I don’t know about you, but I’m mad about Italian food, so you can only imagine how delighted I am to live in a city that’s home to top-notch restaurants that offer show-stopping spreads of antipasti, pasta and roasted meats. But of all the Italian restaurants in Joburg (and there are many), there’s one I discovered recently that really topped my list — The Eatalian on the hip and happening 11th Street in Parkmore.
With five-star ambitions, 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 offers an impressive à la carte menu and wine list.
I went to The Eatalian for the first time on a summery Friday evening with my boyfriend, Nik. Our friendly and knowledgeable waiter seated us inside in the open-plan dining room. The decor has a classic elegance to it with a glossy, tiled backdrop, shelves of old books, oil paintings, dark wooden furniture and modern light fittings.
Seated around us was an eclectic mix of young professionals and high-heeled fashionistas clinking glasses of vino as the sun set. To join in the 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 the Caprese salad (slices of fresh tomato and mozzarella with fresh basil) and Calamari Siciliana (calamari in Napoletana sauce with chilli, garlic and white wine) to share. The dishes arrived promptly and were delicious. The salad was super fresh and the calamari was perfectly cooked in the hearty sauce.
Nik and I then looked through the exotically named 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, garlic and white wine in a Napoletana sauce.
Our mains took a little longer than our starters did to reach our table, but the short wait was well worth it. I can safely say that the pizza, which packed so much freshness and flavour, was one of the best I’ve tasted and 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.
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.
Then our waiter brought over two cups of their home-brewed coffee, and the espresso was sublime, rounding off our meal perfectly. I believe that The Eatalian is a popular spot for Sandton business people to grab a quick cup of coffee and a breakfast and I certainly understand why!
So what do you get when you combine a delicious ingredient-driven Italian menu, a great wine and cocktail list, and impeccable service? The answer is The Eatalian. Be sure to pop in for a meal at this wonderful restaurant soon! They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Just remember to book.