The Best Italian Restaurants in Cape Town

The Best Italian Restaurants in Cape Town Image: Villa 47

From traditional trattorias to chic modern eateries, here are our favourite Italian restaurants in and around the Mother City.

From melt-in-the-mouth melanzane to tantalising tiramisu and perfectly prepared pizza and pasta, Italian cuisine is so darn delicious, and hard to beat in terms of the satisfaction quotient. Whether you’re after an old-school trattoria, a modern small-plates eatery or a comfortable café, Cape Town’s best Italian restaurants offer something for every occasion. Buon appetito!

What’s your favourite Italian restaurant? Have you dined at any of our picks? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Villa 47

Villa 47 Italian Restaurants

This three-in-one restaurant – Locanda at street level, Martini Terrazza Lounge in the middle, and a spacious function venue on the top floor – is the lifelong realisation of owners Luciano Previtera and Michele Mirotto. The first level is Martini Terrazza Lounge, a sophisticated fusion-cocktail lounge. Here, the Italian sensibilities of aperitivo entertaining are the order of the day. And, if you’d prefer something more laidback, pop downstairs to Locanda for a sensational feast (and then reprise your table back at Martini Terrazza Lounge for an after-dinner cognac or espresso).
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 4pm –10pm (kitchen)
Contact 021 418 2740,
Where to find it 47 Bree Street, Cape Town

Cucina Labia at Casa Labia

Cucina Labia Italian Restaurants

More than just a restaurant, Cucina Labia in the historic Casa Labia on Muizenberg’s Main Road is a destination and experience rolled into one. Built in the 1920s by Count and Countess Natale Labia, the Gatsby-style interiors are adorned with artworks by Irma Stern, Gerard Sekoto, Francois Boucher and others, with drapes on the windows and hanging chandeliers creating a distinctly Venetian flavour. Managed by Dish Food & Social, the kitchen is headed by chef Monché Muller whose fresh, seasonal and utterly delectable dishes will have you planning your next visit after your first bite.
Good to know Weekend lunchtime diners can enjoy music by pianist Jean Paul Grimaldi-Lasserre.
Opening times Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 4pm
Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 4pm
Friday, 6pm – 10pm
Contact 021 788 6062,
Where to find it 192 Main Road, Muizenberg


Meloncino Italian Restaurants

When South African-born Italian chef Luca Di Pasquale, who owns True Italic on Bree Street, declares that Meloncino serves the best pizza in Cape Town, you take his word for it! Which is exactly what we did, one icy winter’s night in May.
Going in, I had my reservations (pun intended), not least because Meloncino is in a tourist-trodden mall, but also because it’s part of a chain of homespun eateries, and the dark and slightly dated interiors aren’t immediately welcoming. But all that soon faded as we took our seats at a harbourside table, with magical nighttime views of the marina, Cape Wheel and twinkling city beyond.
Then came the food – fresh, vibrant, authentic Italian flavours, straight out of nonna’s kitchen. I ordered the Pesce Fresco Alla Mediterraneo – Sicilian-style grilled fish, topped with a salad of fresh diced tomato, celery, olives, capers, rocket and freshly squeezed lemon juice – which was irreducibly perfect. My partner ordered the Roman-style Tartufo e Prosciutto pizza – and, like Luca, declared it to be the best pizza in Cape Town! In fact, he’s not stopped talking about it since.
To add to the authenticity of the experience, septuagenarian maître d’ Alberto di Grisostomo feels like a character straight out of the Godfather trilogy. Arms folded, he leans against the bar counter, in his suit and tie, peering out of his thick-rimmed glasses, ensuring things are running smoothly. If you’re lucky, he’ll come over to your table and reagle you with stories of his travels in Rome and New York.
Opening times Daily, 11am – 11pm
Contact 021 419 5558
Where to find it 259, Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

