Try these great Italian eateries for a taste of the good life.
Al Firenze 21 Ray Paul Dr, La Lucia; 031 572 5559
This vibey trattoria, with its checked tablecloths and relaxed verandah, is a firm favourite with locals and tourists in search of authentic Italian classics. The Melanzane Rosti (roasted brinjal with garlic and chilli; R70) is a great starter and Veal al Limone (R145) makes for an excellent main. Still feeling for traditional tastes? Then end with the cassata (a boozy sponge cake; R45).
Old Town Italy 39 Meridian Dr, Umhlanga Rocks; 031 566 5008
Imported Italian ingredients and fresh local products make for a happy marriage in this unique market. Try a pasta like Penne al l’arrabbiata (a spicy tomato-based dish; R70) or create a deli board with interesting cheeses, meats and artisanal bread.
La Casa Nostra 1 Main Rd, White Sands Shopping Centre, Umdloti; 031 568 1996
This family-run restaurant offers great Italian standards in an easy-going setting. Try the Asparagi Al Forno (baked asparagus with tomato, mozzarella and cream; R109), followed by the Casa Nostra seafood pasta (SQ*). Mamma’s Homemade Tiramisu (R79) makes for the perfect ending to a delicious meal.
La Cucina di Ciro 43 Seventh Ave, Parktown North; 011 442 5187
A leader in culinary circles, Ciro serves superb food in a cosy converted house. The menu includes standouts like the starter carpaccio (R110) and veal with tuna sauce and fresh asparagus (R185). End with their signature cannoli (cream-filled pastry; R65).
Tortellino D’oro Cnr Pretoria Rd and Victoria St, Oaklands Shopping Centre, Highlands North; 011 483 1249
Excellent ingredients, high standards and unpretentious decor make this a wildly popular spot, so book ahead. The menu includes a fine buffalo caprese starter (R98), homemade pastas (R115) and hearty dishes like Spezzatino (tomato-based veal stew; R165).
Cafe Del Sol Classico Cnr Olive Rd and President Fouché Dr, randburg; 011 704 6493
This popular spot has a relaxed verandah that’s perfect for a bottle of Prosecco (R340), and a fresh and contemporary interior. The standouts include primavera rolls (rocket, parma ham and mozzarella; R78), pumpkin risotto (R120) and sorbet (R55).
/ Cape Town
Osteria Tarantino 125A Waterkant St, De Waterkant; 076 505 1771
Tucked away in the city’s historic De Waterkant, this quaint eatery specialises in authentic fare like Tuscan Cigars (stracciatella cheese wrapped in parma ham; R120), homemade pasta, including classic Penne Amatriciana (pancetta, tomatoes and chili; R85) and Tiramisu (R45). the coffee’s great, too!
Stepbrothers Cnr Waterkant and Chiappini St, De Waterkant; 079 888 7200/083 657 3184
Laid-back and unpretentious, this airy Italian gem is inspired by the owners’ Nonna (grandmother), so it’s only right to begin with Nonna’s Rosette (rolled pasta with ham and cheese; R145). The 1.3kg Fiorentina T-bone steak (SQ*) is grilled to perfection and made to be shared. Finish off with the chocolate salami with pistachio ice cream (R45).
True Italic 15 Bree St, CBD; 021 418 7655
Trendy location, charming owners and consistently good food attract locals and tourists alike to this warehouse-style spot. Share a platter of imported meats and cheeses (from R180), then try a signature main like tagliatelle pasta with porcini mushrooms (R135). And leave space for homemade ice cream like the stracciatella (milk-based gelato with chocolate shavings; from R40).