Saint, like its brother restaurant Marble, is an opulent concept restaurant. At Marble the focus is on live fire cooking, while here it’s centred on Italian cuisine with a bit of an edge or, in the words of chef David Higgs, ‘We have made Italian our way. Crazy, beautiful and true to us.’
At Saint they’ve created a culinary playground in which traditional ideas are given wonderfully eclectic and whacky twists, but they seem to be trying to do too much and so sometimes fall short. Stick to the more ‘classic’ dishes and you won’t be disappointed.
The signature Neapolitan-style pizzas are fantastic – 00 flour for the base, formed into shape by hand rather than using a rolling pin and baked in a 485°C wood-fired oven for 90 seconds to give it that signature charred crust. The simple margherita with fresh mozzarella and the pepperoni are the way to go. When it comes to the pastas, once again less is more – the tagliatelle carbonara with pancetta, cauliflower and parmesan is rich and delicious and the ricotta gnocchi with a leek and parsnip purée, salsa verde and leeks is delicate and delightful. If you’re opting for something from the grill, the fillet of beef with a sweet and salty mustard caper sauce, charred long-stem broccoli and pearl onion is just the ticket.
Finish with either the orange and Campari cake with Campari ice cream and pistachio or the affogato.
The wine list is extensive and beautifully curated by award-winning sommelier Wikus Human – a good mix of local boutique wines, imported Italian gems and serious showstoppers for special occasions. Talk to Wikus or one of his team members for fantastic pairing recommendations that will elevate your dining experience. Also recommended are the signature cocktails – some sophisticated, some a little frivolous, all are great.
Top-notch, starting with warm smiles from the hostesses who are there to meet you, greet you and take you to your table. You’ll then be treated to exceptional service and attention from the waiter team who are well versed in the menu and know how to make you feel special.
Over the top and wonderfully so – a visual feast. 3D projectors map out artworks on the pressed dome ceiling and across the bar, floor-to-ceiling glass gives onto Sandton’s bustling streets, and the open-plan kitchen, decked out with imported, top-of-the-range pizza ovens mosaicked in gold, offers a good dose of kitchen-theatre entertainment. There’s something to delight at every turn and no expense has been spared – it’s dazzling.
Celebrations, romantic dinners, and business lunches and dinners.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
Impeccable service and excellent food plus a great experience
Impeccable service and outstanding food
Such a bad first time experience. A booking made in advance, with 3 confirmations made via call and email for a table of 16. When we arrived 2 separate tables were reserved and to top it off with the reservation we paid a deposit of R250 pp and given bar tables not tables for eating. Pure unprofessionalism from both the manager and waiter. Utter nonsense as a paying customer to experience a disappointment for a birthday party. Sure not to come back
How disappointing! The absolute worst experience ever! Terrible booking process.
The most enjoyable thing about Saint is the game-changing decor and ambiance. There's a sense of theater as you walk in. The hostesses are immaculately dressed, the large open space is buzzing with chatter and the stunning idea of projected art is at play on the roof.
However, the seating itself is uncomfortable. The service is a little lacklustre compared to the image the establishment projects. But most importantly, the food is a tad on the pricey side for what you get. The pizzas are good but I've had better Neapolitan pizzas in Johannesburg for much less the price. The vegetarian pasta with kale is the best dish for vegetarians on the menu. However, the portion size is sparse compared to the price you pay.
Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of Saint and I know you pay for the experience as well as the food but there needs to be more emphasis on the food and service and a varied menu with maybe one or two more vegetarian dishes.
Gorgonzola/pear salad terrible, could hardly taste and find the cheese more shredded cabbage then anything else. Pizza’s very average, size ok. Drinks overpriced. Expected so much more, disappointing. Tables outside very small. Bread offered didn’t taste fresh wasn’t warm also salt in a small bowl not very hygienic in my opinion. Wouldn’t go back in a rush. On the positive side our waiter was very friendly and attentive at all times.
The interior is beautiful and the staff are friendly and helpful. However, the food was hit and miss. One pizza with raw leeks and mushrooms was terrible, the margarita was very average, the others were decent. When you are paying a premium, the food should be consistently excellent. The drinks are heavily overpriced. I would not go out of my way to come back.
The Sins of a Saint
When I heard that a new restaurant was being opened by Marble founders chef David Higgs and Gary Kyriacou, the excitement was palpable. Shortly after it opened, I read reviews and saw pictures scattered across on social media – it all looked and sounded incredible, so I decided to treat my husband for a special evening at Saint at the Marc in Sandton.
We arrived to a sea of people in the bar area, and the hostess swiftly escorted us to our table. The wide expanse of the interior was a lovely surprise – it is a big restaurant with many tables, but it doesn’t feel packed in like sardines. Our 2-seater table felt very crammed, however, with very little space amongst the table lamp, wine and water glasses, and side plates.
I was really looking forward to seeing the overhead projections on the ceiling, which is one of the main showstoppers of the interior – but to my disappointment this did not work on the night of our visit. Our waitress was sweet but she did stumble on a few of our questions when asked for recommendations. I was excited to see the arancini as a starter. This was a great dish and I highly recommend it. Hubby ordered the squad ink croquettes; it was good though not on par with the arancini.
My main course was a saffron risotto with ossobuco, while hubby had the lamb meatballs with rigatoni pasta. The risotto on its own was perfection. Having said that, the dish as a whole felt disconnected as the risotto did not complement the ossobuco. In fact, the meat was dry and pretty bland. Hubby enjoyed his dish which was layered with flavor in the pasta sauce, which also packed a spicy punch. Unfortunately, he found a piece of bone in one of his meatballs. This was quickly taken up by the manager who escalated to chef Higgs. They took the dish off our bill without hesitation, and the consideration by management was well received as there are families who dine at Saint with their kids and the dangers of small bones are obvious.
The dessert was the clear winner of the night. We had the orange cake with Campari and pistachios. What an absolute delight this dish was! The cake is served warm with a delectable orange glaze, accompanied by a smooth Campari sorbet and toasted pistachios. The warmth and sweetness of the cake combined with the slight bitterness of the Campari sorbet and nuttiness of the pistachios was a gastronomical experience. Undoubtedly amongst the best desserts I have ever eaten – and honestly this saved the night.
All in all, I have to say I was disappointed with the experience. I think if we had ordered only starters and dessert it would have been incredible. The main courses were a let-down given the cost, especially the rather expensive yet disappointing risotto dish.
The restaurant is probably a better option if you have a big group of friends, but for a two-person table you do kind of feel that you are shuffled into a corner. The only saving grace was the attentiveness of the staff and the dessert.