Woodlands Eatery

Woodlands Eatery Italian Restaurants
Bernard Myburgh

This neighbourhood gem was taken over by Matteo Santini and Maurizio Calo in June 2017, new owners who’ve brought their Italian heritage to Cape Town with recipes learnt and passed down from their nonnas.
On the night we dined here, we enjoyed risotto arancini with garlic aioli for starters; lamb and crème fraîche pizza; and mushroom-and-artichoke ravioli with four-cheese sauce for mains; and a geranium crème brûlée and tiramisu for dessert. Every single bite was completely and utterly delicious.
Good to know the portions are generous, so come hungry. And dress warmly, as the chilly night air seeps through the door.
Opening times Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm – 10pm
Contact 063 710 4742,
Where to find it 2 Deer Park drive, Vredehoek, Cape Town

A Tavola

A Tavola Restaurant Claremont
Fresh, seasonal produce is the order of the day at this busy restaurant in Claremont, where hearty aromas of bold Italian flavours waft into the dining area from the open-plan kitchen. The service at this casual, glass-fronted restaurant isfriendly and knowledgeable.
The food Passionate owner David Haupt is committed to using organic herbs and vegetables, pasture-reared beef, sustainable fish and handmade pasta (including wheat and gluten-free) in all the tasty dishes. For starters, we recommend the zuppa ai frutti di mare (a layered homemade seafood broth with mussels, prawns, line fish and calamari, served with garlic bruschetta). For mains, meat-eaters will love the tagliata di manzo (sliced herb-rubbed 250g rib-eye with roasted Roma tomatoes and broccoli); vegetarians will be in their element with the tagliolini ai funghi e tartufo (fresh thin pasta tossed with wild mushrooms, fresh rocket and truffle oil, topped with Parmesan); while pescatarians can enjoy the pesce al forno con salsa verde(grilled fresh line fish served with stewed lentils, broccoli, marinated diced tomato and salsa verde).
Opening times Tuesday – Friday & Sunday, 12pm – 3pm
Monday – Saturday, 6pm – 10pm
Contact 021 671 1763
Where to find it Library Square, Claremont (opposite the Kingsburg Hospital), Cape Town

Pane e Vino Food & Wine Bar

Pano e Vino Italian

A stone fireplace and brick walls create a homely vibe in this cosy taverna in Stellenbosch that doubles as a tasting room for the Dalla Cia wines and grappa made nearby. The affable owners are the Dalla Cias: winemaker Giorgio (of Meerlust fame), his son George who makes the grappa, and George’s talented wife, Elena, who prepares the delicious Italian fare. On hot days you can sit outside under cover as you would in a roadside trattoria in Italy…
The food is simple, traditional and utterly delicious, made from fresh, organic ingredients. Visit on Saturday over lunch when the local Italian community are out in full force for a coffee and a chat – but do remember to book, as it’s very popular.
On the day we visited, the blackboard menu, which changes daily, offered pappardelle all’aragosta (crayfish pasta), a choice of antipasti including prosciutto e melone and bresaola con rucola. Under the primi section was tortelli au ragu (ravioli with meat sauce), and for secondi, there was a choice between the melanzane alla Parmigiana, arrosto di manzo (roast beef), and arista di maiale (pork belly with roast potatoes).
Opening times Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm
Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Contact 021 883 8312,
Where to find it Behind Oude Libertas, 7 Distillery Road, Stellenbosch

