan to Somalian, here are 50 cuisines to try in the west.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Aug 2023 -
12
min read
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Parramatta area 

South Indian at Saravanaa Bhavan, Parramatta 

Not many restaurants in this price range come with a service robot, but Saravana Bhavan isn’t an ordinary restaurant, it’s part of a restaurant chain from India launched in the early 80s. Parramatta locals love the incredible value, the traditional south Indian cooking and the fact the menu is both incredibly long and all vegetarian. Dosa (a crunchy, fermented rice-based crepe) is a classic order.  

Cantonese at Sun Ming BBQ Restaurant, Parramatta 

The only thing more incredible than the fact Sun Ming has barely changed since opening more than 20 years ago is the length of its menu. The venue seems to serve every kind of Cantonese style of cooking – fresh seafood, Hong Kong diner food, Chinese barbecue, wok stir-fries, congee and more. 

Greek at Kouzina Greco, Parramatta 

Being off the Parramatta main street suits Kouzina Greco – the old-school chequered-tablecloth restaurant aims to be like a Greek home. Find simple, well-made Greek food (look for grilled haloumi and slow cooked lamb) and homey service that’s rare to find in Sydney. 

Kouzina Greco

Kouzina Greco

Javanese at Ayam Penyet Ria, Parramatta 

Ayam penyet translates to ‘squeezed chicken’, but it’s better known as smashed chicken – a signature dish at this Indonesian restaurant. Here the smashed chicken is first deep fried, then smashed with a pestle for extra softness and served with a spicy sambal to the side. But it’s not just chicken at this Parramatta restaurant, a small chain in Australia, you can get tofu, tempeh and other meats done in the penyet style, too. 

Singaporean at Temasek, Parramatta 

Temasek is legendary in Parramatta, not just because of its 30-year history but because of the quality of its classics – laksa and chicken rice. The special-occasion option, if you are looking for some, are the more expensive, order-ahead dishes: chilli crab, fish head curry and ikan pangang (fish barbecued in a banana leaf).  

Credit: Temasek Restaurant

Credit: Temasek Restaurant

Pakistani at Mazaidar, North Parramatta 

The best food experience at Mazaidar is found on the special menu: a list of more than ten dishes representing the owners’ Pakistani heritage. Highlights include the lamb shank or beef nehari (a rich, slow cooked stew) or bindi gosht (spiced okra and lamb). 

North Indian at Not Just Curries, Harris Park 

Despite the name, this humble restaurant is known for having some of the best north Indian curries in Sydney. Its reputation is built on home-style curries using less sugar and more spice. Tawa (a sizzling plate of goat or lamb in a rich gravy) is the specialty dish.   

Not Just Curries, Harris Park

Credit: Not Just Curries

Nepalese at Chulho, Harris Park 

Chulho is a classic example of Harris Park dining – a dining room in heritage former house, no frills décor and a long and great-value menu. But unlike the other restaurants, Chulho isn’t known for Indian cuisine, instead it specialises in Nepalese momos (dumplings) and thalis (platters with sample-sized servings of curry, pickles and either rice or a buckwheat porridge). 

Hyderabadi at Hyderabad House, Harris Park and Quakers Hill 

This Harris Park restaurant is famous for three things: dum biryani (pressure-cooked rice layered with meat and spices), chicken 65 (triple-cooked, saucy fried chicken) and haleem (legumes and meat cooked for so long they become a porridge-like texture). Each dish is a staple of the Indian city the restaurant is named after. 

Mumbai street food at Chatkazz, Harris Park 

Chatkazz is probably the busiest Indian restaurant in Sydney. The family-friendly vegetarian diner gained its fame from making Mumbai street food but now its menu includes dishes from all kinds of Indian traditions, but the street food dishes, like pav bhaji (a buttery bread roll served next to a curry), remain the most popular orders.  

