PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
Caffe Allegria has been an unassuming presence in the Minicozzi Shopping Centre since 2001. Tucked away in the back corner, its alfresco tables share car park space. Regulars linger over good coffee and card games and come evening, they loosen their belts and go inside to join the select others that know about this Italian neighbourhood eatery. The decor blends contemporary pizzeria with cafe. Numbered tables are dressed with claret linen over-laid disposable paper sheets –a practical consideration of the saucy pastas that get happily swirled, sucked up and splattered from everyone’s bowls.
Vanilla and plum painted walls feature framed Italian newspapers celebrating soccer victories and past successes of the proprietors themselves. David Solari is a former top South Australian cyclist, but today he prepares the gourmet pizzas of which people come for on a weekly basis. His smiling, effervescent wife, Angeline, makes all feel welcome into the dining room. David’s mother Angela is the Umbrian stalwart of the kitchen and Josie Granata from Naples completes the dynamic duo. They are respected and loved for their “nonna style of cooking”. These ladies cook the traditional way or not at all. In 2003, the Accademia Italiana della Cucina awarded the authenticity of their dishes. The specials board procures rustic delights like oven-baked rabbit, goat, osso bucco and tripe. Regular mains encompass veal, squid, barramundi, chicken breast and fillet steak. Marinara pasta and risottos use fresh king prawns. David’s father Nino is a patriach of the restaurant business himself. He crafts the home-made gelati which joins desserts such as mini lemon tarts and vanilla slices.