Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Nonna Maria's Place, Parramatta

More often than not it's the simple things in life that are the best. Saturday morning sleep ins, the warmth of the sun on your face after a long day at the office, catch up with old friends, noticing new blossom on your tomato plant or a simple home cooked meal.

And what's better than a simple home cooked meal that you don't have to cook yourself? Nothing (especially as it means you don't' have to wash up). Enter Nonna Maria's Place in Parramatta - a family style Italian restaurant that dishes up delicious home cooking in a no-frills restaurant setting.


There's not many places these days that give you a free drink...other than tap water, but at Nonna Maria's good old Italian hospitality prevails and each table is given a jug (or two) of refreshing homemade lemonade.

The bread is on the house too, soft, white fluffy bread that is served warm...but don't eat too much as you don't want to spoil your dinner.

Our group of five decide to order two entrees.  First up is the special of the night, an incredibly flavoursome  Bruschetta ($7.00) that most of us declare is the best we've ever tasted (and the guy at the next table agrees with us). The crusty bread is top with beautiful tomatoes, basil and red onions...the flavours are fresh and vibrant. The homemade triangles ($9.00) had a simple, but really flavoursome filling of fresh spinach + feta cheese.

I find it hard to eat pasta without a virtuous salad to accompany it. I guess I think the carbs and creamy sauces are negated by a healthy dose of greens. The Italian Salad at Nonna Maria's was a very generous serving for just $5.00  - another simple, but tasty dish.

We all ordered our own mains but in the true spirit of dining with friends we happily offered up samples of our own meal and were rewarded with tasty morsles of all the other dishes.

I chose the All'Arrabbiata with Spaghetti ($12). All the pasta dishes are a "mix and match" affair - choose your sauce and + pasta and enjoy.  The All'Arrabbiata sauce was rich, tomatoey with just the right amount of chilli to give it a good "zing". I think the most coveted dish of the night however was the glorious homemade sweet potato gnocchi topped with homemade pesto ($15.00). Man, this was GOOD! The gnocchi is the only pasta made in house and its soft pillowy texture was the perfect match for the rich pesto.  I know what I'm getting on my next visit.

The Chicken Schnitzel Lemon ($16.00) is exactly what it says on the menu - two pieces of tender chicken fillets, crumbed, pan-fried and served with a wedge or two of lemon.  It's good to order the Italian Salad to eat along side of this.  The pesto is so good that it holds it own when adoring a bowl of simple penne pasta ($12.00). Another winning dish, that I will definitely be ordered when I revisit is the Spaghetti Bolognese ($12.00). Why does my bolognese sauce never taste this good when I make it at home? There must be an Italian Nonna's trick to it that I just don't know about.

I'm not normally a fan of Tiramisu ($10.00) at all, but I have to say that I really enjoyed the offering at Nonna Maria's. It was less "wet"  and creamy than other Tiramasu's I've have - the sponge still had the texture of sponge cake rather than something soft and mushy that always makes me question what I have in my mouth.  I also found the espresso/liquor flavour were quite mild which I liked - the flavours were balanced. It was perfect. Nonna Maria's is perfect. Perfectly simple and perfectly great! Go!

Nonna Maria's Place is at 56 Phillip Street, Parramatta. Phone them on 9689 1112.

Nonna Maria on Urbanspoon


  1. Wow - so many great little places in Parra now. Love the homely look of the food here :)

  2. This place looks really good. Love the simple, delicious looking food. The leafy vine (looks like a grape?)on the outside looks so homely and welcoming. What a great find!

  3. What a great place! I love it when restauranteurs have real warmth and hospitality!

    The food looks delicious but the sweet potato gnocchi with pesto would win me over every time!

  4. Yup, this sure does look like home cooking. I love it! The schnitzel looks just like my mother's!

  5. ive always driven past this place and been so curious! nice of them to provide the free lemonade and woah that gnochhi!

  6. A sweet potato gnocchi? I have such an adoration for sweet potato and gnocchi so the two combined together must be a winner! And free house made lemonade as well? Must make a trip there soon!! :D

  7. You have me pretty convinced, this place looks pretty damn good! Esp the gnocchi and tiramisu..

  8. Definitely on my list for restaurants to eat at in Parramatta this year....want pesto NOW.


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