• Rosaria and Peter Raineri of Ranieri’s Continental Delicatessen have been supplying Sydney with top quality meats and cheeses for the past 40 years. (Nic Bezzina)Source: Nic Bezzina
Five Dock locals are no strangers to Ranieri's Continental Delicatessen, an old-school providore owned and operated by a husband-and-wife team.
Melissa Woodley

22 Apr 2021 - 9:13 AM  UPDATED 6 Jun 2022 - 6:36 PM

For the past 40 years, couple Rosaria and Peter Raineri have been supplying Sydney with top quality meats and cheese at Raineri's Continental Delicatessen in the inner-west suburb of Five Dock.

Through this time, they've developed a rich customer base that's now more like their extended family. On weekends, there are often queues stretched from the counter to the door, with some loyal customers even driving across the state to do their weekly shop.

"Some [customers] come from interstate or far away, about five or six hours of driving," Rosaria tells SBS.

Step inside and you'll be greeted by the smiling faces of Rosaria and Peter. The duo's love of food and desire to bring a taste of Italy to Sydney drove them to open the deli back in the 80s. "We have always been interested in food. In the early days my husband used to sell food at the doors and there were not many deli's around," Rosaria says.

A hub for Italian migrants and hotspot among locals.

The almost overwhelming selection of antipasto, cheeses and cured meats gives customers' palates much to desire. There's a library of authentic Italian oils, canned goods, biscuits, condiments, coffee and more. These products are sourced from predominantly local producers, but Raineri's also works with a handful of Italian suppliers to secure specialty ingredients that many Italian migrants mightn't have seen since their childhood in Italy.

Episode guide | Cook like an Italian with Silvia Colloca | Season 2
Silvia Colloca is back for a second season of Cook like an Italian, with even more family recipes to pass on down to a new generation.

The locals are quick to snap up prosciuttos, salamis and hams, along with fresh pasta. Rosaria believes that cutting the meats and cheeses fresh to order sets Raineri's products apart from deli items available at the supermarket. 

Although the shopfront may have expanded in recent years, one thing will always remain the same. Rosaria is proud of the rich and diverse group of people that come to visit her delicatessen.

"We got a big community of people that come here," she says. "There's still a few oldies with that Italian culture, but most of the people are second, third or fourth generation."

"We got a big community of people that come here to Raineri Deli. There's still a few oldies with that Italian culture, but most of the people are second, third or fourth generation.""

Standing the test of time over several decades, many would agree that Raineri's Continental Delicatessen has helped develop Five Dock into one of Sydney's Italian headquarters. The suburb is considered by many as Sydney's 'real' Little Italy and the main drag is dotted with pasticcerias, specialty providores, espresso bars, restaurants and gelaterias.

Shop like an Italian: Pack your pantry with these eight essentials
Want to stock your pantry like a true Italian? Here’s where to start.

After immigrating to Australia from Sicily in the 50s, Rosaria is proud of the life her family has built in Australia. 

"I'm an Italian and I'm an Australian, for me it doesn't matter," she says.

Ranieri's Continental Delicatessen has developed a rich customer base that are now more like their extended Italian family.

Rosaria enjoys being able to provide her customers with advice and help bring original Italian ingredients to everyone's table. 

"We just talk to the customers, we give advice ... When people have a little party, they come here or when they have any festivities, they come here."

You can often find Rosaria behind the deli, consulting customers on how much ham they need for a party.

Many would agree that Raineri's Continental Delicatessen has helped develop Haberfield into one of Sydney's Italian headquarters.

She's quick to recommend her prosciutto crudo and Parmigiano-Reggiano as favourites for both first-time and regular customers. Their fresh paninis are also a big hit, along with their selection of over 100 different pastas.

"We've been serving people for many, many years and people still come back here. [As long as] we're here, we'll serve people." 

Love the story? Follow the author here: Instagram @sporkdiaries

Raineri's Continental Delicatessen
97 Great North Road, Five Dock
Mon-Fri: 7:00am-5:30pm
Sat: 7:00am-4:00pm
Sun: 7:00am-12:00pm 

This Italian neighbourhood eatery has found the secret to soft, fluffy gnocchi
It's taken years for Melissa Canclini to perfect her gnocchi recipe. Her secret is that it's filled with good ingredients and a labour of love.
The dos and don'ts of Italian cooking according to three Italian chefs
Sauce from a jar and pineapple on pizza? Three Italian chefs debate the dos and don'ts of traditional Italian cooking.
The first book that taught Aussies to cook like Italians
Australia's first Italian cookbook was way ahead of its time, but following its recipes today can present some challenges.
Rainbow gnocchi and cheat's risotto: Making memories in an Italian kitchen
Food and family go together in Michela Chiappa's kitchen.
These mini Italian flatbreads are almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
The result is a warm, softly crusted bread that’s perfect filled with slices of mortadella, cheese, or even a chocolate spread.
Eat like an Italian: Italy's three edible national treasures
Silvia Colloca says one of the dishes is barely known outside of Italy.