Ristorante Da Angelo

Licensed/BYO $-$$   Hat iconHat icon
47 Hampden Road, Battery Point
03) 6223 7011
Open: Dinner daily from 5.30pm; Lunch Friday only noon to 3.00pm. Takeaways.

According to Alan Davidson’s ‘The Penguin Companion to Food’ the word pizza first appeared in a Latin document in “the year 997 AD at Gaeta, a port between Naples and Rome”. Just when the word first appeared on a menu in Hobart is far less certain as became evident in a discussion recently over an excellent shared pizza Margherita at Da Angelos.

While I can clearly recall my first ever pizza in 1966 at what was claimed to be Melbourne’s oldest pizzeria, the most vivid memories for the Hobartians at the table seemed to be with the crayfish and scallops pizzas which they said the old Etna in Elizabeth Street would cook for you at 3 in the morning –“after a big night’s floundering” claimed one guy. “Oh yeah”, laughed the others.

All this arose as it turned out that Da Angelos was celebrating its 20th anniversary. Not that that makes it our oldest Italian eatery – Don Camillo dates back to 1956 – but, for longevity, consistency, food quality and popularity, it joins the Ball and Chain, Le Provencal and Lebrina as what could rightly be claimed Hobart eating institutions, restaurants that have been at the top of their game under the same operators for two decades and more.

For Angelo Fraraccio, it all started when, after working at the original Concettas and owning Mondos in South Hobart, he bought Gur Petarbs, then Hobart’s only Indian restaurant, and opened his doors to instant acclaim in February 1994.

Two years later, and after working at Bertie’s in the T&G Building, Marco Caporelli started at Da Angelos folding pizza boxes. In 2003 they became business partners and, in terms of consistency, every night since, one or both of them has been at the pizza ovens or meeting and greeting on the floor.

Marco puts their food quality and consistency down to the fact that “It’s always been and continues to be very much a family restaurant. Angelo’s 80 year old mother and mine still make the gnocchi every day. Our wives do the wages and the books and my brother, Roberto, has been chef since 2003. Of the other chefs, Sam Holmes has been here since day one and Peter Beis started as an apprentice and simply stayed on, each to be thanked with a five percent share of the business”.

“We all share a passion and love for the industry”, Angelo adds. “We’ve made our own pasta since day one and while serving over 800 meals a week, everything is still made in house. After that, it’s all about service, ambience, food quality and word of mouth. Twenty years on we’re starting to see our next generation of customers, the children of early customers now bringing their children”.

“And where we started with a two-stack tape deck for our music, we’ve gone through a six-stack CD player, then a 60-stack CD system and now use an iPod with more than 1000 Italian tunes to select from. I must be getting old. But nothing much else has changed”.

And that, of course, is their secret.

As we saw on the night, the menu is much the same and the pasta, veal, sauces and desserts are as good as always. And, most importantly, their sense of hospitality, from Angelo and Marco down, is as warm and as bright as – dare I say it? – a sunset over the Bay of Naples….

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