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8 great Italian restaurants in Pretoria

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Pizza or pasta done right can seem heaven-sent and, frankly, there’s no evidence to the contrary. These are some of Pretoria’s best Italian restaurants serving up antipasti, ragu, tiramisu, melanzane alla parmigiana, pizza and pasta. (Make sure to order enough for a doggy bag, so you won’t fall into the trap of thinking wistfully of last night’s fantastic dinner.)

Alfie’s Pizzeria (Hazelwood)

It would be a tragedy to miss the signature offering of pizza. There’s a huge variety – from an ordinary margherita to Alfie’s own pizza, which is piled with mushrooms, artichokes and prosciutto. Try the simpler versions before graduating to the extravagant. Italian owner Alfredo Fiachetti gets it right with a crust that adds substance yet remains light. Bellissimo!

A pizza at Alfie’s. Photo supplied.

Alfie’s The Original (Hazelwood)

Chef-patron Alfredo prepares Italian food with a sense of style. It’s all mouthwatering. Think lamb of the day, pork belly, and the decadent chocolate dessert flan di cioccolato. Watch out for daily specials, too.

Caraffa Ristorante (Alphen Park)

The comprehensive menu kicks off with a list of focaccia, insalata and minestra. Among fine examples of antipasti, the melanzane alla parmigiana is a treat. For mains you’ll find well-known meat items such as saltimbocca and veal piccata, plus lovely fish dishes. A must in the pasta section: lasagna al forno, perfectly cooked. Conclude with an elegant lemon sorbet.

Inside Caraffa. Photo supplied.

Forti Grill & Bar (Menlyn)

Start with an utterly delicious Sicilian orange-and-fennel salad with radishes, olives and mint. Pastas include a great frutti di mare with hand-made pasta. Specials might include aged grass-fed sirloin, but there are also options for vegans. Sauces can be ordered with any of the mains or even the fillet Ritrovo for two. The perfect ending? Arguably the delectable profiteroles, which comes with a cleansing sorbet.

A Steak at Forti Grill and Bar. Photo supplied.

Old Town Italy (Menlyn)

Not only are the choices on the menu abundant, but the deli also offers a range of imported cured meats and cheese. For lunch, the tasty pasta Angelo with bacon, zucchini, spring onions, a cream sauce and Grana Padano is large enough to share. The gelato is a hit and the cappuccino worth returning for.

The relaxed outdoor section of Old Town Italy. Photo supplied.

Fumo (Groenkloof)

Traditional Italian dishes are done well here, with a spin by chef Claudio Uccello. To start, the classic beef carpaccio comes served with parmesan. Then tuck into ravioli with buffalo mozzarella and aubergine; the risotto with wild mushrooms and smoked mozzarella (both good vegetarian options); or the fussilloni pasta with slow-cooked lamb neck – a comfort-food favourite.

Toni’s Fully Furnished Pizza Company (Rietondale)

People from across Pretoria flock here for the legendary pizzas. A crisp base and interesting toppings give Toni’s the edge. The menu covers the classics (like the Hawaiian, Regina and margherita) and the more adventurous, with toppings like roasted leg of lamb, yoghurt and coriander; or roasted butternut, Gorgonzola and pumpkin seeds. Banting and gluten-free bases are also on offer. If pizza isn’t your thing, the pasta is equally fantastic. Choose your pasta shape then one of the delicious sauces – the blue cheese sauce is particularly good. To finish, try the baklava scroll pizza with vanilla ice cream.

Food at Toni’s Fully Furnished Pizza Co. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Villa San Giovanni (Wonderboom)

If it’s pasta, pizza or any other Italian cuisine you yearn for, look no further. Order a classic spaghetti Bolognese, lasagna or a pizza from a large selection that ranges from the Siciliana to the Spitfire (Cajun chicken with chilli, peppadews, onions and peppers). The dessert menu offers winners such as calzone Nutella, tiramisu and malva pudding. They have half-price offers on Mondays, and on Tuesdays kids eat free of charge. (For every paying adult, one child eats free of charge.)

Lasagne at Villa San Giovanni Ristorante. Photo supplied.

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