Sogno Italiano, the Italian Dream

Sogno Italiano, the Italian Dream

Opening just in time for New Year 2022, Sogno Italiano (which literally means ‘The Italian Dream’) opened in the restaurant precinct of ‘Markeri Food’ between well-respected restaurants Lucky Bao and Easy House Vegan. It’s great to have an Italian restaurant in the L-shaped centre, Mermaid’s main dining precinct offering alfresco dining along the verandas as well as indoors. There’s also plenty of parking flanking the building.

Frittura di mare and Garlic prawns

Brothers Prajwal Maharjan (known as ‘PJ’) and his brother Sushil, who are both chefs, along with their partners Monica and Rojina, carry a passionate love for Italian food. We should not be surprised to learn that Italian food is very popular in Nepal, their home country. From ancient times, Nepal was part of the Silk Road, trade crossing through China and as far away as Rome.

Between the two couples, they have gained many of the skills necessary to run a restaurant. Coming to Australia to study, Monica became an accountant while PJ, deciding that accountancy was not his chosen career path, left university to become a chef. PJ has worked in Italian restaurants, advancing to the role of Head Chef in recent years. Sushil, meanwhile, has experience cooking several different cuisines, including at the Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove.

Risotto marinara

With the brothers cooking in the kitchen, Monica and Rojina cover front of house.

Sogno Italiano carries many of our favourite Italian dishes, a great selection of entrées, antipasto and pasta (including gluten-free), supplemented by main courses and salads. Here you will find a great Zuppa di Pesce (Seafood soup), Pollo funghi (Chicken with mushrooms), or Moreton Bay bug tagliatelle.

Expanding their menu as their clientele grows, Sogno’s latest addition is pizza, baked to perfection in an Italian stone-based oven. Choose from rosso or bianca, Quattra formaggio (Four cheeses) or a deliciously elegant Margherita, amongst others. There’s plenty of scope in the menu, especially considering the size of the restaurant, and dishes are very reasonably priced.

Garlic prawns

We begin with starters, superb Garlic prawns, stunning with a touch of chilli, served with bread to sop up the juices, and an excellent Frittura di Mare, crispy fried mixed seafood with a well-dressed baby rocket salad. Other starters include Arancini Fungi, as well as a selection of salumi and formaggi which is served with house-made focaccia.

Frittura di Mare

“We make all the bread and gnocchi in house,” PJ tells us, “As well as all the sauces.”

Certainly, the bread is excellent. There’s a real attempt to use local produce, with burrata from the Byron Bay Mozzarella Co and meat sourced from Gourmet Meats Gold Coast, situated in the same complex.  

Panzanella Con Burrata

Of course, we can’t pass up good burrata, which can be ordered as part of an antipasto platter or as the ‘focal point’ in a plate of simple panzanella, a baby tomato and fried bread salad. The creamy Risotto marinara is excellent with loads of seafood throughout, and we’re especially impressed by the balance of both the Pappardelle Ragu and the Straccetti di vitelle.

Pappardelle Ragu

Made with 7-hour slow-cooked osso bucco and ribs, the ragu is very different to a rich beef ragu, the veal shining through due to the subtle bianco sauce of white wine, herbs and stock. It’s a fine dish.

Straccetti di Vitello con pizzaiola

Likewise, the vitello. There’s a choice to have your milk-fed veal served with creamy mushroom sauce, proscuitto-wrapped as Scallopini or with pizzaiola sauce including olives and capers. We choose the latter, to maximise umami flavours. It’s an excellent choice, served with seasonal vegetables and smashed potatoes. It’s one of the dishes of the night.

We’ve hardly left room for dessert, however Honeycomb parfait carries memories of a New Zealand childhood, the homemade hokey pokey scattered throughout and on top of the rich house-made semifreddo, berry compote adding another dimension. It’s a glorious treat!

Panna cotta and Honeycomb parfait

A licensed venue, with beer, cocktails, spirits, and fine wine by the glass or bottle (with descriptions to aid your choice), the owners are also offering BYO at $6 per person so you can enjoy your special bottle.

There’s so much to love about Sogno Italiano and its young owners. Highly skilled and offering amenable service, they deserve support for both their skills and bravery, opening during such tough times. They would love to welcome you to their restaurant, and it’s only a short journey to get there.

Honeycomb parfait

Sogno Italiano, Shop 7A, 90 Markeri St, Mermaid Waters QLD 4218

Ph: 07 5679 1979 Open Mon – Sun 11am – 3pm; 5pm – 9pm

NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as guests of Sogno Italiano.
Open: Mon – Sun 11am – 3pm; 5pm – 9pm
Shop 7A, 90 Markeri St, Mermaid Waters QLD 4218