Prosopa & Al Dente – Chef-patron Dino Fagas
Dino Fagas was born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa, during a time in the country’s history that was challenging to say the least.. He attended the prestigious Pretoria Boys High School from where he went on to the University of Pretoria to obtain a Degree in Pharmacy. He completed the practical requirements of his degree and continued to work in the retail pharmaceutical environment for a total of three years after completing his degree. As much as this helped him to obtain some of the knowledge and experience he has in business today, he realized that this was not his passion and decided to take a break from that.
Upon his return from a short sabbatical in Greece he was certain that he did not want to get involved in pharmacy again. He was approached by a close family friend who had been a chef in a popular Pretoria restaurant for many years to open a restaurant together. The right position was found and Toula’s Taverna was born. A quaint little Greek restaurant in the heart of Hatfield Square which was the nightlife area of Pretoria at the time. With its great popularity and excellent traditional Greek food, it went from strength to strength and Dino decided to extend the restaurant by taking over the premises next door to it.
It was during these times that Dino’s love for food grew. With his mother in the kitchen at Toula’s Taverna he virtually had no choice. He designed the menus, handled the staff and was at the heart of the business day in and day out.
A few years later another opportunity presented itself in the form of a revamp at the Menlyn Park Shopping Centre. Dino secured a lease for premises in the centre as the revamp was nearing completion. Following a successful opening of Toula’s Taverna Menlyn Dino left Toula’s Taverna Hatfield to his brother Paul to run with his mother Viki while he focused on developing the Menlyn branch.
They would frequent their neighbourhood Italian restaurant Al Dente at least three times a week. It was during this time in 2004 that Dino got the inspiration to open a restaurant in this little suburban centre in the heart of Waterkloof Heights. Villa do Mar was an old Pretoria favourite that happened to be right next door to Al Dente, but it was past its heyday.
However Dino did not want to continue the Toula’s Taverna legacy; he wanted something special. He wanted a place where people could come to enjoy fantastic food in a relaxed and welcoming environment without the rush of the big centres and crowds. So he took over the premises that housed Villa do Mar to convert them into what is today Prosopa Restaurant.
He employed the talented architect Callie van der Merwe and his team who went on to design Prosopa Restaurant in Waterkloof Heights. The chique warmly lit interior and the relaxed atmosphere could do nothing but add to the wonderful hearty food that Prosopa had to offer.
Prosopa has gone on to win countless awards and prestigious accolades and was one of only two Pretoria restaurants to be invited to be at the exclusive Taste of Joburg Festival for four consecutive years.
After six successful years at Prosopa Dino was ready for the next challenge. And the perfect opportunity presented itself in that Al Dente came up for sale. Dino has taken over Al Dente with the intention of making it as exclusive and special as Prosopa.
Dino has gained a wealth of experience and knowledge over the years, and has become a keen marketer once he realized how important this part of a business is.
Dino continues to spend most of his time in his businesses and enjoys building meaningful relationships and networks with his clients and colleagues. He continuously encourages his staff to improve themselves and lives by the motto “We are here to learn and grow!”
The elegant, stylish interior designed by renowned local architect, Callie van der Merwe, creates a sophisticated, fresh atmosphere at Prosopa, situated in the heart of Waterkloof Heights.
Prosopa’s extensive Mediterranean menu is influenced by the flavours of Greece, Portugal and Spain. The signature lamb dish Kleftiko is deboned leg of lamb wrapped in vine leaves & foil stuffed with feta, fresh tomato, herbs and spices and slow roasted in the oven. An option one cannot stay away from is the fantastic array of mezze one can have on a platter or individually.
The extensive award-winning wine list offers many a gem to be enjoyed beside the fireplace on a cold winter’s night or on the veranda with the curtains blowing in a soft summer breeze.
Al Dente is a cosy Italian Restaurant in Waterkloof Heights that serves fresh and tasty Italian food. In summer you can enjoy our famous wood fired pizzas, one of our many gourmet salads, exquisite pastas or one of a kind meat dishes. You can take the day off and spend a lazy afternoon on our outside patio or keep warm next to the pizza oven on a cold day. In the winter months you can tuck into our rich osso bucco or hearty lasagne.
It has an enticing wine list that caters for all tastes. Al Dente is a small but exclusive restaurant where we take pride in preparing the tastiest Italian dishes from select authentic ingredients!