Venues

Carne SA (Keerom Street)

Carne SA (Keerom Street)
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Cost
R175 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
Italian, Steak
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Richard Holmes

Food
Chef-patron Giorgio Nava brings his signature Italian flair to this sleek and stylish steak restaurant in the heart of the city’s legal district. But first, a word of warning: this is not a steakhouse as you may imagine it. Don’t come expecting creamed spinach and sticky barbecue baste, anodyne chips and toppings that disguise the meat beneath. Instead Nava lets his steak do the talking, from the moment the waiters parade a platter of protein before your table. Alongside prime beef, lamb and venison, look out for the cuts you’ll rarely find at run of the mill steakhouses: hanger steak, spider steak, prime rib on the bone. The signature is the 1.2 kg La Fiorentina T-bone, a fine choice for a hungry couple. If you can squeeze in a starter, make it the superb ravioli filled with slow-baked shoulder of Karoo lamb, topped with sage butter and parmesan. There are a handful of other pastas, salads and chicken dishes to consider, but the red meat is the reason to visit. Well, the meat, and Nava’s legendary dark chocolate fondant, which shouldn’t be missed.

Drinks
Although lacking much information on the wines, it’s a wide-ranging list that takes in a good range of big-name and boutique South African estates alongside a selection of overseas labels. If you’re going globetrotting, the Argentine Malbec is a particularly good match for the meat. End your meal with an espresso and a shot of Italian grappa.

Service
Excellent service is a hallmark here, from the friendly hostess at the door to the waiters who’ll patiently talk you through the various cuts. Despite running four restaurants, Nava is often in attendance.

Ambience
A sexy, stylish restaurant that swops steakhouse cliché for minimalist industrial chic. Wooden beams and accents soften the effect, but the space can get noisy when it’s full. The crowd is cosmopolitan and well dressed so make a little effort.

And…
Few guests notice the stylish bar area upstairs, the perfect place for a pre-dinner drink, or digestif.

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  • Acclaimed for its carnivorous concept, Carne SA is where you should be eating meat. Chef-patron Giorgio Nava makes a huge effort to greet everyone and give recommendations. His restaurants are in a league of their own. At Carne SA, steak cuts are presented on a platter and explained in detail. You can sense that everything is done for the love of meat, sourced and prepared with care, but the ambience is also welcoming and sophisticated. There are several classic Italian dishes and delicacies like sweetbreads on the menu, and an excellent wine list is complemented by knowledgeable staff. Highlights: the 1.2kg T-bone; ravioli filled with slow-baked lamb shoulder, sage butter and parmesan; sweetbreads with artichoke mash; prime rib on the bone; hanger steak; La Fiorentina (for two to share); the bresaola with lemon juice and olive oil; and Karoo lamb with sautéed spinach. (EO mag 2014)
  • Food
    Meat is meat and man (and woman) must eat. And boy do we love eating meat at Carne SA, where chef-proprietor Giorgio Nava showcases his unmistakable Italian culinary flair. For the serious carnivores, the 1.2kg Florentine beef steak is a must. But there is so much more: try intricately-flavoured hangar steak, mixed game skewer, or meltingly tender shoulder of lamb stuffed with spinach and pine nuts. Side dishes are simply executed, but don’t skimp on flavour, with fried potatoes being a favourite. The salads and pastas make the most of robust flavours like gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce or biltong salad.

    Wine
    A big hitting list with a good selection of Italian imports too. The list of grappas and digestifs make a fitting end to a meat-heavy meal.

    Service
    Slick, professional and well informed, the service is spot on. They aim to please without being intrusive.

    Ambience
    The wood-beamed lower level of the restaurant exudes a stylish simplicity befitting the food on offer. Louis Ghost chairs add some oomph while the upstairs bar and open-plan lounge and kitchen are great for a good martini before dinner.