Chatkazz - Harris Park - Sydney

Chatkazz in Harris Park

Peranakan at Peranakan Place, Auburn 

Peranakan cuisine is a unique marriage of Chinese and Malay culture. The only restaurant in Sydney that serves it is Peranakan Place, a restaurant tucked into a non-descript stretch of Parramatta Road in Auburn. Duck into the cute dining area and you’ll feel like you’re eating in the home of Sam and Agnes Wong, the restaurant’s owners and chefs.  

Afghan at Khaybar, Auburn 

Afghan cuisine is subtle, hearty and usually meat- and carb-heavy, with a lot of kebab-style grilled meats, spiced stews, rice and flat breads. Try it at Khaybar, one of Sydney’s best Afghan restaurants. They’re famous for silky mantu (beef dumplings topped with yoghurt). 

Persian at Darband, Auburn 

You can pick a great Persian restaurant based on the quality and fluffiness of its rice, and Darband’s is legendary. The rice at Darband, served with a hotel-style sachet of butter, comes with either tender, flavoursome kebabs or rich stews spiced with dried lime. Pair that with a yoghurt drink and you’ll see why this little restaurant has been busy for more than a decade.  

Uyghur at Tarim Uyghur Handmade Noodles, Auburn 

Tarim, one of Sydney’s older Uyghur restaurants, is a small, friendly place to get exactly what Uyghur cuisine is famous for – hearty, simple meals centred around meat, noodles and bread. Tarim’s lagman (hand-pulled noodles) is a classic order as is the cumin-dusted lamb skewers and polo (rice and carrots cooked in broth). 

Turkish at Cook and Co, Auburn 

Auburn is one of Sydney’s Turkish hubs, with traditional bakeries, sweet shops, grocers and restaurants lining the streets. Cook and Co, a new, modern opening, is the place to go for a Turkish breakfast banquet of Turkish cheeses, cured meats, honey, Turkish breads, olives, eggs and more. 

Malay at Mamu Penang, Guildford 

Mamu Penang operates just like a food market in Penang – there's a central food and drink vendor (at Mamu Penang they also make incredible roti), and other stalls operating independently who each make one or two mostly Malay-style dishes. All together it offers an incredible open-air, street food atmosphere that’s uncommon in Sydney.  

Mamu Nasi Lemak dish at Mamu Penang

Mamu Nasi Lemak dish at Mamu Penang

Strathfield and Olympic Park area 

Malaysian-Chinese at Ho Jiak, Strathfield 

Ho Jiak now has a famous trio of award-winning Malaysian restaurants in Sydney, but it all started at this tiny Strathfield stall serving Malaysian street food like laksa, char kway teow (smoky, wok-fried rice noodles) and nasi goreng.   

Ho Jiak Strathfield

Ho Jiak Strathfield

Italian at Oliveto Ristorante and Bar, Rhodes 

Dining at Oliveto will feel like you’re eating in a quiet coastal town – there’s easy parking, you dine with water views and there’s not much else around to disturb the serenity. Add a menu of up-market, modern Italian (how about fried zucchini flowers stuffed with chilli and three kinds of cheese) and it’s a surprise this restaurant is a local’s secret. 

Tianjin at Tianjin Snacks, Flemington 

Tianjin is a mega city in China known for its street food with dishes like jianbing (mung bean- and wheat-based crepes with various fillings), goubuli (buns stuffed with meat and vegetables) and all kinds of pickles. This hole-in-the-wall eatery does it all, plus excellent bowls of noodle soups making it popular with crowds heading to the nearby Sydney flower and produce markets.  

Japanese at Kosuke Ramen, North Strathfield 

The queue out the front of Kosuke Ramen is all the proof you need that this is a ramen restaurant worth your time. The Japanese-owned and run diner makes the Tokyo-style of ramen and all the soups and noodles made in house. Pick between the tori (rich chicken broth) or tonkotsu (thick pork broth) and tuck in. 

