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“Please train your staff”

Jim McDougall in Stefano's Cellar
Price range: $41 - $131
Cuisines: Mediterranean, Italian, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Local cuisine, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Description: Jim McDougall in Stefano's Cellar, formerly known as Stefano's Restaurant, has been a destination for food lovers for more than 20 years. With Jim McDougall as head chef, the restaurant has moved in a more modern direction, while remaining committed to local produce and creating a unique experience for the diner. Open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday, and lunch Friday to Saturday, Jim McDougall in Stefano's Cellar serves a seasonal tasting menu in the cellars of the historic Grand Hotel.
Glenaroua, Australia
Level Contributor
62 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Please train your staff”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 12, 2013

A group of 10 friends who all enjoy great food and wine were looking forward to the 7 course degustation at Stefanos.
The food did not disappoint, we all thought the food was fabulous.
The evening however, was spoilt by the poorly spoken waitress, who asked us " Are yous ready to order?"
We all felt that when a restaurant pitches itself at the top end, then it should train it's staff to use correct grammar when speaking to diners.
This was not the only grammatical offence.
We are not pedants, but felt that this let everything else down.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank RoxyT13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

218 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    145
    41
    18
    8
    6
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Buronga, Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Biggest rip off, ever”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2013

Dined here as part of a convention (so there were a lot of us). Payed $110 each for the 7 course package. Let me just say here and now, even seasoned diners at this restaurant, thought the chefs were off their game that night. 4 out of 7 courses had curled beetroot (and each course is a managable small size, so the beetroot was a main ingredient in each).
The restaurant is basically an afterthought in a large complex, so it is squeezed into what was once the cellar. Tall people beware. The walls have just had a rough paint job over the crude cement that lined the cellar. Tables in the corridor have patrons constantly pushing past them.
The straw that broke the camels back... was that they don't actually have any rest rooms. You need to go upstairs, past tables and the kitchen in another restaurant, to use their toilets.
So disappointed. But to all of you who like to be taken in by "something being on TV once", knock yourselves out. You can say you've been there. But never let me here you complaining about more reasonably priced locations (that at least have toilets).

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Julie623
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hobart
Level Contributor
154 reviews
95 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
“Well worth the visit!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 30, 2013

The opportunity provided by a road trip from the Gold Coast via far western NSW to Melbourne and ultimately Hobart to stay a night in Mildura also gave the chance to visit Stefano's. Of course Stefano de Pieri is well known as a celebratory chef and restauranteur and his 'Gondola on the Murray' TV series was very well regarded. I'm also always curious to see how good the high profile chef's establishments really are. We were not disappointed! This was one of those enduring and engaging dining experiences, completely seamless, where the six courses in the degustation menu segued perfectly with beautifully chosen wines. The food really was exquisite with some unusual tastes from food grown in and on the Murray. Puffed beef tendon was extraordinarily flavoursome, so too the wild Darling yabbie while the farmed Murray cod was an interesting first-time experieince. Roasted and brined kangaroo was tender beyond belief, a far cry from the wallaby steaks found elsewhere and the rhubarb and apple and quince and chocolate desserts a fitting conclusion. The young sommelier was a mine of information as to why selected wines were chosen to match courses, and answered questions with impressive detail. Waiting staff were unobtrusive but attentive - knowing how difficult it is to recruit and maintain top-notch restaurant staff in rural areas, Stefano's is to be complimented for achieving this. The meal was unhurried, the candle-lit ambience of the cellars of the Grand Hotel perfect for conversation and enjoyment of absolutely outstanding food and wine. The $350 for two might appear a little on the high end, but given the quality of the food and wine, the extras thrown in as antipasta and dolce and biscotti, the service provided and the resulting enduring memory of Stefano's makes it top value. It may take me a while to get back to Mildura but I'll certainly be returning to Stefano's when I do!

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Mike F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra, Australia
Level Contributor
38 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Good but not great”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 14, 2013

I was prepared to like this a lot, but unfortunately I didn't. While there was certainly an explosion of flavours in each dish, they didn't really add up to much - and in retrospect bordered on the silly at times. It wasn't helped by the waiter looking after us who mumbled and spoke too fast - which meant that the information she was giving about the dishes and the wines was mostly unintelligible. It didn't help either that she was a little patronising.

We had a good time, but I won't be going back.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Kerry W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Sadly overrated”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 11, 2013

Firstly, let me say that our meal was paid for by a family friend as part of my nieces 21st birthday. I would have resented paying this price for the overrated, pseaudo michellin attempted travesty! The food was hit and miss. I should say the Yabbie, River Cod and Kangaroo dishes were quite lovely, along with a little lime finger pallette cleanser that exploded in the mouth. However, that's sadly only four out of the exhaustive 12 dishes we were challenged to experience that I would recommend. Dessert courses were a mess, a number of our party didnt touch beyond one mouthful.
But, .........my biggest disappointment was, that amongst the extensive wines we were served with each course there was no local wines! Mildura is surrounded by outstanding wineries and yet we were offered mediocre Italian and Spanish labels alongside Australian wine from the Yarra
Valley! Hey, Valley wines are fabulous but such a shame, Stefanos should be promoting local
vineyards. They harp on constantly about using their own grown produce when presenting the dishes and sourcing local and yet don't serve local wines?? When I asked the 'sommelier' I couldn't get an answer.
Ambience was lacking.
Staff were generally friendly, but took aception to being asked any questions - working from a script, obviously. Yep.......I was pretty disappointed really.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Wendy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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