Finding anyone who absolutely hates Bellagio is an exercise in futility. The food, vibe and presentation are all very high up on the list of Johannesburg’s best.
The extensively varied menu offers everything from beef burgers with their special Bellagio salsa to chicken, and even veal schnitzel. But it’s the seafood, something few Johannesburg establishments are loved for, that tends to keep people coming back and waxing lyrical about Bellagio.
Their salmon burger is very popular. The seared salmon is also nothing short of spectacular. Served on a bed of asparagus, potatoes, cherry tomatoes and salsa verde, it strikes the perfect balance of flavours from the chilli, ginger, honey, soya and orange marinade it is seared in. The prawn stir fry is heavenly, as well as the Thai-style kingklip with coconut cream, coriander, honey and chilli. Another standout at Bellagio is the three-cheese soufflé with a salad of spinach, caramelised walnuts and sliced pears, offering a smorgasbord of contrasting flavours.
For dessert, try their strawberry phyllo with pistachios and chocolate truffle.
Bellagio offers an extensive wine offering.
While it could seem daunting at first, perhaps owing to the stylish interior, once you’re settled, Bellagio is quite relaxed and cosy. It can feel loud, but not so loud that you can’t have a conversation without shouting.
The waiting staff is attentive, and well-versed on menu options.
Don’t relegate Bellagio to dinners only. It is also great for those long – perhaps boozy – lunches. They also deliver on UberEats.
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The menu is simple yet sophisticated and every dish is absolutely delicious and perfectly prepared. There is an a la carte menu as well as a daily specials board, allowing you the opportunity to try the regular offerings and then seasonal delicacies. The ingredients are fresh, well put together and perfectly cooked and the menus are well-rounded. The grilled calamari with avocado salsa, oysters and salmon tartar are unmissable – flavoursome, fresh and a perfect start to the meal. The salads are fresh, crisp and filling, served with warm bread and green, local olive oil.
Main course portions are large and, although pricey, worth it. The dishes to try include Thai-style kingklip, signature Bellagio fish lightly scented with fennel, and the seared salmon which is utterly sublime. On the specials board expect some healthy options such as grilled chicken with zucchini spaghetti. Look out for seasonal specials, such as pan-fried ox liver with onions as well as the East coast sole. Bellagio always offers a vast variety of dessert options for those with a sweet tooth. Look out for the chocolate soufflé, rich and decadent with just enough bitter chocolate to offset the sweet flavour profile, while the crème bruléé is smooth and decadent, topped with a crisp sugary crust.
A wonderful selection of both local and imported wines are available on the menu by both the glass and the bottle. Take advantage of this and pair your dishes with a gorgeous variety of elegant and sophisticated cultivars.
The service staff is very well trained and informed and extremely professional. Not all of the staff know the wine list well, however, so if you have questions pertaining to specific wines, vintages and pairings, ensure you speak to the correct person. The staff are however friendly and knowledgeable about the cuisine and have a sharp eye and attention to detail to service and what is happening in the restaurant.
The establishment is frequented by regulars and the ambience reflects this. There is a slightly uptight energy when you first arrive but as you settle down into your meal the energy warms up and you begin to appreciate the décor and the attention the detail that has gone into the space.
The restaurant is ideal for lunchtime dining as well as dinner. Although it's in an office park, the restaurant is a secret gem and the tables under the trees make for lovely long lunches, sipping glasses of wine and mulling over delicious food.
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The menu focuses on seafood, and each dish is handled with respect. The excellent salmon, for instance, is always prepared to one’s personal specification, prompted by a waiter. Starters include an excellent beef carpaccio served the classic way, ginger calamari with chilli and lime, and perfectly plump oysters. For lunch there’s a range of clever, crisp salads like the classic French niçoise, and a salmon salad with asparagus, salad greens, dressed to perfection in a dill mayonnaise. All the popular choices of seafood are there, often with a fresh twist. The homemade fish pie with dill is a perennial favourite. Winter’s culinary celebrations may include oxtail cooked as it should be, with a little adherence to the bone and not a fall-off-the-bone mishmash.
They offer excellent by-the-glass wine options and a wine list that expands from there to celebrate top quality South African wines.
These people take their work seriously and are on the ball and informed. Strong-minded owner Louise Castle’s eagle eye and firm hand ensures all round quality.
