Venues

Café del Sol Botanico

Café del Sol Botanico
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  • Phone Number 0114630207
  • Location Bryanston Shopping Centre, corner William Nicol and Ballyclare Drive, Bryanston, Johannesburg
  • email bookings@cdsbotanico.co.za
  • Website URL www.cafedelsol.co.za
  • Opening Hours

    Lunch: Mondays closed; Tuesday to Sunday 12noon to 3pm

    Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday 6pm to 9.30pm

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Cost
R120 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance, Contemporary cool, Hip & happening
Food
Bistro fare, Italian, Pizzas
Payment
Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Jodi-Ann Pearton

Food
Café del Sol Classico in Olivedale is where the brand first sunk its roots into the heart of Johannesburg diners. The food here is a continuation of that promise, never ceasing to tantalise the palate.

The traditional Italian cuisine, great ingredients and gorgeous environment all result in beaming smiles from every patron in the house. The menu is inspired by classical Italian roots, making use of only the freshest ingredients and cooking from first principles.

Daily specials include tender pasta pockets of ravioli stuffed with roasted butternut and served with crispy sage butter, or filled with freshly picked spinach and smooth ricotta with a hint of nutmeg, napped in a perfectly balanced Napolitano sauce and a dash of cream; as well as hand-rolled gnocchi with a classical selection of sauces.

The à la carte menu is extensive: think crispy squid heads with aioli, a lunch-time selection of exciting salads, hand-made pastas, traditional Italian meat dishes, and the house speciality of porcini roasted chicken. The perfectly prepared risottos are testimony to the exceptional skills of the kitchen. The chef recommends the seafood risotto, but all are fantastic.

A great new addition to the menu here is the pizza section, offering a mouthwatering selection of creative, thin-based, superb pizzas which are a must try. They add a wonderful dynamic to the already outstanding menu. Try the pizza Parma, which is piled high with peppery, crisp rocket and thin slices of Parma ham, and drizzled with truffle oil. (Treat yourself by adding extra avocado to round it off.)

All pastries, cakes and desserts are made from scratch and with a lot of skill. For guests who would like to simply pop by for a sweet treat, the coffee is sublime and definitely a worthwhile way to taste the offerings.

Drinks
The wine list is fabulous, with a variety of excellent local and international flagship bottles on offer. There is something for every palate and price point. Some of the staff are not very educated about the wine list, but be bold and creative in your selection and you shouldn’t go wrong. There are also spirits, beers and cocktails.

Service
The service is a little bit of a mixed bag. Some of the waitrons are superb, attending to every detail with knowledge of the menu and the environment. Others end up being a bit of a hindrance. The hostesses are pleasant and helpful, and booking is an easy and fuss-free process.

Ambience
Café del Sol Botanico creates a wonderful ambience for guests to gather – whether it be for a social drink, celebration, romantic dinner or casual luncheon. It’s all spot on: beautiful views, natural décor, outdoor-indoor set-up, easy access to the bar, and lovely, easy-going energy. The décor is themed around nature, but with a very playful twist. The environment lends itself well to a casual lunch energy and then uplifts nicely for a dress-up dinner. Clever.

And…
There’s a wonderful bar next door called Landmark that’s great for a pre- or post-meal drink.

(June 2017)

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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  • Thando Ndabezitha

    Food
    True to traditional and authentic Italian dining, the menu has a generous list of dishes with descriptions that immediately stimulate the appetite. The starters menu, for example, comprises 10 beautifully thought out dishes, using the finest ingredients such as extra rare black truffles, smoked salmon, duck, and dolcelatte gorgonzola. The classic Meditarrean seafood influence is also felt very strongly across the menu with starter dishes such as battered prawns, deep fried calamari squid heads, and bruschetta (with smoked salmon); main dishes with penne prawn and chorizo, seafood pasta with black taglioni, beetroot tagliatelle with smoked salmon cream, and seafood risotto. Their stuffed calamari main is one of the dishes that is much raved about. It is also a big plus that their seafood is SASSI certified. The Mediterranean menu also fuses tastes from other cuisines, with some proudly South African dishes present like moist beef biltong for nibbles. On a weekend, try their chicken liver special, a wonderfully creamy starter. For mains, the penne with spicy beef fillet comes highly recommended – it is made with grass-fed beef. Pizza has also recently been added in the menu and is made according to the high standards of the Italian Culinary Institute. There is also gnocchi, risotto and various fine cuts of meat available. Dessert is as beautifully and freshly made as the rest of the dishes with the standout dishes being their home-made ice-cream – comprising flavours such as oreo, dark chocolate, and peanut butter – and their baked cheesecake as well as the chocolate tart. Overall, when it comes to pricing, just remember: quality has an expensive price tag.

