For authentic, fresh, seasonal and carefully sourced ingredients that make phenomenal Italian dishes, Jamie’s Italian is the place to go. Offering everything we love about Italian cuisine – from pasta and pizza to scrumptious salads – this is our top pick restaurant for rustic meals that are sure to satisfy anyone.
Address: Jamie’s Italian Melrose Arch, Shop 00513, Building 13, High Street, Melrose Arch.
Our top pick: The silky spaghetti carbonara featuring sweet tender leeks, golden smoky pancetta, cracked black pepper and Parmesan. Yum!
If you’re a fan of authentic Italian food, there’s no better place to get it than at La Trinita in Kyalami. Run by a mother and daughter team, it really is a gem of a restaurant. If ever you go back more than once, both these women will recognise you immediately and Lala, the daughter, will be able to remember exactly what you ate when you first paid them a visit (even if you go back 100 times after that).
Address: Shop G1A, Kyalami Downs Shopping Centre, Kyalami Boulevard and Main Road, Kyalami, Midrand.
Our top pick: The lasagne – it’s seven layers of pure pasta heaven.
Nonna Mia’s Kitchen
Nonna Mia’s Kitchen is known for their delicious pizza, so when you pay them a visit, this is your best bet. They come in various sizes – six, eight or 24 pieces – which will satisfy your craving for something warm and cheesy from the first bite.
Address: Corner Grant Avenue and Henrietta Road, Norwood, Johannesburg.
Corner of 1st Avenue & 12th Street, Parkhurst, Johannesburg.
Kingsway Student Centre, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Melville, Johannesburg.
Our top pick: The Bari, which is a pizza topped with ricotta, spinach and olives.
Situated in the Colony centre, Pronto is a wonderful Italian restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is fantastic, so it’s definitely recommended that you go all out and order a starter, main and dessert – just be sure to arrive hungry, so that you’ve got room for everything!
Address: The Colony Centre, 345 Jan Smuts Avenue, Craighall Park, Johannesburg.
Our top pick: The penne chorizo, which is chunks of smoked Spanish chorizo cooked with garlic, chilli, basil, Spanish paprika and cream.
Super Sconto is a family-run restaurant and supermarket where you can pick up all kinds of goodies. The upstairs deli section is where you can find what’s arguably the best sandwich in town: pick a freshly baked panini (small or large) and choose your toppings from the deli counter. Super Sconto also has daily pasta specials, so be on the lookout for those. They’re only open for breakfast and lunch, so just keep this in mind the next time you’re thinking of heading over.
Address: 169 to 171 Louis Botha Avenue, Corner Fifth Street, Orange Grove, Johannesburg.
Our pick: You can’t go wrong with a classic panini with pesto, robiola, mortadella, artichokes and sundried tomatoes.
Café Del Sol
Café Del Sol is a well-known family-run Italian establishment that only produces top-notch food – they don’t have a stellar reputation for nothing, you know. It’s safe to say that, no matter what you order, you won’t be disappointed. This goes for both branches – Café Del Sol and Café Del Sol Botanico. P.S. Both restaurants are winners when it comes to celebrating special occasions.
Address: Olivedale Corner Shopping Centre, Corner Olive and President Fouche Roads, Olivedale, Johannesburg (Café del Sol).
Bryanston Shopping Centre, Corner William Nicol and Ballyclare Drive, Bryanston, Johannesburg (Café Del Sol Botanico).
Our pick: The black sesame-crusted salmon, served with avo mash, Campari and fresh grapefruit salsa with a vanilla and sweet chilli sauce.
Trattoria Renato Pizzeria
Trattoria Renato Pizzeria is a homely restaurant as authentically Italian as they come – it almost feels like you’re in the middle of Italy. When deciding on what to devour, always start with their basic salad – it’s super-simple yet a must-have to whet your appetite. Next, check out the specials board for something different that might just catch your eye, and it’ll be well worth it!
Address: 39 Greenhill Road, Emmarentia, Johannesburg.
Our pick: Plain and simple – go for the butter and sage gnocci.
Gemelli Cucina Bar is a popular spot in Bryanston where you can treat your taste buds to everything from pasta and meaty dishes to prawns, chicken and so much more. What’s great is that, when it comes to pasta, if you want to share with your table, you can order family-sized bowls. A little bit of everything sounds pretty great to us!
Address: 13 Posthouse Link Centre, Corner Main and Posthouse Street, Bryanston, Sandton, Johannesburg.
Our top pick: The ‘Honeymoon’ seafood linguine, which is linguine, prawns, mussels, squid, vodka, roasted onion and garlic, rosa tomatoes and parsley cream.
Situated in the stunning Muldersdrift area, Casalinga, a fabulous Italian eatery, is perfect to visit for a long, leisurely Sunday lunch spent admiring the country scenery. Why not take the whole family along and make a day of it?
Address: Rocky Ridge Road, Off Beyers Naudé Drive, Muldersdrift.
Our top pick: Ravioli All’Impasticciata – homemade pasta parcels filled with beef, and served with a fresh tomato, cream and chilli sauce.
Luca’s does real Italian, and it does it well. Whether you’re in the mood for pizza, pasta or even a main meat dish, you’ll find what you’re craving for at this place. Whatever you decide to order, just be sure to leave some space for dessert – let’s just say that the tiramisu comes highly recommended.
Address: 3 Achter Road, Corner of Witkoppen Road and Rivonia Road, Sunninghill, Johannesburg.
Our top pick: Their gourmet pizza called the Salmonata (wheat, gluten-free or whole wheat options are available) topped with oak-smoked Norwegian salmon trout, dollops of mascarpone, capers and caviar.
By Nikki Samakosky
Know of other great Italian restaurants not mentioned above? Let us know below!
Remember that our “Top Picks” are not paid for and are compiled at the discretion of the journalist. We only write about what we love.