In the belly of the architect

by Brooke Turner
Australian Financial Review Magazine

After 25 years of resisting the temptation to expand, Melbourne institution Café Di Stasio is opening a second, million dollar venue. Its quixotic master builder ‘Ronnie’ Di Stasio tells Brook Turner – over lunch, naturally – why reinvention is at the heart of constancy.

I’ve felt fortunate at various stages of my life as a restaurateur, but I never realised until now how lucky I was to stick with one restaurant, and one that is an expression of me.” Rinaldo ‘Ronnie’ Di Stasio is sunk deep in a sofa, glass in hand, dog at his knee as he eyes with an habitual mix of satisfaction and anxiety his Yarra Valley principality, every inch of it an expression of the prince himself.

What passes for a light lunch has just finished: Cafe Di Stasio’s signature tomato and basil lasagna; dewy lamb shanks that dissolve on the tongue, leaving only an aftertaste of rosemary and fresh lemon; a delicately latticed berry tart; culminating in coffee and a coma.


Local restaurant Café Di Stasio honored at Australia’s hottest restaurant awards

Excerpt from Open Haus media release

St Kilda restaurant, Café Di Stasio, was honoured last night as one of the country’s must-visit restaurants, winning the Hottest Classic award atThe Australian Hot 50 Restaurant Awards industry dinner at The Darling hotel in Sydney.

The Hottest Classic restaurant is one that’s highly successful, well-regarded, consistently excellent and continually evolving with the times. It just happens to have been around a fair while.


Top Talent Edged Out

Even Glenn Murcutt wouldn’t be eligible to enter the Venice Biennale competition, writes Ray Edgar.

GLENN Murcutt, Australia’s most internationally recognised architect, famous for the expression ”touching the ground lightly”, won’t be able to get his hands near the competition to design a new Australian Pavilion in Venice.

Click here to read the full article

Maitre D’ of the year Mallory Wall Café Di Stasio St Kilda VIC

Wall is just one of those people in the right job, her understanding of service tempered by the quirky ,almost club-like atmosphere of the restaurant and the people who favour it, many of whom have become friends. They include artists, designers, architects and many of Melbourne society’s more colourful characters for whom pigeonholes present a way – too – confining characterization. For not only does Wall front one of the great Melbourne restaurants, as familiar with the kitchen’s oeuvre as she is with a special Brunello Di Montalcino , but she also conducts an orchestra of male waiters whose style, manner and – hopefully – charm you just know is the result of many, many hours spent studying the form in the great and humble restaurants of Italy over the past 17 years. Like the passion of an expatriate for an adopted country, so it is that one of the great Italian restaurants of Australia would be less were it not for an Irish Catholic girl from Mentone whose love of Italy infuses every nook and cranny of her adopted home , Café Di Stasio.

John Lethlean, Gourmet Traveller

Rinaldo Di Stasio
Café Di Stasio

Award for Professional Excellence

It is a truth not widely enough acknowledged that great restaurateurs create restaurants that are an expression of their own personalities. In Australia, there’s no better example of this than Ronnie Di Stasio , owner of Melbourne’s best Italian restaurant , Café Di Stasio.

For better and for worse, Ronnie lives and breathes his restaurant. Has done ever since he opened it , in then deeply unfashionable St Kilda in January 1988 . Nearly 20 years on, the two–hatted Café Di Stasio is as fresh, compelling and incomparable as ever.