Friday, 16 April 2010

Duh, Da Angelo - da greatest!

You know how life is change, and nothing ever stays the same? Well my meal tonight at Da Angelo’s put paid to those old homilies well and truly.

I think it is generally acknowledged that Da Angelo’s (in Hampden Rd, Battery Point) has long been established as Hobart’s top Italian restaurant. I hadn’t been to DA’s for maybe 5 years and wanting to catch up with old friends Pete and Jeremy was an ideal opportunity to encompass both desires.

I have to say I was totally bowled over by the whole evening. The food was top class, and I enjoyed every single morsel. The service from charismatic Christina was exemplary. She personified everything you would want a waitperson in hospitality today to be, and I would dearly love to drag every single waiter in Hobart along there by the ear, force them to sit down at a table and be the recipient of her service standards then go back to their usual place of employment and put it into practice! She was happy, generous, friendly yet courteous, efficient, jocular, knowledgeable and knew exactly how to sum up all her customers and treat them accordingly and appropriately – a relatively rare talent in humans, especially waitstaff!


Angelo too was impressive. He has to be the ultimate in mine host extraordinaire. He knows every second person who enters his restaurant, and greets both them and everyone else as a long lost friend - a wonderful public relations skill if you can pull it off without seeming like a wanker. Angelo does it with elan and flair. He stands at the front desk like a king surveying his kingdom, with his eagle eyes constantly checking everything and everyone, ensuring the evening cruises along seamlessly.

We ate typical Italian fare:

Calzone originale – onion, ham, olives, bacon, mushroom, garlic and herbs - $16

Fettucine di casa – tomato and wine sauce with bacon, mince, onion, olives, mushrooms and peas - $19.50

Chicken della casa – chicken fillets pan fried with mushrooms, white wine and cream, served with vegetables - $26.50

Chicken Parmagiana – topped with mozzarella and napoletana sauce - $26.50

And I finished off with a Crème Brulee - $11.50(?)

It was all brilliant.

DA’s has been open since 1994, making it 16 years old, and it hasn’t lost one single iota of its original appeal. It is extremely rare to find somewhere that has been open that long and maintained the original high standards. Angelo and Marco are to be congratulated for maintaining such a high calibre establishment, and I wish them 16 more successful years ahead of them, if that’s what they desire.

45 comments:

Anonomouse said...

LOL... I thought it was authentic Italian. And then it serves a Brulee. Bizarre.

Rita said...

Anonomouse - it's a popular venue that does its utmost to satisfy a generalist market. It is nothing more, or less, than what it sets out to be. It's not fine dining like its across-the-road-neighbour Piccalilly, or upmarket slick inner-city brasserie. It's an unpretentious, fast-paced, high turnover (2-3 sittings per night, for piddly Hobart that's massive + takeaways) venue that produces high quality (fast-ish) Italian food which appeals to most.
If I were the owner I'd be happy to add dishes to my menu which were popluar and sold well to boost my profits - which a Creme Brulee is and does.

Anonomouse said...

I don't disagree with that for a second. Never claimed it to be fine dining or a brasserie. But a French dessert at a place that claims to be Italian? Just had a look at their online menu and they even have Profiteroles there. Are they really Italian or just have no idea?

As an aside, when I went their I disliked it. But I think half the problem was that I just came from Italy after eating at really authentic Trattorias, Osterias and the like. This is Australian Italian. It was good but bad if you know what I mean. Good service though. Really friendly.

lemon curd said...

Hi Rita,

I had a fantastic pumpkin ravioli here about 5 months ago - beautifully fresh and flavoursome, must get back there soon.

sunny side up said...

More again with the negatives.

Its a ridiculous point to state than an Italian rest is not strictly Italian if it is to have a French desset on the menu.

Worldwide, chefs of the highest calibre are borrowing dishes from other cuisines & have done so for ages.

This small business in Hobart that you dismiss as 'Australian Italian' seems to be doing something right, the three settings per night obviously indicates this.

So whilst they might not be authentically Italian enough to satisfy your worldiness, why not applaud them for being so in touch with what a large proportion of Hobarts dining public want to eat?

SSU

Anonomouse said...

They claim to be doing authentic Italian food. It has an authentic French dessert on it. Even though they advertise as being authentic Italian.

If I was going there after reading the site I would be walking away a bit disillusioned about the authenticity.

I don't disagree about chefs worldwide using dishes from other cuisines. But I dare say most don't advertise as being authentic if there are dishes from two or more cuisines on there.

I never said they weren't doing a good job. I also said that, while I disliked it when I went, it was still good. This was after comparing it to authentic places in Italy which made me dislike it.

Anonymous said...

Last anon.....you seem to be a pedant, splitting hairs.....you claim you like it....then accuse it of not being authentic.....hope you feel better about making your point....meanwhile customers obviously love the place.....I'm sure they're worrying that they're not authentic enough...all the way to the bank

Anonomouse said...

