I don’t know about you, but I’m mad about Italian food, so you can only imagine how delighted I am to reside in a city that’s home to top-notch restaurants that offer show-stopping spreads of salami, cheese and antipasti, world-class pastas, and fragrant roasted meats. But of all the Italian restaurants in Joburg (and there are many), there’s one that I discovered recently that really topped my list – it’s The Eatalian, located on the hip and happening 11th Street in Parkmore.
With five-star ambitions and a menu to match, The Eatalian has set the bar awfully high since it opened in September 2015. A melding of modern city dining and Italian tradition, the trendy eatery boasts a gorgeous a la carte menu and a wine list just as impressive. As soon as you step inside, you’re sure to be welcomed by enthusiastic service that shines as bright as the rich, honest cooking!
I arrived at The Eatalian for the first time on a summery Friday evening with my boyfriend, Nik. Our friendly and knowledgeable waiter seated us inside the beautifully decorated open-plan dining room. The décor inside is simplistic with an elegant twist – think a glossy tiled backdrop, shelves of old books, oil paintings covering the walls, dark wooden furniture and modern light fixtures. I must say, I instantly admired it – it made for an upscale yet somewhat very comfortable ambiance.
Seated around us was an eclectic mix of established young professionals and high-heeled fashionistas clinking glasses of vino as the sun set. To join in on the vibrant mood, Nik and I decided to order a round of cocktails. Both the Cucumber Gimlet (a blend of gin, lime juice, sugar syrup, cucumber and rosemary) and Negroni (Campari with a splash of Martini Rosso and gin) were wonderfully refreshing!
For starters, we ordered both the Caprese (slices of fresh tomato and mozzarella served with fresh basil) and Calamari Siciliana (calamari in napoletana with chilli, garlic and white wine) to share. The dishes arrived promptly, and were both divine. The salad was fresh and crisp, and the calamari was perfectly cooked in a hearty sauce.
Nik and I then perused the exotically named, sumptuous-sounding mains on the menu. There were a number of dishes that got my mouth watering instantly – the Fresh Norwegian Salmon, Linguine Al Pesto, Penne Carbonara, as well as the Pescatore and Parma pizzas, to name a few. It was a tough choice between a pasta and a pizza, but I eventually decided on the Parma pizza – a margarita topped with prosciutto, parmesan shavings and fresh rocket. Nik, on the other hand, opted for the Fettuccine Salsiccia – handmade fettuccine tossed with Italian pork sausage, mushrooms, baby marrow, chilli, garlic and rosemary, flambéed with whiskey in a mascarpone and cream sauce.
Our mains took a little longer than our starters did to reach our table, but the short wait was well worth it. Both dishes were just to-die-for. I can safely say that the pizza, which packed so much freshness and flavour, was one of the best I’ve tasted – and you should know that that’s a major compliment coming from a pizza connoisseur like myself. The pasta was equally delicious. Done in the most decadent sauce that wasn’t too rich or too light, I felt it would’ve been hard to improve on the superb dish. The main courses really thrilled both Nik and myself.
Despite the portions being generous and our tummies being full, we agreed that we couldn’t end our dinner without trying out one of the tempting desserts on the menu. I ordered the Nutella Tiramisu, which was absolutely heavenly, and Nik the Mousse di Cioccolato, which was a rich, dark Belgian chocolate mousse topped with slices of fresh strawberry. Needless to say, our desserts were the perfect sweet ending to our very enjoyable dinner.
Then, as if we hadn’t indulged enough, our divine waiter brought over two cups of their home-brewed coffee. The espresso was sublime, and the cherry on top of our exceptional dinner. When the sun comes up, I believe that The Eatalian is a popular spot for Sandton business people to grab a quick cup of java and a fresh breakfast… and I certainly understand why!
So what do you get when you mix an excellent, ingredients-driven Italian menu, a fantastic wine and cocktail list, and impeccable service? The answer is The Eatalian. Be sure to pop in for a meal at this wonderful new restaurant soon! They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, and for breakfast and lunch on Sundays. Just be sure to book, as they’re becoming increasingly popular by the day.
by Candice May