Although this gem hides in a business centre, huge glass front allows tables to spill out onto the sidewalk under trees, gorgeous in summer and winter. This is not hipster but rather sophisticated, laid-back cool. This is the perfect spot to linger for long lunches and dinners. It’s nice and quiet as well, despite being located off a busy road.
When available, the grilled sardines are a feast.
For a few years now, Bellagio in Illovo has drawn a steady stream of diners who appreciate its elegance and rate its seafood as excellent. Gwynne Conlyn heads to Bellagio to experience the offerings herself.
The menu focuses on seafood, and each dish is handled with respect. The salmon, for instance, is excellent, and always prepared to your personal specification. Starters include an excellent beef carpaccio served the classic way; ginger calamari with chilli and lime; and perfectly plump oysters. For lunch, there’s a range of clever, crisp salads, including the classic French Niçoise, and a salmon salad with asparagus and salad greens, dressed to perfection in a dill mayonnaise. All the popular choices of seafood are there, often with a fresh twist. The homemade fish pie with dill is a perennial favourite. Winter’s culinary celebrations may include oxtail cooked just as it should be, with a little adherence to the bone and not a fall-off-the-bone mishmash.
They offer excellent by-the-glass wine options, and the wine list expands from there to celebrate top-quality local wines.
These people take their work seriously: they’re on the ball and well informed. Owner Louise Castle’s eagle eye and firm hand ensures quality all round.
Although this gem hides in a business centre, huge glass frontage allows tables to spill out onto the sidewalk under trees – gorgeous in summer and winter. It’s nice and quiet too, despite being located off a busy road. This is not hipster but, rather, sophisticated, laid-back cool. It’s the perfect spot to linger for a long lunches or dinner.
When available, the grilled sardines are a feast.
Bellagio is probably the only restaurant in Jozi currently managing to pull off an almost completely seafood-focused menu with contemporary style and finesse. The main menu offers a good selection of starters: wonderfully plump Namibian oysters, salmon carpaccio, tuna tartare, grilled sardines, Mediterranean fish soup and a selection of salads. Mains follow through with oven-roasted baby kingklip; seared salmon with asparagus, roasted cherry tomatoes and salsa verde; homemade fish pie with dill; and an excellent selection of sushi. There’s also a blackboard of daily specials that offers a selection of different linefish and even oxtail in winter. The flavours are fresh and modern, and plating unfussy yet sophisticated.
With an extensive wine list of carefully selected upper-end South African wines and MCCs available, and excellent options available by the glass, too, you will be seriously spoilt for choice.
A relaxed, efficient and established front-of-house team keeps the tables turning seamlessly.
This is a stylish, light, white airy space with touches of blue. It feels like an upscale, seaside, seafood bistro.
Weekend lunches and dinners get very busy, so book well in advance.
Fabulous new location! Wonderful new menu and same high standard.
So delighted that Louise Castle has reopened her restaurant, now just off Oxford Road in Illovo. Even on the first day, the food, service and ambience was excellent. Bellagio is one of the most consistently good restaurants I have ever frequented.
Great news hearing that Bellagio re-opens this Wednesday, Louise Castle has got it sorted so we can all enjoy this great regular haunt once more!
Atmosphere not bad but service was rather average, even unattentive at times. New menu is rather simple and there are far too many 'SQ's on the menu. Specials were actually on the normal menu. Food was to the standard of the price but my plate was filled up with chips rather than fish. I would rate this this night out as average and medium low value for money.
Lovely atmosphere, elegant yet casual - unfortunately the dish I ordered was rather disappointing - was described on the menu as being spaghetti with smoked salmon, vodka, and caviar in a creamy sauce. Very bland however - not even a hint of the supposed caviar or vodka in there. Will definitely order something different next time.
Absolutely fabulous ambience, fresh flowers everywhere, view, great salads and risotto to die for. Honeycomb ice cream too delicious.
The worst restaurant experience in a long time. Poor service and dull, cold food. Avoid at all costs.
Such a lovely place! Food was amazing and the service great. Thanks so much!
My husband and I had an early diiner here yesterday - wow - it was amazing!
Lovely vibe, friendly and helpful staff!
I had the salmon with soy and honey glaze - beautifully done and amazing flavours!
Definite must have!
The chocolate fondant is also well worth the wait - I suggest to have it with the ice cream.