Rinaldo’s Casa Cucina new Wangaratta riverside location and gelato bar is the perfect group destination for summer.
Chef Adam Pizzini is sitting pretty in the new Ovens River waterside location of his Rinaldo’s Casa Cucina in Wangaratta, Victoria. Adam, a veteran King Valley chef of Italian heritage, and his team have for the past decade presided over one of the region’s most popular no-fuss, relaxed destinations.
The new Faithfull Street restaurant space features an open-plan main central dining room with vistas flowing from the new roadside gelato bar all the way through to the split-level covered al fresco dining area overlooking the Ovens River at the rear. It’s a great place for family, friends and celebrations.
Adam’s food is all about premium local ingredients prepared simply and well. The locally reared grass-fed beef used in his signature gnocchi ragu comes from his Tarrawingee farm. He talks passionately about the farm orchard that’s coming into maturity, allowing him to create seasonal fresh lemon and lime sorbets. Other local ingredients include the beautifully textured Dutch cream potatoes, local Tarrawingee eggs and spring lamb at peak season.
Rinaldo’s is central to four wine regions including the King Valley, Rutherglen, Glenrowan and Beechworth, so local wines are a feature including premium King Valley brands he is connected to by family. Dal Zotto’s Rosato and Brown Brother’s Moscato are perfect easygoing options for summer drinks and pair perfectly with a cheese platter that features an aged English cheddar, a Mauri Bontazola Gorgonzola Dolce, rich and mature, plus an exquisitely soft and silky Le Dauphin double-cream brie from France imported by cheese aficionado Will Studd.
A group table is the best way to enjoy Rinaldo’s. Plates to share include zucchini flowers stuffed with scallop mousse, served with corn purée and garden peas; the herb and garlic-marinated quail and a very satisfying salt and pepper squid. Of course the Italian classic, a tricolore salad, features on the menu: housemade mozzarella, garden-picked tomatoes and fresh basil leaves are dressed with pine nut pesto and aged balsamic dressing. Mains to look for include a mixed seafood spaghetti napolitana with parsley and lemon, an outstanding confit duck with fresh asparagus and a dry-aged eye fillet cooked to your liking and wrapped in pancetta. Adam’s herb, caper and semi-dried tomato-crusted Tasmanian salmon rests atop delicate saffron potatoes and is a good example of his passion for uncomplicated, flavoursome fresh dishes, all guaranteed crowd pleasers. For a lighter, healthy lunch option we loved the fresh cut watermelon, fetta and mint salad, perfect for warmer days in North East Victoria.
In this new location Rinaldo’s Casa Cucina offers customers a wide range of dining spaces. The semi-formal indoor dining room features polished concrete floors, vintage Italian and European poster art and comforting mahogany dining tables. Special occasions can be catered for within the private dining room; at the opposite end of the spectrum, the café-style seating out front is a fun place to stroll up and order a cocktail, beer or an authentic, simple gelato. This is made in-house daily and focuses on bright and fresh natural flavours.
We couldn’t resist a final treat, so Adam served us a waffle cone piled high, layered with three delicious scoops: pistachio and mango gelati, and a refreshing citrus sorbet. That was one very cool finishing note to a great meal.
Rinaldo’s Casa Cucina
58 Faithfull Street, Wangaratta, Victoria
Tel 03 5721 8800