Camps Bay’s hidden Italian gem

After moving from its previous spot in Green Point last June, Il Cappero brings stand-out Italian food and a relaxed, warm ambience in the often hit-and-miss neighbourhood of Camps Bay. Katharine Jacobs investigates.

This is not your average pizza-pasta trattoria. The host, Aldo, hails from Rome, while his wife, Cetti, who rules the kitchen, is from Palermo, so expect authentic Italian dishes with an emphasis on specialities from the Southern reaches. To start, savour delicate rolls of sweet brinjal filled with ricotta – a must if they’re on the specials board – or tuck into deep-fried risotto balls with gooey cheesy centres. For mains, slurp down one of their signature dishes, the spaghetti con ricci, with al dente linguine and sea urchin roe. The fresh, clear roe give a rich umami flavour – the taste of the sea itself. Fish is cooked to a succulent turn, as Aldo insists on never-frozen seafood. Stuffed veal rolls are tasty and hearty, while fish cakes served with plenty of pine nuts and fresh oregano are simple and delicious. For dessert, brave the sinfully rich flourless chocolate cake (best undertaken with a partner) and sigh over its dense, dark chocolatey-ness, or sample the famous Cannolo Siciliano.

Not an over-large list, but there’s a selection of Italian options available, in addition to the SA reds and whites. There’s also real Grappa and Limoncello to be had.

Aldo is the perfect host – gracious and helpful without being overbearing – and all staff are swift and efficient. A rare find in Camps Bay.

Furnishings are simple, with photographs of Italy and South Africa as decoration. A comfortable, warm and relaxed place to eat.

Il Cappero is a cut above the others in this neck of the woods. It may not boast a sea view, but you’re better off taking a stroll on the beach beforehand and then coming round the corner for some stand-out food, than struggling through the crowds on the beachfront strip for a mediocre meal.

By Katharine Jacobs

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