Steeped in tradition and nostalgia, those who remember dining at the Pinelands restaurant from ‘back in the day’ may very well be bringing their children here today. Chefs and owners Ezio de Baiggi and Franco Zezia have run a solid ship for over three decades and have received recognition from Italy for the authentic cuisine they prepare.
The Caprese salad is a lovely, summery start, though it could be served with riper, beefsteak tomatoes (this isn’t Europe, though) and the antipasti platter is a great way to kick things off if you’d like to share. It includes Italian salami, grilled peppers, olives, the Caprese and marinated artichokes.
While pizzas and pastas are popular, easy choices – try the linguine carbonara with bacon, onion and cream, or the simple vegetarian-friendly Arrabbiata with fresh tomato, chilli and garlic – there’s also a large traditional mains menu covering seafood, meat and veal. Try the rich saltimbocca – the house specialty made with ham, mozzarella and mushroom sauce – or simple veal scallops simmered in a sage butter sauce. Meals are hefty, so come with an appetite.
The proper way to tackle this menu would be to have a starter, share a pasta, dive into a main and share a dessert – the house’s famous tiramisu or the semi freddo. Then roll into bed.
There’s a very good local and Italian wine list. In fact, this is the place to try an Italian varietal you may not get elsewhere, locally. If digestives are your poison, there’s a lengthy selection of grappa on the list.
Service is personal, thorough and attentive. Even though the restaurant gets packed, they hardly drop the ball here.
You may expect more of a Mom-and-Pop checkered plastic tablecloth vibe, but it’s more upmarket. Similar in ways to cherished bistros in Italy, it fills up any day of the week, and is adored by loyal regulars.
It’s not encouraged but, if you must, you can order a takeaway so you can have your Italian fix in your jammies.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
A Cape Town institution famed for old-school, authentic Italian fare, this is the spot if you're in the mood for something really retro. It’s a crowd-pleaser for sentimental reasons, and the food is good too – though arguably not as consistent as it once was. For starters, the tuna carpaccio is popular, but the calamari dishes are tasty and a better option. The creamy polenta with blue cheese is very rich and possibly better shared, unless you have a very healthy appetite.
If the usual pizza and pasta suspects don’t take your fancy, try the panzerotti veal with ricotta, creamy Parmesan and sage sauce, it’s one of the best things on the menu. There is veal in various guises: the scalloppine di vitello isacco is a perennial favourite (veal with lemon, white wine, mushrooms and sage).
Desserts include the likes of tiramisu and semi freddo, or go for an affogato of ice cream in coffee if you have a little space left.
An extensive wine list includes Italian varieties as well as a good local selection, and there are over 30 different types of grappa on offer too.
Polite and professional, waiters explain daily specials with ease, and you’ll often see the owners working the floor, checking up on patrons.
Almost always full, this ever-popular suburban establishment's interior is steeped in nostalgia. While the atmosphere is pretty relaxed, it works for business meetings, romantic dinners for two and even family gatherings.
Be careful not to knock over any of the wines lined up around the restaurant – they include some very special vintages!
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.