If you’re after traditional trattoria fare in a vibrant setting, you can’t go wrong with Caraffa Ristorante in Pretoria, says Eat Out critic Claire Hu.
Caraffa sticks to its strengths, which include generous cuts of free-range meat done in a wood-burning oven (the 500g T-bone will satisfy any meat craving); fresh pasta made by the mother-and-daughter team in the kitchen; and a great selection of reasonably priced seafood like oysters, salmon in champagne sauce, calamari and mussels. They use fresh herbs from the garden in their hearty lasagne.
It may not be fancy or unusual, but it’s extremely well-executed cooking. The antipasti have a slightly more adventurous feel than the mains, with the use of ingredients like chicken livers and springbok carpaccio making a tasty start to your meal.
A well thought-out and varied wine list includes a great selection of Italian wines from well-known regions like Veneto and Piedmont, as well as more unusual and delicious grapes from northern Italy. Prosecco, French Champagne and some excellent and up-and-coming wines from the likes of Creation in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley make this a great place to try something new.
This is a neighbourhood restaurant and regulars are warmly greeted. The service is friendly and, on the whole, quite efficient, despite the busyness.
The décor has the feel of a traditional trattoria in the Italian Alps, with exposed brickwork, Chianti bottles and wooden furniture. It’s a bit dated and cluttered, but most regulars would probably stage a protest if it were modernised! This is a great place for a family dinner and big, special-occasion gatherings that go on for hours…
There’s a pianist on Tuesday and Saturday nights.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.