The calzone is the pizza’s underrated cousin – strange, considering these half-moon folded-over pizzas are stuffed with even more cheese, salty ham and meaty mushrooms. Whether you want to stick to the classics, or indulge in something outside the box (think butter chicken, rump steak, and oozing blue cheese) these favourite neighbourhood trattorias are serving cheesy wood-fired pockets by the oven load. Here’s where to get your comforting calzone fix in SA.
Jamie’s Italian (Melrose Arch)
You’ll find calzones quite often on Chef Shane’s specials board at Jamie’s. Look forward to the likes of free-range beef fillet filling with sun-dried tomato purée, roasted red onions, crisped rosemary and lots of oozy smoked mozzarella packed inside.
The fact that this place has grown bigger and bigger over 30 family-run years proves its charm and the faithfulness of its happy guests. The calzone, still named Lucio’s Special by Armando’s dad way back when, is ever-popular: a tomato-based folded pizza full of onion, olives and salami and oozing cheese at the edges.
Luigi’s Pizzeria (Olivedale)
At Luigi’s any of the 28 pizzas can also be made into calzones. The ones that work really well are the quattro formaggi, bulging with cheeses, and the one called Salciccia (sic) on the menu, with Italian sausage meat, onion and chilli – plus cheese, of course. There are also banting and gluten-free versions for R20–R22 extra.
Café Picobella Trattoria (Melville)
The owner has been predicting that the calzone was ready for a revival and his funky calzone menu has proved him right. He has them differently folded to be more like actual trouser legs, which is the origin of the name, and so that no watery or tomatoey wetness harms the delicate crispness of these wonderworks. They literally ooze delicious filling and demand being eaten in the hand rather than with cutlery. The calzones are served with crisp polenta fries or a salad with a dip. There are seven delicious kinds on the menu: Italiano, Tedesco, Francesco, Al Greco, Inglese, Vegetariano and Sud African. The French one (Francesco) features pulled pork, country sausage, goat’s milk cheese and sweet onion. The German (Tedesco) one contains ham, mustard, emmenthal and sauerkraut.
Tony’s Spaghetti (Randpark Ridge)
You’ll love the tasty crusts on Tony Rose’s special calzones, the same special pizza crusts that regularly win him awards. The Tradizionale Calzone is packed with ham, garlicky mushrooms, garlic and bubbling cheese. The Casalinga has the same delicious cheesiness and is full of onion, a bit of chilli, garlic and mushroom. However, any of the five Bianca pizzas, which are also based on white béchamel as well as fior di latte mozzarella, can also be prepared as calzones, for a small surcharge to cover all the extra cheese. The crust can also be gluten free for an extra R15.
Treviso Café (New Doornfontein)
This Italian place, with the wonderful Joburg outdoor patio and view, always has the divine aroma of fresh sourdough in the air. The pizzas are fantastic, and all four are available as calzones for R10 extra.
Alfie’s Pizzeria (Hazelwood)
The menu at Alfie’s Pizzeria is relatively small, focusing mostly on celebrating pizza. There are four calzones from which to choose, including the Classic with mozzarella; Sfizioso with mushroom, chilli and ham; Ricco with mushrooms, ham, olives and artichokes; and the Fagottino with succulent rump steak, mozzarella, fresh basil and chilli. (Prices range from R90 to R160.)
Forkies Real Food Parlour (Lynnwood)
This Cuban-inspired eatery serves tasty pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven for that extra bit of flavour. All pizzas on the menu are available as calzone pies. The half-moon-shaped pies have a smoky flavour with fillings like slow-roasted brisket and butternut; peppered salami and Danish feta; pork sausage and cheddar; and classic thinly sliced tomatoes and mozzarella.
Papa’s Real Food (Hatfield)
Turn your choice of pizza into a cheesy folded calzone at this courtyard restaurant. Carnivores might favour the mighty meat version, filled with bacon, mince, chilli, green pepper and a sweet chilli mayo, and the veggies the indulgent blue-cheese delight filled with caramelised onions, blue cheese, cherry tomatoes and fresh rocket. There’s also a chicken mayo option with tangy peppadews and feta (R85).
Villa San Giovanni (Wonderboom National Airport)
Get your pizza-pie fix here with options of sausage calzone filled with chorizo, salami and red onion; butter chicken calzone filled with a home-made curry; and the Napoletana calzone with ham, mushrooms, anchovies and artichokes. The calzones here are available as medium or large sizes.
Il Postino (Dargle)
Head here for a carb-laden lunch stop on the Midlands Meander. Pizzas are made by hand in the traditional thin-based style and baked in a wood-fired oven. The large menu features 40 pizza different options that can all be made into a calzone for an extra R10. The chef’s choice of spicy pork sausage, chicken, fresh basil and cherry tomatoes is a popular choice, as is the satisfyingly salty Calzone alla Greca with crisp bacon, spinach and Danish feta.
