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Nonna Lina in Gardens, the Italian eatery that chef Antonello Scamuzzi launched over 15 years ago to honour his late grandmother Lina, has become a local foodie landmark, so to no one’s surprise he branched out with Nonna Lina-branded outlets at the V&A Waterfront and along the restaurant strip on Sea Point Main Road.
Duplicating your successful business at a second or third location is famously risky, particularly if your success is strongly linked to your presence, which is a familiar dilemma for the chef-patron. And unfortunately, in the smaller Sea Point-based Nonna Lina, chef Antonello seems to have taken his eye off the ball.
A meal here starts pleasantly enough with bruschetta topped with tomato salsa, and the menu, which is shorter than at the Gardens original, plays it safe with pizza, pasta and salads. Nonna Lina’s fondly regarded vitello limone is sadly absent.
The prosciutto e funghi pizza has a crisp enough crust, but a watery liquid spoiled the topping. The ‘fire and ice’ pasta dish (hot linguini with cold tomato salsa) comes with an abundance of rocket.
The dessert menu offers Italian standards such as tiramisu and affogato, along with a walnut choc brownie attributed to the chef’s Nonna Lina.
The wine list is elegantly assembled and well-priced. By-the-glass options include Italian varietals sangiovese and pinot grigio, both courtesy of Fairview.
The compact space features modern design, good lighting and comfortable seating.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.