What’s the quickest way to capture the soul of a city? Try cafes, says Australian travel writer Brian Johnston, who can be considered an expert on the subject. “Locals go to cafes, not cathedrals,” he reasons. “In a cafe, you can soak up the native lifestyle, eye the fashions, get a glimpse of people's passions.”
If you are visiting Parramatta, this is spot-on advice. The unassuming city on the west of Sydney’s central business district has “the world’s best coffee,” claims a besotted resident, as well as “the nicest and loveliest people.” All the more reason to add cafe-hopping and people-spotting to your list of things to do in Parramatta!
Read on for PARKROYAL Parramatta’s guide to the best Parramatta cafes where you can meet locals and make memorable connections.
Address: 21 Wentworth St, Parramatta NSW 2150, Australia
Opening hours: 7:00am to 3:00pm (Monday to Friday); 8:00am to 3:00pm (Saturday and Sunday)
White Henry Espresso Bar
Address: 4/118 Church St, Parramatta NSW 2150, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9640 0366
Opening hours: 7:00am to 3:30pm (Monday to Friday)
Badmanner Thymes Espresso
Address: 2/1 Horwood Pl, Parramatta NSW 2150, Australia
Phone: +61 410 406 889
Opening hours: 7:00am to 4:00pm (Monday to Friday); 7:00am to 2:00pm (Saturday); 8:00am to 2:00pm (Sunday)
When Aykut Sayan founded Parramatta’s crowd favourite Circa Espresso in 2010, he was not expecting to “last more than three months.” Fortuitously, he was soon delighted to learn that people in the area had “a real interest in gastronome and coffee.”
Circa’s beans are sourced from countries such as Columbia, Guatemala, and Kenya, and roasted in small batches to ensure freshness and consistency. The popular cafe is equally fastidious about its tea and brunch offerings, and for that, it has won hearts in Parramatta and beyond. A tip from The Urban List: have the bread and butter pudding alongside your caffeine fix for the day.
The city’s coffee lovers also flock to White Henry Espresso Bar for its Blue Stag house blend. To practise mindfulness as you sip your coffee, try evaluating your brew according to its sweetness, tanginess, “weight” (rich or light?), and aftertaste (strong or neutral?). By White Henry’s estimation, its Blue Stag is almost symphonic in nature—beginning with a mellow chocolate flavour that segues into “notes of wild spice and sweet fruit” as the coffee matures.
To be a gracious visitor while in Parramatta, seek out the hidden gem Badmanner Thymes Espresso, so named because the owner Scott Sang considers it “bad manners” to walk by his cafe without dropping in. Politeness aside, you would be missing out on great coffee (Tulip.Shi) at a top-rated Parramatta breakfast spot if you didn’t give Badmanner a chance.
Get directions to Circa Espresso
Get directions to White Henry Espresso Bar
Get directions to Badmanner Thymes Espresso
The Bells Road Social
Address: 1 Bells Rd, Oatlands NSW 2117, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9684 6221
Opening hours: 7:00am to 3:00pm (Tuesday to Friday); 8:00 am to 3:00pm (Saturday, Sunday)
Address: 2a/20 Victoria Rd, Parramatta NSW 2150, Australia
Phone: +61 2 8677 5226
Opening hours: 6:00am to 3:30pm (Monday to Friday); 7:30am to 3:00pm (Saturday, Sunday)
As you discover Parramatta with your loved ones, especially if you have feisty little ones in tow, make time to rest and recharge at a family-friendly cafe. For parents travelling with children, the ParraParents guide is a godsend. Bookmark the site for ideas on what to do in Parramatta, and find out which are the best eateries, play spaces, and parks to enjoy in and around the Parramatta district.
The Bells Road Social, which opened in December last year, has already won rave reviews from the parent crowd. Scoring high on aesthetics—industrial chic decor with plenty of natural light streaming in—the cafe performs even better on the quality of its coffee, food, and service. Their beans are supplied by the family-run Morgan’s Coffee Roasters, while their menus are dictated by the seasons and incorporate locally sourced produce where possible. The clincher: parents can bask in the sunshine and fresh air with their children at the nearby Fred Robertson Park playground, and have their orders brought over from the cafe, along with picnic mats. With your tanks replenished, take a child-safe walk through the refreshing Vineyard Creek Reserve, also in the vicinity.
Also popular with parents is Social Hideout for its relaxed vibes, outdoor seating, and most important, great coffee and food. The cafe was set up by two friends who wanted customers to have a superb brunch experience while feeling right at home—in other words, the perfect place to “hide out.” Social Hideout’s coffee of choice is the socially responsible Campos Coffee, and its breakfast is highly recommended by The Urban List.
Get directions to The Bells Road Social
Get directions to Social Hideout
Darcy Street Project
Address: City Center Carpark Shop 4, 4/71 George Street, Parramatta NSW 2150, Australia
Phone: +61 1300 824 324
Opening hours: 7:00am to 12:30pm (Monday to Friday); 8:00am to 12:00pm (Saturday); closed on Sundays.
Here’s a statistic to digest: in Australia alone, about three billion takeaway cups and lids are disposed of every year—most are only used once. To help cut waste, Australian cafe owners who care about the environment and conscious consumption have joined forces under the Responsible Cafes banner. For starters, they are offering small discounts for customers who bring their own mugs.
To be part of this green movement, use the Responsible Cafes search bar to locate an environmentally friendly cafe near you, or refer to this list by ParraParents. A participating cafe is The Bells Road Social (see above), which offers a $0.30 discount on your drinks if you bring a mug.
Another “responsible cafe” worth visiting is Darcy Street Project, which will give you a $0.50 discount if you bring your own mug. Here’s why you should visit them: by choosing their coffee, you will help to fund initiatives that change the lives of people who need a boost. The social enterprise and espresso bar runs training programmes for youth-at-risk, Aboriginal Australians, refugees, the homeless, and aged workers, so that they may one day find fulfilling work in the cafe or a hospitality environment.
Get directions to Darcy Street Project