Korean at Hansang, Strathfield 

If you think the lines at Kosuke are long, just wait til you get to Hansang. This large Korean restaurant has been touted as one of the best Korean restaurants in Sydney since it opened. The praise is mostly due to the quality of its banchan (free, mostly pickled or fermented side dishes that come with every meal) and soup broths, which are both luscious and extremely savoury. 

Southwest Sydney 

American barbecue at 2 Smoking Arabs, Bankstown 

Any American barbecue aficionado will tell you 2 Smokin’ Arabs is one of the best barbecue restaurants in Sydney. The outdoor street-food set up is fast becoming a destination in the Bankstown area because of the ribs, juicy brisket and 9+ marbled wagyu burgers.  

2 Smoking Arabs, Bankstown

Credit: 2 Smoking Arabs, Bankstown

Egyptian at Taste of Egypt, Bankstown 

Taste of Egypt has been selling Egyptian koshari (noodles, chickpeas and pasta layered with a tomato sauce), charcoal-grilled skewers of meat and ful (stewed, garlicky fava beans) since 2002. A lot has changed since then, they’ve got a bigger space and bigger menu, but not the delicious food. 

Southern Vietnamese at Pho An, Bankstown 

Phở is described by many as the national dish of Vietnam. Due to waves of Vietnamese migration to Sydney in the 70s and 80s, and the proliferation of Vietnamese food in many parts of the city, you could say this traditional noodle soup is now an integral part of the Sydney diet, too. To taste one of the best, head to Pho An, a Bankstown institution since 1987. 

Pho An Restaurant, Bankstown

Pho An Restaurant, Bankstown

Lebanese at Gebran Lebanese Cuisine, Mount Lewis 

If there’s anything that proves Gebran takes traditional Lebanese cuisine seriously, it’s the fact that it serves a steamed lamb head to any table that requests it.  While that’s more of a special-occasion dish, more common orders are the grilled meats, hummus and other meze, and the shisha (there’s a shisha room at the back). 

Bangladeshi at Khushboo Sweets and Restaurant, Lakemba 

Thanks to a liberal use of spice, mustard (both seeds and oil) and chilli, Bangladeshi is a cuisine of powerful flavours. Khushboo is a great example. From the huge menu try Bangladeshi fish curries, multiple kinds of biryani, spicy snacks and flat breads, then finish off your meal with chom chom (a soft Bangladeshi sweet with a caramel flavour).  

Padang at Warung Ita, Lakemba 

Padang is a style of Indonesian cuisine famous for slow-cooked, curry-like dishes with lots of coconut, spice and aromatics – rendang is a famous example. Padang restaurants cook everything at the beginning of the day with customers picking and choosing between the buffet-like spread. Warung Ita does exactly that in a relaxed, no frills setting.  

Cocos Islands at Island Dreams Cafe, Lakemba 

Little-known fact: the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, are an Australian territory off the coast of Western Australia with a large Malay population. Island Dreams Cafe is the only place in Sydney serving the islands’ cuisine – a blend of Malay and Islander influences that you can try through the humble restaurant's satay skewers and roti. 

Moroccan at Sultano Cafe, Lakemba 

From the outside, Sultano looks like a simple Lakemba cafe. What you may not notice is that this tiny cafe is one of the only places in Sydney to get genuine Moroccan cuisine – tajines, couscous, mint tea and more.   

Filipino at Smoky Cravings, Lakemba and Parramatta 

A holiday in the Philippines will introduce you to countless barbecues, many set up on the side of the road, grilling sticky, sweet and savoury skewers of pork, chicken and squid. Smoky Cravings brings that experience to Sydney with its open-air, roadside barbecuing. 

Smoky Cravings, Lakemba

Smoky Cravings, Lakemba

Cabramatta area 

Cambodian at Battambang Restaurant, Cabramatta 

Cambodian cuisine should have a bigger reputation in Australia – it iss bold, fresh and takes on flavours from both Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. While there aren’t many Cambodian restaurants in Sydney, for more than 20 years Battambang and its sister restaurant Battambang II have been trying to change that with exceptional noodle soups, Cambodian curries and its famed fried intestines. 