    And...
    Waiters bring out the platter of meats to describe the various cuts before you order. (LvA, October 2012)

User reviews

  • The place has a great ambience besides the fresh cement wine cellar smell. Below average service. The waitress had some attitude and we had to find the manager to finally get our sauces after waiting with our food for close to 5 minutes. My t-Bone was rare after ordering it medium rare and after a quick sear on the grill the meat was nice, by any stretch not amazing. Given the price and high expectation this restaurant falls well below an acceptable level.
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  • If this is the best steak in Cape Town, then please start importing Argentine beef. The toughest piece of meat I have had maybe ever. The wine was lovely, but the place had a bad odour, you eat under in a basement with a low ceiling. I don't get it. Giorgio obviously couldn't cut it in Europe...
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  • Okay. The restaurant IS noisy - a confluence of the architecture and the happy and excited people dining there. But the food is sensational, and every single member of staff we met (and we met several, from the door, to the bar to the dining room) was friendly, polite and on the ball.
    Six of us had supper there last night. The quality of both the ingredients and the cooking combined to make a memorable meal out of seemingly quite simple dishes. We had starters, mains and pudding - and at every course there were comments about the excellence of the dishes put before us. I'd have to rate it a huge success. And the table next to us seemed to be having a good time, too.
    We spared no expense: the average price per head came to R430.
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  • This is unusual from me to give a 10 out of 10 to a restaurant. I'm the typical "difficult" customer no waiters/waitresses want to serve. I will send it back if not satisfied and will complain about the service if need be. BUT Carne, let me tell you, I was blown away by my 1st dinning experience there last week. Our waitress, Roxy, made us feel comfortable straight way, she was always in sight whenever we needed something. She advised us (table of 4) wisely without thinking about "let me sell them the most expensive dish so I can make a bigger tip". We shared the signature ravioli dish for starters; TO DIE FOR! If velvet had a taste, it would definitely be Carne's Lamb ravioli! So smooth, melts in the mouth.
    Let's talk main course now...The meat quality was out of this world, I've been hunting for a good steak for a while and none of the popular steak houses around CPT satisfied what I was after. Carne's fiorentina (1.2 kg, 3 of us shared it) hit the spot perfectly: Flavour, texture, taste, portion.. made the overall main course experience unforgettable. Till my next visit, keep up wit the good work Carne, you made me a fan!
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  • Heard so much about Carne, and decided to make a booking to entertain very important clients and wives.

    Service: Arrogant
    Starters: Terrible
    Mains: Meat smelt more than mature more like rotten.

    I Will discourage anyone wanting to waste money eating at Carne.
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  • Most disappointing birthday celebration with my family - nothing to absorb sound - very noisy to the point of painful and had to move to enjoy last part of our evening. My steak was full of sinew and inedible. This is a birthday celebration to be well forgotten.

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  • We went for my father's birthday dinner and service was good, however he had a bad sirloin which is really not ideal from a place that prizes themselves on the meat specifically. The downstairs area was so loud we could hardly hear one another, not a venue ideal for large groups because no one else can hear anything. So fair experience. Would not return I am afriad to say.

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  • Must be the most arrogant floor manager in Africa - wine prices, if you are South African you will reel.

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  • We love Carne - this was our fourth or fifth visit. But we probably won't be going back. The service was fine - no complaints there. The ambience was also good as it always is. But the food and prices have changed, and not for the better. How can someone justify charging R320 for a prime rib which when off the bone was about 200 grams?

    R20 on top of that for a tiny bowl of steamed broccoli as the side makes it one of the worst overpriced meals I've ever seen. When you decide to splash out and spend that sort of money on a steak then you expect a melt-in-your-mouth-incredible-flavor-beer-fed-massaged-cows experience.

    Which it was not. Uninspiring would be more accurate.

    One of our party ordered the penne - which turned out to be lightly coated in a sauce made from tinned tomatoes and salt. Oh and 2 shredded mozzarella balls on top. So awful that they didn't charge us for it.

    Sorry Carne SA but we've made better steaks at home on the griddle. Up your game.

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  • So disappointing after such high hopes; one of the worst meals I've had in years. I am ok with paying premium prices for premium food; my R200 steak tasted "odd" and not at all moreish. Should have gone to Barristers.

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  • I was quite shocked at the prices given on the menu – but thought the food had to be exemplary to justify. We were disappointed.

    To be charged R80 for a starter Caprese salad is shocking to say the least – but then to see the portion on the plate was unbelievable! I do not understand how it can be justified to charge R80 for a palm size portion of diced tomatoes about 1 cm high with half a shredded mozzarella ball on top. This is blatant highway robbery to say the least. Please explain to me what the reasoning is to charge that when you charge R80 for a biltong salad that has the plate piled high with all the trimmings? We made the silly assumption that the portions would be enough to justify the cost of R80, but then to see this tiny palm sized offering was unbelievable.

