In Joburg, the options for outdoor seating at restaurants are pretty slim – literally, because they’re usually on the sidewalk, wedged between storefronts and packed cars. That’s not always so bad, though as taxi radios serenade us with Top 40 mood music at no cost, and people watching never, ever gets old… right?
That is, until you want to kick back, relax, and forget that you’re in the middle of a super-busy city that may just be home to more restaurants than trees. Every summer, I start jonesing for al fresco dining restaurants – you know, the kind with comfortable outdoor seating, pretty light fixtures, a selection of fine wine, and the freshest, most flavourful food. Anyway, I found such a restaurant this summer – it’s the newly-renovated Piza e Vino at The Zone in Rosebank.
I arrived at the restaurant, which is a rather refreshing space, with my boyfriend, Nik, on a balmy Friday night. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the friendly manager who seated us at the glimmering bar while we waited for an outside table. Nik and I perused their long list of tantalising cocktails and both decided to order up a Smoked Paprika Whiskey Sour. Our drinks were creatively concocted and very tasty – a great twist on the good ‘ole whiskey sour, I’d say.
We then relocated to our table outside after a short wait. To start, I ordered the beer-battered prawns, while Nik ordered a caprese salad. The starters came out quickly, and they were delicious. My prawns were sweet and juicy, and the batter was perfectly crispy. Nik said that his salad was equally enjoyable. We then ordered our main meals – I went for the Gandi Pizza, which is topped with mushroom, feta, beetroot, red onion and chorizo, and Nik ordered the Oxtail Ragu pasta, which is tossed with braised, deboned oxtail ragu and herbs in a hearty tomato and red wine sauce.
Our mains reached our table within good time and were both wonderfully presented. My pizza was divine – the base was thin and crispy, just the way I like it, and the toppings burst with freshness. Nik’s pasta, on the other hand, I believe was just as flavourful. I’m not a red meat eater so I didn’t try it, but judging by what it looked like, it sure looked fantastic!
By the end of our meal, we were so full that we didn’t have any room for dessert, which was unfortunate, because I saw a waiter carry a dish of crème brûlée past me during the evening and it looked sublime. But there’s always a next time, right?
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed dining at this trendy space. The hospitality is top-notch, the food is great, and they have a fabulous selection of cocktails and craft beer for you to choose from, making it a great spot for drinks after work or a sublime al fresco dinner. I urge you to go and try it out for yourself!
by Candice May