Adriana’s Caffe & Ristorante Italiano was started in 1989 by Adriana, a talented young Italian immigrant, who a year earlier, had met her Kiwi boyfriend (a local Hamilton ‘boy’ and future partner) in Rome while he was on the Italian leg of his European OE.
Soon after settling in Hamilton, she realized that the absence of an Italian eatery in the city presented her with a business opportunity and not long after, Adriana’s opened its doors as Hamilton’s very first authentic Italian cuisine restaurant.
Seven years later, in early 1996, Adriana sold her thriving business to a newly arrived immigrant family from Torino (Turin) Italy. Paola Scudellaro, her husband Piero Tali and adult daughter Stella had arrived in NZ on their first ever trip to the Antipodes in December 1995, as members of an official Italian “Supporters Club”, who were then touring with the Italian Motor Rally Team, competing in the Inaugural New Zealand Targa Motor Rally Championship.
Paola and Piero, who were themselves former Italian Motor Rally Champion Drivers of some note, instantly fell in love with NZ and while staying over in Hamilton on the Waikato leg of the Targa Rally, they met Adriana while enjoying ‘real’ Italian ‘home-style’ meals at Adriana’s.
Paola and Piero who had travelled the world extensively as professional Rally Drivers, were so impressed with the discovery of what they considered was the ‘very best’ Italian ristorante outside of Italy, that they decided there and then that they would sell up their home and business in Italy and immigrate to NZ. Before the Rally had ended, they had successfully negotiated the purchase of this “little Italian Gem” with Adriana. Within months of returning to Italy, they arrived back in Hamilton in early 1996 to settle here permanently as proud new owners of Adriana’s ristorante italiano.
Some 3.5 years later, after suffering several major health scares, Paola’s medical advisors encouraged her to ‘stop work’ and in March 1999 she and Piero agreed to sell Adriana’s to Anna & John, who with their four children, were themselves a newly arrived immigrant family to Hamilton. For the past 19 odd years, Anna & John have proudly maintained the original traditions of founder Adriana and second owner Paola.
Despite fierce competition from the many so-called ‘real Italian restaurants’ that have come (and gone) in Hamilton over the years, Anna & John are convinced that at some ‘near future’ date, they will in turn hand over ownership of their ‘iconic’ ristorante italiano to yet another immigrant family, who will proudly continue to build on Adriana’s almost 3 decades commercial success.
Renowned locally, and amongst the many international visitors to Hamilton, for its unique and intimate ambience, levels of personalised service and importantly, its consistently authentic Italian meals. For a truly memorable Italian dining experience, we invite you to make Adriana’s your next dinner venue. Casual diners are most welcome but to avoid disappointment on busy nights, prior reservations are recommended.
Adriana’s is Air-conditioned and Fully Licensed, but we do permit BYO (Wine Only). Conveniently situated opposite the Novotel and adjacent to Ibis and the Sky Riverside Casino. Secure parking is available at the Casino, just a short walk from Adriana’s. Open Monday to Saturday from 5.30pm till late.