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Franco’s Pizzeria

Franco’s Pizzeria
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Cost
R82 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Family friendly
Food
Italian, Pizzas
Payment
Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Kate Liquorish

Food
Franco Forleo opened Franco’s Pizzeria and Trattoria in Parkview in 1987. For almost 40 years he and his family have been drawing in the crowds with their famous salad dressing, great service and family atmosphere. It’s simple, slightly dated, but consistently good and serious value for money.

Their thin-crust, wood-fired oven pizzas with traditional Italian toppings – no avocado or pineapple in sight – are fantastic, and perhaps their biggest drawcard, but their pastas are equally as enticing. The panzerotti cremolati (spinach-and-ricotta parcels in a creamy tomato sauce) and the tagliatelle alle cozze (ribbon noodles with half-shell mussels in tomato) and the oozingly cheesy lasagne are all great choices.

The Franco's salad, made up of crispy lettuce, tomato, onion, provolone, olives, eggs, carrots and cucumber, has been on the menu since the restaurant’s inception and, whilst many would consider the combination to be antiquated, there’s a certain charm about their loyalty to what works, and their customers wouldn’t have it any other way.

The carne section is made up of various veal, rump steak and chicken dishes that are simply prepared, but good. There are also fantastic, nightly specials that Franco himself takes the time to describe to every table with the utmost delight. The only shortcoming is the dry carrots served alongside each main; the potatoes and creamed spinach are lovely, but the carrots either need a good dousing of butter or to be shown the back door.

For dessert it’s a toss-up between the tiramisu and the panna cotta.

Drinks
The wine list is neat and affordable; you’ll find all the usual suspects alongside a treat or two. And, you can bring one bottle of wine per table before corkage is charged.

Service
The service at Franco’s is superb! It’s a family-owned and -run restaurant, where the customer is king. You will not receive a warmer or more enthusiastic welcome at any other restaurant in Johannesburg; this is why they’re full every night of the week. The waiters are all informed, efficient and wonderfully enthusiastic and Franco and his sons, Ricky and Franco junior, re constantly working the room, ensuring that each and every one of their customers leave smiling and will come back again very soon.

Ambience
The atmosphere is welcoming and family friendly; the décor is homely and a little kitsch, but in the best way. It’s old-school Italian and unapologetically so.

And…
Booking is essential, as Franco’s is full every night of the week. If you do arrive unannounced, they’ll always do their very best to accommodate you.

(September 2016)

Eat Out critics arrive unannounced and pay their way in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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  • Claire Hu

    Franco’s is a proper old-school pizzeria that sticks to what it does best: wood-fired thin-crust pizza, pasta, risotto and classic dishes like veal al limone.

    Food
    All the dishes are simply done, well priced and tasty – a formula that has won Franco’s a legion of loyal regulars over the years. You won’t find weird and wacky pizza toppings here; instead, you can opt for a pizza alla Siciliana with a mozzarella, tomato, anchovies, olives and capers topping, and you’ve gotta love the Banting-busting pizza con patate with its topping of mozzarella, tomato, sliced potato, parmesan and rosemary.

    The Franco’s salad gives more than a nod to the 1980s with its formula of provolone, eggs and old-school dressing but remains delicious, as does the spatchcock chicken with chilli dressing, mussels marinara and tiramisu.

    If you’re after comforting Italian fare, Franco’s is the place.

    Drinks
    There’s only a small selection of wine by the glass, but a decent range of imported Italian wines and beers. Try some homemade limoncello if it’s available, and the frozen cappuccino is amazing.

    Service
    If you’ve been here more than once, chances are you’ll be greeted by your first name. Franco Forleo leads from the front, as do his sons and nephew. The waitrons have been here for eons and run an efficient and friendly operation.

    Ambience
    The red and green colour scheme, old Chianti straw bottles and basic tableware look like they haven’t been changed since the 1980s, but the décor matches the warm, down-to-earth vibe. The staff are really friendly to kids, even messy toddlers. Tucked away at the back of a small shopping centre, Franco’s is held in great affection by the locals and is the antithesis of the nearby trendy 4th Avenue in Parkhurst.

    And…
    There’s no corkage fee for the first bottle of wine you bring.

    (October 2015)

  • Claire Hu

    Food
    This is a proper old-school pizzeria that sticks to what it does best: wood-fired thin-crust pizza, pasta, risotto and classic dishes like veal al limone. Everything is simply done, well priced and tasty – a formula that’s won it a legion of loyal regulars over the years. You won’t find weird and wacky pizza toppings here; instead you won’t go far wrong with a pizza alla Siciliana (mozzarella, tomato, anchovies, olives and capers). And you’ve gotta love the Banting-busting pizze con potata with its topping of sliced potato and Parmesan. Franco’s salad gives more than a nod to the 1980s with its formula of provolone, eggs and old-school dressing but remains delicious; as does the spatchcock chicken with chilli dressing, mussels marinara and tiramisu. If you’re after comforting Italian fare you won’t find much to dislike about Franco’s.

