A local's guide to Alexandria and surrounds

There’s a lot happening in Alexandria and the Green Square area, including Waterloo and Zetland. From cafes, furniture and antiques shops to popular restaurants and some great spots for after-work drinks or weekend sundowners, these Sydney stalwarts have you covered day and night.

We asked Sydney locals to share their favourite spots in and around Alexandria – and why they love them. Here’s what they had to say.

 

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Living Edge
The Woolstores, 74/4D Huntley Street, Alexandria

“Away from the main strip, down a driveway, there is an amazing furniture shop called Living Edge in an old reconditioned woolstore. The pieces in there are stunning; there is even a small museum-style collection,” says Ralph on our online form

If you’re looking for a special piece of furniture (or even a roomful) for your home and want to draw from internationally renowned designers (but with a distinct bent for the Australian lifestyle), make your way here. Living Edge focuses on high-end design and quality furnishings and has brands to suit every Aussie home. Want a classic Eames lounge chair or ottoman? Add Living Edge to your furniture shopping itinerary.

 

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wondering around Rosebery & Alexandria today… #alwaysaboutfood #cheese #fromagerie

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Simon Johnson
24A Ralph Street, Alexandria

“So good; such a fun shop, with the best cheese,” says Justine on our online form

Channel your inner masterchef with a visit to Simon Johnson. Home cooks or gift-givers can find hiqh-quality food products and kitchen must-haves for everyday cooking and entertaining needs. From olive oil and pasta to chocolate and artisan cheese to die for, you’ll find it here. Simon Johnson’s knowledgeable staff is on hand with expert cooking advice, entertaining tips and ideas for gift-giving. The Alexandria branch also hosts Talk Eat Drink, a series of classes that combine cooking, drinking, tasting, learning and, most important, fun.

Café Noun
355 Botany Road, Zetland

“The new Cafe Noun attached to Green Square Library is very new but warrants a mention. The burkes [baked, filled pastries] they bring in: spinach and ricotta, pulled pork and beef,” says Teik-Kim on our online form

This bright and shiny cafe greets you at street level when you visit the recently opened (and underground) Green Square Library. Cafe Noun draws endearing decoration inspiration from wordplay and Scrabble tiles (coasters, menu boards, shelf adornments). With all the latest magazines to peruse, good coffee and croissants, it’s a comfortable spot to relax, read and contemplate your next move.

Bread & Circus
21 Fountain Street, Alexandria

“Great menu; fresh, delicious, healthy options. Beautiful decor with fresh fruit and veg on display. Worth getting there early; it gets very busy!” says Kylie on Facebook

Bread & Circus emphasises wholefoods, and you can check out what’s on offer on the cafe’s daily changing menu. Those with a sense of humour may chuckle but enjoy the daily featured ‘breakfast with gwyneth’, a reference to Ms Paltrow and her healthy-lifestyle focus and brand, Goop. Even if you order everyday staples, they somehow taste better here than they would at home. It’s good news that Bread & Circus is open 7 days a week.

 

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Textbook Boulangerie Patisserie
274 Botany Road, Alexandria

“Textbook Patisserie has great pies and sausage rolls. The pork and caramelised apple is a personal favourite,” says Ben on Facebook

Here, pastry is the elegant artform it should be. Not only shiny and beautiful but also delivering on deliciousness, pastries at this bakery/pastry shop are perfect as a sweet self-indulgence or to bring back to work to surely grateful colleagues. Textbook also takes pies and sausage rolls to the next level. Or pick up some crusty-on-the-outside, light-and-fluffy-on-the-inside bread to go.

Mecca. Photo: Katherine Griffiths / City of Sydney

Mecca Alexandria
26 Bourke Road, Alexandria

“Service is great. Coffee top class,” says Peter on Facebook

With a cool fit-out – think high ceiling, exposed brick, clean-lined wooden tables, a terrazzo floor – and coffee that’s roasted on-site, Mecca has a winning combination. On sunny Sydney days, enjoy your fresh brew in the garden out back.

Sonoma
32 Birmingham Street, Alexandria

“The food is exceptional with specials every week, the staff are attentive and friendly, the premises are roomy and they always play great music. The atmosphere is so good you feel like you could sit there for hours!” says Caroline on Facebook

Come for the bread, stay for the coffee. Sonoma sources many of its coffee beans from small-scale growers and independent estates and roasts the coffee in-house. Then grab a loaf of bread for the road; there are lots of fruity, seedy options to choose from, and you can never go wrong with Sonoma’s signature sourdough.

Two Tales
11-15 Power Street, Alexandria

“A lovely quiet cafe overlooking the beautiful park. Sit indoors or out. Family-friendly playspace for the kids. Good coffee. Good range of brekkie and lunch choices all day. Friendly service. And when the owner does his special South American dinner nights, it’s so good!” says Kristen on Facebook

Brought to you by dynamic duo, husband and wife Andres and Sarah, Two Tales serves up a seasonal menu of straightforward, healthy food. The cafe tries to source its produce from local providers, such as bread from the nearby Sonoma and Little Marionette roastery beans from Rozelle. Plenty of toys for the kids provide a welcome distraction for mums and dads, and even pups get some love at Two Tales, with dog treats on the menu.