Vietnamese barbecue at Hai Au Lang Nuong, Canley Vale 

Hai Au Lang Nuong is one of the most unique eating experiences in Sydney because of two things. One, the sheer variety on a menu, supported by some exceptional Vietnamese charcoal grilled dishes. Two, the restaurant’s maximalist and eclectic interiors. There are also occasional karaoke performances, an arcade section and party vibe that can spring at any time after 8pm. 

Balkan at Fabrika by Madera, Canley Heights 

Fabrika may be the only place in Sydney you can get a Balkan mixed grill, a marbled Black Onyx Tomahawk steak, a rakija-spiked cocktail and a night of live music. The hip bar-restaurant is one of the rare representations of Balkan cuisine and it’s not afraid to be different.  

Fabrika by Madera, Canley Heights

Fabrika by Madera, Canley Heights

Thai at Holy Basil, Parramatta and Canley Heights 

The goal of any good Thai chef is to balance sweet, sour, salty and spicy and Holy Basil brings it all to the table in an elaborate golden-speckled dining room. Holy Basil specialises in northeast Thailand or Isaan food, try the grilled meats and papaya salads for an example.  

Polish at Copernicus Bakery and Deli, Prestons 

Pączki, the Polish jam doughnut that’s as delicious as it is hard to say for anyone not born in Poland, is the signature dish at Copernicus. The bakery-deli-grocer is also locally famous for doing a killer Polish sandwich (stacked with Polish cheese and cured meats), strong coffee and a range of other Eastern European sweets.  

Chilean at La Paula Continental Cakes and Sandwiches, Fairfield 

Chilean cuisine is known in South America for having super-sized versions of everything – huge empanadas, massive sandwiches and hotdogs loaded with ingredients. La Paula is an opportunity to try it all in a diner that’s barely changed since the 80s. 

La Paula Continental Cakes - Fairfield

La Paula Continental Cakes, Fairfield

Lao at Lao Village, Fairfield 

Lao Village is a restaurant of big flavours, a true representation of Lao cuisine, never shy on the salty, bitter, spicy, savoury – or all of the above at once – flavours. This quaint, extremely purple restaurant is an institution, serving Fairfield locals Lao sausages and punchy papaya salads since 1983. 

Iraqi at Kebab Abu Ali, Fairfield  

Kebab Abu Ali was once a small kebab shop, but thanks to the quality of the food and the support of Sydney’s Iraqi community, it’s now a cosy restaurant adorned with Iraqi antiques and patterns. On the menu find grilled meats, Iraqi meze, barbecued fish and quzi (slow-cooked lamb, nuts and dried fruit over rice). 

El Salvadorean at Raza Central, Camden 

El Salvadoreans travel from all over the state to get to the one and only dedicated pupusa shop in Sydney. These corn-based, grilled and usually cheese-topped flatbreads are a national snack in El Salvador and this little, takeaway shop makes them as traditional as they come. 

 

Eastwood 

Shunde at Taste of Shunde, Eastwood 

Shunde is an offshoot of Cantonese cuisine hailing from the city by the same name. The cuisine is famed for delicate flavours and produce-forward cooking. Taste of Shunde is a great example of that style, with its roast goose and seafood platters giving the restaurant acclaim as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Sydney.  

Taste of Shunde - Credit: Lee Tran Lam

Taste of Shunde - Credit: Lee Tran Lam

Shaanxi at Seabay Hand-Made Noodle, Eastwood 

In many ways Seabay is your typical neighbourhood Chinese diner – good value, basic decorations and an extensive menu. But few neighbourhood restaurants serve Shaanxi cuisine, particularly not of this quality. The cuisine from China’s northwest is known for hearty meals with lots of noodles, bread, lamb and a garlic-vinegar-salty flavour profile. Like the locals, load up on dumplings and noodles. 

