Sagra is a traditional festival held across miniscule towns of Italy, where locals use seasonal ingredients to serve up extraordinary dishes.
Back here in Melbourne, Ross Chessari celebrates food in a similar way at his restaurant Sagra. The space also serves as a rooftop bar, food and wine store and gallery.
It’s an unexpected find on Glenferrie Road. On entry, customers are met by a mammoth open kitchen in the restaurant’s centre. The walls are packed with quirky artwork. Chessari even snuck in some old photos of his dad. The mix of traditional and modern pasta dishes suit nearly everyone, whether you’re a ragu tagliatelle sort of person, or a lobster-and-candied-clementine tortelloni fan.
Classic entrees such as melanzane (eggplant) and polpo (octopus) are also on the menu, along with an array of dolci such as a goat’s milk panna cotta or cherry cheesecake to finish.
If you’re keen to know more about the restaurant’s ingredients, head over to the food and wine store, which has products from Australia and Europe including cheeses, pâtés, cured meats and chutneys.
A range of Italian and Australian wines are available to match. If you need help, look to the wait staff – a few double as sommeliers.
At lunchtime, you can dine in the upstairs gallery space, which displays work from local and international artists.