I was definitely an Italian in my past life because you all know that Italian food is my absolute favourite. We have a quite a few favourite Italian restaurants in Johannesburg that we eat at all the time but each for a different occasion. I thought I would put a blog post together on all these Italian restaurants.
The best Italian restaurants in Johannesburg (according to me!):
• MAFIOSA ITALIAN DELI
This little deli/restaurant is conveniently located in the Blubird Shopping Centre so after a morning of shopping, a bowl of pasta really goes down a treat! The deli has a great selection of imported cheeses and hams and also sells convenient homemade ready made pastas, sauces and pestos. I love this deli because I like to stock up my fridge with delicious goodies from here!
What I always order: spaghetti with mushrooms, garlic and chilli. I also highly recommend the tiramisu!
Occasion: post shopping lunch
Where: Shop 5 BluBird Shopping Center Lower Ground
• POMODORO RISTORANTE
This trendy Italian restaurant is situated in Morningside Shopping Centre. It is one of our favourite Sunday lunch spots so we can do some grocery shopping after in the centre. The menu offers a great selection of classic Italian dishes from delicious salads, to pasta and of course pizza.
What I always order: spaghetti aglio olio which is spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and chilli. I like to keep things simple but superb! I also highly recommend the tagliatelle al ragu, especially when it’s cold and you need a little bowl of comfort!
Occasion: casual lunch
Where: Morningside Shopping Centre Rivonia Road, Morningside
• TORTELLINO D’ORO
This is our favourite restaurant for a romantic date night. We often celebrate our anniversary here and we have spent many Valentine’s Day dinners here. The interior is cosy and romantic and we just love it! We also stock up on some of our favourite Italian necessities from the deli. On the food menu you will find the most delicious pasta’s as well as veal and fillet dishes. They also have homemade gelato and the pistachio flavour is tops!
What I always order: gramigna papalina which is a homemade pasta with a creamy tomato and mushroom sauce. Just a little heads up, this is a big portion of pasta so you will definitely have enough for a leftover lunch the next day!
Occasion: date night
Where: Oaklands Shopping Centre, Corner Pretoria and Victoria Street, Oaklands
• DA GRAZIELLA
There is nothing better than a cosy and comforting Italian restaurant that makes you feel like you are in a little town in Italy. At Da Graziella the food is delicious, the atmosphere is intimate and the service is top notch! This is our go-to spot for a relaxed dinner during the week.
What I always order: spaghetti arrabbiata or the spaghetti seafood in tinfoil.
Occasion: casual week night dinner
Where: 74 Dunvegan Ave, Dunvegan, Edenvale
Tel: 011 454 6202
• LA TRINITA
Not often do you walk into a restaurant and receive such personal service like you do at La Trinita in Kyalami. As you walk in, Lala welcomes you with a very big hug, she then seats you at your table and tells you about all the special dishes. The best part is if you want to make up your own dish, Lala will happily allow you to. Like, for example, I can never decide which gnocchi I feel like, so Lala makes me half and half. This way I get the best of both worlds.
What I always order: gnocchi because hands down La Trinita make the best gnocchi out of Italy!
Occasion: cozy dinner with friends
Where: Kyalami Downs Shopping Centre, Kyalami Boulevard & Main Rd, Kyalami Park
• CAFE DEL SOL
We are regulars at both Café del Sol Classico in Olivedale and Café del Sol Botanico in Bryanston because both have completely different items on the menu and atmosphere! Both Café del Sol’s just ooze quality and serve up some of the most delicious Italian food. Just remember to leave space for their famous pavlova, it is the absolute best pavlova … In. The. World!
What I always order: At Café del Sol Classico – lamb rack with porcini mushroom and pea risotto. At Café del Sol Botanico – Pizza Greca with earthy baby spinach and caramelised onions, creamy Danish feta cheese and Kalamata olives.
Occasion: a celebration
Where: Olivedale and Bryanston
• SALE PEPE
Sale Pepe is our absolute favourite. We love the coziness and the food, obviously. We also love that the portions here are SO big that either we share one big pasta dish between two of us or we each order our own and have leftovers for the next day. Every dish on the menu is absolutely delicious and is prepared by the chef himself using proper Italian ingredients.
What I always order: Linguini Alla Vegetariana – this pasta dish is so tasty with all the garlic and herbs!
Occasion: family lunch
Where: Morningview Shopping Centre, South Road, Morningside, Sandton
Tel: 011 8837020
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