It's been something stupid like 3 years that I've been working in Parramatta. In that time, I've had the (sometimes dubious) opportunity to try a lot of the local goods. I don't always write about them, but felt like it was time to summarise some of the options I haven't mentioned before that are on offer to the office worker in Parramatta (particularly those around Smith/George sts).
Near the corner of Charles and George sts is your typical Vietnamese bakery. And that means pretty cheap banh mi for lunch. In addition to solid pork and chicken rolls are some boxes of vermicelli noodle salads and rice paper rolls. It's cheap, it's tasty and the flavours are clean.
Oriental Tucker Box
Mostly Malaysian but a bit of everything. Most people choose the laksa or the 2 choices from the bain marie with rice, but they're not that great for mine. Char kway teow is okay, as is the short soup. They also have a small bowl of soba noodles which isn't bad.
Formerly a no-brainer for the choice of coffee when they were serving Campos, Coco Lane is now under new management and serving Toby's Estate. It's still probably one of the better coffees around Parra. I haven't had the food but it looks solid.
The Artisan's Apprentice
Tucked away in a nothing-arcade in Church st mall is a stupidly good bakery. The sourdoughs and fruit loaves at this place are out of control. A few other nice options if you're looking for a bread-based snack or meal.
An institution. Get here (Granville) early to avoid the rush and get some of the best charcoal chicken around. They also do some solid stuff with other meats, but it's the chicken that brings the people in. The chicken roll is amazing with delicious pickles and a crazy-good garlic sauce.
Don't want to brave the crowds at El Jannah or can't get to Granville for some reason (leprosy?)? Then maybe La Mono in Merrylands is the go. It's almost as good as El Jannah, but makes up for it with usually smaller queues. Solid food all round: tasty, tasty wraps, lighty, crispy falafel and tasty, tasty toum.
Bavarian Bier Cafe
Chances are you've visited one of these places before. Bucketloads of German beer served in big glasses alongside plenty of schnitzels, sausages, pork things and whatever else it is that German's eat (people?). If you're not like me and you like German beer and want a decent schnitzel then give this one a go.
I've never been as wild about Temasek as a lot of other people, but I'd still recommend giving it a go. Good, authentic Singaporean/Malaysian food like Hainan chicken rice and nasi lemak. Recommended that you order ahead if you're getting take-away as this place gets PACKED at lunch.
While they do serve a normal menu that's your standard Hyderabadi fair, their lunch buffet is pretty great. For around $13 you get as much as you want from whatever 3-4 dishes they put out that day. It's usually a vegetable curry, a dalh and a chicken curry. It won't blow you away but it's a very solid option, especially if you're starving.
Food on par with the above, but a bit nicer looking if you go for the full menu.
The Collector Hotel
Collector offers up an alternative to standard pub fare by serving a mostly Thai menu, with a few of the more popular pub choices (burgers, fish and chips, etc) thrown in. It's your standard suburban Thai that leans to western palates, but is enjoyable enough if you make the right choice. The noodle dishes are usually solid, as is the massaman curry.
The Albion Hotel
Further down George st is the Albion. At night and on weekends it's a good place to go if you enjoy house music and being a horrible human being. At lunchtimes it's more laid back and is one of the few options at that end of town to get "normal pub grub", albeit "normal pub grub" that is done a bit better. They have pizzas, burgers, fish and chips, pasta dishes, salads, etc, etc, etc. It won't blow you away but it usually isn't terrible. Outdoor seating is nice when the weather is good.
In the Mood for Thai
A better option for Thai would be this nearby spot. Standard Thai but some good decent dishes on the menu. Nice place to go in good weather when all of the windows are open.
Nearby is this relatively new Malaysian joint. Actually a fairly solid place, though a slightly limitied menu that is heavy on the nasi lemak-esque dishes. Last time I was there they had some really good lunch specials on. Ais kecang to takeaway is awesome/dangerous.
While Hong Fu is pretty well known and regarded in the west, I've always felt that it's a bit overrated when you compare it to some of the joints in Chinatown. There are even a couple of places on George st (opposite the Aldi) that I favour. Still, you can get a good meal there. The stir fries are solid and some of the Szechuan dishes like tofu with century egg are quite nice.
It's on the river, near the ferry stop. Which is good. I found the food fairly middle of the road Italian fare at river-view prices.
Similar but more expensive is Criniti's on Church st.
A small Japanese-of-all-trades place on the George st strip. Okay place to stop for some soba, mixed dishes or sushi. Sashimi is just okay.
Manaeesh Bakery & Pizza
Like manoush, that awesome Lebanese pizza topped with zaatar? Well it finally came to Parra a few months ago. In addition to the zaatar there are also plenty of other options like meat and cheese or labne and vegetable. It's not the best manoush I've ever had (or the cheapest) but it's really good value and really tasty. Pro tip: don't be like me and over order. Any more than one and you will become obese.