It's a safe bet that no food-loving person would want to limit themselves to just one stretch of road in this sprawling inner-west suburb about 8 kilometres from Sydney's CBD.
Marrickville has it all: a thriving cafe culture, industrial zones dotted with food factories and artisan producers, a diverse restaurant and bar scene, and a creative, multicultural community.
Here's a to-do list that takes in a little bit of everything Marrickville has to offer.
Vietnamese and Greek
Marrickville is home to a diverse migrant population, with particularly large and vibrant Vietnamese and Greek communities.
Highlights for Vietnamese food include the very low key Hanoi Quan, which specialises in bun cha ca – a fishy, peppery noodle soup with fish cakes in it. Servings are huge and service is brusque. On the other side of the train station is Yen for Viet, one of the less shabby looking spots with its smart casual red-walled decor. The pho and bahn xeo – folded egg pancake filled with pork, prawn, beanshoots and fresh herbs – are crowd-pleasers. PHD and Pho PHD are two eateries from the same team and the focus at both is pho noodle soup – the latter offering extra-large bowls to sate even the hungriest pho-fiends. And there’s no forgetting Marrickville Pork Roll – the tiny hole-in-the-wall selling banh mi thit – crunchy baguettes filled with pork meat, pate, shredded pickled carrot, veg and coriander.
If you’re after Greek food, try Corinthian Rotisserie – a time-capsule stalwart serving up Greek food with a focus on roasted meats and veg in a shadowy space with plastic-topped red-and-white checked tablecloths. Best option might be takeaway: $12 for roasted lamb with soft, saucy veg and a bread roll. The Hellenic Bakery is another old favourite: a selection of Greek biscuits and a spinach-feta filled pastry make good fuel for commuters heading to or from the station. T.I.M. Products is a little more out of the way and more a "stock up the pantry and freezer" option. At their current spot since 1979 – there are pastries galore and top Greek sweets: don’t miss their orange and honey biscuits.
Hanoi Quan, 346b Illawarra Road, 02 9559 1637
Yen for Viet, 296 Illawarra Road, 029558 2819
PHD, 308 Illawarra Road, 02 9559 5078
Pho PHD, 260 Marrickville Road, 02 9090 2869
Marrickville Pork Roll, 236a Illawarra Road, 0479 000 445
Corinthian Rotisserie, 283 Marrickville Road, 02 9569 7084
Hellenic Bakery, 371 Illawarra Road, 02 9559 2701
T.I.M. Products, 407 Enmore Road, 02 9557 5877
The main claim to fame at Paesanella is the terrific ricotta they produce. You can try it still-warm, fresh from the factory at the flashy new "Food Emporium", which incorporates a deli with cheese room, food store, and a cafe showcasing Paesanella cheeses opening soon.
Black Forest Smokehouse is the place to go for smallgoods with a vast selection including smoked bacon and leg ham, chipolata and sausages, pates and terrines, all made with Aussie meats (a rarity these days) by the Deignan family who've been in the business for four generations.
The fresh pasta products made at Jiuliano – including potato gnocchi made from scratch with fresh potatoes rather than potato flour – are available straight from the factory door, 8am-4pm weekdays.
Cornersmith Picklery is a spin-off to the much loved Marrickville cafe and the place to go for jars of their terrific made-on-site jams, chutneys and pickles (the mustard is amazing). They also sell Marrickville-made Feather & Bone meat products, Griffin jerky, and fresh produce from local backyard gardens, as well as running pickling and cheese-making workshops.
Sundays in Marrickville mean one thing: a day at Marrickville Organic Food Market, which keeps growing in size and popularity. The latest is the addition of an indoor space with a mix of fashion and fresh food stalls (among them, Brooklyn Boy Bagels, the Chop Shop Carnivorium, and Lime Fresh Mexican Grill).
Paesanella Food Emporium, 150-152 Marrickville Road, 02 9519 6181
Black Forest Smokehouse, 148 Victoria Road, 02 9516 3210
Cornersmith Picklery, 441 Illawarra Road, 02 8964 7463
Jiuliano, Unit 22, 10-14 Lilian Fowler Place, 02 9519 6725
Marrickville Organic Food Market, 142 Addison Road, every Sunday
It might have something to do with Marrickville Council’s liberal outdoor dining policies, or the pockets of industrial area serving as the perfect place for coffee roasters to do their thing – whatever the case, Marrickville is bursting at the seams with great cafes.
Coffee Alchemy is perhaps the cream (or crema) of the crop, taking out the SMH Good Cafe Guide’s Best Coffee award the past three years running. The slip of a space has no food, with the attention focused firmly on espresso and filter coffees made from beans roasted on site. For something different, try the sparkler: coffee masquerading as beer.
Nearby is the cafe run by Double Roasters, now called Wicks Park Cafe. The name’s the only new thing – the house-roasted coffee and brief menu remain unchanged (the roast pork sambo is legendary and the B&E roll features Black Forest Smokehouse bacon and poached eggs).
Also terrific are the community- and sustainability-focused Cornersmith, and family-friendly, awesome-salad serving West Juliett cafes. New on the scene and worth checking out is Two Chaps, a warehouse space turned casual cafe run by the guys behind Sticky Chai, now also roasting coffee under the label Blind Man Coffee.
Coffee Alchemy, 24 Addison Road, 02 9516 1997
Cornersmith, 314 Illawarra Road, 02 8065 0844
Wicks Park Cafe (Double Roasters), 199 Victoria Road, 02 9518 0771
West Juliett, 30 Llewellyn Street, 02 9519 0101
Two Chaps, 122 Chapel Street, 02 9572 8858
In case you need an excuse to stop in at Serendipity ice-creamery’s factory shop, we declare it your duty to try their latest Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy competition gold medal winning flavours: strawberry jam, vanilla bean and death by chocolate. There are also sorbets and neat single serve ice-creams on sticks (ginger and dark chocolate, yes please!)
The legendary Bourke Street Bakery has a site in Marrickville, and yep, you’ll find all the BSB faves here including their addictive ginger brulee tarts.
Serendipity, 333 Enmore Road, 02 9557 8986
Bourke Street Bakery, 2 Mitchell Street, 02 9569 3225
Sydney’s pub-renovation fever hasn’t bypassed Marrickville, with The Henson and the Vic on the Park both transforming into family-friendly community hubs with cut-above food and still enough rough-around-the-edges original features to keep old time regulars happy. Meanwhile, looking mighty flash next door to Marrickville’s favourite greengrocer, Banana Joe’s, is The Ritz. The expansive space here is ideal for large groups, the pub bistro food is done well and the boutique beer list appeals, too.
Gasoline Pony is a far more intimate space. Live music is often part of the fun - stop in on a Thursday night for an old-school piano sing-along. Also – pizza, Batch Brewing Company and Young Henrys beer. What’s not to like?
Meanwhile, Batch Brewery’s HQ is in Marrickville. Drop in to see what’s on tap (limited hours Thursday-Saturday) – a recent, less traditional brew combined a wheat beer with T-Totaler’s Chai Yoga tea – as aromatic as it gets.
Batch Brewing Company, 44 Sydenham Road, 0419 348 958
The Henson, 91 Illawarra Road, 02 9569 5858
Vic on the Park, 2 Addison road, 02 9557 9549
Gasoline Pony, 115 Marrickville Road, 0401 002 333
The Ritz, 252-254 Illawarra Road, 02 9558 1620