The Cousins Trattoria

The Cousins Italian Restaurants

Three Italian cousins – Simone, Luca and Andrea – decided that the one thing their adopted hometown was missing was a real Italian restaurant. So they opened one. The Cousins Italian Trattoria is a charming and cosy slice of Romagna transplanted in Cape Town.
The food is simple, fresh, authentic. Start your meal with a cocktail (an Aperol Spritz or Negroni if you want to get in the spirit) and some freshly made regional Gnocco Frito bread, then dive into a meal of Italian pleasures. The pasta is made fresh each morning – the recipes come straight from nonna, so don’t ask for any changes! You won’t need to, though, because every plate is a simple, stunning feast of flavours. The carpaccio is the best I’ve had in Cape Town. The speciality is The Cousins pasta: tagliolini with cream, mushroom and thyme, served in a giant Grana Padano cheese wheel. Wow.
Save a little space for a vodka-infused sorbet or an excellent affogato, and end your meal off with a limoncello if you need some help digesting…
Ask for a booth and get comfortable – the waitrons are there when you need them, not when you don’t, and Luca is around to ensure everyone is happy – and to tell stories of his native homeland.
You must come hungry! The portions are generous and you’ll want to taste everything.
Contact 083 273 9604,
Where to find it The Cousins, 3b Barrack Street, Cape Town

Magica Roma

Magica Roma Italian Restaurants

This traditional ristorante Italiano in the heart of Pinelands has maintained a fine reputation for serving delicious, authentic Italian food in congenial surroundings. Although the 1970s decor appears dated, it is this comfortable and familiar environment that is so charming. The efficient waiters are warm and friendly and, if you’re a regular, chef-owner Ezio will come over and explain the specialities of the day.
Co-owners Franco and Ezio whip up traditional Italian dishes and, although the menu is extensive, they are both more than happy to tailor-make a dish to suit discerning palates. Start with a selection of antipasti, followed by the zuppa di pesce (seafood soup) or the Tagliata Fiorentina (sliced grilled fillet dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a herb sauce), and end with the decadent tiramisu – if you have room. The excellent wine list includes local, as well as a good Italian wines.
Good to know Booking is essential, especially if you want to sit in the room at the far end of the restaurant away from the buzz.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 6pm – 10pm
Monday – Friday, 12pm – 2pm
Contact 021 531 1489
Where to find it Number 8, Central Building, 9 Central Square, Pinelands


Mario's Italian Restaurants

The familiar feeling of walking into a genuine family-run Italian restaurant is hard to beat, and Mario’s has that in spades, along with friendly service and tasty dishes straight out of mamma’s kitchen. If you’re a regular here, there’s a good chance your grandparents were, too.
Fun fact The dining area was once decorated with three decades worth of graffiti, courtesy of patrons who would scrawl personal messages on the walls. Unfortunately, these voices from the past were lost when the restaurant was renovated following a fire in 2010.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 4.30 – 10.30pm
Saturday, 5pm – 10.30pm
Contact 021 439 6644,
Where to find it 89 Main Road, Green Point, Cape Town

Osteria Tarantino

Image credit: House & Garden

A staircase on Waterkant Street in De Waterkant leads you up to this delightful pocket-sized osteria, whose owner Enrico Tarantino is as charming and unpretentious as the delicious plates he dishes up. The daytime vibe is warm and rustic (think unsanded wooden tables, a chalkboard menu and easy-listening Italian music), which gets a makeover when the sun goes down, with white tablecloths, dim lighting and a cosy fireplace for winter nights.
The food For starters, we shared the Tuscan Cigars (stracciatella and rocket wrapped in Parma ham), which were divine. We tried two pasta dishes for mains: the not-too-rich and creamy Gnocchi Gorgonzola, which were pillowy and comforting, and the 4 Ps pasta (pappardelle, Parmesan, porcini and pancetta), which was delectable and moreish. The cannoli for dessert rounded off a truly satisfying experience.
Good to know Booking is essential.
Opening times
Monday – Saturday, 12.30pm – 9pm
Contact 076 505 1771
Where to find it 125A Waterkant Street, De Waterkant, Cape Town


Massimos Italian Restaurants

Owned by Italian-born Massimo Orione and his British wife Tracy, this Hout Bay hangout is known for its family-friendly atmosphere and, of course, delicious home-cooked Italian food. Situated among the shops at Oakhurst Farm Park, the restaurant offers a cosy setting for grown-ups to enjoy mouthwatering Italian dishes, while the kids build up an appetite in the outside playground.
The extensive menu offers a wide selection of gluten-free and vegan options that taste just as good as the “real thing”.
We love that the restaurant uses eco-friendly takeaway containers.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 9pm
Contact 021 790 5648,
Where to find it Oakhurst Farm Park, Main Road, Hout Bay, Cape Town