Sichuan at Taste of Chongqing, Eastwood 

Chongqing, a city in Sichuan, east China, is a food destination with the big draw cards being hotpot, the city’s eponymous noodles and a variety of dishes carrying the typical hot-and-numbing mala flavour that comes from the chilli and Sichuan pepper combo. This diner serves a big range of traditional dishes and is locally popular as a good-value restaurant.  

Shanghai at 257 Home Kitchen, Eastwood 

Like all great Shanghainese restaurants in Sydney, 257 Home Kitchen is a master at dumplings, both soup-filled xiao long bao and the crisp-bottomed shen jian bao. The modern restaurant is also well known for other Shanghai specialties like hong shao rou (red braised pork belly). 

Northeastern Chinese at The Northeast, Eastwood 

China’s northeast region brings together a few cuisines, which find similarities in their use of wheat (noodles, bread and dumplings, over rice as the staple), sweet and sour sauces, preserved vegetables and hearty soups. The Northeast serves the lot, but the big attraction (along with the northeast-styled interiors) is the latter, with huge hotpots cooked in the middle of your table. 

Taiwanese at Hungry Paulie, Eastwood 

Hungry Paulie started as a market stall selling Taiwanese breakfast – pepper buns, fresh soy milk, sticky rice and more – but it was so popular it had to expand to fit everyone in. Now there are multiple Hungry Paulie restaurants across Sydney with the flagship in Eastwood. It still serves the famous breakfast items, but now also a huge range of other Taiwanese noodle soups, pastries, dumplings and fried chicken.  

Taiwanese fare at Hungry Paulie, Eastwood - Credit: Hungry Paulie

Taiwanese fare at Hungry Paulie, Eastwood - Credit: Hungry Paulie

Blacktown 

Burmese at Sun’s Burmese, Blacktown 

For most of its decade-long history, Sun’s has been the only Burmese restaurant in Sydney. Since opening on a suburban backstreet in Blacktown, the restaurant’s fans have praised the danbuak (layered rice and meat, like biryani), lahpet thoke (a textural salad made with fermented tea leaves) and the relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere.  

Sudanese at Omdurman Centre, Blacktown 

Imagine a mix of Middle Eastern, Indian and Ethiopian food, and you’d be somewhat close to Sudanese. At the time of writing, Omdurman is the only sit-down venue in Sydney to try it. Try ful (stewed fava beans), spiced and grilled lamb, and asseda (an elastic and doughy ball used to scoop up sauce and meat).  

Ethiopian at Gursha, Blacktown 

Gursha is a typical family restaurant. The owners Yibeltal Tsegaw and Rahel Woldearegay, do all the cooking and most of the waiting, too. They’re there to encourage the traditional way of eating Ethiopian food – all the food (usually boldly flavoured curry-like stews and legume dishes) is dolloped on a soft, sour pancake called injera. You eat with your hands, using the injera to scoop up the food. Afterwards, you can even have your own traditional coffee ceremony.  

Ethiopian at Gursha, Blacktown

Ethiopian at Gursha, Blacktown

Penrith 

Mexican at Checho’s, Penrith 

Checho’s cooking is somewhere between American-style Mexican, real Mexican and modern Mexican, think fried chicken tacos, mezcal spiked halloumi and Mexican spiced watermelon and feta salad. The vibe - trendy, bright and cocktail heavy - matches the menu. The restaurant is the second venue by the Cinco Hombres Hospitality Group after Parramatta’s Favela. 

Portuguese at The Union, Penrith 

The Union offers a classic Portuguese experience – paprika-spiced seafood, bread on the table, Iberian wines and a Portuguese tart to finish. You might also get a visit from the friendly chef-owner Celia De Olivera, a first-time restaurateur who used to be a pastry chef for Adriano Zumbo.  

Friends enjoying food and drink at The Union, Penrith in Western Sydney

The Union, Penrith

 

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