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It is no wonder this restaurant sits packed day in and day out. They understand and live up to all the core essentials of a superbly run restaurant. From the moment one enters, right to the time you leave, it feels like you are in a well-rehearsed play, where all the cast members have been doing the same role for a long time, so that it almost becomes second nature. A truly magnificent experience!
The menu is small and compact, but with many daily specials recited by the waiting staff, and might include minestrone, Zuppa de pesce, fillet on the bone, oxtail with polenta, vegan lentil soup, deboned whole trout with almonds baked in the oven, and prawns with risotto. On Sundays they have a special set menu that includes lamb shanks, pork belly and many others. There is also a delightfully old-fashioned dessert station featuring a beautiful pavlova, crème brulée, lemon meringue pie, baked cheesecake, dark and white tiramisu and delicious floating islands. The pizza oven is only there for slow roasts and perhaps a kiddies pizza.
The wine list features a number of Italian wines, as one would expect; Fontana Candida Frascati Superior or Elite from Lazio are some examples, and for those who are slightly more patriotic, some South African-produced Italian cultivars such as Anura LB Sangiovese nicely bridges the gap. Of course, the wine list also features a comprehensive range of Champagnes, Proseccos and MMCs, and an excellent selection of South African wines.
From the moment one arrives to the last bite, the service is attentive and professional without being obsequious or intrusive. Small touches, such as the maître d who keeps an eye on all tables to see when menus have been put down before coming to take orders, speak of careful attention to detail.
The interior is old fashioned in a smart elegant way – big bunches of flowers and berries around, with even a lemon on a branch here and there amongst the arrangements, quality linen, solid cutlery and all-round professionalism makes for a seriously memorable experience. There is also the Casalinga Green Bean Coffee Roastery and a small home-made chocolate stand at the entrance. This is a favourite place for events and celebrations, and there might (as on the day of our visit) even be a small wedding reception taking place. There will certainly be various birthday tables or other celebratory gatherings. Casalinga also hosts an annual Olive & Groves festival celebrating home-made produce, various musical events in winter and another fiesta in September.
Superb Italian food and hospitality.
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