Cape Town is well-known for its lovely wines, fresh seafood, and locally-sourced produce. All of those elements are perfect for several cuisines, especially Italian fare, where the tomatoes, basil and bold reds help to enhance the recipes. It doesn’t hurt that Cape Town has the weather and topography that reminds people of Italian wine regions. With all of these amenities in one spot, it’s no wonder there are so many good Italian restaurants in Cape Town. Here are our picks for the best ones to try.
Il Leone Mastratonio
This classy restaurant is located in the Green Point neighborhood and features a sunny balcony and an exquisitely decorated interior with modern paintings around the walls. It specializes in plenty of Italian classics like risotto, fresh fish, zuppa, antipastos and more. In particular, the pasta at Il Leone Mastratonio is top notch and always served perfectly al dente.
If you’re looking for the cutest Italian restaurant in Cape Town, La Frasca is probably the winner. It specializes in home-made pizza, lovely slow-cooked dishes like beef filet, and yummy pastas like tagliatelle and lasagne. It’s the perfect place for an intimate date away from the Cape Town CBD before heading out into winelands.
Located on hip Bree Street, this spot serves up fantastic fare from Naples with plenty of contemporary twists. It also features a hand built pizza oven from Italy. Some of the most popular dishes include the lamb meatballs in marinara sauce, slow-cooked pork belly, and house-made rigatoni with sugo, grana padano and basil. Whichever dish you decide to get, it’s certain to be excellent.
Opened in 1971 by Mario and Pina Marzagalli, this cozy local favorite is still serving up classic Italian fare to repeat customers. The menu is mostly traditional with 10 different house-made pastas, seafood entrées and wood-oven pizzas. The interior is somewhat small and features white linen covered tables along with green walls covered in art. Besides the excellent food, guests always look forward to the warm greetings and attentive service.
While it doesn’t have the typical name of an Italian restaurant, the food here will quickly put any skepticism aside. Chef Giorgio Nava opened the restaurant and 2003 and has been serving up authentic Northern Italian flavors ever since. He’s even won the World Pasta Championship, so you know anything you get here is going to be excellent. You’ll also find some South African twists on the menu, including springbok and grilled Karoo lamb chops.
Italian food is different depending on what region it’s based on, and some of the best comes from Rome. This Roman-style restaurant has some of the best pasta in Cape Town and excellent pizzas as well. It also has a fantastic view of the V&A Waterfront from its upstairs location, so if you’re walking around the area, it should be on your short list of places to go.
If you’re looking for serious old school Italian, then you have to check out Magica Roma in Pinelands. Even though it’s somewhat isolated from the busy Cape Town CBD, it’s worth a trip for the food. Top items on the menu include the beef carpaccio, veal and oversized pizzas. The restaurant is decorated with white linens, features a large wine list and has fantastic wait staff. Make sure to call in advance as it can be booked up for weeks at a time.
Visitors heading to the Old Biscuit Mill will want to stop by this lovely Italian restaurant. The pizza oven the restaurant uses was imported from Naples and the chefs know how to use it just as good as they do it in Italy. The interior is ultra trendy with brick walls, modern designs, and hanging slabs of meat waiting to be sliced. There’s also a rotating wine list maintained by one of the top sommeliers in South Africa.
This Italian restaurant is one of the best overall restaurants in Sea Point and specializes in fantastic pizzas. Visitors love it for offering gluten-free options as well as interesting combinations like porchetta, bacon, avocado and banana. The atmosphere is also great and is the perfect place to dine outside on a summer evening.
If you’re looking for fresh seafood and Italian classics, look no further than La Perla in Sea Point. Portion sizes are large and quality is excellent. The interior is rather lavish and features plush couches to hang out on next to walls accented by abstract paintings. One of the restaurant’s best dishes is the caprese salad which has super fresh moz and high quality olive oil. It’s best to make a reservation at La Perla as it gets rather packed.
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