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  • Carne is one of the best dining experiences that I have had. The food was absolutely perfect, the service was by far the best we have ever received. The atmosphere and geneal ambience of the restaurant is a perfect match for the theme. This is a slick and professional operation, one that I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone looking for a superb dining experience in Cape Town. I personally cannot wait for an opportunity to return to try out something else on the intriguing menu.

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  • Carne is definitely the place to go if you're feeling like meat. The steaks and wide array of options are fantastic. The atmosphere is really warm and overall the restaurant is a great experience. I would definitely recommend it to anybody.

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  • Realy pushy service. The head waiter was in it for the sales. Did not care for any service. And the worst part he asked for a ten percent fee after we offered him less and explained the service wasn't really good. Good food and wine by the way. Prime beef quite expensive for what you get.

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  • Awesome meat quality, never disappointing, excellent wine list.

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  • Carne ensures that a customer is wowed from entering the restaurant with its exceptional interior look and feel. The service was impeccable. The menu did not disappoint with a variety of quality cuts of meat. The wine list consists of an extensive list from prestigious wine estates. The only issue I have is price. A dinner for two which only includes main course, a bottle of wine, grappa and a couple of double espressos ends up costing R800, unfortunately this is a bit steep, for lets face it, steak and wine. I will visit Carne again but not as a regular patron.

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  • 2nd time dissapointed. This time with 6 guests from Singapore. Ran out of "chefs special" - Prime Rib - had to settle for Sirloin - tasteless and fatty portion. Three guests sent their dishes back. Unfortunately the same experience twice - totally overrated. I can cook a better steak at home. The atmosphere is good, presentation up front first class, but once they have your order they are no longer interested. Definitely the last on my Cape Town List!