La Casa Nostra (Umdloti)
The blazing wood-burning oven here is in charge of firing out some pretty tasty pizzas and folded calzones which enclose cheesy fillings of meat and veggies. Try the Calzone alla Cacciatore filled with Italian tomato, chicken, roasted red peppers, chilli and mozzarella cheese (R139) or the Calzone al Prosciutto with tomato, ham, onions, olives and mozzarella (R129). There is also the option to get creative and make your own from a list of tasty ingredients.
Pizzas at this Italian favourite are cooked in a wood-fired oven at 450 degrees celsius using only imported Italian 00 flour, Italian tomatoes and top-quality mozzarella. The Calzone di Lupa comes folded and filled with chicken, bacon, mushrooms, sweet roasted peppers, olives, Napoli sauce, mozzarella and parmesan (R125).
This casual pizza joint is a favourite with Glenwood locals. The big menu features a dedicated calzone section with options like the Giardinera filled with spinach, mushrooms, roasted peppers, mozzarella and feta (R69); the Carnivore with beef strips, bacon, flaked ham, caramelised onion and jalapeños (R75); and the Peri-Peri Chicken with pan-fried livers, fresh chilli, mozzarella and Napoletana (R69).
This gem in Obs serves authentic, home-made pizzas and calzones in a fun setting. Order from the quirky menu that offers filled selections like the Quattro Stagione version with a tomato-and-mozzarella base, ham, mushroom, artichoke and olives (R125), or the calzone of the day, which could be filled with anything from bacon, salami, Parma ham, ricotta, camembert or goat’s cheese.
Giulio’s (City Bowl)
This stylish working lunch spot has recently fired up its new wood-burning oven for delicious pizzas and calzones. Enjoy a basic calzone with ham for R85, or add your own extras with a wide range of cheeses, proteins, veggies and garnishes to choose from.
While it may be a burger joint, this buzzing eatery gets creative with its appetiser offerings. Order a few and enjoy them tapas style with the popular calzoncinis that are filled with bacon, feta and avo, or creamy peri-peri chicken with caramelised onions.
La Frasca (Gardens)
This small Italian restaurant and pizzeria nestled in the suburban streets of Gardens serves fresh home-made pasta and thin, crisp pizzas made with stone-ground flour and bubbling mozzarella. The two calzone options include the Zucchetta, filled with tomato, mozzarella, home-cured ham, blue cheese, roasted butternut, sage, chilli, and onions on top; and the Verdure, with blue cheese, aubergine, fresh herbs, sun-dried tomato, black olives and oregano.
Massimo’s (Hout Bay)
Known for thin-based pizzas and home-made pastas, this Hout Bay darling knows what its customers want. For those looking for something filled and cheesy, there’s the El Gringo calzone filled with tomato, spicy chilli con carne, smoked mozzarella, red onions and jalapeños. The Mexican-inspired pocket comes with some cooling avo and sour cream on the side for R132. Alternatively, order the Happy Valley version filled with ham, mushrooms, mozzarella, feta, caramelised onions and cacio cheese. This will set you back R128, R10 of which goes to local crime prevention group, Watchcon.
Nonna Lina (Gardens)
This is a firm favourite among city locals. Nonna Lina’s pizzas, baked in traditional wood-fired ovens, deliver crispy edges and are topped with flavours of Sicily. Certain pizzas can be transformed into a calzone for an extra R10. These include the Magherita; Prosciutto e Funghi, with mozzarella, gypsy ham and mushroom; Pancetta e Asparagi, with mozzarella, asparagus and pancetta; and the Messicana with jalapeños, spiced mince and onions.
The dedicated calzone menu here features the classic ham-and-mushroom filling, as well as the option to add four or more ingredients. There’s also a Biago special, with ham, bacon, mushroom, boiled egg, anchovies and chilli, or the meatier version with cubed beef steak, sliced tomatoes and garlic.
Before tucking into a beefy burger, why not order a few calzoncinis to share? These cheesy bites are filled with either bacon, feta and avo, or creamy peri-peri chicken with caramelised onions.
Piza e Vino (Wellington)
This popular pizza spot will cure the calzone cravings with its two cheesy pocket options. Enjoy the classic ham-and-mushroom version, or try the hearty Polpette, filled with meatballs, mozzarella, chilli, garlic and parmesan.
Have we missed a worthy spot for a comforting calzone? Let us know in the comments section below.
Please note that while we take care to report information accurately, some items and prices may change without our knowledge.