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Nonna Mia’s Kitchen

Nonna Mia’s Kitchen
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Cost
R130 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Family friendly
Food
Italian, Pizzas
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Kholeka Kumalo

Food
The claim to fame here is irresistible pomodoro sauce, which you’ll want to mop up with the nearest carbohydrates you can find. More commonly known as Napoletana sauce, it’s thicker and tastier than your average, and used generously in a lot of Nonna Mia’s pastas and on their pizzas.

This is where you go for simple, satisfying Italian staples and seafood. Regulars will be happy to know that the menu has lots of new additions. To start, try the melanzane alla parmigiana di Nonna Maria, which comprises rolled brinjals filled with mozzarella and basil, and topped with pomodoro and parmesan.

For those with a larger appetite, and more importantly, those who are willing to work hard for their meat, look no further than granchio in pomodoro, a whole crab chopped up into palm-sized portions with extra garlic and chilli, served with toasted ciabatta and a crab cracker – both of which you’ll need. Be warned: it gets messy, but it’s well worth the hard-shelled, saucy chaos.

Other new starters include a hearty, homemade Italian bean soup and a fresh salad of feta, cherry tomato and olive. For your second course, prepare yourself for pastas that are seriously saucy, rich and full of flavour. Nonna Mia’s makes a mean, cheesy beef lasagne, too; an unusually tasty vegetable lasagna filled with mushrooms, brinjals, baby marrows, peppers and spinach; and an even meaner dish of meatballs with plenty of pomodoro. Likewise, the spaghetti ai frutti di mare with mussels, calamari, crab and prawns, and the linguine calamari, are not to be missed.

Drinks
It is disappointing that, from the roughly 22 local wines on the menu, only two are available by the glass: Douglas Green merlot and Porcupine Ridge syrah. Highlights include Haute Cabrière chardonnay pinot noir and Rupert & Rothschild Classique.

Service
Well-meaning but not well-versed on the menu. Thankfully, there is a highly helpful and efficient manager doing the rounds regularly.

Ambience
It’s perfect for quiet, undisturbed dinners during the week. Book over weekends, as it gets busy, full and loud.

And…
Pizzas come in six, eight or whopping 24 slice sizes.

(September 2016)

Eat Out critics arrive unannounced and pay their way in full. Read our editorial policy here.

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Rupesh Kassen

    Food
    Nona Mia’s Kitchen is an institution in the north of Johannesburg and has moved around the popular neighbourhoods. They seem to have found a niche on the reinvented Grant Avenue strip in Norwood. The extensive Italian menu offers antipasti, pasta, grills and ‘Grande’ pizzas, which consist of a generous 24 slices. They offer fresh, homemade pasta and the option to pair it with an array of sauces, from a simple pesto and traditional spaghetti meatball to a more extravagant crab pomodoro. The homemade gnocchi with Nonna’s famous pomodoro sauce is a standout; the soft pillows of fluffy gnocchi and rich sauce will definitely have you back for more. I found the square pizza a bit uninspired despite the variety of toppings. (It seemed their large, wood-fired pizza oven in the front was out of commission on this visit, and the pizzas cooked in a normal oven). Alternatively, the baked pasta such as alfredo alforno or four-cheese alforno are also recommended. On the grills side, the fillet tagliata (thinly sliced beef fillet), veal limone and baby chicken baked in tomato, garlic and chilli are all good. For something sweet, try the Nutella puffs, or check out the Italian cakes and pastries on display.

    Drinks
    A good listing of well-priced South African wines as well as imported Italian options are on offer. The beer menu follows suit, offering standard local beers and craft beers, including Italian options. There’s also an interesting range of Grappa’s and limoncello.

    Service
    The service can be slow, it seems their takeaway business has an impact on the running of the main kitchen.

    Ambience
    Expect a modern, double volume space flowing on to a balcony suitable for summer. The walls are adorned with large black and white prints of Italian life, almost transporting patrons to Italy. Don’t be surprised when you hear the chatter of Italian at surrounding tables, this seems to be a favourite haunt of the local expat community.

    And…
    Take note of the stylish Brooklyn room upstairs, ideal for a party or private functions.

