Cuisine: Greek

OK, they’ve been here 30 years (the family came from  the island of Lesbos) and they do what they do and did do well. And that is mainly roasting and grilling lamb. And if you haven’t been here for 20 years, don’t expect surprises. Well, maybe the prices have changed but they’re still remarkably reasonable. Roast lamb or pork with veg $22 is roasted slowly until it melts in your mouth, while grilled lamb cutlets $20 are done to a turn and Corinthian’s souvlaki $18 is as good as it gets. Warming stifado $19, a spicy, oniony beef stew, is one of our favourites in winter. Apart from meat there’s calamari $21, octopus $24 and, yes, Stavros, there are veg — mixed and lemony $14.

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Cuisine: Greek,Chinese,Yum Cha

What’s a daggy (the decor) but wonderful (the food) yum cha restaurant doing in the middle of Marrickville amid all the Vietnamese pho joints and Greek delis? We don’t know and don’t care just as long as it doesn’t go away. It’s all here: the char siu bau (pork buns), the siu mai (dims sims), the broccoli with oyster sauce, the prawn dumplings — lots of prawns. The only thing missing is the trolleys — not enough room — so the yum cha maidens schlep around with trays. You can also order a la carte dishes such as crispy chicken or minced pork with green beans in XO sauce, both $14.80, and there are live fish from the tank at market prices. Yum cha plates are $2.80–$9.80.

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Cuisine: Greek,Chinese,Yum Cha,Vietnamese

This place comes with the title of “maybe perhaps almost certainly the best pho in Marrickville”, which is saying something. Sort of. Why not give it the test? Have a bowl of plain pho $9, Vietnam’s most ubiquitous noodle soup, then back up for a goat pho $12 and finally check out our favourite, the spicy, meaty bo bun hue $9.50, here sold as Hue-style spicy soup with big spaghetti-like noodles. If you’re not into pho, there are other offerings, such as the combination hotpot with seafood, pork, vegies and beancurd, $18 for two. A classic Cheap Eat, it’s a wonderful-looking place that could have been imported lock stock and menu from Saigon. No extra charge for the Vietnamese TV shows.

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Cuisine: Greek,Chinese,Yum Cha,Vietnamese,Vietnamese

Sometimes we hesitate to spotlight a gem like this — the queue’s long enough. Pho Bac Hai Duong has moved a few doors to a spiffy new red and silver room (formerly Hai Yen, another Viet stalwart), dropped the Bac (“Uncle”) and awarded itself a phd in groovy lowercase. But the flash makeover hasn’t changed the prices (four of us ate there recently for $42) nor the main drawcard: the richest, most aromatic pho this side of Bankstown. There, we said it. At $9, it’s the beef (or chicken) noodle soup that satisfies; we defy you to tackle the $12 bowl and find room for any of the 142 other dishes, from crispy prawn and pork pancake $11 to salt-and-pepper king prawn, top of the menu at $19.50. Sorry, Marrickville. You’ve had this one to yourself way too long.

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Cuisine: Greek,Chinese,Yum Cha,Vietnamese,Vietnamese,Vietnamese

If you have trouble getting a table at Yen For Viet, blame the reviewer from a certain Sydney metropolitan daily who went in search of pho and found not just a soup joint but a stylish little eatery with a big menu. The place is named after Yen Nguyen; he and big brother Le learned their trade in their parents’ restaurant near Saigon. They must be sorely missed. The first indication you’re in for something special is a fine, crispy banh xeo, the signature Vietnamese pancake stuffed with bean sprouts, mung beans, prawn and pork. Team that with goi bo cay (beef salad) and thit kho to, aromatic caramelised pork hotpot, and you’ve got yourself a feast — and so far nothing over $15. Next time we’ll try the hotpot with fish $15. Maybe we’ll give the pho a shot, too, and how well it competes with that of its close neighbours. We’re pretty sure it will come up trumps.

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