Venues

Bocca

Bocca
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Cost
R140 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual
Food
Italian, Pizzas
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
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Critic's review

Richard Holmes

Food
As with its bigger sister, Burrata, the Neapolitan-style pizzas are a highlight here: the thin, chewy crust ever-so-slightly blackened by the striking 450° oven that dominates the kitchen space. Choose between Bianco (no tomato on the base) or Rosso, with both classic and adventurous options on the menu. The simple Margherita is reliably good, while the Lady Zaza will dazzle your tastebuds with kimchi and ginger pork sausage. Beyond pizza, the menu offers a tempting array of small plates, cleverly divided into how they should be consumed: ‘Spoon’ runs to fried gnocchi with ricotta, and delicious roasted aubergine and pecorino, while the arancini and crisp zucchini fries are all about getting stuck in with ‘Fingers’. Beef carpaccio with grana padano is the standout if you’d prefer ‘Knives and Forks’. While there are ‘Big Plates’ on offer – the bucatini with prawns tossed in a chilli garlic oil is delicious – this is food made for sharing, so gather a group and order plenty.

Drinks
Owner Neil Grant is a top sommelier, and it shows in this cleverly composed list that categorises each wine according to the broad style it’s made in: aromatic, zesty, full-bodied etc. The list focuses on boutique estates, with a handful of overseas wines to pique your interest. Prices are extremely fair considering the wide selection and excellent stemware.

Service
Casual service matches the hipster Bree Street locale. Waiters could be more confident, but they get the job done.

Ambience
It’s a sleek and stylish space with Nordic wood offsetting the industrial-chic feel. The ground floor tables and bustling terrace on Bree Street are ideal for people watching, but can feel too busy. If so, rather head for the quiet mezzanine area, where you’ll find sexy booths and counter seating with views into the kitchen.

And…
At lunchtime the delicious paninao sandwiches, stuffed with anything from pork belly to roast butternut, are ideal for a taste of Bocca on the run.

(August 2015)

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  • Linda Scarborough and Katharine Jacobs

    Tongues began wagging even before construction got underway at Bree Street Italian spot, Bocca. Sister restaurant Burrata took home the award for Best Italian restaurant in 2013, and it’s safe to say that Capetonians were pretty excited to see what sommelier-turned-restaurateur Neil Grant and business partner Barry Engelbrecht would produce next.

    We watched in anticipation as builders constructed a clever wooden deck raised above street level, and amazement as that deck filled with chardonnay-swigging Bree Street locals approximately 20 seconds after it opened. (Who are these people and why don’t they have jobs?) Eat Out’s resident gingers, Katharine Jacobs and Linda Scarborough, donned their sunhats and set out for that very deck to find out why it’s drawing such crowds.

    Food 
    A highly recommended starter (in the ‘fingers’ category of the menu) is the dish of delicate, battered zucchini fries, which comes with achingly tasty herb mayo. You could share this, but rather than test the limits of your friendship, just get your own.

    The ‘spoons’, ‘small plates’ and ‘large plates’ can be rustic and robust, too: try the crispy pork ribs with chilli and basil, or the meatballs in a fragrant, tangy tomato sauce. The adventurous could order inventive pizzas like the Lady Zaza, topped with kimchi, ginger and pork sausage, but this is some of the best pizza in Cape Town and it’s almost a shame to obscure the flavour of the beautiful crusts that are baked to perfection in a matter of seconds. A simple margherita or the option with prosciutto, mozzarella and rocket gets our vote.

    The dessert menu is somewhat brief – and our saffron panna cotta with seed crumble is not quite as delicious as everything else (saffron has a slight hay-like taste that doesn’t work for everyone) – but we’ll be back to try the macaroons, biscotti and dark chocolate and amaretto truffles.

    Drinks 
    The wine list is expertly constructed – as you might expect from someone with Neil’s background – and well-structured for those of us lacking that kind of training into categories for ‘zesty’, ‘aromatic’ and ‘rich’ whites, and ‘subtle’, ‘medium’ and ‘full’ reds. Options are predominantly local (we fall in love with the Vondeling Babiana), with a couple of Portuguese, Spanish and Italian options (including one prosecco).

    Ambience 
    The emphasis at this vibey city-bowl location is on sharing, and the set-up works well to encourage this attitude. A few stacked side plates await your arrival on each bare table – unencumbered by fiddly centrepieces or fussy linen – inviting you to stretch across to get a slice of this or spoon of that from your neighbour. The pizzas are served on wooden boards with their own cutting wheels, which is a great little touch – cut your slice any way you like! Outside tables on the deck are perfect for watching Bree Street go by, but if that feels a little too frantic, you can climb the stairs to perch at the counter overlooking the downstairs section, slide into a cosy booth or just grab a table. It can get noisy upstairs, but this is a place for sociable get-togethers after all, so order another glass of wine and turn your volume up a notch.

    Service 
    Service is informal, but well-paced. Neil himself is often present, a fact which helps to ensure a good quality of service and a general feeling of being looked-after.

    And…
    There’s also a lunch menu with a range of paninos and salads from R48 to R67.

    (January 2015)

User reviews

  • Great place to grab a quick pizza with delicious wine to boot!
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  • Another landmark on Bree Street. The best pizzas in Cape Town - which is a major feat in itself - combined with clean decor and a classy atmosphere. Add some great non-pizza options and a good drinks menu and you've got a winning recipe for a date night, evening out with friends or delicious lunch!
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  • As fans of Burrata we thought Bocca would return some satisfaction. Oh was I wrong. You cannot recommend sharing a dish when it is not even sufficient for one small person! Food was horrendous. Management was disgraceful. Sea food was off, and once we sent it back no one apologised or tried to correct the issue. Prawn bucatini was horrendous. Come on guys make an effort. Worst restaurant experience in over 15 years in CT. Get rid of that pompous manager too; imbecile in a bow-tie.
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  • Overpriced yet underwhelming. Go once just for the experience. But I would say that Burrata's food is worth every penny so go there instead. Location, decor, crockery and napkins = top notch! Service ok and no reservation policy (so do not go for dinner, rather do lunch). Coffee unimpressive: I have thing about cappucino froth and mine came big bubbles (a bug no no).But my sweetner got served on a le crueset saucer so I had high expectations for my food... Do not hold your breath.The place is supposed to be famous for the pizza.It was good but not excellent. I found the tomato base too acidic for my liking. Then dessert: a flop of note (talk about deceptive descriptions). Had the safron panna cotta...Let me say it was unworthy of an Insta pic and the taste was even more disappointing. Too much hype around it but couldn't back it up.Sorry but Bocca was all bocca, a real pity :(
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  • This place is awesome - I've been there three times. The food is fabulous (I am a Burrata lover - so I get them and their pizzas get me). The tapas are fab as well and their winelist is good. I do not like the whole "we don't take reservations" thing. Now if I want to visit Bocca - I should budget in the 15-30 min that I need to hang around the bar waiting for a table. Also the service is weird - I suppose they are new so a few kinks needs to be ironed out. There seems to be alot of management around all the time - the restaurant is a bit tiny and this seems off.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food

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