Eat Out critic Raphaella Frame-Tolmie visits Magica Roma, an old cult favourite in Pinelands, Cape Town, for some Italian classics steeped in nostalgia.
Best for: Business meetings, old-school romantic dinners and family gatherings
Cost: An average price main course is R120
Food type: Italian
Star ratings: Food 3, ambience 3, service 4
A Cape Town institution, famed for old-school, authentic Italian fare, Magica Roma is the spot for something really retro. It’s a crowd pleaser for sentimental reasons, and the food is good too – although arguably not as consistent as it once was.
For starters, the tuna carpaccio is popular, but the calamari dishes are tasty and might be a better option. The creamy polenta with blue cheese is very rich and possibly best shared, unless you have a very healthy appetite.
If the usual pizza and pasta suspects don’t pique your fancy, try the panzerotti veal with ricotta, creamy parmesan and sage sauce – it’s one of the best things on the menu. There’s veal in various guises; the scaloppine di vitello isacco (veal with lemon, white wine, mushrooms and sage) is a perennial favourite. Desserts include the likes of tiramisu and semi freddo, or go for an affogato if you don’t have too much space left.
Magica Roma‘s extensive wine list includes Italian varieties and a good local selection, plus over 30 different types of grappa.
Service is polite and professional. Waiters explain daily specials with ease, and you’ll often see the owners working the floor and checking up on patrons.
This ever-popular suburban establishment is almost always full. Magica Roma’s interior is steeped in nostalgia and the atmosphere is pretty relaxed. It works equally well for business meetings, romantic dinners for two, and family gatherings.
Be careful not to knock over any of the wines lined up around the restaurant – they include some very special vintages! Have you taken a trip down memory lane to Magica Roma recently? Rate them and write a review to put them in the running for this year’s Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries. (You could also win R1 000.) Write a review now. Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.