Nonna Maria’s Place, Parramatta


  • I had a clear agenda when I set out for Nonna Maria’s Place: homemade sweet potato gnocchi with Napolitana sauce.
  • It appealed to me because of its homemade aspect and the fact that the use of sweet potato made it unusual.
  • Things seemed promising upon entering the restaurant.
  • There was a faux fireplace that heated up the space to a cosy warmth, as well as a strong garlic/tomato/herbs aroma that enveloped my nose.
  • The complimentary bread basket and jug of homemade lemonade were a nice touch, albeit nothing to write home about in terms of the taste.
  • And then – when it was time to order – things went gently downhill.
  • I had intended to eat the gnocchi without any expectations.
  • What I didn’t expect was for it to be unavailable, necessitating me to order fettuccine with Napolitana sauce instead.
  • I’ve often lamented that pasta dishes are usually edible but never mind-blowingly good i.e. places that serve great pasta dishes appear to be elusive unicorns.
  • The way I see it, there are two factors: the pasta and the sauce.
  • Whether the pasta is made from scratch or not doesn’t seem to be nearly as important as it being cooked al dente.
  • Since the pasta is essentially a blank canvas that comes in many different shapes and sizes, it is up to the sauce to impart the flavour.
  • Keeping those two checkpoints in mind, my fettuccine with Napolitana sauce failed to deliver on both counts.
  • The pasta was too soft, and the sauce barely held a shadow of the flavour I would have expected based on the aroma that greeted me upon arrival.
  • I give Nonna Maria’s Place credit for delivering on the atmosphere of a home cooked meal and friendly wait staff.
  • However, I can’t say that the meal was sufficient to make me want to return to Nonna Maria’s Place for gnocchi attempt numero due.

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