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  • I ate at Carne this past Wednesday and the service was excellent and the chef Giorgio Nava obviously does a great job since world famous chef Heston Blumenthal from Fat Duck in Britain was sitting at the table next to me! One of the best steaks Ive ever had.
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  • We decided to take our son to Carne for his birthday, as we have heard about their steaks. What a disappointment as the steaks were fatty and bland.
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  • Love the decor and ambience. Bit noisy as it gets full. Meat is good. Starters are way too expensive (anything from R60 up). Dessert is too small for the price. Can find better value for money, and meat just as good, in lots of restaurants in Cape Town.
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  • We were a table of 4. Three of us were served very good steaks. The fourth persons was FULL of sinew, tough and raw- so raw that it was cold (he had asked for rare, not blue). It was inedible- when we pointed this out to the waitress, she politely apologised and agreed that it did not look good. Our friend then ordered another steak. When the bill came they had charged us for the steak that had been sent back and a salad that never arrived. When we queried the charge the manager, he was rude and arrogant, and told us he was not prepared to take it off the bill because the chef had tasted it and said it was fine. He was aggressive, offensive and unprofessional, informing us when we further queried that we were not to argue with him as he had 6 years experience working in London.
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  • I ate at Carne for dinner on Friday the 5th of Feb. We were immediately impressed with the venue, and slick service.The ravioli and goats cheese terrine to start were superb, and thoroughly enjoyed. Things took a small turn for the worse when it turned out our waiter had muddled our order (perhaps he misheard, the acoustics leave it quite lively downstairs), but the subsequent quick turnaround (and offer of more ravioli in the meantime, appreciated although declined) was commendable. Unfortunately this seemed to leave our waiter a little rattled, and it took him a while to get back into the groove.Mains were fantastic when they did arrive, both the lamb and rib-eye cooked perfectly and quite delicious. And so reasonably priced to boot...Only gripe was the lack of a dessert wine by the glass (a bottle is too much for 2), with only a pink port and Ratafia on offer. We did manage to persuade the manager on duty to open a NLH for us (thanks for that!), the remainder of which I have no doubt will be sold, and which will hopefully start a trend.All in all a great restaurant, and highly recommended.
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  • I was impressed from the moment I made my reservation. The presentation of the raw beef reminded me very much of The Gaucho Grill in the UK, and was executed very well by our waiter Annie! We had the lamb ravioli, which did not meet our expectations as this was considered the chefs speciality, but my kudu tartare was incredible.I do not think that I have ever eaten such sublime meat, however I did suffer from a bit of order envy, as my partners prime beef was amazing. My hangar steak was perfectly prepared, but I do think that it is an acquired taste. I would like to return and try some of the other options on the menu and next time definitely try and save space for sweets!The wine list is quite extensive and the food was all very well presented. It would have been nice to receive a bit more attention from our waiter, though. Thank you for an amazing evening of great food, good wine and awesome company!
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  • Ate at Carne on the evening of Friday the 13th of Nov 2009. What an experience. Had the famous braised lamb ravioli - mind-blowing stuff. The prime rib was out of this world - probably the best meat I have eaten in SA - and it easily rivaled the 9th-grade wagyu I had in Malaysia. The vanilla gelato was the best I have ever had. This was one very special meal. As one living in JHB, it seems I will have to go to CPT a lot more with dining as good as this. I liked the venue. Thank God they dont do huge tables - it keeps the service personal and efficient.
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  • I discovered the place thanks to Eat Out - it is truly a superb place for steak. We have dined there twice during our short stay in CT and both times we have enjoyed meat, wine and all extras.We have tried Hanger Steak (very nice with nutty flavors), wildebeest and of course their tonight special only - prime rib. The later is true carnivore joy - properly matured meat with enough fat to bring out flavors, but still tender. And done to perfection - if you order medium rare you get exactly that - hot red inside.As we were there with our 6 yrs old daughter we had also chance to sample their pasta - both gnocchi and ragout were very tasty (though she didnt like polenta gnocchi, but we have finished it close to licking the plate).And desserts are worth keeping space for. The minimalistic, industrial interior is very good as steak house, even though a bit chilly at spring weather (all guest except for us were sitting in their jackets).Good selection of red wines and low corkage if you decide to BYO.
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  • Seems like Carne does not cater for parties larger than 6. My husband belongs to a supper club. They meet once a month at a different restaurant chosen by a different member each month. This last month the chosen member decided to give Carne a try but was told they could not take a booking of 12 and accomodate them all together, so they found another restaurant. Carne has now lost 12 potential customers.
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  • Why you would feature this resturant I have no idea. The first thing I noticed wrong was while I was upstais waiting for my guests, they were carving meat on that beatiful old machine but not with out the Manager putting his hand in every so often to grab a piece to taste. Downstairs we found the place very stuffy and got very irritated by what can only have beeen an unusual amount miggies. We asked to be moved but still got pestered. Service was very slow and while the food was ok they messed up one order confusing Chicken for Beef. The changed meal did not arrive until after the other courses were finished. We asked for the bill, followed by an argument with the so-called manager because we did not want to pay for the meal that never arrived. Never again.
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  • I phoned in trying to make a reservation for a party of 8. The gentleman told me they dont do any party bigger than 6. That was that... no explanation or to suggest perhaps break the party down to 2 tables, just silence on the other end of the phone.I dont think thats how business should be conducted. Even though weve been going to 95 Keerom, well give this new place a miss. There are plenty of good restaurants in Cape Town, thank goodness.
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  • A marvelous addition to the Cape Town dining scene, and a great complement to the equally fabulous 95 Keerom opposite. The first impression is of architectural splendour combined with a warm welcome by the hostess. Fab interiors.For starter we shared the lamb ravioli with sage butter which was divine. My partner had the calfs liver with balsamic onions and it was excellent. I had the hanger steak which didnt rise to the occasion as enthusiastically described by our waitress, but was nevertheless very acceptable. Ill try something different next time.Our waitress was professional and very competent. She understood the menus well and described ingredients in detail.Its places like this that make Cape Town dining truly world class.
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  • I enjoyed a lovely evening with my partner at Carne on Saturday evening. The steaks were perfectly done, the service was good, the wine list was enjoyable and the ambience was lively. We will be back with friends.
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  • Finally got to Carne SA and we were not disappointed. Everything was perfect and I have never ever tasted such delicious tasting meat in my life. We cant wait to go back again. The hanger steak, wow wow wow. Mouthwatering. Beautiful venue, fantastic service, what a pleasure.
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  • My boyfriend has a very fervent attitude towards red meat, which is why we were very excited to give Carne a try. And while they served up a lamb ravioli and soufflé 95 which were magnificent, my boyfriend left Carne a little unsatisfied with the ’meat experience’. He had to order the hanger steak as it was the only option if one wanted to choose the steak size oneself (something he found a bit limiting at a meat restaurant). Unfortunately- the hanger steak did not live up to the whoop-whoop our waitress gave it which was a pity as our meal was enjoyable otherwise.
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  • Visited this place purely based on the other great recomendations on this site. Service great apart from no offer of bread - we had to ask. Nice buzz in the place even though there where only 6 tables taken up.Plastic chairs which are hideously uncomfortable, poor choice. Good starters even though punchy price - R60 for asparagus and egg. Good choice of steaks but curious to see why they do not offer fillet. We asked the waitress and she didnt know - I overheard other guests asking for fillet as well. Wife had lamb which was chewy, fatty and she gave it 3 out of ten, we told the waitress this and she didnt say anything and no chef came out or manager to see why the lamb was so bad... And this is the main reason I wont be back. There is simply no excuse for not acting on a customers complaint.Okay food, okay service apart from the lamb incident, expensive experience and I wont be back, there are numbers of better places in Cape Town.
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  • Wonderful meal. I went with a group of 4 and we all enjoyed our food. Service was slick and professional. Food was superb as were desserts. The decor is ultra sleek and yet the restaurant has a warm and inviting feel to it. Will definitely return soon.
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  • We had a lovely evening at Carne last night. From the moment the booking was made, service was friendly, attentive and efficient. We shared lamb ravioli and the cured meats to start. Both were delicious. Be warned, the cured meats could easily be shared between three people! For mains we had the hangar, rib-eye, sirloin and pork cutlets. We were slightly concerned about the lack of accompanying sauces for the steaks, but they were all marinated and cooked to perfection and sauce was not actually needed. The sides of mash, spinach, green beans, salad and extra fries for the table were all good. We left four empty plates. For desserts, we tried the crème caramel, trifle, chocolate soufflé and berry salad. Everyone was happy and again, four empty plates! The restaurant was quite busy and the only fault I found was that the tables were positioned very close together in the section where we were seated- too close together for our liking. For 2 starters, 4 mains, 4 desserts, 1 corkage fee, 1 glass of shiraz, 2 appletizers, 1 bottle of water, 2 teas and an Irish coffee, the bill was in the region of R950 excluding tip. Very good value for excellent food and service! We recommend trying it out.
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  • Wonderful food + service + ambience (and no problem with stairs!) Well done!
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  • We love 95 on Keerom so had high expectations for their new addition, Carne. Unfortunately these expectations were not met. The initial welcome at the door was great - the wait for our ordered bottle of wine in the upstairs bar was not. The stools in the bar have to be the best example of design winning over function and comfort we have experienced. Once the rest of our party arrived we were shown to our table downstairs - the transfer from upstairs to downstairs was rather off-hand and badly managed. The food is not fabulous - one of us had the ravioli which was fine, but the others in the group that had meat dishes (the claim to fame of Carne) were disappointed. Service was not great and the price for what we got overall was not value for money.
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  • We have visited Carne twice and it has been superb. Wonderful service, delicious food and great surroundings.
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  • We ate at Carne last night - WOW! What a great addition to the CT landscape. We tried , braised shoulder of lamb ravioli & seared beef tartare to start followed by rib eye with bernaise & shoestring fries & wildebeest with fine beans. Then, creme caramel & mascarpone sorbet with berries. The food is good - starters were exceptional ; mains minimal - just grilled meat and a side; desserts were tasty. The venue is gorgeous - really beautifull with good lighting, a rareity in SA. Amazing bar area for before dinner drinks and fab service - all in all an amazing place with really good food. Can reccomend very highly. For 2 pax , 2 glasses of white wine, 1x R40 corkage fee, 3 courses each, 1 extra side and sauce plus 2 glasses of desert wine, bill came to R691.00 excluding a tip. Not bad for great food in an amazing space! Would be great to have a few upsacle sauces on offer. Good wine list with varied choice to suit your budget - only gripe is that Pongcraz is the only bubbly on offer by the glass.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Eat Out reviewed
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  • Serves food

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