Cafe Sopra

52 Mitchell Road, Alexandria, NSW

All Details
The former pub has been smartly renovated.
The former pub has been smartly renovated. Photo: Fiona Morris

Georgia Waters

In the 10 years since it launched, the Cafe Sopra/Fratelli Fresh concept has become a Sydney institution. Using supplies from the fresh food providore, the cafe's kitchen turns out easy, pleasing Italian fare. Lunch combined with upmarket grocery shopping is a cherished weekend tradition for many at the various branches that followed the first one at Danks Street in Waterloo.

The inaugural Cafe Sopra shut its doors earlier this year and moved to nearby Alexandria, taking over the former Buckland Hotel.

The pub has been smartly renovated, with bright white walls, a long bar, and table options for everyone: tall with stools for friends grabbing a drink and a snack; rustic kitchen tables for families to spread out on; and smaller two-seaters. It feels much like the Waterloo venue, but cosier and, predictably, more pub-like. The groceries are at one end, with a walk-in coolroom converted from the former pokies room. And wood-fired pizza is now on offer with the addition of a dome-shaped oven behind the bar.

Fusilli with confit tuna, salsa verde, cherry tomatoes and pangrattato.
Fusilli with confit tuna, salsa verde, cherry tomatoes and pangrattato. Photo: Fiona Morris

With a no-bookings policy we hear it might be difficult to get a table but, arriving for lunch on a Saturday, we are seated immediately.

Many dishes will be comfortingly familiar to regulars. Some are seasonal – grilled peaches with mulloway, zucchini flowers and broad beans – while heartier classics include bucatini and meatballs and ragu alla Bolognese. There's an excellent selection of antipasti, plus pasta and pizza, and meat and fish mains.

Zucchini flowers stuffed with five cheeses (I can pick ricotta, gorgonzola, goat's and parmigiano) are fabulously crunchy and juicy in a light, salty batter. Tiny pickled whole beetroots are sweeter and less sharp than expected, but make a substantial salad with soft orange-yolked boiled eggs, crisp pancetta, and a light gorgonzola dressing.

The much-loved 'torta banoffee'.
The much-loved 'torta banoffee'. Photo: Marco Del Grande

The cocktail list ranges from il classico – Campari spritz, amaretto sour, bellini – to a more adventurous Irish-Italian concoction of Jameson, limoncello, thyme, lemon juice and olive oil.

There are familiar local and international beers and Sopra's standard lengthy list of wine by the glass, as well as the bottle, all from Italy, starting from $3.50 for the house red or white. There's also non-vintage Pommery Champagne for $10 a glass. Staff are cheerful and casual.

The pizzas here are good, the toppings uncomplicated and the bases are chewy and tasting of the wood-fired ovens though not as blackened on the bottom as tradition would have it. The margherita is a winner, as is the simple combination of smoked mozzarella and mushrooms with fresh rocket piled on top.

Our standout dish is a beautiful whole trout baked with mint and marjoram, its skin salty and crisp with pink, delicate flesh sliding easily off the bones. It arrives plain and unadorned, so you'll need a couple of side dishes, such as asparagus with lemon and olive oil, or radicchio with balsamic.

For dessert, the much-loved Sopra "torta banoffee" might be as Italian as sloe gin, but it's been on their menus for a decade with good reason, with its crumbly wheat-biscuit crust, thick, creamy condensed-milk caramel, sliced bananas and pillowy whipped cream. We pair it with a couple of smooth espressos.

Cafe Sopra takes well to transplants. Here's to the next 10 years.

Menu Casual Italian with a British-Aussie accent.
Value
 Good.
Recommended dishes Stuffed zucchini flowers, whole baked trout, torta banoffee.

Rate this restaurant

Rate this restaurant:

Use [left] and [right] keys to rate, [enter] to submit, [esc] to cancel.

Rate this restaurant with 0.5 a star Rate this restaurant with 1 star Rate this restaurant with 1.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 2 stars Rate this restaurant with 2.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 3 stars Rate this restaurant with 3.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 4 stars Rate this restaurant with 4.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 5 stars

Write a review

Thanks for voting!

Write a review

52 Mitchell Road, Alexandria, NSW

  • Cuisine - Italian
  • Prices - Entrees $5-$26; mains (including pizza) $18-$29; dessert $14.50.
  • Opening Hours - Mon-Fri noon-3pm and 6pm-10pm (bar/pizza menu 3pm-6pm); Sat-Sun noon-10pm.
  • Author - Georgia Waters
Close map

2 comments so far

  • when has a banoffee pie become a torte? If your going to use patisserie names for food get the context right! and as being an old favorite, most Australians didn't even know what a banoffee pie was 6 years ago unless they had been to the USA or UK, Now its an Italian dessert LMAO!

    Commenter
    katie
    Location
    Date and time
    November 10, 2013, 1:37PM
  • While it's a big improvement from the Buckland it's not as interesting a space as Dank Street. I've had some great dishes, the sprout salad, lemon pasta and tiramisu especially but I found the pizza a bit bland and dry. I make better at home and that's not saying very much.

    Commenter
    Random
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    November 11, 2013, 10:09AM

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Most viewed restaurants in Sydney

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Melbourne

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Brisbane

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Canberra

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Promotions

Rabbit Ranch is offering readers the chance to win one of five mixed cases of their wines.