Stefano’s Restaurant was opened in the original cellars of Mildura’s historic Grand Hotel in 1991 by celebrity cook and microbrewer Stefano de Pieri and his wife Donata Carrazza. What were once cool rooms for kegs of beer have been turned into intimate dining spaces.
In 1991, it commenced as a very simple affair with bare wooden tables, a basic blackboard menu and paper napkins. Stefano, working in partnership with his wife, Donata, began to prepare traditional, rustic Italian fare, similar to the cooking he grew up with in the Veneto region of Italy. Diners would peruse the menu but were delighted to take up Stefano’s suggestions that he simply feed them what he had prepared for the day. This style of dining with a set price per person and an element of surprise became synonymous with eating at Stefano’s. Now more than 20 years on, this original idea continues with a four course option available from Tuesday to Saturday. The restaurant and Stefano have been bestowed with numerous awards and continue to attract diners from all over.
Today, the restaurant is divided into three parts. The Cool Room seats up to 30 guests, and is notable for a display of frosted mirrors from the 1930s that visually narrate the Mildura story. The Venetian Room seats up to 14 guests and takes its name from Stefano’s origins. The corridor, which dates back to 1888, links these ‘cool rooms’ and is lined with tables for single or couple diners and an array of art work and memorabilia from Stefano’s collection.