La Frasca Restaurant & Pizzeria

La Frasca Italian Restaurants

This cosy, authentic Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Breda Street in Gardens is run by husband-and-wife team Fabrizio (chef) and Erika (front of house), who hail from Trieste in northeast Italy. The name is a tribute to their city where a family would hang a red arrow (la frasca) on a tree branch near the road close to their home as an invitation for passersby to come inside for some good food and wine.
At La Frasca, this is exactly what you get.
For starters, try the Triesit: home-cured ham and “papate in tecia” (potatoes with onion, herbs and ham) in a mustard vinaigrette and cumin seeds. The pizza menu promises large, thin and crispy bases that have been hand-rolled and individually prepared. Opt for the Quattro Plus, you won’t be sorry. It includes tomato, mozzarella, home-cured ham, oven-cooked salami, fresh mushrooms, fresh onions, artichoke hearts, freshly chopped chillies, black olives, oregano and extra-virgin olive oil. The fresh home-made spinach and ricotta ravioli is melt-in-your-mouth delicious with beef ragout, Grana Padano and fresh herbs.
The interiors are warm and inviting, and Erika makes you feel right at home with her thick Italian accent. The wooden tables and chairs are neatly arranged, and although it’s a cosy fit, you don’t feel like you’re too close to the other tables – it’s ideal for date night or dinner with the family. Our waiter was very attentive and friendly.
Contact 072 083 5676
Where to find it 8 Breda Street, Oranjezicht, Cape Town

Alforno Ristorante Italiano

Alforno Italian Restaurants

Opened in February 2016 by Mauritian-born Dominic Rivet, this cosy bistro-style eatery off the cobblestone streets of De Waterkant fulfills all expectations of what an Italian restaurant should be: cosy, comfortable, laid-back and intimate, with delicious, wholesome food!
Begin with a tasty antipasto selection of bruschetta, carpaccio, fritto misto (deep-fried seafood with a tartare sauce) before moving on to hearty main. We recommend the lovely, light Penne Catrioffe (garlic, artichoke, cherry tomato, basil, onion and ricotta) and the woodfired Brie Bacon e Cippole pizza.
For dessert, tiramisu is like none other. Or try the chocolate fondant… With timeless Italian music setting the tone, friendly waitstaff, and happy families seated at the casually clad tables, it’s easy to feel as though you’ve stepped out of the bustling Cape Quarter district and into an eatery in Rome.
Good to know If you’re a fan of getting your hands dirty (with an artistic edge, that is), swing by their Paint & Sip events every First Thursday of the month, where the restaurant is filled with blank canvases ready to be decorated.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 11am – 10.30pm
Contact 021 419 9555
Where to find it Shop 8, Cape Quarter, De Waterkant, Cape Town

Trattoria Maranello

Trattoria Maranello Italian Restaurants

Who’d have thought a traditional trattoria would find its way to Melkbosstrand? If you haven’t paid a visit to this Ferrari-championing, sea-facing spot, where fresh, organic and locally reared produce is the order of the day, do it!
The menu is a delicious mix of classics (bruschetta, gnocchi Gorgonzola, quattro stagioni pizza) and modern interpretations (the Americano pizza features pepperoni sausage, black olives, rosa tomatoes, peppadews and mushrooms).
Good to know Eating at Maranello is a family affair so bring the little ones. Kids under 10 pay half price for half portions, while kids under three eat for free!
Opening times Wednesday – Monday, 10am – 11pm
Contact 021 553 5701,
Where to find it 44 Beach Road, Melkbosstrand, Cape Town

