When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza-pie, that’s probably a great craving for Italian food. Cape Town is home to some of the oldest and most vibrant Italian restaurants in the country. Leora Hart has gone on a culinary journey to bring you a few of the ones to visit right now.
Meloncino serves traditional Roman food with a sophisticated, modern touch.
Think homemade and authentic Italian sauces, steaks and fresh seafood grilled to perfection, and Roman Style (thin base) and Neapolitan style (thick base) pizzas baked in their wood-fired oven. And for a true Italian taste, the majority of our ingredients and wines are fully imported from Italy.
You’ll find the restaurant on the second floor of Victoria Wharf shopping centre above the quay, with commanding views of the magnificent Table Mountain and the bustling working harbour below.
It’s the ideal spot for sundowners, lazy afternoons and leisurely evenings. All cocktails are crafted with the finest ingredients and garnished with fresh fruit and herbs.
Current specials include a pizza or pasta dish for R99 with vegan and gluten-free options, as well as half price on all cocktails every Tuesday to Sunday from 4pm-7pm.
Where: Shop 259, Upper Level, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
You may not get Sardinia’s pristine waters and postcard-perfect architecture in Cape Town, but you can enjoy a true taste of the Italian island at Nonna Lina; a long-standing favourite amongst the Cape Town locals.
Make sure the family comes hungry because there are dishes for everyone, including a well-mapped-out children’s menu. While the grill options including lamb chops, steaks, and fillet will have you counting down the days to your next visit, let’s not forget the real reason we’re here – the must-have pizza, pasta, and traditional antipasto meals.
Their Sardinian speciality homemade fresh pasta, Culurgiones, is a must-try! You’ll get a classic pasta pocket, filled with fresh mint, potato, and cured Pecorino served with a mint-flavoured tomato sauce.
If you can’t make it to Gardens, Nonna Lina also runs a successful stall at the V&A Food Market.
Where: 64 Orange Street, Gardens; V&A Food Market at V&A Waterfront
Bacini’s on Kloof is all about La Famiglia! And one of the best ways to form a bond is through food. With a rich heritage stemming back to Rosebank in Johannesburg, the restaurant first opened in 1989. Fast forward to 30+ years later and this popular Italian restaurant in Cape Town is now synonymous with the lively energy of Kloof street.
Whether you’re in the mood for traditional pasta, thin-crust wood-oven pizza, you’ll find it on the menu. You can look forward to a casual yet cosy and familiar atmosphere, with that trademark welcoming Italian feel.
The restaurant opens daily with a wide range of breakfast, lunch and dinner options with an updated menu. Breakfast hits include Eggs Benedict, crispy Potato Rosti with the trimmings, and some decadent Ricotta pancakes. Their newly revamped online store makes it easy to try Italian cuisine at home with imported cheeses, cold meats, pasta, and other pantry faves in addition to their standard menu.
Where: 177 Kloof Street, Gardens
When: Monday to Sunday, 9am to 11pm
Bella Italia is currently the longest trading wood-fired trattoria in Cape Town. Originally opened in the late 1960’s as Caponero’s, the space was bought over by Luigi and Cheri Merola in 1999 and changed to Bella Italia.
Over the years, this cute and unpretentious eatery is famous for friendly service and consistently serving great Italian cuisine. Their Vredehoek branch launched 17 years ago and quickly turned into the neighbourhood favourite restaurant.
Today Bella Italia is run by a young and passionate Italian, striving to uphold and improve the recipes and add new offerings like homemade semifreddo desserts, ice cream and authentic Italian salsiccia (Italian sausage) with no preserves or additives.
The menu promises something for everyone from the amazing thin base wood-oven pizzas, incredible pasta just like Mama makes, and a variety of mouth-watering grill options. Both restaurants hold full liquor licences, with beer on tap.
Where: Bella Italia Vredehoek: 27 Derry Street, Vredehoek; Bella Italia Seapoint: 142 Main Road, Seapoint
If you’re looking for the perfect place to have an intimate dinner, set up a cosy family lunch or birthday party, or just rub shoulders with the cool Obs set, then this quirky neighbourhood gem is the place for you. Brimming with laughter, fun and full-on Italian love, Ferdinando’s Pizza will welcome you with open arms.
Chef Diego Milesi invokes his own personality in the homely atmosphere of his restaurant and the pizza and pasta he prepares. Their pizza menu features some classics, but also a few offbeat toppings and some great vegan and vegetarian options using cultured cashew nut cheese instead.
Feeling a little thirsty? Ferdinando’s Pizza also prides itself on its cocktails and wine offering. Indeed, the pizzeria scored 2nd place in Porcupine Ridge winery’s ‘Best Pizzeria in South Africa’ competition and their catering options for the vegan palette.
Purchase a meat-free pizza on Mondays and you’ll receive a free gift of Porcupine Ridge wine. Join them for 2 for 1 cocktails daily from 4-6pm.
Where: 205, Lower Main Road, Observatory