Established in 1992 on Darling Street, Contessa Balmain (formerly Bar Contessa) is one of the area's longest residents eateries. With current owner and head chef Marco Adoncello taking the reins almost a decade ago, this family owned and operated cafe is renowned for its American-inspired fare infused with Adoncello’s Italian heritage. With a New York influence to the recent renovations, Contessa showcases a bold, sprawling street art mural among a canvas of refined leather booths, bare bricks and swinging bulbs.
With bread and sweets by Luxe, free-range eggs from the Hawkesbury Valley and coffee by The Grounds of Alexandria, it’s clear that quality hasn’t been compromised here. Locals and visitors flock for the all day breakfast, with ‘Rosa’s breakfast bruschetta’ (named after Adoncello’s wife) with poached egg, roma tomatoes and smashed avocado being a popular favourite. Arrive after midday to enjoy house-made Italian meatballs with handmade linguine in a rich tomato sauce, not to mention the plump chicken tortilla filled with roasted peppers, corn, tomato relish, chipotle mayo and fresh guacamole.
For a little indulgence, dive into one of Sydney’s best French toast experiences, piled with thick cuts of brioche, crisp hickory smoked bacon, caramelised banana and a generous pour of maple syrup.