First Look: Sophia's

Old school meets new in old Bess Bistro space

photo courtesy of Sophia's

From its tufted sapphire chairs to custom Tom Dixon lighting to romantic dining alcoves, Sophia's strives for cool sophistication. Inspired by Italian film icon Sophia Loren, it harkens back to Hollywood's Golden Age in its refined color palette and rich modern decor.

photo courtesy of Sophia's

The latest concept from Chicago-based BDG Hospitality, Sophia’s was inspired by the midcentury supper club. Upon entering, patrons are greeted with a black-and-white gallery wall, sultry lighting, and an antique European pewter bar. The space, formerly home to Sandra Bullock’s Bess Bistro, features an open-concept dining room and a covered terrace. On the weekends, Sophia’s adds live entertainment to the mix. A DJ booth emerges from the fireplace as the music grows louder and the lights grow dimmer.

photo courtesy of Sophia's

Sophia’s menu mostly features revamped renditions of classic Italian dishes. Executive Chef Mark Sparacino uses simple ingredients and family recipes, but integrates contemporary techniques. The menu features some housemade and imported pastas, plus a few shareable plates divided into "hot" and "cold" categories. Favorites include the arugula salad, delicately dressed in a basil citranette, and the fusilli calabrese with sautéed shrimp, calabrese peppers, and garlic and chile-infused olive oil. Heavier appetites can choose from serious entrees like an 18-oz. steak or a half brick chicken.

photo courtesy of Sophia's

Ending an evening at Sophia’s without a cocktail and dessert would be sinful. With barrel-aged Manhattans and negronis, Italian liquors, and an extensive wine list, Sophia’s beverage program is thorough. Highlights include La Rosa with Ketel One, pink grapefruit liqueur, citrus, strawberry, and Prosecco, and The American with Cocchi Rosa, white and rose vermouth, and lemon. The desserts are designed to be fun, like the tiramisu served as a push-up pop or the playfully named Birthday Suit Cake. With true Italian hospitality, the dining experience at Sophia’s invites guests to stay a while, have a drink, and enjoy.

Sophia’s
500 W. Sixth, 512/580-9990
Tue.–Wed., 5pm–12mid;
Thu.–Sat., 5pm-2am; Sun., 4-9pm
www.sophiasaustin.com

Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

If you want to submit a recipe, send it to food@austinchronicle.com

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Sophia's
Sophia's Gets a New Direction
Sophia's Gets a New Direction
More seasonal features, a new bar menu, and a new chef de cuisine

Kali Venable, July 11, 2017

More by Lauren Jones
At the Crossroads: Joe Nick Patoski’s <i>Austin to ATX</i>
At the Crossroads: Joe Nick Patoski’s Austin to ATX
Book, launching Feb. 13, tracks Austin’s evolving character

Feb. 11, 2019

South Austin Italian Spot Milano Cafe Celebrates 10 Years
South Austin Italian Spot Milano Cafe Celebrates 10 Years
An authentic meal in a tucked-away Southwest Parkway strip mall

Jan. 25, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

BDG Hospitality, Bess Bistro, Mark Sparacino, Tom Dixon, Sophia's

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle