Venues

Al Firenze

Al Firenze
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Cost
R135 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Family friendly
Food
Italian, Pizzas, Seafood, Vegetarian
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
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Critic's review

Nicola Ashe

Food
Typical Italian fare the likes of pizza and pasta keep everyone happy, but it’s the presence of some real culinary gem that makes this a standout eatery. The trifolati mushrooms are sensational – delicately sautéed in olive oil, garlic and parsley, they are deliciously creamy and ‘meaty’. Other highlights include baked artichokes, wood-fired with parmesan, garlic and parsley and the chicken livers, smothered in napoletana sauce with a touch of chilli and cream – for an extra helping of oomph, soak up the delicious sauce with mozzarella and onion focaccia.

Their seafood platter is the kind you languish over all afternoon in true Italian style, served with linefish, prawns, langoustine, calamari, mussels and clams – the aim is to have the sauce dripping down to your elbows by the end of it. If seafood is not your style, the meat and chicken options are just as delicious, with dishes like veal limone lightly dusted in flour and grilled with lemon; quail or baby chicken roasted in the wood fire oven, or rump Pavarotti which is served sliced with fresh rocket and shaved Parmigiano.

Drinks
A succinct wine list covers both South African and some imported varietals, there’s something for everyone to enjoy over a convivial meal.

Service
Friendly and attentive with food out of the kitchen in a flash – if you get there early. But it can be a tad slow on weekends or over peak periods, when this eatery is jam-packed.

Ambience
Tucked away in the heart of Durban’s La Lucia suburb, this authentic Italian trattoria buzzes with locals and tourists alike. Think racing car flags on the walls and simply set tables with checked tablecloths, which spill out onto an open verandah. It might be time for a décor refresh though.

And…
A relaxed family vibe means you can take the kids along too; there's a special bambino menu just for them.

(September 2016)

Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

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  • Tracy Gielink

    Food
    The food at Al Firenze has stood the test of time. For decades, locals have been mesmerized by signature dishes like the spectacular trifolati (an enormous plate of wild boletus mushrooms sautéed in olive oil, garlic and parsley) and the rosette pasta, which sees Italian ham and cheese wrapped in spinach and egg pasta and baked in the pizza oven in a cheese sauce. The wood-fired oven is well utilized, producing thin-based pizzas and dishes like artichokes baked in parmesan, garlic and parsley, or quail stuffed with olives, herbs and Parma ham. There are always interesting specials so check out the chalkboard before ordering.

    Drinks
    Expect an extensive wine list for a neighbourhood trattoria. It is clearly broken down by varietal, and white wines get more representation than their red counterparts. There’s a smattering of imported Italian wines and those made from Italian varietals.

    Service
    In keeping with the setting, the service is casual, informative and friendly. Locals are placated by the kitchen’s quick turnaround time but service can falter a little when the restaurant is operating at capacity.

    Ambience
    The restaurant appears like a culinary oasis in the heart of suburbia. The gentle aroma of garlic and strains of Italian music waft in the air and entice you into the restaurant, which spills out onto a covered veranda. It has a cozy charm despite the somewhat standard décor of checked tablecloths paired with red plastic chairs and a large Ferarri flag on the wall.

    And…
    The kids’ meals are well priced and generous.

    (August 2015)

  • Tracy Gielink

    Food
    The food at Al Firenze has stood the test of time. For decades, locals have been mesmerised by signature dishes like the spectacular trifolati (an enormous plate of wild boletus mushrooms sautéed in olive oil, garlic and parsley) and the rosette pasta, which sees Italian ham and cheese wrapped in spinach-and-egg pasta and baked in the pizza oven in a cheese sauce. The wood-fired oven is well utilised, producing thin-based pizzas and dishes like artichokes baked in parmesan, garlic and parsley, or quail stuffed with olives, herbs and Parma ham. There are always interesting specials, so check out the chalkboard before ordering.

    Drinks
    Expect an unexpectedly extensive wine list for a neighbourhood trattoria. It is clearly broken down by varietal, and white wines get more representation than their red counterparts. There’s a smattering of imported Italian wines and those made from Italian varietals.

    Service
    In keeping with the setting, the service is casual, informative and friendly. Locals are placated by the kitchen’s quick turnaround time, but service can falter a little when the restaurant is operating at capacity.

    Ambience
    The restaurant appears like a culinary oasis in the heart of suburbia. The gentle aroma of garlic and strains of Italian music waft in the air and entice you into the restaurant, which spills out onto a covered veranda. It has a cosy charm despite the somewhat standard décor of checked tablecloths paired with red plastic chairs and a large Ferrari flag on the wall.

    And…
    The kids’ meals are well priced and generous.

    (July 2015)

  • Food
    It’s comforting that the menu hasn’t changed for years, but keep an eye on the specials board for interesting additions like wild boar ragù. Favourites include porcino mushrooms cooked in olive oil, garlic and parsley, and trademark spinach pasta rosettes with ham, Italian cheese and cream. Pizzas are exemplary.

    Wine
    The list has broad appeal as it moves easily from good value prospects to pedigreed wines.

    Service
    Fast, friendly and capable. An effective team exudes genuine warmth and ensures a fuss-free dining experience.

    Ambience
    A supremely casual – and definitive – neighbourhood trattoria. Stereotypical red and white checked tablecloths feature along with mandatory Italian paraphernalia. Soak up the silence in the charming outside area.

    And...
    It’s a wonderful family restaurant. (TG, October 2011)

User reviews

  • The most pathetic service I have ever had at a restaurant, our waiter was hardly ever around and we waited 50 minutes for our meals which did not arrive. When we spoke to the manager (which we had to go up to on our own as our waiter wasn't around to ask for her) she did not give us any better service. We had eventually had enough of their poor service and paid for our drinks and left, having waited for an hour. Definitely not a good experience, would never go back.
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  • A little neighbourhood gem with tasty wood-fired pizzas.

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  • Crispy pizza and great seafood and pasta dishes.
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  • Favorite restaraunt to this day, food is amazing and the service was excellent. Al Firenze is the place to be!
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  • It was my first time visiting the restaurant with family and it will be my last. The food was not cooked properly; the chips looked as if they had been re-fried. Four of the mains were sent back and one of the orders only came when people were almost finished eating. During the evening there were a few times when we requested to see the manager but he never came to the table. I am very dissatisfied with the level of service and food. 

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  • We had lunch for eight on a busy Sunday. Each person was delighted with their meal. Fresh fish and an excellent variety of vegetables.

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  • We enjoyed a cheerful vibe in this restaurant. We enjoyed a tasty carbonara with crispy pancetta and a (slightly oily) lasagne packed with flavour. Enjoyable, relaxed time.

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  • If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. J. R. R. Tolkien
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  • Quite frankly, it has to be said that no where in the world can you get a whole fresh fish, huge, cooked to perfection served on a platter. Its a Durban legend, and its a dish Enrico has perfected, and you have to eat it before you die.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Dog-friendly
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Halaal friendly
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways
  • Wheelchair

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