    Drinks
    The drinks menu is another standout feature with a wide variety of local and French wines – ranging from sauvignon blancs, chardonnays (including unoaked – Warwick First Lady and Felicite), chenin blancs, white blends, rosés, cabernet sauvignons, merlots, shirazes, pilotages, pinot noirs and other blends. They have a wine cellar, which you are allowed to enter and explore. And they offer corkage for a maximum for up to three wines per table: but not allowed on listed wines, and free on wines older than 2003.

    Service
    Expect excellent and professional service from entering the door, from where reception staff graciously and quickly seats guests at their choice of table – space and reservations allowing – to attentive waiters who keep an alert eye one each guest, regardless of whether it is their table or not.

    Ambience
    An overall warm and hospitable atmosphere with an outdoor feel that makes it very sunny and welcoming. The restaurant, which was opened in Bryanston in November 2014 by Chiara and Ryan Viljoen, remains one of Johannesburg’s finest modern Italian eateries, with a beautiful setting that transports customers to a Mediterranean garden, even though it’s within a shopping centre. It is sister to the Olivedale branch, but is not a franchise, which is why it retains a firmly family feel, with unique and attentive eye for detail – from the dining area, to the garden-type seating area, to the bathrooms. The music is also lovely, mainly jazz, and just the right volume so as to allow for it to be noticeable only if and when guests wish to hear it as they chatter quietly among themselves.

    And…
    The wine menu is from the Landmark next door.

    (September 2016)

    Eat Out reviewers dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read our full editorial policy here.

  • Hennie Fisher

    Food
    From nibbly bits (olives, biltong and berries) to some serious Italian fare such as a 400 g beef T-bone tagliata with porcini trifolati, fresh black truffle butter and triple cooked chips, the options are vast. Appetizers range from salt and pepper squid heads served with lime and roasted garlic aioli and black salt, to grilled bruschetta topped with salmon and cream cheese; tomato salsa; crème fraîche; mushrooms; gorgonzola and strawberries and olive tapenade. The selection of main courses include black sesame-crusted salmon with avocado mash, Campari and fresh grapefruit salsa with a vanilla and sweet chilli sauce, or a Polpette burger with Fontal cheese, caramelized onion, streaky bacon, sundried tomato relish and rocket. One could splurge and enjoy butternut gnocchi with sage and walnut cream served with fresh black truffles, or a chorizo risotto with exotic mushrooms, tomato, paprika and white wine. Also a good option are any of the many pizzas such as the version with salsiccia, fennel and chilli, or fior di latte mozzarella, tomato and basil – all on tomato bases. The Bianca based pizzas are topped with items such as smoked salmon, crème fraîche, red onion and rocket, or potato, caramelised onion, parmesan and rosemary. They always have some specials available such as a beautifully made beetroot tagliatelle with pulled lamb and lamb jus; Filetto Balsamico or lamb chops with saffron risotto and a rosemary grape jus.

    Drinks
    From the French Champagnes to some beautiful SA MCC’s such as Silverthorn The Green Man Vintage Brut or Charles Fox Brut Rosé, the wine list clearly demonstrates the care and attention that went into its compilation. There is a small Cellar Select wine list that showcases some eminent wines, and for everyday use they have a one-page wine list that shows equal care and attention, with varietals and blends categorised separately.

    Service
    Apart from a welcoming receptionist at the entrance and friendly, knowledgeable staff serving tables, this establishment is also overseen by the matriarch of the family, Luciana, and her children, Chiara and Ryan. They have a super-efficient booking system that allows one to send confirmation via the push of a phone button. Finally, the very professional staff members are dressed beautifully in wheat-coloured linen shirts and aprons.