Pizza Vesuvio

Pizza Vesuvio Italian Restaurants

Named after the historic Vesuvio volcano in Italy, this homely restaurant combines Italian sophistication with rustic simplicity (a combo only the Italians have mastered) from the decor to the food. With homemade pizza, pasta and traditional family recipes taking centre stage, this eatery has become known for its flavourful grub that delivers time and time again. For special occasions (or if you’re travelling from the city centre or further afield), it’s best to book ahead.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 10pm
Contact 021 914 1414
Where to find it Waterfront and Fountain Roads, Bellville Park, Bellville

Al Dente

Al Dente Saltriver Italian Restaurant


This small underrated restaurant in Woodstock is open daily for breakfast and lunch, catering mainly to tenants of the building it occupies, but opens on Thursday and Friday evenings for dinner. Signora makes authentic Italian dishes, which are the main event (not the ambience). On Friday evenings, the Italian community comes out to play and, as it only open two nights a week, booking is recommended.
One waitress serves all the tables, but Signora comes out of the kitchen between courses to check on her guests. Our absolute favourite to start is the melanzane alla parmigiana, which is one of the best in town. The gnocchi Gorgonzola and pollo pizzaiola (chicken breast with Napoletana sauce, capers and olives served on a bed of pasta) are good, but if the prawn pasta is on the blackboard, order it – it’s outstanding.
Contact 021 447 8684
Location Upper East Side, 31 Brickfield Road, Salt River (but use entrance in Pickwick Road)

Lapo’s Kitchen

Lapo's Kitchen Italian Restaurants

In his characterful home in Observatory, Chef Lapo Magni creates flavourful dishes that draw on the Tuscan cooking traditions that were passed onto him by his mother. But it’s not just about the food, Lapo is all about about providing an authentic Italian dining experience.
Attendance is limited to small groups, who gather around a single long table in Lapo’s own kitchen, enjoying wine and conversation while the chef and his dedicated team prepare a five-course meal in full view of the guests (who get to watch as the risotto is stirred in the kitchen, and the meat roasted in the yard outside). You could just as well be participating in a traditional Italian family dinner (especially if you’re fortunate enough to be joined by Lapo’s mama, Elena Mattei, who runs her own cooking school – Cucina con Vista – in Florence).
Lapo himself is a big part of the experience, engaging with guests and providing entertaining introductions to each course, during which he’ll expound on his methods of sourcing and preparing ingredients, which in turn relates to his passionate belief in ethical and sustainable food practices.
Good to know Lapo’s Kitchen does not have a liquor license, so bring your own. Contact Lapo beforehand, so he can recommend the best wines to pair with the meal.
Opening times Lapo’s Kitchen is a pop-up restaurant, meaning it has no set opening times, but rather scheduled dates on which guests can book a place at the table.
Cost R500 per person for a five-course meal
Contact 076 199 9189,
Book through DinePlan
Where to find it 18 Bellevliet Road, Observatory

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The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 10 July 2018

29 Responses to “The Best Italian Restaurants in Cape Town”

  1. Zimvo Ntubuzi

    Old Town Italy in Constantia has my heart. Their food and fresh ingredients still leave my mouth watering just at the thought of their food.

  2. Rita Whittington

    Love to keep up to date.
    We have several couples that go out to a restaurant on a Friday night.

    • The Inside Guide

      Hi Rita, we’ve subscribed you to our newsletter.
      Stay tuned for updates!

  3. Christonique

    Trescatelli in Blouberg is also such a Gem

  4. Rene

    I am surprised that Mamma Roma in Newlands has not been included in the top 20 as it is similar to Magica Roma being owner run and been around for many many years. Food excellent and choices vast

    • Nikki Benatar

      Thanks for your message Rene. Mamma Roma has been on previous lists, and we enjoy Romano and Christina’s hands-on service. Our last couple of meals were disappointing, but I look forward to going again soon.

    • Nicola Mackenzie

      Mamma Roma is our favourite Italian restaurant. Great food and great service all make for a happy evening.

