It’s A Topsy-Turvy World At Sotto Sopra Italian Restaurant

In Italian, “Sotto” means ‘under’, while “Sopra” means ‘on top’. This idea of up-down dining is what Piero Carrara, owner of Sotto Sopra, had in mind when designing this new Italian-inspired establishment located in the heart of Rosebank. We popped by recently to check out the scene at Sotto Sopra and sample a little Italian flavour. Read on to find out what we thought! 

Trumpet Sounds

Sotto Sopra takes over the expansive Atrium of the Trumpet Building on Keyes Avenue. This artist and foodie hub buzzes over weekends and on the first Thursday of the month, as cosmopolitans from all around Jozi descend on Rosebank’s newest art precinct. Situated right next to the magnificent Circa building, Sotto Sopra is likely to become a regular after-work drinks spot and romantic date destination.

The design of the restaurant reflects its artsy surrounds – with pop-arty abstract influences in the furniture and mural features. Downstairs at Sotto, the furnishings are funky and even a little kitsch (but in the best way possible). Cylindrical shapes and vibrant pops of colour dominant the space, giving it an overall look of art come to life. The upstairs venue is slightly more sophisticated. With a trendy floor-to-ceiling plant wall and cosy seating behind glass doors, Sopra offers its patrons a luxurious dining experience overlooking the bustling street below.

Upside-Down Dining

The idea behind Sotto Sopra’s design is quite ingenious. The bottom level, Sotto, offers guests a traditional Italian trattoria experience – serving thin-based Roman-style pizza and handmade pasta in a flamboyant, open and relaxing dining area. This is ideal for a quick meeting, sundowners with colleagues or a speedy lunch on-the-go. 

Sotto Sopra


The menu for Sotto was finalised with the restaurant’s official opening in February 2020, serving a range of stuzzichini (bar snacks), antipasti, mains, secondi and desserts to tantalise your tastebuds. Using only the freshest Italian ingredients, the culinary team have designed a menu that reflects the simplicity of Italian cuisine, while still playing to our unique South African palates.

There are also a number of vegetarian options available on the menu, including salted vegetable crisps, zucchini fritti, Melanzane alla Parmigiana (oven baked aubergine with pomodori, basil pesto, mozzarella and Parmesan) and Pumpkin Pizza (roasted pumpkin, feta, sage and chilli, topped with pumpkin seeds and wild rocket).

Sotto Sopra

Sotto’s thin-based pizzas are expertly made with the finest stone ground, GMO- and bleach-free flours, which are fermented for 72 hours to give the best flavour, light texture and allow for easy digestion. 30 years in the making, owner Carrara believes that they have perfected this Italian menu staple. After sampling their Pizza Burrata – fresh burrata, roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs – we must agree. Wood-fired, cheesy and sweet from the roasted tomatoes, this is an ideal sharing meal between friends or loved ones.

Sotto’s drink offerings stick by the formula of simplicity – with Italian classics making up the majority of their cocktail menu. If you’ve never had the opportunity to sample a true Italian cocktail, this would be the place to do so. Choose between the iconic Negroni, Americano or Aperol Spritz. A glass in hand paired with one of Sotto’s tasty bar snacks makes for the perfect late afternoon scene.


The upstairs element of the restaurant sees authentic Italian restaurant dining taken to a level of excellence and considered perfection. At Sopra, there is an a la carte menu offering of antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci. Very soon, the restaurant will also be introducing its six and nine course degustation menus with wine pairings. The restaurant comfortably seats 80 patrons and feels completely separate from the trattoria below. New date night destination anyone?

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to sample Sopra’s selection of Italian gems on our visit, but we certainly intend to return soon. If you happen to beat us to it, let us know about your experience! 

For More Information

Visit Sotto Sopra’s website for more information about their menu features or to make a booking.

And, don’t forget to give them a follow on Facebook or Instagram!

Details: 010 824 0777 | | 21 Keyes Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg.

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