The extensive menu offers delicious eats, regardless of the time of day or the level of formality, and there is a number of buffet options and set menus at the end of the informal ‘magazine-style menu’ which can be ordered for special functions. Try some Italian classics such as cannelloni ricotta, gnocchi quattro formaggi, Napoleone pizza with sundried tomatoes, artichoke fresh basil and feta, saltimbocca, osso bucco and, for those who love visual puns, their delicious tiramisu ice cream (layered to resemble a lasagna, consisting of ice cream, nuts and sauce).
Apart from some funky cocktails such as the Amarena cherry martini, limoncello meringue martini and chocolate negroni, the wine list is well structured and includes some good choices.
This restaurant has a formal interior, which extends to the staff. Those stationed outside on the veranda, however, are much more casually dressed to reflect the easier, more casual menu and vibe. This does not mean that everyone is not very attentive and well trained. Giovanni and Maria Maiorana are the founders of this family business, and either they or their offspring are always around to ensure that service is smooth as butter.
Apart from the formal restaurant and slightly more casual area inside (with large TV screens overhead to broadcast sporting events), there is also a large area overlooking the air field, perfect for weekend outings. It also adjoins to a large, safely enclosed kiddies area with a few tables where young patrons can create their own pizzas under supervision.
One can now take one of three daily scheduled flights between Wonderboom Airport and Cape Town. For Pretorians this might prove one of the simplest ways to get to Cape Town and back without having to venture to one of the other Gauteng airports. Considering that one has the option of dining at a quality Italian restaurant, this is a perfect option for future consideration.
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Diane de Beer
This eatery is known for their hospitality and generosity of spirit, which shines through in the food as well as the people who make it happen, the Maiorana-family. They’ve kept with the times but have introduced a strong contemporary twist. VSG is still your best bet for classic Italian fare, with dishes like a melt-in-the-mouth slow-cooked osso bucco with tomato salsa, homemade lasagne – light as a feather and with the right balance of sauces and cheese – and some of the best gourmet pizzas in town, with a low GI crust if you prefer. Start the meal with a Gorgonzola focaccia just to get the juices flowing. Then try the typically Italian chicken livers pan-fried with onions, garlic, chilli, wine and tomato salsa. Or perhaps go for the snails, buttered, pan-fried and topped with a Gorgonzola sauce. And keep in mind that all the pastas are homemade. They don’t miss a beat with both casual terrace meals and fine dining – you’ll have plenty of options to choose from, both from a food and seating point of view.
They make wine suggestions with the different dishes and have their own house brand bottled exclusively by De Morgenson. Zandvliet contribute a further four house wines, all of which have been named for the family. But if you need to reach further afield, it’s all there.
The staff is part of the charm and look after you well. They will even do a personalised birthday song on request.
As they’re part of the Wonderboom Airport complex, with more airlines leaving from this spot in the future, this will be much more than a destination. They’ve embraced their setting, which makes them unique. With some of the seating almost on the runway, this could be your Casablanca moment! it’s almost like a restaurant with an airport rather than the other way round, and they even have their own hotel if you want to make a night of it.
Children are especially welcome and can make their own pizza in little Giovanni’s pizzeria or play to their heart’s content in a well-equipped play park.
This is a great ‘destination’ restaurant located at the Wonderboom Airport. The hot antipasti offering includes one of the best calamari dishes around, cooked gently with onion, garlic, wine and tomato in classic Italian style and served on grilled polenta. Other starters include antipasto for two; an old fashioned crayfish cocktail perfectly suited to the old-world charm of this airport setting; and a lovely rocket salad with sundried tomatoes, parmesan and a simple dressing.
As for the homemade pastas, you’ll find cappelli di preti alla gorgonzola (pillows of pasta filled with chicken and served with a creamy gorgonzola sauce), cannelloni ricotta, and gnocchi ai quattro formaggi (gnocchi with four cheeses). Mains include slow-cooked oxtail, lamb shank and a 500g T-bone, all done to perfection in the wood oven. There is a huge range of pizzas, with some tempting gourmet options like the Troia (with bacon, feta, spinach and avocado) or Vasco da Gama (with chorizo, spring onion, sundried tomato and olives). They also pride themselves on a selection of decadent Fabbri ice-creams, of which the Black Forest Cup – topped with those delicious black Fabbri cherries – transports one to a different time and place.
Italian restaurants should offer some great wines from that country, and Villa San Giovanni does just that. Their selection of sparkling wines include Lambrusco Amabile, and Torresella Prosecco, in addition to some French Champagnes and South African MCCs. There are quite a few imported reds and whites available, and on the local front they stock a De Morgenzon Barbera bottled under their own label.
Villa San Giovanni is a family-run concern. The Maiorana family combines their passion for the restaurant business with some serious style and good looks, giving the impression that they just stepped out of the pages of an Italian fashion magazine. It is a good sign that there’s often a group of family members occupying a table. The handful of extremely competent waiters clearly understands the importance of pleasing their guests. These guys are friendly, attentive and extremely well trained in the art of table service.
What could be better than enjoying some great Italian food while watching planes take off and land, enjoying the exciting buzz of an airport and the sense that people are going on exotic trips to far-off destinations? Despite this buzz, it is certainly is not a theme-park restaurant. Apart from the covered outside area, there is a large, slightly more informal area punctuated with TV screens that's frequented by airport personnel, passengers and locals coming and going. This area accommodates the bar and leads on to the kitchen where the wood burning pizza oven can be found. For those wanting a more formal experience or a special night out, there is also a formal dining area.
There's a large play and pizza preparation area for children.
Just had the lamb shank from the menu. Lamb being my favourite, thought I'd give it a try. Worst lamb shank I've had. Perhaps better to stick to the pasta and pizza. Ordered two take aways for the children...
Excellent food coupled with a wide variety of international wine - service is average but ambience superb in the main restaurnt (non-smoking section).
We had the misfortune of going to the Villa San Giovanni restaurant at Wonderboom Resturant today - 11 march 2012.
These people seem to be ace marketers of their establishment - with every inch of menu and signage sold of the highest bidder. Pity that the food and service was probably the worst I have had in a long time. The waiters and management were disorganised. They were running around trying to organise themselves without much co-ordination. Our waiter Richard was incompetent - when you could get him to serve you. The son/manger Luca was extremely good at ignoring the customers - giving us all the blank gaze above our heads when we tried to get his attention. The food was slow in arriving and my badly cooked tasteless rump took about 5 minutes longer than the rest of our table to arrive. When it arrived with veg and potato pieces instead of the chips that were requested the waiter's lame excuse was that's how they gave it to him. When condiments were requested they were taken off tables occupied by other guests (not asking them ) or not brought at all - thanks Richard. To make it more fun they seem to have installed a bargain basement misting system outside which they constantly switch on and off. These misters are directly above the patrons and drip on you during the switch off period - very annoying - when we complained we were given the dumb grin and ignored.
Dessert was a classic - too lazy and ignorant to make a real Tiramisu. Call it a lasagne - plastic aerosol cream - biscuits dry and hard (even though the menu says they are soaked in coffee - when 3 weeks ago?) Not very Italian
All said this place is a rip off with mediocre food and a boring menu. They seem to be aiming at the kiddie market with a massive setup of playgound kiddie pizza ovens and a big ad for childrens parties.
Save your money and go to a real resturant - anywhere else but this place. This is also the second time I have been here - last time was about 5 years ago. Then I had to send back my calamari 3 times as it was overcooked and tough.
Nothing has changed - poor service and lousy food. Stay away.