Walking into Scarpetta, Woodstock’s new family-owned Italian eatery, is like coming home to an Italian family gathering you always see in the movies – filled with an abundance of food, laughter and loud conversations. Chef patron Ricky Turilli runs the kitchen and has a hand in every single plate served in the restaurant. He somehow also finds time to greet and welcome every person who steps in the door. He exudes love and passion both in his personality and through his delicious food.
Food type: Traditional Italian
Cost: R135 average main meal
Parking: Street parking only
Star ratings: Food and drinks: 4; Service: 5; Ambience: 3
The menu is written on the chalkboards and features daily specials determined by what Ricky has found at the market on that day. The menu is divided into four sections: antipasti, pasta, secondi and dessert. Ricky advises that you order an item from each section and share, because “that’s how Italians eat; we share plates of food so we can have a taste of everything”.
To start, I ordered the asparagus wrapped in pancetta and enrobed with cheesy white sauce – it’s delicious and a perfect start to the meal; the size of the portion perfectly befitting such a rich dish. The spaghetti vongole is served in a huge generous bowl, with plenty of clams dotted throughout (there’s the option to have either a tomato-based sauce or the classic white wine sauce). The clams are plump and delicious with the perfectly cooked pasta. For mains you could go for the oxtail – it’s perfect for the chilly winter weather and comes served in a generous portion with creamy polenta.
The homemade tiramisu is coffee-and-cream perfection; lovely and light while still decadent at the same time. It’s a great end to a wonderful meal.
Scarpetta doesn’t serve wine; Ricky encourages customers to bring their own and doesn’t charge corkage. His reasoning is that he prefers for people bring the wine they enjoy without having to pay exorbitant restaurant wine prices. Water and a selection of soft drinks are available.
Service is casual and informal. Ricky balances spreading his infectious energy between all of his customers. He has help on the floor from a staff member, but does most of the customer interaction himself. He passionately recommends and describes every dish, and eagerly enquires after every course if you enjoyed it. A very pleasant dining experience, indeed.
The restaurant is filled with white tables and chairs and has a doorway in the middle that separates the two sections. The tables are laden with paper mats with beautiful graphic designs and the restaurant name and logo. There’s a fireplace in the restaurant that will provide many cosy nights during winter.
Hearty Italian meals with family and friends.
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