    Ambience
    As the name suggests, this is a bright and airy space where lots of attention was paid to create an environment that would be worthy of the description ‘Botanico’. Apart from a multitude of hanging plants, the outside area has a glass waterfall to soften the transition to the outside world and create a restful respite from Johannesburg days – although there are some heaters and blankets for when it might get slightly chilly later in the day. The restaurant area, in beiges and light greens, manages to combine a slightly more formal ambiance with an airy sophistication.

    And…
    All responsibility for beverages resides with The Landmark by Café del Sol, a modern bar that serves the restaurant but also functions separately. Featuring a slightly darker, more masculine interior, this venue manages to be quite distinct from the slightly softer look of the restaurant next door. They specialize in contemporary designer cocktails and their cocktail menu for summer/autumn is separated into two sections to showcase classics and signatures.

    (August 2015)

  • Hennie Fisher

    Food 

    The options are vast here at the younger sibling of Café del Sol, our 2012 winner of Best Italian Restaurant, offering everything from nibbly bits (olives, biltong and berries) to serious fare such as a 400g beef T-bone tagliata with porcini trifolati, fresh black-truffle butter and triple-cooked chips.

    Appetisers range from salt-and-pepper squid heads with lime, roasted garlic aioli and black salt to grilled bruschetta topped with combinations like salmon and cream cheese or gorgonzola, strawberries and olive tapenade. The selection of main courses include black-sesame-crusted salmon with avocado mash, Campari and fresh grapefruit salsa with a vanilla and sweet chilli sauce, or a polpette burger with fontal cheese, caramelised onion, streaky bacon, sundried tomato relish and rocket.

    You could splurge on butternut gnocchi with sage, walnut cream and fresh black truffles, or a chorizo risotto with exotic mushrooms, tomato, paprika and white wine. Also a good choice are any of the many pizzas, such as the versions with salsiccia, fennel and chilli, or fior di latte mozzarella, tomato and basil – all on tomato bases. The bianca pizzas are topped with items such as smoked salmon, crème fraîche, red onion and rocket, or potato, caramelised onion, parmesan and rosemary. They always have some specials available, like a beautifully made beetroot tagliatelle with pulled lamb and lamb jus, filetto balsamico, or lamb chops with saffron risotto and a rosemary grape jus.

    Drinks
    Ranging from French Champagnes to some beautiful South African MCCs (Silverthorn The Green Man Vintage Brut and Charles Fox Brut Rosé), the wine list demonstrates the care and attention that went into its compilation. There’s a small Cellar Select collection that showcases some eminent wines; and for everyday use they have a one-page list with varietals and blends categorised separately.

    Service

    In addition to a welcoming receptionist at the entrance and friendly, knowledgeable wait staff, this establishment is overseen by the matriarch of the family, Luciana Treccani, and her children, Chiara and Ryan. They have a super-efficient booking system that allows you to send confirmation via the push of a phone button. The very professional staff members are dressed beautifully in wheat-coloured linen shirts and aprons.

    Ambience
    As the name suggests, this is a bright and airy space, with an environment worthy of the ‘botanico’ description. As well as a multitude of hanging plants, the outside area has a glass waterfall to soften the transition to the outside world and create a respite from Johannesburg days – although there are some heaters and blankets for when it gets chilly. The restaurant area, in beiges and light greens, manages to combine a slightly more formal ambiance with an airy sophistication.

    And… 

    All responsibility for the beverages falls to The Landmark by Café del Sol, a modern bar that serves the restaurant but also functions separately. Featuring a slightly darker and edgier interior, this venue manages to be quite distinct from the slightly softer look of the restaurant next door. The bar specialises in contemporary designer cocktails, with the drinks menu showcasing classics and signatures.