The Copper Mill Kitchen & Coffeehouse
338-356 Mitchell Road, Alexandria

“Fabulous staff, superb coffee and the Cuban sanga is epic,” says Rhys on Facebook

The Copper Mill gets raves for its bacon-egg roll, a true Aussie staple, but also offers some fancier fare and stellar vegan options. Other stand-out attributes? The great service, delicious coffee and reasonable prices,

Sub-Station Cafe
124 McEvoy Street, Alexandria

“Cosy and funky little cafe that seems to prioritise quality over quantity. It’s a small menu that changes with the seasons, but you know whatever you order will be good. Coffee and pastries also a winner here! And best of all, it’s in a converted substation. So cool,” says Alex on Facebook

Housed inside an old electrical substation, this cafe pours a Single Origin house blend alongside all-day breakfast and lunch.

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Cafe Portman. Photo: Katherine Griffiths/City of Sydney

Cafe Portman
2 Portman Street, Zetland

“Good vegetarian offerings,” says Ben on Facebook

Whether it’s macchiato Monday or flat-white Friday, this Zetland cafe takes your coffee seriously. Choose from the house blend or a rotating selection of guest blends and single-origin options. Sip your go-to cup alongside all-day breakfast with an Asian twist. Or grab and go with one of Portman’s substantial breakfast rolls. Portman is baby-welcoming and dog-friendly, and happy to accommodate dairy-free customers.

 

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Tucking into a Bitton classic – Tomato, Goats Cheese, Basil Oil on @brasseriebread sourdough.

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Bitton
36/37A Copeland Street, Alexandria

“After an overseas trip that included Paris, the place I headed to the morning after I flew back in was Bitton. Truly that touch of France in our own backyard! The highlight was a decent Oz coffee! Was great to have a quick chat to the owner, who is always willing to say ‘hi’ to customers. Very inviting,” says Ally on Facebook

“You don’t trade for 18 years without really honing your craft. The team there are amazing, very welcoming. We love David. Great coffee (we go every morning), dinner is my favourite and the wines are incredible. But the one thing that stands out most to me is the community vibe. It’s an institution in Alexandria, and the community that cafe has created deserves a gold star. We’ve made lifelong friends simply by getting our coffee there every day,” says Lauren on Facebook

An Alexandria institution, Bitton Cafe and Grocer wins the prize for the most recommendations from locals. Parisian-born chef and owner David Bitton takes customer service and engaging with customers – whether you’re a regular or a newbie – to a level that’s seldom seen these days. Be sure to check out the on-site grocer for Bitton’s own range of gourmet products, including salad dressings, oils, tapenades, jams, honeys, sauces and condiments.

 

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No. 5 Restaurant & Bar
5 McCauley Street, Alexandria

“Funky, comfy, live-but-not-loud jazz or blues, depending on the day. It’s like sitting in my own lounge room. I love this hidden gem. Oh, and the staff are fun and the food is delish,” says John on our online form

“They make great cocktails, the food is good, great industrial-chic decor, live music and most importantly, I can sit out the front with my dog,” says Shay on Facebook

This converted warehouse, formerly a gem-polishing factory, is now a neighbourhood food-and-drink gem. Enjoy fresh, well-presented dishes in a relaxed atmosphere – and live music on Thursday nights and Sundays.

Cauliflower Hotel
123 Botany Road, Waterloo

“Love the entertainment,” says Philip on Facebook

Staking its claim as one of Sydney’s best sports bars, ‘the Cauli’, as it’s affectionately known, features 18 TV screens and proudly (and loudly) supports the South Sydney Rabbitohs. The old pub, which dates back to 1838 (it’s a heritage-listed site), has recently had a refresh, so come see the updates, enjoy indoor or outdoor dining, and a plethora of live entertainment, including trivia nights and live music.

 

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The lights had come on so we’re calling sunset.

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Yulli’s Brews
75A Burrows Road, Alexandria

“For great beers and vego food,” says Mel on Facebook

When the team from Yulli’s Brews is not busy supplying vegan beer to pubs and bottle-os across Australia, it’s pouring the brew here, at a casual and comfortable warehouse-converted brewhouse. The beer – though fantastic on its own – also nicely complements Yulli’s lunch and dinner selections. Food runs the gamut from native Aussie dishes to plates with a Greek, Vietnamese or Korean twist – thanks to the cultural and culinary backgrounds of Yulli’s kitchen team. Sample a tasting tray in the ground-floor bar, or linger longer over lunch from the mezzanine that looks out over the brewery.

Photown
94 McEvoy Street, Alexandria

“They do bun cha Hanoi on Saturdays and have the most decent pho tucked away in a very industrial-looking block,” says Teik-Kim on our online form

Head down to Photown for some authentic Vietnamese street food. Choose from a selection of banh mi, rice paper rolls, laksas, rice dishes, noodle salads and, of course, pho.

Cooh Bar
90-96 Bourke Road, Alexandria

“Great food, nice outside area for summer nights,” says Megan on Facebook

Cooh Bar takes a fresh and wholesome approach to food and dining. The menu caters to breakfast, lunch and dinner guests and is full of fresh, colourful, healthy meals. And they don’t just look good. The decor is fresh, too, with polished-concrete floors, timber tabletops and chairs, and stylish pendant lighting. It’s a sprawling industrial space in keeping with the neighbourhood vibe.

 

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The Grounds of Alexandria
7a/2 Huntley Street, Alexandria

“Awesome location and the food is great,” says Luz on Facebook

Since opening in 2012, the Grounds has risen to star status in this local community and beyond. It’s more experience than eatery. The Grounds combines a humming café, lush gardens, markets, a bakery/patisserie, food carts and kiosks, a florist, farm animals and more. It’s a colourful breakfasty, brunchy, lunchy and libation wonderland of food, flowers and family-friendliness.

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