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 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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What a disaster.
After hearing rave reviews we were so excited to try out Scarpetta’s.
The restaurant is lovely and the welcome we received boded well for an awesome evening.
We were a party of 10 and the two guests had dietary requirements. We were told that we couldn’t do the sharing menu with just 8 and two ordering separately off the menu so we went ahead and all had the sharing menu. It was awful.
There was hardly any variety so no real opportunity to try different menu items.
The pasta dish was more of the same. Just two big bowls of the same flavour pasta. Again in would have been nice to have two different variations to try. There was no effort to even ask as what we might like.
Secondi dish was more of the same. Oxtail that was basically just cooked in tomato and not seasoned, undercooked veg and a whole fish that wasn’t cooked. So, so disappointing. We sent the fish back three times and it just kept coming back to the table in a worse state than before.
Dessert was ok. Fresh fruit and cannolis and tiramisu. It catered for all palates and I think was the best course.
For the price of R350 I honestly did not see the value.
I would not recommend it at all.
Fantastic experience, Ricky is a great host and we felt like guests at his family's dinner.
The food is authentic and everything on the menu is meant to be shared. We'll definitely be back.
Delicious and wholesome food and relaxed atmosphere. Feels like home!
Hans de Ridder
The experience at Scarpetta is fantastic from start to finish, from being welcomed at the door, the great service and amazing Italian food experience. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a fantastic food experience out!
Finally! I went to Scarpetta. What a treat. With Cape Town culture having a boom of Asian food (think ramen and bao), vegan and tapas places in the last few years, I am so thrilled we have a refreshing new legit Italian restaurant to frequent. I say frequent because the pricing is so good, it makes sense to visit often. I cannot think of one person who does not like Italian food, it's the ultimate comfort food all year round and when done properly, it turns into an intense addiction. But let's get down to the details:
Situated in Woodstock, it's so close to where we live (Vredehoek). Roodebloem Road, Woodstock is so central in general - such a great spot to have a restaurant. Especially for parking. None of this town nonsense of driving around forever to just park. We did Uber though because with no corkage (no liquor licence), I took through two bottles of wine for our table. Uber is also a good option because Scarpetta is so central.
The branding is fantastic. I absolutely love the logo which you see on the beautiful signage outside. Great care has been taken into expressing what Scarpetta is about through the logo. Ricky Turilli is such a great host, I cannot imagine him not doing any other career. Ricky knows how to do restaurants properly. We were warmly greeted and seated by Ricky and his staff in this warm, intimate space. The main menu is on a chalk board in the front but of course there were extra special dishes that were explained to us. There was fresh bread on the table, always a great start when you get bread. We started with caprese - so beautiful and fresh. What a winner. You can order family style when you have a large table which just makes so much sense. We had bolognese - signature dish. The sauce!!! Absolutely divine. The pasta quality is out of this world and cooked superbly. We had also ordered the fettuccini funghi. I think that would become my regular order at Scarpetta. We also tried their aubergine parmigiana/eggplant melanzane as it was a special we just could not resist. Wowee!! Best I have tasted. Full of flavour.
DESSERT!! Cannoli and tiramisu. I cannot recommend enough. Cannoli is what dreams are made of.
Great place for families, dates, friend dates...just perfect. Has that regular spot vibe. Thrilled that Scarpetta is on the scene.
Finally Ricky Turilli is cooking in Cape Town again! I remember having great meals at Zucca on Kloof Street, when Ricky was the only person serving fresh porini mushrooms at that stage.
Ricky has hit the nail on the head again, once more taking his classical italian approach of not overcomplicating his cooking and allowing great ingredients to speak for themselves.
Their "family-dining" approach of shared table dishes is awesome, and i love that his signature spaghetti bologhese is on the menu. I believe Ricky's daughter was classically trained in pastry in italy, and it shows in their desserts. Their tiramisu is lighter than air and finally someone is serving cannoli in Cape Town! Theirs were as good as any i've had in italy.
Congrats guys on a great experience, and i hope more of Ricky's classics filter their way onto the menu soon...
Keep up the good work
5 of us went for our monthly dinner club and we had the most amazing evening! We started with the antipasti platters, one veg and one meat. 2 of us are vegetarian so it was lovely that there were such good options. The meat eaters wanted to steal our platter which included a chick pea and tomato salad, cheese, palm hearts and marinated artichokes. The meat one had Parma ham, salami, cheese and prosciutto. This was all served with the incredible house made herbed focaccia. For mains 4 of us had the mushroom pasta which is herbed with cream and 6 types of mushrooms (Epic, cannot recommend enough)1 classic Bolognese (very generous portion) and one skirt steak which is served in strips and which was thoroughly enjoyed. The restaurant doesn’t have a liquor license so bring you own wine or gin but the restaurant has soft drinks and tonic etc to accompany that. I feel like this could be my weekly low key dinner spot but it would also be a lovely place for a date or occasion.