Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 3.20.06 PM

FOOD NEWS: Sophisticated Sophia’s
Treat your taste buds to cosmopolitan Italian creations at this suave addition to West Sixth Street.
By Victoria Stowe

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 3.19.56 PMImagine it’s date night and, once again, you’re faced with answering the challenging question, “Where should we go for dinner?” You could go to that tiny Asian-fusion place with the dumplings you like. You could even channel your inner Giada De Laurentiis or Ina Garten and whip up an Instagram-worthy masterpiece at home. But it’s August in Austin, and bearing the kitchen heat sounds like a task better left for the pros, and tonight, you’re feeling adventurous.

So, head for Sophia’s, an upscale Italian supper- club-cum-restaurant that touts a menu graced with savory twists on traditional family recipes. The cosmopolitan space, tucked off West Sixth Street in the century-old Stratford Arms building, replaces Sandra Bullock’s Bess Bistro, which closed last September.

One foot in the door and you’ll be met with a touch of sophistication and class. Rich leather and plush velvet dining alcoves add an air of intimacy to the otherwise open space, and additional seating options include the covered terrace upstairs and the antique European pewter bar.

The atmosphere isn’t the only tasteful part of Sophia’s, though. The kitchen, helmed by Executive Chef Mark Sparacino, serves up a variety of indulgent and modern Italian-American fare. Err on the side of wholesome and order the orecchiette tartufate, a dish that takes the savory spectrum up a notch with cremini mushrooms, asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, black truffle cream, shaved Parmigiano-Reggian white truffle oil. Or try the whole roasted fish with lemon, fresh herbs and breadcrumbs.

Do you only have time to sample the sweeter side of life? Spoil your appetite with the Spumoni Bomb, a classic Italian dessert concoction constructed with layer upon layer of ice cream. And pair your dessert plate with one of the more than 100 curated wine labels from France, Napa Valley and Italy.

Pro tip: Don’t leave without trying the La Rosa, a refreshing vodka cocktail made with pink grapefruit liqueur, strawberry, fresh citrus and Prosecco—a most suitable end to a summer evening out on the town. Whichever turn on the menu you take, there’s really no wrong way to go.