Ten years ago, the suburbs of Rosebery and Alexandria were regarded as Sydney’s industrial neighbourhood, only frequented when on the hunt for discounted designer clothes or on the way to the airport. Just six kilometres from the CBD, these suburbs have emerged as one of Sydney’s trendiest areas, filled with organic cafes, rustic Italian restaurants and speciality coffee roasters. Here’s our top 10.
Die-hard Pizza Mario fans can breathe a sigh of relief, David and Marcelo Cowdrill have opened a second Rosebery outpost - Da Mario. If you haven’t sampled their pizza before, rest assured, the pizzeria complies with standards set by Italy's Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. For any Pizza- and Da- Mario-virgins, if you don’t like anchovy on your pizza, zip it. The menu is non-negotiable and trust us, there’s a reason for it.
Black Star Pastry is a Sydney institution. Branching out from their Newtown home, Christopher The’s second shop has proven to be busier than his first. Customers crave sweet treats such as vegan chocolate popcorn cake and lemon myrtle chiffon, best enjoyed with a robust brew by Little Marionette.
If you’ve enjoyed your caffeine-free breakfast at Bread and Circus, head to Mecca for coffee. The fourth (and most recent) Mecca outpost, this Alexandria branch offers the largest dining space with a garden out the back and a coffee cupping room. For one of the smoothest flat whites in town, make sure you stop by.
Though not quite by the beach, the Clubhouse channels the feel of a breezy, ocean-side space with blonde wood, timber panels and pops of sunshine yellow. The menu draws from international inspiration, with nibbles, mains and kid friendly choices. There is a nice selection of beers on tap, and the mostly Australian wine list is well priced by the glass.
Just looking at the menu, you’ll immediately feel nourished and healthy. Bread and Circus’ wholefoods canteen offers an organic and biodynamic menu with dishes such as balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts with faro or dreamy pumpkin, sweet potato and cinnamon-spiced soup. Skip your morning flat white here (or, better yet, get your caffeine hit from nearby Mecca) and channel your inner health nut with a Daily Green juice or a probiotic ginger and rainwater kefir cup.
Veteran Rockpool Group chefs Khan Danis and Catherine Adams are delivering the goods at Cipro Pizza al Taglio. Don't expect fine dining though, Cipro Pizza is designed as a no-frills local eatery – open from 8am to 8pm – where locals can enjoy great pizza, baked goods and gelato.
One visit to Knuckles Sandwich Bar and you'll never settle for a late night cheese and tomato toastie again. This place is what heaven looks like when you wedge it between two slices of bread, with an array of fillings from spicy pork shoulder to roasted veggies and house-glazed ham. In the courtyard, you can forget you're on Alexandria's main drag. Finish up by satisfying your inner child with a spider or a dreamy ribbon of soft serve.
Holistic cafes are popping up everywhere but The Grounds of Alexandria takes the cake. They roast their own beans, the ingredients on the menu are sourced from their own organic kitchen garden and the cafe is encased in a rustic, industrial and heritage-listed warehouse. It's the quintessential neighbourhood hangout with its lush olive trees, roaming chickens and huge bread oven. It’s just a shame that the secret got out – expect long queues.
You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has been to one of the Fratelli Fresh restaurants and didn't like it. The combination of well-priced, simple Italian food is a winning one, and the Alexandria site hasn't let us down. The business offers an upmarket grocer, pizzeria, wine bar and bottle shop – just to top it off.
After lunch at The Grounds, make a pit stop at Salt Meats Cheese to stock up on all your deli desires. Hand-pick tubs of fresh burrata from the deli room, grab some fresh pasta for dinner that night or visit the pizzeria for a caprese salad and calzone – this Italian food emporium has something for everyone.