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Leichhardt Italian Forum
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

A guide to Leichhardt

Restaurants, bars, shops and events in Leichhardt

By Alannah Maher and Time Out editors

You might have heard this Inner West 'burb referred to as Sydney's 'Little Italy'. This hub of Italian food and community centres around Norton Street, the avenue famously packed with red-sauce pasta joints and traditional grocers and cafés. You'll also find more international offerings, wholesome bakeries and hip bars on the hospo front. 

Check out the Italian Forum for a right-there-in-Italy feel (of a semi-genuine nature) and catch a flick at the Norton Street branch of Palace Cinemas, an alternative to mainstream cinemas. Got a friend with four legs? Hawthorne Canal Reserve is a popular place for walkies and off-leash shenanigans, and it has its own dog-friendly café. 

We've rounded up some of the best options for eating, drinking and caffeination as well as places to check out in the suburb with two 'h's.  

RECOMMENDED: A local's guide to Marrickville.

Exterior at Bar Italia Leichhardt
Photograph: Daniel Boud

Bar Italia

Restaurants Leichhardt

Bar Italia is one of the busiest places to eat in Leichhardt, with lines out the door and a room full of hungry punters squished together on benches and tables. Choose wisely and you can eat here for under $15, there's excellent gelati for dessert, and if you've taken a punt on a date you're not sure about, it's loud enough to hide the awkward silences. 


A dog looks up to a hand holding a green ball, poised to chase it.
Photograph: Unsplash/Tatiana Rodriguez

Hawthorne Canal Reserve

Things to do Leichhardt

This popular dog park has plenty of space for canine shenanigans. You can work on your dog’s obedience issues at the regular Sunday morning dog classes, and Café Bones offers treats for both dogs and humans, and pup-friendly sitting arrangements.

Installation view of Woof! Art Prize
Photograph: Supplied/Art Est

Art Est. Arts School

Things to do Leichhardt

Located in a spacious, light-filled heritage warehouse, Art Est is an independent art school in Leichhardt with four dedicated teaching studios, an art gallery and a large ceramics studio. There are a range of creative classes for adults, teens and kids to try out here, as well as quirky art exhibitions like the annual Woof! Art Prize – the unauthorised canine companion to the Archibald Portrait Prize.

Capriccio Osteria
Photograph: Supplied/Capriccio Osteria

Capriccio Osteria & Bar

Restaurants Italian Leichhardt

Capriccio stays true to its osteria roots, serving simple Italian dishes and a selection of wines. No fuss, just quality food paired with a glass of the good stuff. Diners can sit inside and enjoy the spacious design or in the courtyard, which looks as if its been stolen from a Tuscan postcard.


People sitting at bar at Golden Gully
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Golden Gully

Bars Leichhardt

Golden Gully isn’t exactly the neighbourhood bar you might expect. They've gone all-out Australiana here, but in a way that doesn’t feel hokey or contrived. Think emerald-green wainscoting and stylish gold light fixtures, dried natives in vases, vintage-looking posters from nearby breweries and framed black-and-white photos of the bush. And with some exceptions, all the booze is home-grown, too.


Inside Palace Cinema Palace Norton Street
Photograph: Chris Whitfield

Palace Norton Street Cinemas

Film Leichhardt

Leichhardt's branch of indie chain Palace Cinemas houses eight auditoria, all licensed, and an impressive foyer with a lounge bar and café on site. It plays host to some of the best annual film festivals such as the French, Spanish, Greek, German and Italian. 

Man standing infront of traditional Aboriginal artwork at Boomal
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Boomalli Aboriginal Artists’ Co-op

Art Leichhardt

Boomalli was founded in 1987 by local artists set on challenging the status quo. They drove a new understanding of the urban Indigenous art movement in Australia. They continue to showcase the incredible work of the foundational members as well as emerging and mid-career Aboriginal artists whose language groups exist within the NSW state boundaries, with a strong focus on regional creatives.

Lemon tart at Penny Fours
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Penny Fours

Restaurants Leichhardt

It’s a small operation here. A handful of seats by the windows and a gleaming glass display case is pretty much it, but we aren’t here for décor, we are here for cake. At Penny Fours they have the sticky bun of your dreams and mini lemon meringue tarts with sweet, marshmallow-y peaks on top that linger in our dreams. 

Fig cheese and wine at Creek and Cella
Photograph: Jack Ailwood

Creek and Cella

Bars Craft beer Leichhardt

They nailed the atmosphere part of the brief with this open, honest, simple space that ticks all the boxes of a good small bar. Kick back in a spacious sandstone terrace that lifts you just above the bobbing heads of passersby and prepare to stick around for longer than intended. The staff know their business, and that business is cheese, beer and wine.


Bars Leichhardt

This friendly restaurant is a go-to place for long, late lunches, intimate dinners, glasses of wine at the bar, cocktails, and of course – grappa, the fragrant, grape-based Italian spirit and popular digestif packing a high alcohol percentage.

Bus people at Sydney Bus Museum
Photograph: Steve Burrows

Sydney Bus Museum

Museums History Leichhardt

It’s all aboard for a one-way trip to public transport geekery at the Sydney Bus Museum, which has a huge collection of vintage buses kept at the hundred-year-old Leichhardt Tramshed. This quirky, niche museum is open on the first and third Sunday of each month.

Bacon and egg roll at Carpenter Cafe
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

The Carpenter

Restaurants Cafés Leichhardt

Like many neighbourhood gems, from the outside the Carpenter is unremarkable. But, from 7am to 3pm, this warehouse conversion café draws clued-in customers inside. The menu offers hotcakes, truffle eggs, steak sangers, and the mandatory poached eggs and smashed avocado with subtle depths.



Restaurants Leichhardt

Steam power once revolutionised the modern world, and now 300 years later it is being used to change the way we think about the humble muffin. Young guns Jack and Danielle were doing such a roaring market trade in their steam-baked muffins that they decided to open their own permanent premises. Now you can get your hands on their savoury, sweet and gluten free muffins all week long.

Jasmin1 Leichardt

Restaurants Leichhardt

There was a time when we'd hop the train and schlep to Lakemba for a plate of Jasmin's falafels. But you only need to go as far as Leichhardt for this Lebanese takeaway with a cult following. 

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