    (June 2015)

User reviews

  • Love love love this restaurant! The food and service are consistently outstanding, such a classy option for a dinner out! The porcini chicken with risotto is my all time favourite followed by the nougat cheesecake or the pavlova but we have never had anything we were disappointed with. You need to book weeks in advance...
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  • Cafe Del Sol Botanico is a special treat! The decor and ambiance is sophisticated and chic. The attention to detail is impeccable. The food is mouth watering. The plating is authentic. This is definitely my first choice for a special occasion or a quick pizza and glass of vino in the Landmark bar. A dining experience not to be missed!
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  • Cafe del solo, or should we day cafe del sole as you managed to brighten even the coldest day of winter!
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  • An excellent experience all round. The food and presentation thereof was totally sublime and the service really good. You pay a bit more for it but it was well worth it.
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  • I finally made it to the Cafe Del Sol Botanico. The reservation was for 2 and was made online which was simple and immediate. I received numerous confirmations which was great. The ambience is interesting, it almost feels like you are entering a health spa. Beautiful décor, lots of whites and greens. I personally felt that the lighting was a bit on the bright side though which can deter from the intimacy of the setting. Perhaps slightly dimmer lighting for dinner would be best. Service was superb. The waiter was attentive and always smiling. Myself and my partner shared a caprese salad which was delicious. You can taste the quality in the Mozzarella that was used. A bit shy on the avo but the delicious array of different coloured tomatoes made for a fresh delight on the palate. Our mains included the Spaghetti aglio, oglio, peperoncino e porcini as well as the Penne al filetto picante. Both choices were delicious. The aglio oglio packed a little kick with the chilli and just burst with flavour once I added my customary large portion of parmesan cheese sprinkles. The fillet pasta had quite a deep tomato underbelly which my partner adored. Without a doubt the pièce de résistance was desert. I had to try my stock standard cheesecake. For the first time though, this hefty slither had peanut butter mixed in. As a cheesecake snob and connoisseur, all I can say is OMG! Up there with just about any cheesecake around! My partner gobbled down the chocolate fondant in double quick time. I think she may have even licked the bowl while I wasn't looking! Lets just say that for 15 minutes we barely spoke. The sweet devouring of desert bliss ended all verbal interaction:-) To wash all this deliciousness down we settled on a bottle of the 2013 terra del capo sangiovese. Decently priced red blend which was easy on the palate and complimented the meal. All in all a fantastic dinner, albeit quite expensive. I will definitely be back, even if its just to dabble in that cheesecake again:-)
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  • Had lunch with my husband, the food was delicious, service was great but the portions were a bit small for my hubby. Lovely restaurant, will definitely go again.
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  • What a GEM!! Every meal is absolutely amazing!! Fantastic service, great ambience and very reasonably priced. By far the best in jhb! Sean and the team run a very special restaurant.
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  • So some how this restaurant manages to stay overbooked all the time, having experienced it and what is hopefully it's worst this evening, I think it may all be a farce. We were there for my friends' birthday. We were a table of 14, it was a disaster from beginning to end. I've been there a number of times before and never thought it amazing but last was just awful and a real disappointment to the birthday girl Initially we had a long table. Birthday girl requested for it to be separated into two. When she realized that it was not working she asked them to put the extra table back. The waitress proceeded to argue with the birthday girl saying it's her fault, needless to say we never got that table. I ordered a bottle of prosecco that took between 15-30 minutes to arrive, by the time it was on it way I had thought they forgot about us. There was no apology given for this and we spent most of the night with empty glasses, luckily I had ordered a bottle. Eventually I got them to take it out the ice bucket and put it on the table so I could pour my own drink as service was that bad. We had a 3 course meal. The arrival Of the food was staggered to the point most meals were cold and that 4 guests ended up not receiving the dessert. Battered prawns - were taste less Salmon - cold, no flavor Chocolate tart with strawberry ice cream - the star of the night, it was so nice that I thought I'd been transported to another restaurant. Our table was small and to exacerbate the situation we were stuck for most of the night with wine glasses we were not using even after I asked for them to be removed. Table remained uncleared and a huge mess till we left the restaurant. There was a power surge of sorts, where at least 4/5 times during the night the lights went off, I can't explain specifically what it was as no apology or explanation was provided. The only redeeming quality ( well that and the chocolate tart) was that when I asked one of the managers to send additional waiters to pass through our table as our waiter was not coping she listened and for about 30 min after my request we actually received the service that was automatically included in our bill. Birthday girl also got a sparkle in her dessert. When we complained to the manager upon paying our bill he said he was sorry and we should have brought it to his attention. I would think that an uncleared table with dirty crockery should be enough. It generally is in quality restaurants. He also said that he would arrange a refund of sorts, watching to see what happens. You really need to up your game, being fully booked with rubbish food and service is not an achievement.
