THE GODFATHER OF ITALIAN DINING AT LA SPAGHETTATA
By Madelaine Marsolino
The owner of the nation’s first Pasta house, La Spaghettata, Tony Cattafi is the godfather of Italian dining in Australia. After 34 years of serving classic Italian dishes, the venue is set to move forward with his two sons, Fabio and Mauro Cattafi, taking on greater roles within their father’s famous Italian restaurant.
Arriving on a boat from Sicily, Italy, in Australia in 1950, with not even a penny to his name, Tony Cattafi and his wife, Giovanna were both unable to speak a word of English.
Eager to bring the flavours from their homeland to Australia, the Cattafis had a grand vision and their business venture became more than they could both ever dream of; a legacy that would continue for generations. Tony and Giovanna were both taken aback by how the people of Melbourne embraced their authentic Italian and hospitality.
Now Cattafi’s sons are to play a more fundamental role within the business. “Fabio and Mauro have both grown up with La Spaghettata. This restaurant is as much a part of our family and their heritage as I am; but unlike my generation, my boys have also grown up in a technological era,” says Tony. Tony is excited to see the modern influences his sons will bring to the business and how they will engage with La Spaghettata’s growing online community. Believing that social media and digital marketing will ensure La Spaghettata’s prominent presence, Tony is proud and confident that his sons have the passion and capacity to ensure the business’ future right through another generation of Cattafis.
“Every dish is made from scratch and we’re proud La Spaghettata is the first restaurant in that area to make fresh pasta on site at the restaurant,” beams Fabio. Serving on average 1,000 dishes per week for most of the 34 years of the business, with 75% of those dishes being pasta, the venue has maintained the family’s heritage by bringing together the warmth of a classical Italian home with authentic Italian dishes, the way mama used to make it.
Set in a rustic farmhouse building with black and white high fashion Italian images projected on the venue’s ornate upper floor balcony, it is a glamorous, unique venue. When guests walk into the venue they often feel as though they are coming home. People from all walks of life grace the doors of La Spaghettata including many celebrities such as Andrea Bocelli and Valentino Rossi.
Fabio and Mauro do not wish to alter any of the elements that have made their family business so unique, but are excited to bring their ideas to the table and ensure the next generation of Australians has a unique Italian dining experience they can call their own.
Being one of the few remaining family owned restaurants in the area, La Spaghettata, is not just another Italian restaurant. It delivers a truly authentic Italian experience, with traditional Italian recipes that have been passed down for generations, and being made to feel part of the Cattafi family; the epitome of Italian culture and spirit in Australia.
238 Lygon Street, Carlton
Madelaine Marsolino is a Food Writer, based in Melbourne. Madelaine is the founder of a food blog called Taking a Bite, dedicated to sharing her passion of food with those who have an appreciate for food and high quality dining experiences.