We’ve found some of the best options in town for this pub-grub classic. Whether you want well-priced parmas or variations on the theme, from veggie parmas to parma pizzas and mac ‘n’ cheese parmas, step this way.
The Duke of Wellington
Melbourne’s oldest pub recently emerged from a top-to-toe renovation. But that doesn’t mean no parma – it means The Duke of Wellington has really thought about how you want it. There’s the classic Duke parma with crinkle-cut chips. The petite parma for when you don’t want to overdo it – including lunchtime when it’s just $20 with a beer or wine. The vegan parma, which is a crumbed tomato-polenta croquette with eggplant ‘ham’, napoli sauce and vegan cheese. And the massive, Insta-worthy Larmagiana: a parma topped with lasagne.
Time Out Fed Square
Set up under those iconic orange umbrellas at Fed Square, Time Out is a parma gem hidden in plain sight. These loaded schnittys come oozing with delicious melted cheese and a rich, delectable sauce – perfect for your winter comfort food cravings. Swing by in July and August and this perfect plate of yum will set you back a mere fifteen bucks!
Here, it’s all about the parma. Choose a chicken, veal or eggplant parma, prepared in one of nine styles, from original to vindaloo, three-cheese to smoky. Then get something equally good to sip on. Mrs Parma’s has lots of Victorian craft brews – and a cider – on tap, plus plenty more bottled beer and wine. In other words, this is parma paradise.
One of the CBD’s few old corner pubs still going strong, the Imperial Hotel has been serving up parmas for generations. Now though, it’s not one-size-fits-all: choose a full or half-size parma, an eggplant parma, or the parma pizza. This is a chicken schnitty pressed into a pizza shape, covered in parma toppings and sliced like pizza. The solution to your comfort-food dilemma needs to be pre-ordered, and is so big you’ll probably need help getting through it.
Sure, it’s steak heaven, but this Docklands restaurant isn’t too shabby in the parma department either. Steakhouse 66’s Signature Double Parma is a hefty double layer of crumbed chicken fillets, tomato relish, Kaiser ham and three cheeses. It might be a struggle to get through it, plus the quinoa salad on the side. Take a deep breath and a sip of craft beer, ponder the waterfront views and carry on.
The Oxford Scholar
Here’s some A+ news for RMIT students past and present, and a whole lot of Melburnians besides: The Oxford Scholar is back! One of the city’s oldest pubs has re-opened after a big, beautiful renovation. The menu’s had a major overhaul too, but you’ll still find a classic parma. It comes with salt and vinegar fries, and is only $15 on Tuesdays.
North Melbourne is blessed with great pubs, including The Leveson, a Victorian-era building with a surprisingly modern interior. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of old-school pleasure on the menu, including a parma with smoked ham, and beer-battered chips on the side. Tuesday’s your best bet, because there’s a $20 parma-and-pint special for lunch and dinner. If you don’t fancy beer or cider they’ll happily switch it up to a glass of wine or a softie.
The Bottom End
Inspired by America’s dive bars, The Bottom End has lots of drinkies, tunes, sport on the big screens and diner-style food. Think burgers, hot dogs and wings, brought to you by Easey’s, Collingwood’s cool trains-in-the-sky venue. It sounds like a parma-free zone, but far from it: as well as the classic, there’s also mac ‘n’ cheese parma. It’s smothered with six-cheese mac ‘n’ cheese then sprinkled with grated cheese before being baked. Yup, that’s a lot of cheese, which is why this parma’s so good.
With a modern Australian menu that draws on deliciousness from around the world, Platform 28 can satisfy big and little Vegemites alike. The parma is no exception, which comes in a hunger busting adult size or a mini kid’s version for just 12 bucks. Made from the finest free range chicken schnitzel, topped with leg ham then slathered in Napoli sauce and mozzarella, no one’s going to be complaining when this delicious dish arrives at the table.
After a wall to wall renovation, Kensington’s Hardimans Hotel re-opened as a pretty posh pub in 2018. The parma’s a bit posh too, though not the price tag: $24 is money well spent for this generous slab of deliciousness. The flavours are bold, from the garlicky crumbs to the slightly salty prosciutto, and the chips are big, thick-cut beauties. It’s a warm welcome back right there on your plate.
More parma potential
Looking for more parma action, especially budget-friendly specials? The Crafty Squire has $15 parmas from 5pm Tuesdays, while Young & Jackson has the same sweet deal for weekday lunches. The Carlton Hotel goes one better Thursday lunchtime with $15 chicken or eggplant parmas plus a pot of Furphy, cider or soft drink. The Prince Alfred Rooftop and Bar has $17 parmas on Tuesdays, while Hightail has the same deal on Thursdays.