  5. Renee

    I’ve bern to quite a few of the restaurants mentioned here, they are good. The best authentic Italian restaurant in my opinion is Zibaldone’s. Strange it’s not mentioned here?

  6. Gwyn Banning

    Congratulations to Massimo’s.. I also think Casareccio in Hout Bay is also fantastic!

  7. Peter

    Have you guys ever tried “TOSCANA pizza” in Claremont? Previously known as Morituri Pizzeria. The owners (almost 4 years) have rebranded as they opening a take away oulet in Seapoint. Had the best ever pizza the other night, lovely thin crispy base and not shy with their toppings. Service was also very good. They have something that I have not seen at any other pizzeria, “Quarter Pizzas” which is an absolutely wonderful idea if you unable to decide which pizza to have from their vast pizza menu. They also have a Vegan menu for those interested.

  8. MEL Shapley

    Best rated Resturants in Cape Town & the Wine lands .

  9. Serge Jeannet

    The problem with Italian restaurants in Cape Town is the lack of quality ingredients.
    ! st Veal is very mediocre when available always tough, I have been served pork instead of veal.
    even Osso Buco, do not be surprised if beef is used. Veal is a huge problem, you cannot buy veal any longer from any supermarket. It is a pretty rare product in SA And if available of poor quality
    2nd most tomatoes are of poor quality, most of the time out of season.
    3rd Good Mozzarela, nearly impossible to find.

    All the above ingredients if of good quality are very expansive

    • 2 Stephs Veal

      I am going to change that. Our company produce authentic and geniune veal. We will be visiting all these establishments and endevour to have proper veal on the table at each of them.

  10. Pedro

    You missed ZIBALDONE restaurant in Tygerwaterfront Bellville. It has been trading for more then ten years!

    • The Inside Guide

      Hi Pedro. Thanks for your comment. Yes, we agree, Zibaldone serves delicious food. However, we decided not to include them, as there was some controversy surrounding them a while back and, as we don’t know both sides of the story, we decided to stay out of it.

  11. Gussie

    Cucina di Giovannis in Somerset West is a hands down favourite for most locals in the area. They are nearly always fully booked which must definitely indicate that they are doing something right.

  12. Lauren

    Ill Leone in Preswich St, Greenpoint! Always amazing!

  13. Ilse Schneider

    Where is Col’Cacchio????

  14. Jurie Blomerus

    Best pizza in town by far, THE VIC in Kloof Street.

  15. Anesu

    You missed Napoli Trattoria. Best authentic Italian experience not western and commercialized Italian It is tradition and not pretensions in any way. It is run by a old gentleman called Bernado who come from Napoli and goes home often. A truly underrated hidden gem.

  16. Happy

    Thank you for the very useful information. I am particularly interested in Sicilian and Neapolitan cuisine. Is there any restaurant that produces authentic Sicilian dishes? Would love to hear from you.

    • The Inside Guide

      Hi Happy. We recommend Meloncino and True Italic for Italian food with a strong Sicilian influence.

  17. Peter

    We have tried most of the dishes at “A tavola” in Claremont, and never been disappointed. The place does not look of much, but it is consistent and has good honest basic Italian food, with a friendly service. Our teenage kids love it too.

  18. Denise

    My favourite Italian restaurant is not here. Da Vinci’s on Second in Hatfield Village, Kenilworth. The best pitza ever and wonderful service.

    • Adri van der Spuy

      Pizza Vessuvio really should not be on this list, poor food and service

      • Michelle de Bruin

        Hi Adri,

        Michelle here from The Inside Guide. We’re sorry to hear that Vesuvio let you down. We visit often, and always receive excellent food and attentive service.

      • Jenny daniels

        This is the first negative I have heard about the restaurant! I have been eating there from the opening and have taken many overseas visitors from all over and they will always want to go back! They are always busy and booked up on weekends especially! Just last night I heard a British businessman tell the head chef/owner why he comes back continuously (and always brings his business partners for dinners) as he is also happy and a satisfied guest!