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Where to order creamy, rich risotto

A risotto is the epitome of unpretentious comfort cooking. Slowly stirred into perfection, this North Italian classic rice dish is the ideal dish to hunker down with in winter. The best part is its versatility: a delicious blank canvas waiting to be transformed into a soul-soothing risotto Milanese or a sumptuous partner for porcini mushrooms. We’ve got the list of which restaurants to visit for your next bowl of creamy and perfectly al dente risotto.

 

Johannesburg

Café del Sol (Randburg)
Specialising in authentic Italian fare, Café del Sol boasts a selection of fragrant risottos from which to choose. Their seafood risotto is rich with prawns, smoked salmon, calamari, red pepper, mushrooms and white wine. (SQ)

Cafe del sol seafood risotto. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

Cafe del sol seafood risotto. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

il Tartufo Ristorante Italiano (Hyde Park)
Dive into their venetian-style risotto al prosecco, rosmarino e quaglia. This mouthful of a dish is made with quails delicately flavoured with rosemary and gently cooked with dry Italian bubbly. (R98)

il Tartufo Ristorante Italiano. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

il Tartufo Ristorante Italiano. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Mastrantonio (Illovo)
For an elegant mouthful, Mastrantonio offers up a zafferano e gamberi risotto. Its brilliant golden-yellow hue is lent by the saffron-infused arborio rice and plump prawns. (R145)

Mastrantonio Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Mastrantonio Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Remo’s Maximilliano (Sunninghill)
This popular Italian haunt serves a lush seafood risotto cooked with prawns, calamari and green peas, with a sprinkling of parsley for a bit of freshness. (R155)

Remo's Maximilliano

Remo’s Maximilliano. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Thomas Maxwell Bistro (Parkmore)
More adventurous foodies can opt for the rabbit risotto at this contemporary bistro. For this dish, rabbit is sautéed with lemon, mustard, turmeric, garam masala and chorizo, served with onion risotto, and finished off with pancetta lardons. (R185)

Pretoria

Ginger & Fig (Brooklyn)
If you’re after a perfectly cooked risotto with just the right amount of ooze and bite, Chef Zane Figueiredo’s red pepper and basil pesto risotto topped with parmesan is a winner. (R65)

Fumo (Groenkloof)
This Italian favourite offers numerous versions of beautifully cooked risotto. Among the fan favourites are the risotto rape rosse, beetroot risotto with gorgonzola and toasted pine nuts (R105), and their glorious mushroom version with smoked mozzarella (R115).

Saffron Risotto with Veal Ossobuco at Fumo. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Saffron Risotto with Veal Ossobuco at Fumo. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Black Bamboo (Ashley Gardens)
This up-and-coming fine dining restaurant serves wild mushroom risotto in a kataifi nest along with sautéed wild mushrooms, roasted onion pureée, a slow-poached egg and light mustard dressing. (R120)

Black Bamboo interior

The Black Bamboo interior. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Kream (Brooklyn)
Although risotto isn’t a main feature on their menu, the rice dish accompanies many of the fantastic mains. Red-wine-braised oxtail is served on top of a wild-mushroom-and-broccoli risotto with apricot bordelaise sauce (R169) and, for something a little lighter, their seared salmon is served with shimeji mushroom risotto, buttered broccoli and hollandaise sauce (SQ).

Kream . Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Kream. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Life Grand Café (Hazelwood)
Their extensive café menu includes a rustic risotto-filled capsicum pepper, served with roast potato shards and feta. (R88)

Durban and surrounds

9th Avenue Bistro (Morningside)
Chef-patron Graham Neilson serves up an elegant pan-roasted Norwegian salmon on a bed of truffled pecorino risotto with mushroom ragout and a chive velouté. (R155)

9th Avenue Bistro. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

9th Avenue Bistro. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Bel Punto (Umdloti)
Savour your Italian favourite with a beautiful sea view at Bel Punto. Their popular risotto con funghi porcini (subject to availability) features porcini and white mushrooms, Italian tomato and white wine. (R99)

Bel Punto. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

Bel Punto. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

Café 1999 (Musgrave)
Chef Marcelle Roberts’s contemporary offerings include a dish of free-range roasted baby chicken served with a chardonnay-and-mushroom risotto and lemon jus. (R139)

Lupa Osteria (Hillcrest)
Risotto options at this popular neighbourhood restaurant include a meat-lover’s favourite: succulent pork-and-beef meatball risotto served with tomato and cream. (R95)

Lupa Osteria

Lupa Osteria. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Marco Paulo (Mount Edgecombe)
Try their comforting risotto that’s served with gorgonzola, baby spinach, pecan nuts and slow-roasted tomatoes. (R89)

Old Town Italy (Umhlanga Rocks)
This new Umhlanga hotspot serves up a traditional risotto al funghi selvatici: arborio rice with onions, white wine, wild mushrooms and grana padano cheese. (R90)

