A hybrid of Milanese chef Giorgio Nava’s 95 Keerom, and its meatier sibling, Carne, 95 at Parks is the ‘burbs-friendly incarnation that includes all Nava’s preferred Italian classics: steak tartare, carpaccio, salmon tartare, butternut ravioli and meat – lots and lots of meat. On the bone, off the bone, lamb, veal, beef – carnivores will not go hungry here, though the more interesting cuts such as skirt and hangar steak are not in evidence. There’s also fresh pasta made daily and a variety of salads to satisfy the lunch crowd.
At 95 Keerom, Nava is famous for his butternut-and-ricotta ravioli and his chocolate fondant, both of which have been proclaimed as the best in Cape Town at one time or another. Having ordered both at 95 at Parks, I can attest to this. (You cannot go wrong with sage brown butter and liquid chocolate.)
The steak tartare is a little disappointing compared with my memory of it at 95 Keerom, where mounds of chopped capers, anchovies, onion and condiments encircle the beef with its crown of raw yolk for self-assembly. At Parks, the tartare comes pre-mixed. It’s still very good, but I miss the table-side squelching. The meaty mains, however, live up to their Carne counterparts, with prime cuts sourced from Nava’s own farms and seasonal preparations like osso buco and braised shortribs warm the cockles of your heart.
The wine list is an appropriate combo of offerings from the Constantia area, with some outliers and Italian classics.
There’s not a lot of personality, but the service is acceptable and not over-bearing.
Several different dining rooms result in quite a subdued atmosphere. The décor has also undergone a bit of suburbanising to suit the Victorian house setting.
Date nights and similar romantic assignations
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This new sister restaurant of 95 Keerom in downtown Cape Town opened in Constantia in mid-2017, adding fine Italian cuisine to the meatier mix of what was formerly Carné Constantia. Milanese chef-patron Giorgio Nava takes northern Italian cuisine to new heights. Fine artisanal Italian and South African ingredients are the secrets of his winning formula. A passion for attention to detail and authenticity shows in the preparation of home-baked breads, homemade pasta, stocks and sauces, and in the rich and layered flavours on the plate.
Whet your appetite with complimentary home-baked focaccia, bread sticks and ciabatta served with seasonal vegetable tempura. The signature beef ragout pasta and the ravioli of slow-baked Karoo lamb in sage butter and lamb bone jus – served with shaved two month-old grana Padano – are simply divine. Vegetarians will adore the quinoa, lentil salads, gnocchi in gorgonzola-and-pecan sauce, and butternut ravioli.
The antipasti menu tempts with classics like prosciutto with melon, beef or salmon carpaccio or tartare, as well as creative garden salads and caprese with burrata mozzarella. Also leave room for the meatier side of the menu featuring prime-aged cuts like the tender and succulent grass-fed sirloin on the bone, their fillet, the slow-cooked short ribs and their hearty Milanese osso buco. The piquant steak sauces are legendary – try the classic béarnaise or green peppercorn.
Leave space for the chocolate fondant with its molten lava of decadent dark chocolate. No shortcuts are taken in this gourmet Italian kitchen.
The wine list is inspired by local Constantia and Cape wines as well as Italian grappa, prosecco and wines.
Smart-casual, intimate and relaxed. This stand-alone dining destination has green botanical tones and arty 1930s Campari murals in the relaxed setting of a grand Victorian house filled with dolce vita.
The friendly, warm and professional staff advise on the ingredients and composition of signature dishes.
On a warm summer’s day, lunch al fresco under the pergola in the baroque-style cottage garden, or enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif or digestif in the conservatory bar.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.