Venues

Gemelli Italian Restaurant

Gemelli Italian Restaurant
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  • Phone Number 0105914333
  • Location Shop 13, Posthouse Link Centre, Corner Main and Posthouse Street, Bryanston, Johannesburg
  • email bookings@gemellirestaurant.co.za
  • Website URL http://gemellirestaurant.co.za
  • Opening Hours

    Lunch: Monday to Thursday 12noon to 3pm; Friday to Sunday 12noon to 3.30pm

    Dinner: Monday to Tuesday 5.30pm to 9.30pm; Wednesday to Saturday 5.30pm to 10pm; Sundays 6pm to 9pm

Cost
R120 avg main meal
Ambience
Authentic culture, Comfy & casual
Food
Italian
Payment
Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Jodi-Ann Pearton

Food

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.

Drinks

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.

Ambience

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.

And…

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.

(June 2017)

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

  • Ambience
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  • Mokgadi Itsweng

    Food
    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.

    Drinks
    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.

    Service
    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.

    Ambience
    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.

    And…
    Booking ahead is essential.

    (September 2016)

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

  • Rupesh Kassen

    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.

    Food

    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.

    Drinks

    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.

    Service

    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.

    Ambience

    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.

    And...

    While this restaurant is only two weeks old, it certainly has all the right ingredients for a bright future on the Johannesburg food scene.

    (November 2015)

User reviews

  • I'm a bit late to the party here, but I finally got a chance to try out this famed Bryanston eatery last night on a spur of the moment date-night. For me, the hype for this establishment has been built up by friends and other reviewers, so I went in with high expectations (which is never a good idea). We got there quite late as we didn't have a booking and it was a packed Friday night, but they don't take bookings after 8. So after a drink in their casual outside area (I ordered the Mad Italian cocktail, which was nothing special for the high price) we were led inside. I expected more of a romantic and intimate atmosphere, as from the outside the restaurant looks like you're dining in a scene from Moulin Rouge. However it was a bit too crowded and noisy, and it's less intimate and more eavesdrop on the entertaining conversations of the tables around you. We didn't mind, but it's definitely not what I expected. The waiters and waitresses were constantly buzzing around, asking for refills and clearing away plates and utensils, so we always felt looked after. On to the main event: the food. We started off with their Calamari which came quite highly recommended. The flavours were excellent: the herby chimichurri mixed with the unexpectedly spicy paprika gave a nice bite to the dish. Unfortunately the actual Calamari wasn't very tender, and it was a bit of a let-down because the flavours were so good. For mains I had the Lamb Ragu, a hearty dish which feautured melt-in-your-mouth lamb and a tasty tomato-based sauce. It was a good dish, but I still found it a bit underwhelming. For a place that is praised for their Pasta dishes, for me it didn't have that wow factor. The actual pasta was ok but I felt a bit underwhelmed with the dish overall. Again this could have been due to my high expectations, but I really hoped that at the end of the day Gemelli would deliver. My boyfriend had the Cannalloni which again was good, but nothing great. I found the chicken filling to be a bit bland. I did thoroughly enjoy the mini salad that accompanied it though. For dessert we had the chocolate nemesis, which was alright. The star was definitely the hazelnut ice cream, but the chocolate ganache gets very overwhelming and the green blobs of lime jelly were a bit unappealing. Overall we had a good night out; while the ambience was loud and vibey it wasn't too off-putting and the decor and service was lovely. My biggest gripe was the food, and while we may have ordered the wrong menu items, I did expect everything to be amazing from this highly rated restaurant, and sadly built my expectations a bit too high. I would give them a 3 and a 1/2 for food if I could, but 4 would be the next best thing because it was above average but not quite amazing.
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  • If you are a travel junkie, the decor will hit you first: New York Loft. You will be tempted to steal ideas. If you are a service snob, you would have left all your eccentricities on the other side of the telephone. I called every day for three days in a row to get a cancellation. Every day, I get a different pleasant gentleman who tells me nicely that they are so full but will keep trying. The day I got a table, Owner Alessandro, embraces me at the door and shows me to a seat by the window. Table service was spot on. I had asked for a pasta spoon not knowing that one was ALREADY on the table. Things like that, people don't forget. The food is charming Italian. Uncomplicated, unpretentious, generous portions and the seafood was fresh. Good value for money and 10/10 for everything else. It is busy, so be patient with the noise- they make it up with everything else.
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  • I'm long overdue to visit Gemelli's again. I've seldom left a restaurant feeling inspired without having to pay out of my pocket for it. From the fabulous wine selection, to friendly staff and fantastic service, and of course, food that I would literally die for. People use that expression so often but it really fits the bill in this case. I've just thought to myself, "how is it that we can feel so good after listening to a piece of music for the thousandth time without having to pay a fortune to do so, but when it comes to eating out, we have some of the most amazing restaurants in SA, but quite often we are left with a feeling of wanting, or needing, more? Not completely satisfied". My experience was quite the opposite. I just wish I could get myself to be more organised to book a space as they are always fill up when I'm really needing a dose of that inspiration. Anyway, when it does happen, that feeling is just the best, well that is my experience. Of all the eating out I've done in the last year, this place really stands out. I do hope my next experience will be the same.
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  • I had the displeasure of having lunch today at Gemellis restaurant situated between the Baron on Main and Social on Main. The restaurant was extremely noisy and tables packed too close to each other to accommodate people. The manager seemed to have all his friends and family in the restaurant thereby neglecting the rest of his patrons. I expected a lot more for the exorbitant price we paid. It's just another car park restaurant with nothing to offer. I certainly would not recommend it!!! I certainly would not describe it as an Italian restaurant either.
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  • Food is nice but service is really slow. Then we got seated outside even though we made bookings. As if that wasnt enough it started raining and we were asked to sit by the bar wich was already full.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Smoking

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