I'm simply saying it is good for what it is but it didn't compare to places in Italy...

I do feel better about making my point. It's nothing personal. It's just a consumer's opinion. I'd be quite happy to return to try it again.

Anonymous said...

anonomouse I realise you are going to find this hard to believe but you are not the ONLY Tasmanian that has ever visited Italy.
Ive visited Italy, eaten shit and great food, and i think da Angalos for the market that it is aiming for, as rita has pointed out, does a great job. As do a lot of my friends who belive it or not have also crossed bass straight once or twice.

Anonomouse said...

Why even post that? I never said that other people hadn't been to Italy... I also never said it was doing a bad job. Is it hard for you to read? Do you need a speak and spell?

Christina said...

Love to say I told you so Rita!

Rita said...

MESSAGE TO ANONOMOUSE - GUESS WHAT DESSERT THEY HAD ON THE MENU AT ME WAH YUM CHA AT LUNCH TODAY?

YEP - THE OLD FAVOURITE, CREME BRULEE!

THOUGHT OF YOU INSTANTLY!

Anonymous said...

Anonomouse might have a point. In a strange way. It IS meant to be an Italian restaurant....

That last comment seemed a little rude Rita. Not happy? That's a little unusual. Why don't you give us an opinion on Anonomouse?

Anonymous said...

Geez, I think your Caps lock is stuck on.

SHOUTING AT PEOPLE IS RUDE AND IF WE ALL WROTE LIKE THIS EVERYTHING WOULD LOOK CRAP :(

Rita said...

To the 2 Anonymi - funny, but I don't either see, or use, capital letters in mt text as shouting at someone (in writing). I see using them as highlighting something important, or making something stand out - as my comment about the Creme Brulee being on the Me Wah desserts today was.
I laughed when I saw that written on the dessert listing at Me Wah, as did my fellow diners!
No acrimony whatsoever against Anonomouse.

Anonymous said...

I think Anonomouse is a bit of a prick. But I also think he/she is dead on most of the time. He/she just says what many in the industry are thinking.

Caps Lock is rude. It's online etiquette. Unless you are that influential. Blogs ARE for Karaoke Journalists...

No acrimony on either count as you would put it... :-) :-p

Anonomouse said...

Ummm.. Thanks I think. I don't mean to be a prick! LOL! It's a he by the way. At least your opinion is honest. Funnily enough I wouldn't mind hearing what people thought...

I didn't find Rita' post rude although I did question the value of it. Nothing wrong with capitals in my opinion but others may find it offensive... It is Rita' site though.

Karaoke Journalists! Gold! LOL!

sir grumpy said...

The italians borrowed tomatoes (and chilles) from South America, pasta from China, pepper from the sub-continent....so what's a little creme brulee between friends?
I can't find a command key here that makes my letters smaller than lower case to show you I am whispering (nay, just thinking).

Anonymous said...

theres plenty of other italian desserts than brulee....

sir grumpy said...

Yep, bread and butter pudding, roly poly pud, bakewell tart, spotted dick, some risottos I've had...

The Passionate Gardener said...

Yep and the Frogs stole the brulee from the Spanish (crema catalana)who most likely stole that from the Moors.......

Anonymous said...

spotted dick at an "authentic" italian restaurant... odd. maybe open up an italian cookbook?

Anonymous said...

I've created a monster...

Lana said...

I love Da Angelos too, except I always have the same thing when I go there as I am relunctant to deviate from my set menu as it's soooo good. Here it is:
Starters: stratietella
Main: Pumpkin ravioli with neopolitana sauce
Dessert: creme brulee! with home made pistachio icecream

Can't beat it!

Anonymous said...

Food cultures are always changing and developing, being influenced by each other. "Purism" in food is rapidly becoming "passe". Australian food has emerged as a fusion of Asian/ European and other influences as applied to our wide variety of quality produce. It is becoming increasingly necessary to travel to a specific country, often to regional areas, to experience their food culture in authentic style - though even Italy has been infected with McDonald's since the 90s.

sir grumpy said...

If it was to be authentically Italian, it would have to stay in Italy.
Then where would we be? (well, Italy).
That ``set'' menu Lana goes for sounds good, but pistachios, ain't they Persian? Hmmmm.

Anonomouse said...

Going off those last two comments they shouldn't be claiming to be authentic Italian? I think they are well within their rights to claim as being authentic. As long as it is using authentic recipes, DOP ingredients in some circumstances for recipes that require it as a must, and doesn't try an incorporate other bits and pieces then yes, it is authentic.

And yes, pistachios are generally thought of as being of Persian descent and the areas surrounding.

Anonymous said...

Anonomouse may have a point. Where does the distinction lie on claiming authenticity?

sir grumpy said...