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  • Words cannot explain how wonderful this restaurant is. The decor and details are so lovely and the garden theme is pulled right through the entire restaurant. Then the food. Wow. With a table of 5 we had so many great options to taste and compare and I find it difficult to pick a favourite. We had starters of Mussel Pot, Duck spring rolls and Spring rolls. Everything was carefully made, well presented and absolutely tasty. Mains was: Champagne Risotto; Spinach Tagliatelle with pine nut and basil pesto; Beef Wellington (Sadly the pastry was a little raw but the fillet inside was great.); Ravioli which had stunning soft flavours and Lamb chops with Saffron risotto which was amazing. If I had to choose the Champagne Risotto was probably the best just because the flavours were so intricate and lovely with a little crunchy bacon to compliment the softer textures of the risotto. Dessert: Coffee creme brulee (wow and wow) with salted caramel ice cream; Chocolate tart with rose and raspberry ice cream; pavlova and the chocolate pot with peanut butter ice cream. Again everything was just stunning and so well presented. The service was excellent with wait staff and managers constantly checking if we were ok. What an excellent venue with great views over the Sandton sky line. A little pricey, but well worth it. *Note: You can pay corkage, but not on selections the restaurant stock already.
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  • Cafe del Sol Botanico is my favourite restaurant in Johannesburg! There is nothing that I can fault here, from the impeccable service to the outstanding quality of their food, this restaurant is amazing. My Husband and I religiously dine at this restaurant on a bimonthly basis. We have tried so many dishes, but the chicken supreme is definitely top of the list! Time to make another booking soon at Cafe del Sol.
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  • Had a wonderful team lunch here. I am a vegetarian so I ordered a chicken pasta without chicken but with extra mushrooms. I could barely tell that there were mushrooms in the meal and no extras were recommended to me. Would be nice if they had some more creative veggie options on the menu. Other than that, the pasta was not heavy yet filling. The ambience was great and the service impeccable. I will definitely come back with my hubby...
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  • Absolutely superb dining experience from start to finish. From the moment you walk through the door you are greeted with a smile ,the service is great , the setting is tranquil and calming and the food is on another level. Professionalism personified. My favourite restaurant in Joburg bar none
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  • Amazing evening at Cafe Del Sol Botanico. We booked their private dining room for a special occasion, and could not have been happier with the result - awesome food, exceptional service, in a beautiful venue. 14 people with diverse tastes all enjoyed their food, and they catered to every request we had for the occasion - from a special cake to menu changes. Thank you to the cafe del sol team for a very special evening :)
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  • Absolutely beautiful! Food was exquisite and service was great although the waiters could SMILE a lot more :-) Great ambiance and this will definitely be one of my favourites!
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  • I was expecting so much more from this restaurant after waiting nearly 3 weeks for a Friday night reservation. The service was very slow and the waiter brought me the incorrect order. My husband's order was fine but he was half way through his meal before my correct order appeared. The food was good but not spectacular. Also, if you are looking for a quiet, romantic ambience, this is not it. It's beautifully decorated but the vibe in the restaurant is too loud and noisy. I will go back, but I will wait for the hype to diminish. Maybe when it's not so busy, it will be more like what I expected: a classy night out with excellent food and top class service. For now, it's lacking on all three.
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  • (24 Feb 2015) I was not expecting great service as had read up a few of the reviews beforehand - but was pleasantly surprised as the service was exceptional, not just from our dedicated waiter but a few of the waiters/runners/manager etc. had come past at various times during the evening checking on our glasses/plates and to just generally see we were being attended to. Food was absolutely delicious (as expected - the 3 week wait for the booking was worth it) Shona Williams
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Facilities

  • Alfresco
  • Beer served
  • Booking required
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • WiFi

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