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Bocca

6 Reviews
Italian, Pizzas
Phone Number 0214220188 Opening Hours

Monday to Saturday 12noon to 10pm

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Menu

Menu - BOCCA - Menu   - Updated November 2018 BOCCA - Wine list  - Updated November 2018

Details

Cost
R95 avg main meal
Food
Italian, Pizzas
Corkage
R60
Cost
R95 avg main meal
Ambience
Groups, Quick meals
Payment
Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa
Facilities
Accepts credit cards, Dinner, Food, Licensed, Lunch, Parking, Serves food

Location and contact

The Block, Bree Street & Wale Street Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town

Critic's review

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food

Seth Shezi

Food
Acclaimed sommelier-turned-restaurateur Neil Grant has cornered the modern Italian sector of Cape Town restaurants. First was Burrata situated at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock and, after its indisputable success, Grant quickly followed it with a city version named Bocca.

Clearly inspired by the mantra “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” not much has changed about Bocca since its opening – neither the menu nor the décor, and this is a good thing. Bocca has carved a loyal following, the trendy Bree Street corner location gets hefty foot traffic and regulars see it as their local meeting place for quick lunches or early convivial dinners.

The contemporary split-level space is designed around a giant pizza oven, which is the restaurant’s calling card and churns out irresistible Neapolitan-style pizzas with sparingly topped thick chewy bases. While the extensive menu boasts traditional plates – such as the slow-roasted pork belly or the house-made rigatoni with lamb meatballs, sugo and parmesan – and exciting tapas morsels are offered in the afternoon, it’s the pizzas that beckon my return.

Pizza lovers are spoilt for choice as they get the option to choose between two classic Italian ways of pizza making – the better known version with tomato base, or the lesser known but equally addictive Bianco, where toppings are placed directly on the base without a tomato base.

For traditionalists who prefer the tomato base, look out for the Di Mare of the Sea. The elastic base is topped with prawns, squid, garlic, coriander and chilli aioli. My other favourite is the Felino bianco topped with gooey mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Kalamata olives, salami and mint pesto. It’s a climactic combination of gooey textures and salty flavours. Now pair this with a light Pinot Noir from the Neil Grant-curated wine list and it’s the closest you’re likely to get to an authentic Mediterranean eating experience in all of Bree Street.

More Mediterranean flavors are celebrated at Bocca, such as the roasted aubergine with goat’s pecorino, smoked chilli oil and basil, and the fried green olives served with an aioli.

In this age of calorie-counting, the idea of desert jars is a clever one. Everyone wants a taste of something sweet to end off a hearty feast without having to contend with a bowl full of pudding. Order a few for the table to share. Be sure the Amaretto passion fruit zabaglione with pears and honeycomb is one of the items ordered – you’ll thank me later.

Drinks
Having a former sommelier for an owner means the wine list is superbly curated, offering a range of options from well-known reputable farms to lesser known jewels from independent producers. To aid in pairing with your food and mood, the wines are further broken down by profusion of notes and palate weight.

Service
Service is lively, with the staff all well appointed to run between several tables, which becomes a skillful dance during peak hours. A charming manager coupled with a great air of camaraderie amongst the staff means everyone is happy to swoop in and bring you what you may need.

Ambience
The ambience is lively and cosmopolitan. An approachable and beautifully pared down space with a minimalist use of light wood and linear lines – a modern design approach for an Italian eatery. The upstairs section can get noisy and hot.

And...
The place to be during a balmy summer’s evening is the wood-clad outside deck overlooking the bustling Bree Street/Wale Street intersection.

(August 2017)

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

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User reviews

6 Reviews
    As a Bocca fan, who thought they were great even before their management change, we were keen to see if they were living up to the recent rave reviews and what we remember. I made a booking early in the week for Saturday past (great improvement, I used to hate that you couldnt book there) . The staff were friendly and service was attentive. The food was hit and miss. Disclaimer, we didnt have pizza, which is what they claim is their speciality. The brisket was sensational. As were the potatoes. The meatballs were dry and flat. We also had some veg which came to the table in tempura batter, which the menu doesnt specify. Yummy nonetheless. We had a lovely time and we’ll definitely be back for the brisket and to try the pizza. My only negative comment would be that the mezzanine level was uncomfortably hot. Naturally the pizza oven (directly below us) would generate some heat but either the aircon isnt working or there is no aircon. We wouldve stayed for more wine and dessert but it was uncomfortably hot, so we left after Mains.
    Not sure whether the "new" Bocca is an upgrade. The pizza is a disappointment, and was composed primarily of curdled mozzarella. The seafood in the dish I was keen to try - the misto - did not taste fresh and I suspect is the reason why my dinner partner and I are both clutching our stomachs this morning.
    The pizza is superb. I live that you can see it being made if you sit in just the right spot. And the variety of tapas is just as awesome.
    I thought the pizza was average. The crust was somewhat thick and chewy and the flavours were rather bland. I enjoyed the arancini balls and the zucchini fries - both of which were perfectly fried and served with a delicious mustard and a creamy aioli.
    Great place to grab a quick pizza with delicious wine to boot!

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