The cuisine is some of the best in Johannesburg: it is refined and well-prepared with the flavours always consistent and balanced. Every time one returns, it is consistent and fabulous, no matter whether you order a pasta or heartier grill. The food is always plated perfectly and served with a particular nuance that is focused towards the Johannesburg crowd.
The menu is heavily inspired by Italian cuisine, and uses fresh ingredients. Try a variety of the chicchetti (snacks) to start. Polpette di agnello (lamb meatballs), cozze (mussels), and calamari Gemelli are all must-try dishes. The Primi Piatta section has a lovely selection of plates for one and plates to share.
Where Gemelli truly shines is with their pastas, risottos and main dishes. For a unique experience, order a seafood pasta and a waiter will arrive theatrically, delicately tying a bib around your neck before placing a steaming bowl of Linguine de Mare before you. It’s laced with prawn tails, mussels, clams, calamari, a rich tomato base, a splash of herb cream, and long al dente strands of perfectly cooked pasta.
Another standout is the Bistecca di Agnello (lamb rump). It is perfectly cooked to medium rare and served with a porcini mushroom risotto, parsley butter and a punchy umami olive tapenade as well as a large quenelle of crème fraiche.
Alternatively, order from the perennially wonderful selection of chef’s specials from the very talented chef.
For those with a sweet tooth, the sweets menu offers some lovely classics as well as some interesting combinations. They make one think but are delicately put together and not over the top. Try the chocolate nemesis with salted butterscotch for something very decadent. Else, if your palate calls for something more savoury, go for the formaggi.
Gemelli offers a large wine list and broad drinks selection. The wine list has everything one could want from entry level South African wines to internationally accredited champagnes and fortified wines. Gemelli’s cocktails are fabulous and are an excellent way to begin the evening. Local and Italian craft beers are available too, as well as beer on tap. Waiters are well educated about the wine list and able to assist with queries.
The ambience of Gemelli’s is enhanced by the fact that it is always busy. One downfall is the acoustics, which are not ideal for conversation – so be prepared to shout at your guests. It is therefore not ideal for a romantic dinner for two, but rather for a jovial get together or occasion. The shop fitting is lovely, with raw wooden tables, starched linen, sparkling glassware and fabulous crockery. Overall the entire dining experience is consistently wonderful. Alex, one of the co-owners and “concierge” for lack of a better word, is utterly fabulous, he knows most of his clientele on a first name basis and one may watch him bouncing between tables making his customers feel at home.
Book to ensure you get a table. Lunch service is much quieter but the food is just as good. Gemelli is also well positioned to wait out the traffic if you happen to be stuck on Main Road or William Nicol in Bryanston.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read our full editorial policy here.
This beautiful Italian restaurant is the brainchild of Allesandro Khojane, who grew up in Rome, Italy. The food ethos is centred around family love, sharing and community. The seasonal menu is honest, delicious and simple, with traditional Italian ingredients prepared and presented in a modern way.
For starters, try the warming pumpkin-and-cauliflower soup. Creamy and delightful, it comes topped with cumin-candied almonds. For mains, try the risotto alla luna di miele (honeymoon risotto), which is topped with prawn tails, garlic, tomato and parsley cream. The pasta dishes are also a winner, with most of the selection available in family-sized table bowls for sharing. For something meaty, try the pork belly, which is slow roasted for six hours with apples, star anise and soy, and served with cauliflower purée and honey-roasted vegetables and lentils. The Gemelli chicken, stuffed with sage, olives, red pepper and mozzarella, wrapped with pancetta is also very popular.
The dessert menu is small but impressive, with Italian favourites like tiramisu trifle and lemon tart served with lemon sorbet.
The extensive wine list includes local and imported wines and prosecco, most of them available per glass. The bar also offers a wide range of craft beers from home and abroad, cocktails and soft drinks.
The service is world class. The waiters understand the menu well and make good menu suggestions. The manager is on hand to assist with any issues.
Bare wooden tables, starched white napkins and plush brown leather chairs create a warm and cosy ambience, with the soft white lighting and giant Italian murals adding warmth to the space.
Booking ahead is essential.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
A food dream inspired by the culinary capital of Rome, Italy, where owner Alessandro Mosupi Khojane was born, is now a delicious reality at Gemelli restaurant in Bryanston. His ten years’ experience in the industry, and passion for food and people make Alessandro a natural in this challenging industry.
The food at Gemelli has strong Italian roots, but is prepared with modern flair by head chef Paulo Santo. The Caprese salad is brimming with expertly layered flavours of tomatoes prepared three ways: fresh, lightly sautéed, and in a tomato jelly finished with a homemade pesto, wafers of toasted ciabatta and, of course, mozzarella.
The cured venison carpaccio with radish and hazelnut dressing, and the beetroot and gorgonzola tart with candied walnut and fig and balsamic reduction, also make for a perfect start to your meal.
Alessandro’s signature dish ‘Penne Alessandro’ (of course it’s named after him!) is a masterful combination of smoked chicken, prawn tails and prosecco-mustard cream. This pasta has mood-enhancing properties, which will ensure you complete every last morsel of the generous portion.
Alternatively, the seabass is perfectly cooked and pairs beautifully with the pea mousse, mussel-herb crema and glazed beetroot. In true Italian style, you can order the mushroom risotto, containing four types of mushrooms, pecorino cheese, truffle oil and a mushroom dust to elevate the earthiness, as a side dish.
Most Italian restaurants feel obliged to serve tiramisu at the end of a meal. Gemelli does too, but an unusual combination of textured Oreo topping, espresso custard and mascarpone mousse puts a refreshing twist on this traditional favourite. I'll definitely be back to try the nougat cheesecake served with marzipan gelato.
A well-crafted and well-priced wine list will certainly satisfy most palates as well as the connoisseur. Some of my favourites like the Ataraxia chardonnay, Crystallum pinot noir and the Black Water noir red blend grace the list. The beer drinker will be pleased with the selection of Italian and local craft beers. Cocktails like the Lesotho Lady and The mad Italian certainly sound like they can get a party started.
The team at Gemelli completes the culinary experience. Everyone contributes, from the charismatic personality of the owner and the efficient and professional waiters, down to the energetic chefs who pop out if the busy kitchen to explain their dishes with passion.
Careful attention has been paid to every detail; the large hand-painted, almost three-dimensional mural anchors the loft-styled space. A large marble-topped bar lines one end of the restaurant with large champagne troughs filled with ice-cold bottles of wine and champagne awaiting your indulgence. This slick modern setting makes for one of our city’s most stylish eateries.
While this restaurant is only two weeks old, it certainly has all the right ingredients for a bright future on the Johannesburg food scene.