Moda’ Ristorante has made an exception to its traditional Italian fare by including one of South Africa’s favourite pizza combinations – avo, bacon and feta – but that’s about as far as it goes. Order to theme with a wood-fired oven pizza, pasta or risotto. Start with the crispy, deep-fried calamari served on a bed of zucchini fries or, for something lighter, the beef tenderloin carpaccio with balsamic vinegar, rocket and parmesan cheese. You’ll want to leave room for the carbs to come.
The pizza bases are perfectly thin and the simpler ones are best, such as the marinara with mozzarella, capers and anchovies or the capricciosa with mozzarella, artichokes, mushrooms, ham and black olives. Look out for the blackboard for some tasty gems that aren’t drowned in sauce – the spaghetti with blue crab or the chicken ravioli with a light tomato and basil sauce. Risotto fans will battle to choose between the three equally tempting options: porcini mushrooms and parmesan cheese, Italian pork sausages and rosemary, or asparagus and prawns.
Desserts are homemade and feature Italian favourites like tiramisu, panna cotta and gelato.
The wine menu is very limited, both by the glass and by the bottle, so you might want to bring your own favourite bottle.
Unfortunately, front-of-house service is slow and inattentive. It’s never pleasant when waitrons seem to be more interested in their mobiles phones than their customers.
The space is casual and compact – thankfully so, given that it’s tented. The large wood-fire oven and heaters add instant warmth in winter, and in summer it’s wide open, making the restaurant largely outdoors but covered with a roof of corrugated iron and wood.
Ask for the blackboard specials of the day for interesting meal options that you won’t find on the main menu.
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