PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Tropicana Caffe opened in 1980, and since then has moved locations, donated $20,000 to Sydney Children's Hospital, opened an online store and started Australia's largest amateur short film competition, Tropfest. Not bad for a humble Darlinghurst cafe. But many Tropicana patrons are unaware of the esteem of this institution; they simply enjoy the buzzy atmosphere, good value and famous salads of "the Trop". Serving food until 10.30pm at night, you'll often find the brightly lit room full of young Paddington and Darlinghurst locals enjoying the corkage-free BYO. It can get so packed and noisy that pedestrians on Victoria Street would be forgiven for thinking they were walking past a trendy pub rather than a cafe.
Inside you line up at one counter to order your food which then appears at a second counter a short while later. There is a massive range of focaccias and salads, as well as daily changing pastas and Italian-style main meals such as veal scallopine. The salads are famous for being large and filling enough to make a meal on their own and in winter soups are added to the mix. In 2004 Tropicana added a bonus feature – online ordering. Browse the menu through parameters like "meat", "fish" or "vegetarian", click a button and hey presto! The real question is: what will Tropicana do next?