As the birthplace of some of Australia’s favourite designer labels, Paddington, never goes out of fashion.
Add to the mix the growing culinary scene on Oxford Street and surrounds, it’s got a lot to offer locals, whether or not its famed Saturday markets are on.
We recently called out on social media for Sydney locals to reveal their favourite Paddington cafes, restaurants, shops and other haunts. Here’s just some of what they had to say. To see the rest, visit our Instagram Story highlights.
Where to go for breakfast, brunch or coffee
“Friendly staff, comfortable, unpretentious, boooksss!” says Amelia via our online form
“I like this cafe because they offer both the outdoor experience in their lane area and indoor experience in their library-style area. It always feels very relaxing and is an actual feast for a book lover,” says @ghaltak on Instagram
“It’s been my regular local cafe for more than 10 years – best coffee in Paddington,” says Julien via our online form
This cafe-bookstore combo is an enduring favourite. Peruse the shelves for a classic or the latest bestseller, grab something for breakfast or lunch from the seasonal menu, then pull up a chair.
“Cafe + retail – both so pretty and full of quality things,” says Bianca via our online form
Another winning combination, this Oxford Street address successfully merges a Scandinavian-style kitchen (Köket) with Funkis, a sleek Swedish-influenced Australian design company. Enjoy breakfast or brunch highlighting local and organic produce in the beautiful, tucked-away backyard cafe. Then browse and buy Scandi fashions, with renowned Funkis clogs, eyewear, homewares and more in the shop.
“Local favourite for breakfast, lunch and pastries,” says @eloiserankine on Instagram
This authentic Italian deli/cafe is the local one-stop shop for all things charcuterie. Pull up a bench or stool and dine in on a lovely plate, or take the antipasto makings home: plump olives, savoury meats (don’t pass up the prosciutto) and salty cheeses.
“Nicest outside seating and great food and coffee,” says @cwild3 on Instagram
With a majestic maple providing ample shade and a generous courtyard, this is definitely the place for outdoor cafe catch-ups. Housed in a century-old former rectory, the Instagrammable food tastes as good as it looks.
Where to go from lunch to late night
“Barbetta on Elizabeth Street is my favourite restaurant in Paddington, if not Sydney. Big call, I know. The food is seriously good, but unpretentious and reasonably priced. Go for date night with a new or longtime lover, get a cosy table in the back corner and enjoy a few glasses of wine. The food will take you to Italy, but the atmosphere is very Sydney,” says Cassie via our online form
“Barbetta Italian! It’s an authentic Italian bistro – great quality food and service. BYO during the week – it really aims to be a local favourite,” says Sarah Louise on Facebook
From the coffee to the cannoli, this is perhaps as close to southern Italy as you’ll get in Sydney. Hunger has no chance against these generous portions of Calabria-inspired dishes. And locals are lining up – Barbetta takes walk-ins only (no bookings).
“Saint Peter! Delicious, sustainably caught fish,” says @breananisbet on Instagram
“Saint Peter for brunch. Interesting and delicious seafood-based brunch menu. Oysters are beautiful,” says @felixwongso on Instagram
Named after the patron saint of fisherpeople, Saint Peter is the restaurant associated with Fish Butchery. Stop in to this sparse sandstone seafood sensation for the freshest fish prepared perfectly and served simply, and an ever-changing menu.
“Fish Butchery: best fish and chips in town! And the rest of the menu is also brilliant,” says @danthemaneats on Instagram
“World-class, unique and genuinely innovative,” says Ryan via our online form
Not your average fishmonger, Fish Butchery never swerves from its focus on sustainably caught, underused seafood species. It doesn’t look like your average fish shop, either. Rather than selecting your fish off mounds of ice, it’s all about sleek surfaces and stylish glass display cabinets. Expert fish butchers prepare your order for you to cook at home, or you can indulge in delicious takeaway. The Fish Butchery also preps all the fresh fish you’ll find on the menu at Saint Peter.
“Great food, great service and a great atmosphere,” says Debbie on our online form
“Bottomless brunches at The Royal Hotel are the bomb! The food is amazing, and it’s such a pretty venue,” says @little_wolf_fitness on Instagram
This heritage pub is an eastern suburbs favourite. Locals gather here to enjoy a classic pub menu and the district views from the rooftop.
“Amazing Italian restaurant,” says @anjalarssson on Instagram
“Fab Italian, laid-back,” says @lucyelizabethjordan on Instagram
Paddington clearly knows Italian cuisine, and Vino e Cucina in the Five Ways precinct is no exception. Its different settings set the mood, whether you choose the elegant dining room, the romantic back terrace or the alfresco people-watching vantage point out front. The classic food, from antipasto to dolci, is consistently good – made with care and attention-to-detail.
“Charlie Parker’s underground bar – speak-easy style, amazing atmosphere!” says Julie via our online form
Walk down the stairs to Merivale’s basement counterpart to Fred’s restaurant and find yourself in Prohibition-era Charlie Parker’s. This atmospheric 1920s throwback, named for the innovative American jazz musician, focuses on concocting innovative cocktails. Bartenders blend fresh seasonal produce, botanicals and high-end spirits to craft delicious, sippable art. The seasonal bar snacks make for the perfect bite between sips.
Where to shop
“The most delicious homemade chocolates that make the perfect gift … or treat for yourself. The shop is so cute and the service always so helpful and friendly!” says Renee via our online form
“Family-owned and been going there for 20 years. Love it, love it, love it,” says Libby via our online form
A truly unique boutique, Just William Chocolates makes delicate and delicious confectionary wrapped up in pretty packaging that also looks good enough to eat.
“Amazing fashion with awesome customer service. Love supporting local designers!!!” says Francesca on our online form
Wear a Pizzuto piece, and get ready for the compliments to roll in. With its unique, Australian-made designs and accessories, this boutique has a beautiful look for any occasion.
“Interesting stuff, great service,” says @dougiejwatson on Instagram
This is the go-to shop for the perfect card or novel gift. There’s a reason Opus has been in the gift-giving business for more than 50 years. The self-proclaimed gift gurus sell everything from homewares, art and furniture to toys, clothing, beauty and grooming products, and travel gear.
“Amazing native flowers. The first original shop in a long time,” says Jack on our online form
The best part of Bess is that you can take some of this gorgeous, fragrant flower shop home with you – or share it with a loved one. Specialising in fresh, locally grown flowers, Bess’s creations beautifully decorate events, homes, businesses and those special personal moments.
Check out Paddington on Instagram #SydneyLocal
What is Sydney Local?
Sydney Local is a business support project from the City of Sydney that aims to help businesses reach more customers online. If you’re a business, take part.