    Drinks
    There’s only a small selection of wine by the glass but a decent range of imported Italian wines and beers. Try some homemade limoncello if it’s available, and the frozen cappuccino is amazing.

    Service
    If you’ve been here more than once, chances are you’ll be greeted by first name. Franco Forleo, the man behind the name, leads from the front, as do his sons and nephew. The waitrons have been here for eons and run an efficient and friendly operation.

    Ambience
    The décor looks like it hasn’t been changed since the 1980s, with its red and green colour scheme, old Chianti straw bottles and basic tableware. But it seems matches the warm, down-to-earth vibe. They are really friendly to kids, even messy toddlers. Tucked away at the back of a small shopping centre, Franco’s is held in great affection by the locals and is the antithesis of the nearby trendy 4th Avenue in Parkhurst.

    And ...
    There’s no corkage charge for the first bottle you bring.

  • You’ll have the happiest time. Order the potato and parmesan pizza; spaghetti puttanesca; or Franco’s salad with his killer secret dressing. (EO mag 2014)

User reviews

  • Can never go wrong with Franco's! Stumbled across their soups and now I am hooked (and so are my friends!) They do a seafood soup in a tomato base crammed with seafood in this heavenly tomato broth. I always ask them to hold on the cream as this broth is just delish! They use the same broth for their mussels. There is also a Ravioli Brodo. The silky meat filled pockets in a tomato broth. Not as heavy as the fish broth, light and almost clear. You can see the finely chopped celery, carrots and onion floating. It is YUM! They also serve a decent Red wine by the glass. They never disappoint!
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  • Franco's is one of the best restaurants in JHB. Friendly, attentive service with incredibly tasty, hearty food-what more could one ask for! It's the sort of place that you can go to either on a Monday or Friday night. And their corkage policy allows for you to drink your first bottle of wine from home for free!
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  • After 30(?) years - still the best Italian food available. Above is my view as well as my wife and children and grandson and now also my -in law children Thank you and well done Franco and family - keep it up - may you retire one day with loads of money and happy memories!!
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  • Even though I'm a Afrikaner man and I don't speak a word of italian, It always feels like I'm going to see family at Franco's. Its truly on of the most real Italian restaurants in Johannesburg. We always go in a crowd of 5-10 people and we order all the new and oldies on the menu and then we shear so that we can taste all of it (great idea if you on a budget) Some of our favourites are Franco's Salad as a starter, a real 90's classic with egg and creamy coated crispy lettuce. Yum, it takes me back. The spatchcock chicken in chilli sauce, roasted in the pizza oven is probably one of the best thing they serve and believe me you will go back to have more. Pizza con Patate has mozzarella, tomato, sliced potato, parmesan and rosemary, I mean carbs on crabs cant get better. the pricing is really good and the average price is around R75 not bad. The atmosphere is really family orientated with memorabilia on the wall and lots of red of course, it is what it is and a nice escape out of Parkhurst with restaurant on restaurant. So try it and order the spatchcock chicken wink wink.

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  • I'm almost afraid to write a review in case the hordes descend on the best-kept secret in Joburg. The food is always fantastic, the place smells like you've stepped into an origanum heaven, albeit one that hasn't been redecorated since the 80's, the staff are always wonderful, and the Pizzas are the best in Joburg. Hands down. Franco puts food first, in the best possible way, and he's always there overseeing things, and the place is the best value for money around. A firm favourite.
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  • This is a weekday regular of ours. You wont find pasta that tastes this good and sells for this price anywhere else in JHB north.Stick with pizza/pasta, at our last visit we tried the meat dishes- these were disappointing.The butternut conchilioni is to die for! Its a family restaurant, so dont expect fancy decor etc- its just an honest, good food and value for money kind of place and you can always trust that youll be satisfied!
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  • Dinner at Francos last night was definitely an experience Id like to repeat. We were a table of 6 and each one of us had only good things to say about the restaurant, food and ambience.We have initiated a monthly dinner get-together where we try a new restaurant every month and this was undoubtedly one of the best that we have been to.The food was incredible - we each shared a little of each others - the best way to taste Italian fare.The ambience was very relaxed and when they say family-friendly you get the feeling that you are welcomed into Francos family - true Italian-style!
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  • Owner was so rude when booked a table, that we cancelled!!!
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  • Went to Francos on Saturday evening and had a fantastic evening. The food was brilliant, and the service fantastic. I havent been there for a number of years and it was exactly as it had been just better.
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Menu

Set menu - Francos - Updated August 2017

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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