Free bread? Free jugs of house-made lemonade? Any moment you expect Nonna Maria to come over to your table, squeeze your cheeks and implore you to “Eat! Eat! You’re too skinny."
At Nonna Maria's Place, they’ve got every trattoria stereotype covered, from the creeping ivy over the front entrance to the giant Italian flag hanging by the door and red-and-white checked tablecloths inside. The crowd is a mix of couples, friends and a large family gathering out the back celebrating a birthday.
Italian prawns $22
Start with house-made cheese and spinach triangles, bruschetta or prawns cooked in garlic and olive oil, or 'Italian-style' – a mix of light cream, Napolitana sauce and a fair whack of chilli. Make sure you save some bread for soaking up the sauce.
Spaghetti carbonara $15
You can mix and match your choice of pasta to whichever sauce you fancy. Prices are dirt-cheap, starting at $14 for Bolognese and topping out at $20 for prawns with garlic and olive oil. The carbonara can be a bit hit-and-miss – ours is more of a scrambled-egg disaster – but the sweet potato gnocchi is a definite home run with big, fat, fluffy pillows that hug you on the inside. Match it with the house-made pesto or go for broke and have it smothered in a boscaiola-fest of bacon and cream. Yay arteries.
Sweet potato gnocchi with boscaiola $14
Chicken schnitzel lemon $16; spaghetti carbonara; and sweet potato gnocchi
If you need a protein fix, get into the chicken schnitzel, bashed flat, crumbed and fried until golden. It’s garnished simply with lemon and salad, or you can put some meat on them bones and have it smothered in Napolitana sauce and parmesan cheese.
Free bread and lemonade
BYO makes this a cheap date night, but the free lemonade – zingy and not overly sweet – will put a smile on even Scrooge’s dial. If you ask nicely, they’ll refill your free bread and lemonade, for, yes, free.
There’s only one dessert you need to order and that’s the tiramisu. It’s homemade of course. Better have two.
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Nonna Maria's Place
56 Phillip Street, Parramatta, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9689 1112
Open 7 days 5pm-10pm
This article appeared in the June 2013 issue of Time Out Sydney in my monthly Food & Drink column Eat This! [Read online]
Read more of my Time Out Sydney reviews
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7/18/2013 12:58:00 am