Venues

Lupa (Durban North)

Write a Review

Is this your venue?

Claim it now!

Please or signup in order for you to claim this venue.

Cost
R80 avg main meal
Ambience
Authentic culture, Comfy & casual
Food
Italian
Payment
Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Nicola Ashe

Food
The focus here is on an authentic Italian experience with fresh pasta and pizza made on-site daily using imported flour. This branch is the third Lupa in Durban, with all menus devised by chef Chris Black, featuring a selection of antipasti, salads, meat and seafood dishes.

Think Italian and order a variety of starters to share. The spicy chicken livers, crispy polenta fingers with a creamy gorgonzola-and-mushroom sauce and the pretzel-dusted Falkland calamari are all recommended. If the risotto cakes are on the specials board, get them: crispy on the outside and deliciously oozy inside. The Roman-style artichoke is also memorable: It’s served whole, crumbed and fried, with minty mayo for dipping. Other options include gorgonzola snails, beef or pork meatballs in slow-roasted tomato sauce, and beef carpaccio. An antipasto platter comes balanced on a large tomato can, filled with an array of cured meats, parma ham, cheese, zucchini fries, olives, marinated brinjal and focaccia.

Pasta varieties include spaghetti, fettuccine, penne and gnocchi (with gluten-free options available at a surcharge). Sauces are all home-made and range from the simple Loula (tomato with fresh basil) to the more well-known Alfredo bolognaise, marinara and meatball options, or the delicious vegetarian zucchini with chilli, garlic, crispy fried spinach balls and Grana Padano cheese.

Wood-fired pizzas include the usual suspects, as well as some novel toppings like fennel pork sausage, caramelised pineapple, pine nuts and chilli honey.

Carnivores can choose from wood-roasted chicken or lamb shank, as well as veal cooked two ways, or a balsamic avo fillet stack served with white-wine risotto. Seafood options include kingklip with white wine, lemon and capers; fresh line fish when available; and calamari. The kids aren’t forgotten with a special Little Lupas menu for under 12s with a budget-friendly R70 price tag for a meal and drink plus dessert.

Drinks
The wine list is varied, but it’s on the pricey side. Corkage-free Mondays encourage you to bring your own to enjoy with your meal at no charge.

Service
Service is attentive but not intrusive, and you’ll be forgiven for feeling as if you’re at home with the famiglia with the relaxed vibe and convivial atmosphere.

Ambience
Subway tiles and leather banquette seating give this eatery a modern edge, with brightly coloured Tolix stools providing pops of colour.

And…
The dough room offers a welcome distraction for kids who get to see the pizza bases and pasta being made, as well as the charcuterie slicer in action.

(September 2016)

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

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Tracy Gielink

    Food
    The menu was devised by chef Chris Black, who has made a name for his Italian food. And although this is a franchise, the kitchen executes his dishes with aplomb. Think starters like pretzel-dusted calamari, carpaccio, or tomato-and-mozzarella risotto cakes served with zucchini fries. Pizzas – made with imported flour and cooked in the wood-fired oven – are exemplary and also come in a gluten-free version. Toppings range from Parma ham, Philly cream cheese and rocket to chorizo, feta, peppadews, chilli and avocado. Pasta is homemade (select a sauce to pair with your choice of pasta) and a trademark dish is the salsicce with Italian fennel sausages, bacon, mushrooms, Chianti and cream. Meaty dishes include veal Marsala and lamb shank, while seafood offerings include kingklip roasted in the pizza oven with lemon, capers, white wine and garlic. Decadent dessert options include the Nutella pizza with ice cream, as well as homemade tiramisu and a salted-popcorn sundae.

    Drinks
    A compact but well considered wine list is presented per varietal and provides a balance between value and quality. There’s a small selection of Italian wines and bubblies, plus a range of craft beers.

    Service
    Professional waiters are prompt, friendly and industrious, giving the right amount of attention without being intrusive. The kitchen processes orders very efficiently.

    Ambience
    Lupa successfully combines the necessary warmth expected of a neighbourhood eatery with playful contemporary touches. Blonde and almond wood floors and tables (with no formal dressing) are juxtaposed with orange and white metal chairs and exposed brick. The front opens up with large windows that allow local passers-by to peer inquisitively into the perpetually busy restaurant.

    And…
    The two-course kids’ menu with a cold drink offers good value for money.

    (October 2015)

User reviews

  • When my husband and I first discovered Lupa in Hillcrest we were absolutely blown away. Walking into a restaurant that has a huge hunk of cured pork, locked into a meat slicer, on display and ready to be freshly shaved for every order of the parma ham & rocket pizza, makes for an excellent first impression. While you don’t have to dress up for a meal there, you kind of want to because the service is so professional, the food is bordering on fine dining, and the décor is so modern rustic. My first meal there was a starter of crispy risotto balls, which when cut into, oozed mozzarella, sage and Italian sausage. Craig’s first starter was probably one of the best meatball dishes we’ve ever had. We loved it, and we were convinced we wouldn’t find a better restaurant than this in Durban. We were just so sad that it was so far away from home, so having dinner and drinks there was not an option. Thankfully not too long after that, a branch opened in Westville where I had one of my most entertaining office parties. Soon after another that, another branch opened their doors in Broadway which I had the pleasure of experiencing for the first time, with all my favourite gals, on my Hen’s night. Now all we need to do is cheaply uber to Kensington if we are planning on having a few glasses of wine or a craft beer from their wide selection of both. When my mom and step-dad arrived for the Christmas holiday, I really battled to get a booking anywhere in Durban for Christmas Eve. I called 8 of my favourite restaurants and all were either closed for dinner or in most cases, were closed until 6 January. What!!?? Insane! All the Vaalies come to Durban for the holidays, with their pockets overflowing with cash, and all the good restaurants shut down?! How is that a good financial move? Anyway, their choice I guess. But Lupa was open! I booked online, and the Manager called me back less than an hour later to confirm my booking. Now that’s what I like! We had such a lovely candle-lit evening surrounded by Christmas decorations; large, loud families & high spirits, and the food was all fabulous as usual. I’m not going to go into too much detail about each dish that we ate because I can safely tell you that there is not one dish on Lupa’s menu that isn’t delicious. I also can’t post too many amazing photos due to the lighting, but let me assure you that presentation is also very important to them. What I CAN tell you is that you we have personally tried (and you should too) the following: Roman style crumbed & fried stalk-intact artichokes; the wood roasted snails with gorgonzola sauce & toasted ciabatta; the pretzel dusted calamari and the Italian nachos (don’t expect traditional nachos, but expect something equally as tasty with similar ingredients). My main meal favourite is the Veal Escalopes with lemon, white wine & cream sauce with a side of creamy Parmesan fettucine To die for! So much so that I’m happy to order a different starter everytime I go, but no other dish competes for mains. To check some more Durban Restaurant reviews, check out my Instagram Feed @Lauren_Joshua_Miles and my food blog MyInsatiableAppetite.net
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Stunning spot to have a special dinner or group gathering. always a good vibe with lovely staff. i like the menu choices for vegetarians... not as many as i would like but their pizzas and pastas alike are fresh and tasty! highly recommended dining experience
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Beer served
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food

Write a review

Nearby Restaurants

Featured restaurants

Eatout