Review: Parkhurst’s new Modena

The team that brought us Greek sensation Kolonaki has graced us with the Italian equivalent: Modena. In the same way that David Higgs’s Saint and Café Del Sol took creative licence with traditional Italian ideas, so the Modena team has created a kind of eclectic Italian fun fair of rich and abundant dishes.

Fast facts

Food type: Modern Italian
Cost: R160 average main meal
Parking: On the street
Star ratings: Food and drinks: 5; Service: 3; Ambience: 4


The menu is divided into starters, homemade pastas, risottos, gnocchi, fish, veal, grills and ovens. Everything is made on site from scratch and the homemade pastas rival any other Italian hotspot in Joburg. The pizzas are made in a Neapolitan fashion: the dough is left to rise for 48 hours before being hand-rolled and baked in a wood-fired oven.

Fish dishes are unapologetically rich and OTT. The mussels in a creamy white wine sauce with leeks, celery, fennel and onion might sound like a light dish, but you’ll find yourself elbow-deep in the accompanying bread, scraping the last of the double thick cream from the bowl. Also fantastic is the porchetta stuffed with sage and onion and served on borlotti beans; the pancetta with an apple-and-fennel salad; and the chargrilled octopus with a panzanella salad and nori aïoli (one of the lighter options).

Desserts are deconstructed: the signature tiramisu with mascarpone ice cream and shaved chocolate leads the way, with the panna cotta with white chocolate Aero, whey caramel and sesame brittle coming in a close second.


The wine menu is easygoing and fairly priced – it won’t break the bank and there’s something for everyone.


Waiters are friendly and eager to please, but lack knowledge around the menu and the restaurant’s offerings. Some further training is needed to bring the service up to the level of the food.


These guys really do know what they’re doing. They’ve transformed the old Vovo Telo on 4th Avenue into a chic and stylish eatery that’s gorgeous both day and night. The muted colour scheme of soft woods, cream stucco and golden herringbone tiles is an absolute delight. No expense has been spared, yet the space doesn’t feel pretentious or uninviting.

Best for…

Group lunches and dinners.

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read out full editorial policy here

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Brought to you by Retail Capital, sponsors of the Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year Award. Want to find more new restaurants in your city? Check out our new restaurants section.

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