Venues

Carne SA (Keerom Street)

Carne SA (Keerom Street)
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Cost
R175 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
Italian, Steak
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
500
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Critic's review

Richard Holmes

Food
Chef-patron Giorgio Nava brings his signature Italian flair to this sleek and stylish steak restaurant in the heart of the city’s legal district. But first, a word of warning: this is not a steakhouse as you may imagine it. Don’t come expecting creamed spinach and sticky barbecue baste, anodyne chips and toppings that disguise the meat beneath. Instead Nava lets his steak do the talking, from the moment the waiters parade a platter of protein before your table. Alongside prime beef, lamb and venison, look out for the cuts you’ll rarely find at run of the mill steakhouses: hanger steak, spider steak, prime rib on the bone. The signature is the 1.2 kg La Fiorentina T-bone, a fine choice for a hungry couple. If you can squeeze in a starter, make it the superb ravioli filled with slow-baked shoulder of Karoo lamb, topped with sage butter and parmesan. There are a handful of other pastas, salads and chicken dishes to consider, but the red meat is the reason to visit. Well, the meat, and Nava’s legendary dark chocolate fondant, which shouldn’t be missed.

Drinks
Although lacking much information on the wines, it’s a wide-ranging list that takes in a good range of big-name and boutique South African estates alongside a selection of overseas labels. If you’re going globetrotting, the Argentine Malbec is a particularly good match for the meat. End your meal with an espresso and a shot of Italian grappa.

Service
Excellent service is a hallmark here, from the friendly hostess at the door to the waiters who’ll patiently talk you through the various cuts. Despite running four restaurants, Nava is often in attendance.

Ambience
A sexy, stylish restaurant that swops steakhouse cliché for minimalist industrial chic. Wooden beams and accents soften the effect, but the space can get noisy when it’s full. The crowd is cosmopolitan and well dressed so make a little effort.

And…
Few guests notice the stylish bar area upstairs, the perfect place for a pre-dinner drink, or digestif.

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  • Service
  • Food
  • Acclaimed for its carnivorous concept, Carne SA is where you should be eating meat. Chef-patron Giorgio Nava makes a huge effort to greet everyone and give recommendations. His restaurants are in a league of their own. At Carne SA, steak cuts are presented on a platter and explained in detail. You can sense that everything is done for the love of meat, sourced and prepared with care, but the ambience is also welcoming and sophisticated. There are several classic Italian dishes and delicacies like sweetbreads on the menu, and an excellent wine list is complemented by knowledgeable staff. Highlights: the 1.2kg T-bone; ravioli filled with slow-baked lamb shoulder, sage butter and parmesan; sweetbreads with artichoke mash; prime rib on the bone; hanger steak; La Fiorentina (for two to share); the bresaola with lemon juice and olive oil; and Karoo lamb with sautéed spinach. (EO mag 2014)
  • Food
    Meat is meat and man (and woman) must eat. And boy do we love eating meat at Carne SA, where chef-proprietor Giorgio Nava showcases his unmistakable Italian culinary flair. For the serious carnivores, the 1.2kg Florentine beef steak is a must. But there is so much more: try intricately-flavoured hangar steak, mixed game skewer, or meltingly tender shoulder of lamb stuffed with spinach and pine nuts. Side dishes are simply executed, but don’t skimp on flavour, with fried potatoes being a favourite. The salads and pastas make the most of robust flavours like gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce or biltong salad.

    Wine
    A big hitting list with a good selection of Italian imports too. The list of grappas and digestifs make a fitting end to a meat-heavy meal.

    Service
    Slick, professional and well informed, the service is spot on. They aim to please without being intrusive.

    Ambience
    The wood-beamed lower level of the restaurant exudes a stylish simplicity befitting the food on offer. Louis Ghost chairs add some oomph while the upstairs bar and open-plan lounge and kitchen are great for a good martini before dinner.

    And...
    Waiters bring out the platter of meats to describe the various cuts before you order. (LvA, October 2012)

User reviews

  • The place has a great ambience besides the fresh cement wine cellar smell. Below average service. The waitress had some attitude and we had to find the manager to finally get our sauces after waiting with our food for close to 5 minutes. My t-Bone was rare after ordering it medium rare and after a quick sear on the grill the meat was nice, by any stretch not amazing. Given the price and high expectation this restaurant falls well below an acceptable level.
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  • If this is the best steak in Cape Town, then please start importing Argentine beef. The toughest piece of meat I have had maybe ever. The wine was lovely, but the place had a bad odour, you eat under in a basement with a low ceiling. I don't get it. Giorgio obviously couldn't cut it in Europe...
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  • Okay. The restaurant IS noisy - a confluence of the architecture and the happy and excited people dining there. But the food is sensational, and every single member of staff we met (and we met several, from the door, to the bar to the dining room) was friendly, polite and on the ball.
    Six of us had supper there last night. The quality of both the ingredients and the cooking combined to make a memorable meal out of seemingly quite simple dishes. We had starters, mains and pudding - and at every course there were comments about the excellence of the dishes put before us. I'd have to rate it a huge success. And the table next to us seemed to be having a good time, too.
    We spared no expense: the average price per head came to R430.
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  • This is unusual from me to give a 10 out of 10 to a restaurant. I'm the typical "difficult" customer no waiters/waitresses want to serve. I will send it back if not satisfied and will complain about the service if need be. BUT Carne, let me tell you, I was blown away by my 1st dinning experience there last week. Our waitress, Roxy, made us feel comfortable straight way, she was always in sight whenever we needed something. She advised us (table of 4) wisely without thinking about "let me sell them the most expensive dish so I can make a bigger tip". We shared the signature ravioli dish for starters; TO DIE FOR! If velvet had a taste, it would definitely be Carne's Lamb ravioli! So smooth, melts in the mouth.
    Let's talk main course now...The meat quality was out of this world, I've been hunting for a good steak for a while and none of the popular steak houses around CPT satisfied what I was after. Carne's fiorentina (1.2 kg, 3 of us shared it) hit the spot perfectly: Flavour, texture, taste, portion.. made the overall main course experience unforgettable. Till my next visit, keep up wit the good work Carne, you made me a fan!
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  • Heard so much about Carne, and decided to make a booking to entertain very important clients and wives.

    Service: Arrogant
    Starters: Terrible
    Mains: Meat smelt more than mature more like rotten.

    I Will discourage anyone wanting to waste money eating at Carne.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Parking
  • Serves food

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