Photo credit: Twin Socials

Adelaide’s love affair of Italian food has only grown in the past couple of years and this Newton restaurant has nailed the brief when it comes to authentic home made, can not stop dreaming about food.

Dilano’s Owner and Head Chef Johnny Raslan is a man on a mission.

The larger than life character wants you to walk in as a customer and leave as part of the family and that is certainly how I felt walking out of Dilano’s at the end of the night.  

The father of one runs the restaurant along with son Dylan and says the key to success is simple: “love what you do, do what you love and do it well.” 

We all love a story, and Johnny is one of the best storytellers in town joining our group at the table to talk through how and why Dilano’s has become an institution in Adelaide.

Johnny, who’s spent years running restaurants all over the world, wanted to bring a unique flavour to Adelaide and when his sister passed away, he felt it was the perfect way to honour her. 

You will notice the restaurant has a purple theme throughout which is a nod to Johnny’s late sister Yvonne, with purple her favourite colour.

Vonny’s mural adorns the wall to the right as you walk in, with flowers and food including garlic, tomatoes and grapes- the staple ingredients of Johnny’s food and wine offerings. 

The best part about the venue is being able to sit and watch Johnny in action, with the bar leading to a small walkway and open kitchen which smells of a traditional  Italian home.

But now to the food that I have not stopped dreaming about for two weeks. 

We decided to start with four entrees to share between four people, including a simple green salad. 

Sautéed mushrooms with garlic, basil and walnuts are the perfect winter warmer on a cool Adelaide night but its the polenta ala ragu which had  our whole group talking.

The home made ragu was complimented with soft polenta which was lusciously creamy and the perfect base to the rich tomato based ragu. 

But this doesn’t prepare us for what’s to come! 

The Melodia Di Funghi is the type of meal you will drive as long as you need to, to taste again. King oysters along with porcini, field mushrooms and the perfect amount of truffle oil and paste combined with cream and porcini stock is an explosion of flavours that are good for your soul. 

We also could not say no to another serving of Johnny’s made-with-love ragu which is now served on a bed of cloud like gnocchi with just a touch of parmesan. It’s the standard you would expect from an authentic restaurant like Dilano’s, especially after the wholesome starter we enjoyed. 

The menu worked well as a shared experience, something I would highly recommend for diners who haven’t been to Dilano’s before. 

To finish – you can not go past Johnny’s tiramisu, elegantly layeredwith each bite rich yet with a light finish, providing the perfect combination of subtle sweetness from the cream and mascarpone to cut through the coffee. 

With a full belly, lots of laughs and an Italian cooking lesson from Johnny under our belts, I left knowing it would not be the last time I’d be eating at Dilano’s. 

I’m still dreaming about that risotto too. 

Dilano’s Risotto and Pasta Bar is open Monday – Friday 11am – 9pm & Saturday 4pm- 10pm

They are located at Shop 18/84 Gorge Road, Newton SA 5074

You can check out the menu at their website here:

Follow Johnny and the team on socials Facebook and Instagram

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