For over 20 years, Tortellino d’Oro has kept its reputation as one of Johannesburg’s finest Italian restaurants. They’re known for their exquisite, handmade pastas and Bologna fare. These recipes have been passed down through the generations, ensuring every mouthful is a taste of the Bollini family home.
Whilst being open for breakfast daily – serving a host of beautiful, homemade breads, croissants, crostinis, panino and great coffee – lunch and dinner are what people really flock here for. The menu is made up of insalata (salads), antipasto (starters), primo (first course – pasta dishes) and secondi (second course – meat dishes).
On arrival each table is given a delightful basket of freshly-baked breads alongside gorgeous tapenades and butter. It’s these little details that start each and every meal here on a high note, allowing one to relax into the experience rather than feeling the need to rush and order.
The salads are all beautifully presented and packed with scrumptious ingredients. The buffalo caprese is pleasingly light and tantalising, with imported buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, black olives and basil. There's also the insalata pere e formaggio: a salad of pears, gorgonzola, parmesan, marinated mushrooms, almonds and truffle dressing – the perfect carb-free decadence.
The antipasto selection is made up of carpaccio, cured meats, bruschetta, crostini and a fantastic selection of specials that change daily according to what’s fresh and available. These include fresh, stuffed artichokes and tomatoes, white anchovies with sliced peppers and salsa verde, fennel baked in a béchamel sauce with parmesan and fresh mussels in tomato and wine with parsley and garlic.
Then there's their signature: the primo. The assortment of fresh pastas is extensive; everything from tagliatelle to gramigna, ravioli to gnocchi; all handmade and each as delicious as the next. The ravioli di zucca, filled with butternut, ricotta and almonds then tossed in butter and sage is a highlight (when available) and the lasagne and melanzane are as rich and as luscious as they come.
Veal dishes dominate the secondi, but for those who struggle with veal for ethical reasons, they do offer chicken alternatives. The veal piccata, in a masala wine sauce, is an absolute must, as is the involtini di vitello: tender veal parcels with Parma ham and fontina cheese, capers and peppers in a white wine sauce.
Their homemade sorbet and gelato make for a heavenly dessert, but the tiramisu and the selection of patisserie from their in-house deli mean that a takeaway or two are essential.
The wine list showcases a great selection of local and imported Italian wines, with a good assortment by the glass. They’ve focused on lighter varietals and blends that won’t overpower the delicate nature of their Italian cuisine. The mark-up is decent, but not over the top by any means. The average ‘glass’ (a 250ml carafe) is around R60.
The service is excellent. The waiters are all highly knowledgeable, have tasted each dish, are fantastic at giving recommendations and will go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction.
The ambience is sophisticated without trying too hard. There is a covered outside area that gets bathed in the afternoon sun and an inside area that weaves around the deli. Each table is draped in crisp, white table cloths and decorated with fresh flowers and bottles of good quality olive oil. It’s the perfect venue for family lunches, business meetings and romantic dinners.
Their in-house deli is definitely worth a visit. Their croissants, breads, patisserie, cheeses and pastas are all available to take away and their exquisite sorbet cakes are a sight to behold.
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When an Italian menu is divided into insalata, antipasto, primo, secondo and desserts, you know you haven’t wandered into your average pizza-pasta restaurant. Diners are welcomed with a modest shot of chilled prosecco, zucchini frites and a selection of olive tapenade, artichoke butter and salted butter with homemade bread. On the menu, there’s a lot to take in and finally settle on: from the fresh asparagus with lemon butter and sage, and baked fennel with béchamel sauce and parmesan in the antipasto section, to the saffron risotto, and tortellini with a mixed filling of parma ham, mortadella, chicken and parmesan served with a choice of cream and mushroom, napoletana or butter and sage sauce in the secondo. And then there’s the cannoli Siciliani and millefoglie in the desserts section.
One thing is clear, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t order a pasta dish, which is the specialty – even though the waiter insists that everything is good when pressed for a recommendation. The tortellini melts like butter in your mouth, and the spinach malfati – dumplings of ricotta cheese and spinach, baked in papalina, napolitana and sage butter – will make vegetarians feel like legitimate and considered clientele. The kingklip in a light parmesan crust is a solid choice and any of the salads – from the warm borlotti bean and Italian canned tuna salad to the fillet salad with herbs, marinated mushrooms and tomatoes – make fine starters for the table or mains for one.
All manner of fine white and red wines is on offer at reasonable prices.
Waiters are equipped with a tiny microphone strapped to their jaws, which lend a sense of a finely oiled efficiency, but also the feeling that you can’t quite relax and call this your home away from home.
This is not quite the jovial Italian restaurant in its stereotypical sense – in fact, “children are welcome as long as they are supervised,” advises the menu. Rather, this elegant eatery is a good spot to impress a business date or celebrate a romantic occasion.
If you’re not up for cooking, order ready-made meals from the deli – from pastas to cold cuts.
Arguably one of Johannesburg’s best upscale Italian eateries. You won’t find pizza here – only superb homemade pasta and classic Italian meals prepared with true craftsmanship and skill. A glass of prosecco and homemade breads with tapenade, artichoke dip and flavored butters come complimentary of the house on arrival. Next, choose an Italian staple from their main menu or something a bit more unusual from the extensive daily specials menu. The food is so good and flavour-filled here that’s it’s almost impossible to have plate envy.
Standouts include: tortellini in brodo (broth), spinach malfatti (dumplings), veal sautéed with a sauce of lemon parsley (piccatta) and spezzatino, the classic veal stew. Specials regularly include dishes like baked fennel with parmesan cheese, white anchovies with red peppers, tomato and toast, tortelli with ricotta cheese, porcini and truffles, spaghetti vongole (spaghetti with clams) and a saffron risotto.
They offer a great selection of local wines by the bottle and glass at reasonable prices. Also a small but top-drawer offering of Italian reds.
Attentive and well-informed waiters will talk you through the specials menu.
The style can be summed up as cosy, friendly and understated – great for a date, business lunch or a relaxed dinner out with friends. This neighborhood favorite fills up quickly, especially at dinner, so be sure to book ahead.
Try their great selection of ready-made Italian take-home meals, freshly made filled pastas, sauces, imported cheese, Italian ice cream and charcuterie from the deli counter!
Absolutely the best Italian food once again. Quality is guaranteed
Had dinner there on Thursday evening. Food and service was horrific! Will never go back. Overpriced and certainly over rated.
Best seafood linguine - absolutely delicious, highly recommend!
Had their veal paillard. It was so overcooked and dry that it was inedible. I am not one to complain in a restaurant however I did tell the waiter. Who politely took it away and offered me another one. I was happy sharing my wife's dinner so I said no thanks. What did horrify me was that the owner/manager was spoken to about the dish and she did not bother apologising or even acknowledge my compaint. I am a chef and multiple restaurant owner and was appalled at their lack of concern. And to cap it all off, the waiter asked the owner for the R145 dish to be removed from our bill and she flatly refused. Absolutely disgraceful behaviour from a supposedly highly regarded restaurant.
This has to be my favourite Italian resturant. Party of 10 had a good time with very favourable comments from the party that this was the best food they have had. Figs starter, and lamb shank. The personal touch from the waiters and family is noticable and really appreciated.
The Monday evening dinner confirmed that this is my favourite Italian resturant. Figs and ham to start and great pasta dishes.
You've not had pasta, until you've tasted Tortellini's gnocchi gogonzola! Start with the porcini mushrooms with bruschetta (usually on their specials menu). Good wine selection, great service. Beautiful ambience amongst the deli shelves. A bit pricey, but worth it!