Experience No.056 in Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences.
Regional Australia hasn’t always been a haven of fine dining. Once upon a time you’d be lucky to find a meat pie that wasn’t from a packet. Not so any more. Leading the charge in the Mildura region is Stefano de Pieri.

“Stefano unquestionably cooks with his heart.” – Peter Russell-Clarke

Beneath the comprehensively restored and aptly named Grand Hotel in Mildura is Stefano’s. From a cosy underground bastion of fine dining, Stefano has brought a laser-like focus to local Mildura produce using European flair. He serves up a $99 five-course menu that is “subject to the whim of the chef and the seasonal produce available”. The cooking is pure Italian and relatively informal.

Food is matched to an impressive wine list and attentive but not overbearingly fussy service. Like a good, hard-working Italian immigrant, Stefano set out to change the reputation of Mildura produce. Instead he’s made a name for himself and firmly placed Mildura on the culinary map.

Expect long waits for a table – the restaurant is booked out six months in advance. An Australian Traveller favourite, we can’t wait for the day when every major town in the country has a Stefano’s equivalent.

Where: Langtree Ave, Mildura Vic. (03) 5023 0511, www.stefano.com.au

Did you know: Stefano was a political advisor in a former life, working with several Ethnic Affairs Ministers.

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