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Review: Riebeek-Kasteel’s favourite Italian eatery, Mama Cucina

Mama Cucina Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant is the kind of place that makes you want to move to the country. It’s loud, it’s fun, and it’s full of friendly familiars, says Jeanne Calitz.

Food

That old piece of advice – look for the locals if you want to find the good food – certainly applies to this Italian restaurant. If you happen to be visiting Riebeek and are looking for a place to have a great meal, then just follow your ears: the sound of raucous laughter and robust conversation is sure to lead you to Mama Cucina, which is often packed. And with good reason: the fare they dish up here is lip smackingly delicious.

Mama Cucina Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Mama Cucina Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

There’s a couple of starter and salad options, but my advice would be to head straight for their raison d’être: the mighty fine pizza and pasta. Interesting options of the former include the Carne Al Mama, with pulled lamb, spinach, minted yogurt and feta, as well as the Contessa, which tempts with aubergine, artichokes and fior de latte. As for the pastas, I yearn for the special of spicy chicken ravioli with a red pepper sauce, which has sold out. Oh well, you snooze, you lose. My next choice, a good old-fashioned lasagna, is anything but ordinary, bursting with juicy flavours – just the thing to keep the cold at bay. The same can be said for the delicious ginger and pear malva pudding we have for dessert. This is food to put meat on your bones! And those trying to avoid wheat will be happy to learn the pizzas and pastas come in gluten-free options, at a small extra charge.

Drinks

A nicely selected and well-priced wine list favouring local producers, as well as a nod to the West Coast and Robertson areas, will cater to most tastes and budgets.

Service

This is a well-oiled machine. After a friendly welcome by the two owning partners, we’re meticulously looked after by a group of very friendly and professional waiters.

Ambience

It’s the kind of place that makes you want to move to the country, if this is where you could hang out every weekend. It’s loud, it’s fun, it’s full of friendly familiars – good times guaranteed.

Mama Cucina Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Mama Cucina Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

And…

They have some proper Limoncello at the bar, so if you’re not driving (far), how about a zesty nightcap?

Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals. Read more about our editorial policy here.

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