Had I been to this restaurant earlier in the year it would certainly have been included our feature that we ran a short while back.
As the name implies, Piza é Vino at the Piazza in Melrose Arch is a specialist pizza and wine restaurant. It’s a fairly casual eatery (a rarity at Melrose Arch) that dishes up authentic, creative Italian cuisine.
The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating. It was a bust Saturday night and it seemed a little cramped inside so we opted to sit outside. If it is a bit chilly they have wrap around blankets you can borrow if you decide to dine al fresco (remember to give them back – they don’t like it if you try run away with their blankets.)
I had eaten a big lunch so decided to go straight for a main course – a pizza. I was expecting to find all the usual suspects on the menu – a Regina, a Margherita and some random pizza with pineapple. Honestly, why would you ruin a pizza by adding pineapple? Don’t do it – for every pineapple you add to a pizza you are depriving Sponge-Bob Squarepants of a potential home.
I was more than pleasantly surprised to see that the menu was way more extensive and imaginative than I had thought. Sure, the favourites were there for people who like simplicity, but to truly enjoy the Piza é Vino experience you need to try something different.
I was torn between the Gamberi (Pomodoro, prawns, garlic oil, rocket, lemon rind, mascarpone) and Piza Re (Roast Lamb, roasted red peppers, caramelised onions and cecci dip.) Most pizzerias will accommodate you if you ask for half of each but Piza é Vino is the only restaurant I have seen that advertise this on their menu. Rather than I choose I opted for the 50/50 – half Gamberi and half Piza Re.
My pizza was delivered quickly and piping hot. Piza é Vino has the thinnest bases I have had in South Africa. Too often restaurants serve up pizzas with bases that are thick as a slice of bread and then they skimp on toppings. I was expecting one or two prawns or a few shrimps on the Gamberi portion of my meal and a few chunks of lamb on the Piza Re. My Gamberi side was stacked with full, juicy prawns (not the type you see in District 9) and the Piza Re portion was covered in shredded lamb. They also don’t skimp on size – when they say large pizza they mean large pizza. Even a Kardashian might have to take a doggy bag.
Ironically, we decided not to have wine but their collection is impressive. Restaurants always knock up the cost of wines but at leas Piza é Vino have a decent range of wines that are less than R100 per bottle. They serve a good cup of coffee and have a range of beers, ciders, cocktails and spirits, though drinks are mostly on the expensive side.
The pizzas, while are among the best I remember eating, are pricey. Even a standard Regina is R62 for what is a fairly basic pizza. The more imaginative ones get close to the R90 – R100 mark. Having said that, I bet on Jackie Selebi’s good name that you will not find tastier pizzas anywhere in Joburg. If you are taking the family out and are on a tight budget then this might not be the best spot. If you are looking for a treat, and I really mean TREAT, Piza é Vino will certainly leave you full and satisfied.
For contact information follow the links alongside.
Review by Shaun Wewege