The other issue is this. While many cuisines are great in parts, bits are crap _ especially puds.

This isn't so for Italy or France but how many times have you been to a Chinese or Indian place and wished for a nice tarte tatin to round things off (or a creme brulee)? Indian gulab jamons don't cut it for me (kulfi is great though) and Chinese banana fritters with cheap cream or ice cream gets tiresome.
So we should be flexible. How I always wished Iron Chef participants were given a free hand to create a decent pudding, rather than come up with something from the main ingredient, such as salmon roe ice cream.
Bottom line is if a place is substantially serving up its core cuisine a little licence can be a good thing.
I mean, if you limit, what next? Only Italian wines. That would be okay with me but might hamper the owner in our far-flung paradise.

Mehitabel said...

The top two photos say it all Rita. I always associate Da Angelo's with happy experiences.

Anonymous said...

Alister Wise & Paul Foreman?

Anonymous said...

How dare you put all wait staff in the same basket and suggest you'd like to drag them along by the ear etc etc - One minute your praising some of them and the next your degra ding them all. Your self opinionated comments are starting to give me the shits. Excuse me please, I'm off to the bathroom.

Anonymous said...

hey last anon, get over yourself and stop being so over pathetically over sensitive.

Warm & fuzzy feeling said...

I'd like to see more Tassie wait staff get dragged by the ear actually, then slapped around & finally kicked up the arse

Rita said...

Omilord! Anon 3.22 - can you PLEASE get a sense of humour, lighten up, then return here to apologise for making such a ridiculous comment!
I'm not even going to begin to justify the raison d'etre of this blogsite, so I'm hoping you have actually done what you promised, and gone off to vomit or poo, and have thus purged horrible, tasteless Rita's Bite from your system, never to return!

Awesome Welles said...

I've generally found the wait staff at Da Angelo's to be exceptional. So I'm now wondering if it is Angelo's recruitment strategy, or is it the way he trains his staff?

Rita said...

Hi Awesome - great name btw - I wondered that too, and in fact asked Christina if that was how she was recruited. I think it is possibly a combination of both but would love to sit down with Angelo and find out exactly how he ticks, and what exactly he does to have staff who are as happy and efficient as he has, in the same outstanding way that I remembered the mega-efficiency combined with friendliness of the staff at Tidal Waters in St Helens.

Exceptional service standards live long in this little black duck's memory.

Anonymous said...

Has Ebb really shut down?

Why????

Anonymous said...

Off topic Rita but you must already know that Steve Cumper has won Australian Country Style magazines Country Chef of the year award! Seems like Tas is the flavour of the month!

Anonymous said...

Another award?!! That blokes got more mates in the bloody media than I've got fingers

Rita said...

Thanks Anon 11.06 - yes I did know. Many thanks for that though. Glad you're keeping your eyes peeled!
Anon 2.52 - it wasn't his media mates who used their influence to let him win the title. He needed to be nominated by enough people who explained in (I think, from memory) 70 words why they thought he should win the award. I was one of the many people who nominated Steve, and justified my nomination. I'm over the moon about the fact that he won it.

Tasmanian Londoner said...

I'll weigh in on this debate! I'm a previous waitress from Da Angelos (there is such a massive alum!) and have worked at other restaurants in Hobart also - Rita you have actually reviewed my performance many years ago! Anyway i can vouch for the Italiian authenticity of Da Angelos without a second's hesitation. Angelo's mother Nicolina (as in, the Nicolina's Special spaghetti) brought all the recipes to the restaurant, and indeed she and Marco's mother Rita make the gnocchi every week for the restaurant themselves. The menu does not deviate from the original recipes to PRESERVE (oops caps lock must be stuck also) the Italian Authenticity. This can be a little stifling for the chefs so they have the Special's board to play around with and every night there are about 4 dishes for the chef's to experiment and hone their craft. The Creme Brulee on the menu is a result of this specials board - it sold out every night it was on the Special's board, often before the second sitting so it ended up on the menu. It's a no-brainer for an hospitable and relaxed place like Da Angelo to just give the people what they want. Da Angelo doesn't need all italian desserts to prove their authenticity.
As for the service - its all Marco and Ange. They're the best. They could train just about anyone.

Rita said...

I popped in tonight to DA's for a takeaway Chicken Parmy at 5.00 pm. They had 15 staff on for tonight. 15 staff!! What other suburban Hobart restaurant has 15 staff rostered on tonight, I'd be interested to know?

Anonymous said...

No where, apart from Maccas.

Larissa said...

Wow, just wow. That authentic Italian food makes me really hungry now, even though I just ate at had my fair share of Italian dining. Florida, where I currently live, also has various restaurant to sink your teeth in. With my love for good food, I always bring my friends and family at every restaurant that offers good food. Being a fan of fine dining (Florida malls), I can't really resist to abstain myself from appreciating the fine flavors of every cuisine.