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5 places for great Italian food in Durban

These spots in the East Coast city of Durban are consistently serving up some of the best Italian food around. Head to them for your next Italian feast featuring rustic pizzas and luscious pastas amongst much more.

Al Firenze (La Lucia)

This is a true neighbourhood gem serving authentic Italian flare. The heavenly starters include melanzane parmigiana, trifolati (wild mushrooms sautéed in olive oil, garlic and parsley) and Patagonian calamari grilled with garlic and fresh lemon. The mains include rich pasta dishes prepared with satisfying tomato, garlic, fresh herbs or creamy white sauces and thin-based pizzas with crisp dough and fresh toppings. The Natal pizza topped with ham, prawns, chilli and banana is not only delicious but also pays homage to local cuisine. The dessert stand-out is the sublimely light tiramisu.

Bel Punto (Umdloti)

This family-run restaurant serves sophisticated Italian specialities with a focus on seafood, steaks, poultry and game. The menu ranges from the eye-catching bed of sizeable queen prawns and Knysna oysters to the signature linguine de punto pasta with calamari, prawns and mussels in a creamy sauce with chilli, garlic and white wine. Start with crab soup or calamari ripieni (baked calamari tubes stuffed with roasted red peppers, prawns and spinach, smothered in tomato and mozzarella). Other dishes include a non-seafood starter favourite of deep-fried olives stuffed with feta and melanzane alla parmigiana; and meat dishes like lamb shank and a tasty rabbit casserole. End with smooth homemade panna cotta or tiramisu made by the owner’s mama.

 

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La Casa Nostra (Umdloti)

La Casa Nostra is ideal for a laid-back Italian family feast. Start with shared antipasti and enjoy options like crumbed olives stuffed with ricotta, or the Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella – all served with complimentary chewy garlic focaccia with lashings of chilli, balsamic and olive oil. Another highlight is the asparagus al forno (asparagus baked in a tomato-and-cream sauce topped with mozzarella). The mains include the risotto con gamberi with plump prawns, tomato and cream; line fish cooked in the wood-fired oven; crisp and wood-fired pizzas; homemade pastas; as well as chicken and beef dishes. Finish with creamy panna cotta or light-as-air tiramisu.

A crisp pizza at La Casa Nostra. Photo supplied.

Lupa Osteria (Durban North)

With home-made pasta and wood- fired pizza prepared using only imported Italian flour, Lupa offers an authentic food experience. Relish antipasti such as whole baked camembert wrapped in Parma ham; Falklands calamari; or the rotolo of spinach, ricotta and mushrooms as a vegetarian option. Their selection of speciality pastas include gnocchi, porcini panzerotti and a vegetarian butternut-and-ricotta ravioli. There’s also lamb shank, steak and veal for the red-meat lovers. End with a delicious chocolate-and-caramel fondant with a salted-caramel centre served with vanilla ice cream.

The bomboloni dessert at Lupa. Photo supplied.

Old Town Italy (Umhlanga)

Expect a relaxed Italian dining experience partnered with glorious baked treats and gelato. The broad menu ranges in everything from creamy scrambled eggs with house-cured salmon to Il Bosco Rosso (poached eggs with bacon, hollandaise and avocado). For lunch or early dinner, start with a spectacular deli board of imported cured meats and cheeses. Alternatively, order from the aperitivo-style street-food menu with delicious bites like polenta squares with pecorino cheese or marinated artichokes. Mains include silky pastas made in-house, as well as traditional wood-fired pizzas. Zio’s Pasta with cream, lemon, peas, prosciutto and mushrooms is completely indulgent, as is the to-the-tooth risotto ai funghi with mixed mushrooms and truffle oil.

This selection comprises all the Italian restaurants in Durban that made the cut for the 2019 Eat Out 500, the list of the best restaurants in the country as rated and reviewed by our panel of critics for the 2019 edition of Eat Out magazine (on sale now). But we know the city is crammed with loads more gems and mainstays that didn’t crack the nod. Remember to tell us about your favourites by reviewing them on our free app

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