Risotto al funghi selvatici at Old Town Italy . Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Risotto al funghi selvatici at Old Town Italy . Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Cape Town

Bombay Bicycle Club (Gardens)

For a fresh yet luxurious dish, order the artichoke and truffle risotto. This features roasted artichoke, fresh mint and crème fraîche and is finished with a drizzle of truffle oil.  (R70 and R85 with prawns)

Borage Bistro (City Bowl)

For a little something different, try their ‘paella’ risotto. This medley of Spanish-inspired ingredients – lightly cured and pan-fried prawn tails, sous vide calamari tubes, a confit chicken thigh and pan-fried chorizo – is served on a bed of carnaroli risotto made with a saffron-infused vegetable stock and dressed with a pea foam. (R120)

Inside Borage. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Inside Borage. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Burrata (Woodstock)
This stylish Woodstock eatery serves leek risotto with a salty chorizo vinaigrette, chive mousse and a cured egg yolk for added richness. (R108)

Burrata. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Burrata. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

De Grendel Restaurant (Panorama)
While sipping on a glass of De Grendel wine, tuck into their wild mushroom risotto, made with truffle, parmesan, asparagus and grilled artichokes. (R65 as a starter; R135 as a main)

De Grendel wild mushroom risotto, truffle, parmesan, asparagus and grilled artichokes. Photo couresty of restaurant.

De Grendel wild mushroom risotto, truffle, parmesan, asparagus and grilled artichokes. Photo couresty of restaurant.

The Foodbarn (Noordhoek)
On the current winter menu, Franck Dangereux offers up a roasted onion, thyme and pecorino risotto served with onion petals and a rich jus. (R106) There’s also the option to add sautéed vannamei (whiteleg shrimp). (R156)

The risotto at The Foodbarn. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The risotto at The Foodbarn. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Jordan Restaurant
George Jardine’s menu changes daily according to the best and the most seasonal produce that they can find. Offerings like his flavoursome crayfish and smoked tomato risotto can be seen on the set menus. (R295 for two courses, R345 for three courses and R390 for a four course dinner)

Crayfish and smoked tomato risotto at Jordan. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

Crayfish and smoked tomato risotto at Jordan. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

La Boheme Wine Bar & Bistro (Sea Point)
A dish that always remains on the chalkboard at this neighbourhood wine bar is the balsamic beef fillet with a black mushroom risotto and a luxurious mushroom sauce. (R145)

La Boheme fillet steak and mushroom risotto. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

La Boheme fillet steak and mushroom risotto. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

Mondiall (V&A Waterfront)
For a taste of the ocean with an Italian twist, try the Cape seafood risotto. This aromatic dish is served – in a frying pan – with prawns, fresh fish, mussels, calamari, tomato, garlic and basil. (R185)

Mondiall Cape Seafood Risotto. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

Mondiall Cape Seafood Risotto. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

Societi Bistro (Gardens)
A firm favourite among locals, chef Stéfan Marais’ mushroom risotto is served with rich cream, spinach and a generous shaving of grana padano. (R68 for a starter; R105 for a main portion)

Societi Bistro mushroom risotto. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

Societi Bistro mushroom risotto. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

Winelands

Bistro 13 (Stellenbosch)
For those chilly days, try Bistro 13’s roasted pumpkin risotto with gruyère cheese, sage and brown butter – one of our editor’s recommendations. (R110)

Bistro 13’s roasted pumpkin risotto with gruyère cheese, sage and brown butter . Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Bistro 13’s roasted pumpkin risotto with gruyère cheese, sage and brown butter . Photo by Candice Bresler.

Cuvée Restaurant (Stellenbosch)
Simonsig’s restaurant serves a healthier take on this rich classic: a barley risotto with kale, mushrooms, pine nuts and truffle. (R120)

Cuvée Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Cuvée Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Foliage (Franschhoek)
Chef Chris Erasmus’s eatery offers a fabulous starter portion of forest mushroom risotto served with a buchu cultured cream. (R85 as a starter)

Foliage. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Foliage. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Karoux Restaurant (Mcgregor)
When in the small town of McGregor, don’t miss out on ever-changing blackboard specials like their fresh fish of the day served on a pea risotto with a lemon beurre blanc. (R125)

Karoux fresh fish with pea risotto & lemon beurre blanc. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

Karoux fresh fish with pea risotto & lemon beurre blanc. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

Noop (Paarl)
Treat yourself to their wild mushroom risotto served with parmesan. A delicate drizzle of white truffle oil takes this dish to new heights. (R98)

Noop's mushroom risotto. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

Noop’s mushroom risotto. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

We take care to ensure our information is accurate, but sometimes dishes and prices change without our knowledge. Risotto is serious business, so we recommend phoning ahead just in case.

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