92-94 King William Road
Adelaide SA 5061
Tel : +61 8 8272 4748
License: Fully Licensed (no BYO)
While Assaggio means “to taste”, this Hyde Park hot-spot also has “Best Italian Restaurant”, “Chef of the Year”, and “Restaurant of the Year” to its name. While continually winning accolades for its food, the service within its sophisticated, groovy retro décor, remains stand-out for many.
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They have some serious menus at Assaggio. They mean business. Dedicated consideration to dining is paid by owner Camillo Crugnale, awardee of afore mentioned “Chef of the Year”. There are three listings for food, including vegetarian and gluten free versions, and an epic, knock ‘em down, drag ‘em out wine list. It holds over 300 labels plucked from Italy and Australia’s best regions. Orlando Bagnara, the gently charming sommelier, endearingly helps those in need through the startlingly long wine list.
Then there is the food. Crugnale explains, “Assaggio is the essence of the style of cooking I have been perfecting for 25 years. It’s derived from ancient Italian culinary traditions, interpreted in light of today’s tastes and way of life”. While prime local produce is respected, fine imported ingredients also find their place. Every dish speaks of Crugnale’s heritage – with a nod to the now. Diners may see suckling lamb with braised savoy, sweet paprika, garlic and Chianti butter beans; balsamic roasted duck, with polenta and Frangelico glaze; or char grilled veal dressed with steamed prawns, scallops, shellfish braise and sugo.
Stalwarts of the menu include flowering zucchini blossoms filled with Gorgonzola, baby spinach and pine nut ricotta mousse; scallops breaded with oregano, parsley, garlic and laden with a zabaglione of Riccadonna spumante; South Australian blue swimmer crab, strung among saffron “guitar string” pasta; and quail paired with brandied grapes, spicy pancetta, and green chilli. The creamed gelato of Piedmont white truffles is available all year round and should be consumed accordingly.
Red leather chairs, orange-tiled bar and an upholstered feature wall set Assaggio’s retro style. The tables are well dressed with Riedel glasses and Villeroy and Boch flatware. Ensure you finish your meal with a coffee and get a cackle from the alarmingly large wave-shaped saucers it is served on.