    (September 2015)

  • Rupesh Kassen

    Food
    Nona Mia’s Kitchen is an institution in the north of Johannesburg and has moved around the popular neighbourhoods. They seem to have found a niche on the reinvented Grant Avenue strip in Norwood. The extensive Italian menu offers antipasti, pasta, grills and ‘Grande’ pizzas, which consist of a generous 24 slices. They offer fresh, homemade pasta and the option to pair it with an array of sauces, from a simple pesto and traditional spaghetti meatball to a more extravagant crab pomodoro. The homemade gnocchi with Nonna’s famous pomodoro sauce is a standout; the soft pillows of fluffy gnocchi and rich sauce will definitely have you back for more. I found the square pizza a bit uninspired despite the variety of toppings. (It seemed their large, wood-fired pizza oven in the front was out of commission on this visit, and the pizzas cooked in a normal oven). Alternatively, the baked pasta such as alfredo alforno or four-cheese alforno are also recommended. On the grills side, the fillet tagliata (thinly sliced beef fillet), veal limone and baby chicken baked in tomato, garlic and chilli are all good. For something sweet, try the Nutella puffs, or check out the Italian cakes and pastries on display.

    Drinks
    A good listing of well-priced South African wines as well as imported Italian options are on offer. The beer menu follows suit, offering standard local beers and craft beers, including Italian options. There’s also an interesting range of Grappa’s and limoncello.

    Service
    The service can be slow, it seems their takeaway business has an impact on the running of the main kitchen.

    Ambience
    Expect a modern, double volume space flowing on to a balcony suitable for summer. The walls are adorned with large black and white prints of Italian life, almost transporting patrons to Italy. Don’t be surprised when you hear the chatter of Italian at surrounding tables, this seems to be a favourite haunt of the local expat community.

    And …
    Take note of the stylish Brooklyn room upstairs, ideal for a party or private functions. –

  • Bazil Stander

    Food
    Nonna Mia is a Jozi pizza and pasta institution that has recently reinvented itself in a beautiful double-volume space on Grant Avenue in Norwood. The extensive menu offers square pizzas, pastas, grills, salads, antipasti, seafood and soup. Everything here is homemade and the attention to detail is evident in the fantastic flavours in almost every dish. Pizzas come in six, eight or 24-slice options and toppings are mostly traditional. Pasta is fresh and homemade – try the spaghetti vitello, linguini with prawns or the famous rigatoni polpette (pasta and meatballs). Alternatively, the pastas baked in the pizza oven like the alfredo alforno or four-cheese alforno are also recommended. On the grills side, the fillet tagliata (thinly sliced beef fillet), veal limone and baby chicken baked in tomato, garlic and chili are all good. For something sweet, check out the daily home baked display of Italian cakes and pastries.

    Drinks 
    They offer a well-balanced selection of entry-level to high-end South African wines by the bottle and glass.

    Service
    Expect brisk, happy, easy-going service from a reliable team of waiters.

    Ambience
    Contemporary, modern and stylish, the space lends itself to a quick midweek lunch or a relaxed weekend dinner.

    And…
    Why not book the stylish upstairs venue with a view – The Brooklyn Room – for your next private event or party?

    (August 2014)

User reviews

  • Great food. TERRIBLE service, even though there were plenty of waiters, and it was not a busy lunchtime
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  • What a disaster, we went to Nonna Mia's last night specifically for pizza. When we wanted to order, we were told we couldn't order pizza as there were so many take always orders in front of us that ours would take at least 35 minutes. We ordered calamari instead, we asked for tartare sauce or mayonnaise to go with it, there was no stock. We also ordered the grilled chicken breast with balsamic vinegar, the chicken was fried, with no hint of balsamic vinegar. Eventually we tried to order ice cream, only to be told that the machine was broken. Waiters were friendly when they were around.

    What a disaster from a restaurant that used to be very good.

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  • Had a lovely lunch and friendly service ,)

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  • Just been to Nonna Mia's (they've moved to BluBird) - have to say that the service was atrocious. Very dismissive and aloof when it came to the greeting, rubbish service throughout the evening - sorry, but the food's not good enough to put up with that. Never going back

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  • Fastastic, out of this world, food. Great reception by host, Savva. Highly recommended!
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Booking required
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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