Review: Sophisticated Italian at Café del Sol Botanico in Bryanston 


Cafe del Sol Botanico

The pizza oven at Cafe del Sol Botanico. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

Café del Sol Botanico in Johannesburg offers a vast menu with some serious Italian eats set against a setting of airy sophistication, says Hennie Fisher.


The options are vast here at the younger sibling of Café del Sol, our 2012 winner of Best Italian Restaurant, offering everything from nibbly bits (olives, biltong and berries) to serious fare such as a 400g beef T-bone tagliata with porcini trifolati, fresh black-truffle butter and triple-cooked chips.

Appetisers range from salt-and-pepper squid heads with lime, roasted garlic aioli and black salt to grilled bruschetta topped with combinations like salmon and cream cheese or gorgonzola, strawberries and olive tapenade. The selection of main courses include black-sesame-crusted salmon with avocado mash, Campari and fresh grapefruit salsa with a vanilla and sweet chilli sauce, or a polpette burger with fontal cheese, caramelised onion, streaky bacon, sundried tomato relish and rocket.

Cafe del Sol Botanico interior

Cafe del Sol Botanico. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

You could splurge on butternut gnocchi with sage, walnut cream and fresh black truffles, or a chorizo risotto with exotic mushrooms, tomato, paprika and white wine. Also a good choice are any of the many pizzas, such as the versions with salsiccia, fennel and chilli, or fior di latte mozzarella, tomato and basil – all on tomato bases. The bianca pizzas are topped with items such as smoked salmon, crème fraîche, red onion and rocket, or potato, caramelised onion, parmesan and rosemary. They always have some specials available, like a beautifully made beetroot tagliatelle with pulled lamb and lamb jus, filetto balsamico, or lamb chops with saffron risotto and a rosemary grape jus.


Ranging from French Champagnes to some beautiful South African MCCs (Silverthorn The Green Man Vintage Brut and Charles Fox Brut Rosé), the wine list demonstrates the care and attention that went into its compilation. There’s a small Cellar Select collection that showcases some eminent wines; and for everyday use they have a one-page list with varietals and blends categorised separately.


In addition to a welcoming receptionist at the entrance and friendly, knowledgeable wait staff, this establishment is overseen by the matriarch of the family, Luciana Treccani, and her children, Chiara and Ryan. They have a super-efficient booking system that allows you to send confirmation via the push of a phone button. The very professional staff members are dressed beautifully in wheat-coloured linen shirts and aprons.

The leafy interiors at Cafe del Sol Botanico

The leafy interiors at Cafe del Sol Botanico. Photo courtesy of the restaurant


As the name suggests, this is a bright and airy space, with an environment worthy of the ‘botanico’ description. As well as a multitude of hanging plants, the outside area has a glass waterfall to soften the transition to the outside world and create a respite from Johannesburg days – although there are some heaters and blankets for when it gets chilly. The restaurant area, in beiges and light greens, manages to combine a slightly more formal ambiance with an airy sophistication.


All responsibility for the beverages falls to The Landmark by Café del Sol, a modern bar that serves the restaurant but also functions separately. Featuring a slightly darker and edgier interior, this venue manages to be quite distinct from the slightly softer look of the restaurant next door. The bar specialises in contemporary designer cocktails, with the drinks menu showcasing classics and signatures.

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read more about our editorial policy here.

Have you dined on the Italian fest at Café del Sol Botanico? Share your experience by writing a review

Leave a comment

Promoted Restaurants