I absolutely adore Italian food – give me a delicious bowl of pasta and I am beyond happy. In fact I’m convinced I used to be Italian in a former life; there’s just something about the way Italians enjoy food that just speaks to my soul … and my stomach. But I don’t want any of of this ‘fast food’ processed nonsense – I’m talking good quality cheeses, hand-made pasta and the freshest ingredients, I’m talking good, authentic Italian grub made like my Italian friend, Luca’s Nonna used to make. Luckily for all us South Africans with no Italian relatives or friends to speak of there’s a dynamic Italian duo hellbent on bringing a little bit of Italian delight into everyone’s lives with the absolutely fabulous Pasta Cafe. Here’s why you need to pop into one of their stores for a sit down dinner or a delicious takeaway as soon as humanly possible.
With a thriving restaurant on Green Point Main Road and a few more in Cape Town Joburg in the works Pasta Cafe is set to become the place to be over the next few months. But, before you think that this Italian joint is just like any other Italian restaurant think again! I love Pasta Cafe because they’re doing things a little differently from everyone else – their restaurants are small and intimate (the Green Point store only has about 6 tables) and they place a big focus on the idea of authentic, fresh Italian food on-the-go. Diners are encouraged to pop in for a takeaway lunch or dinner to go or sit down and enjoy a little bit of Italian hospitality in the restaurant. Pasta Cafe also gives a whole new meaning to ‘fast food’ as their pastas are ready to go in an average of 6 minutes but are made with fresh, hand-made pasta and only the best ingredients.
That’s right, all their ingredients are fresh! They make their pasta in house daily with flour imported from Italy (and you can watch it being made right in front of your eyes) and the entire cooking process is visible to customers. I also loved that they make pasta up to 9 times a day (eep!) and that the pasta on your plate has usually been made just an hour ago! If you don’t believe that their pastas and ingredients are pre-made then try their ‘build your own’ menu where they will create a pasta dish just for you using the ingredients you’ve specified.
Pasta Cafe offers a wide range of pasta types for their customers including Gnocchi, Fusilli, Linguine, Rigatoni, Spaghetti and gluten-free pasta. On the menu you can choose from a wide range of meat, seafood and vegetarian pasta dishes served with the type of pasta of your choice. The boyfriend and I decided to honour the Italian way and order three pastas between us – we chose the Carbonara (fresh cream, egg, Pecorino cheese,garlic, onions and fresh herbs – R96.5o for a double portion), Polpette (Napoletana sauce, meatballs, garlic, onions and fresh herbs – R99.5 for a double portion) and the Marina (Napoletana sauce, calamari, mussels, prawns, white wine and fresh chilies – R138.50 for a double portion). We were amazed at how quickly the food came out and how good everything looked!
All three pastas were super delicious and you could really taste the difference with the fresh ingredients and freshly made pasta. Choosing a favourite dish is a bit like being asked to choose your favourite child but I think first prize for me definitely goes to the The Marina. The amount of seafood in the dish was quite something and the flavours were amazing. It’s definitely something I will be ordering again and again when I go to Pasta Cafe. The boyfriend also loved the Carbonara. It was creamy and oh-so-delicious – a great choice if seafood isn’t your thing.
We were also really impressed with the prices at Pasta Cafe, they’ve really made it affordable for everyone from single young professionals to families to eat at the spot. All of the dishes on the menu can be ordered as individual portions, double portions for two or family portions for four people. The portion sizes are extremely generous and you could easily order 2 family portions with a group of 5 or 6 friends and pay as little as R40 per person for your meal (excluding drinks) depending on what you order.
They also offer some fabulous family specials throughout the week where families can get 10% off select meals. As for the drinks, Pasta Cafe offers a small selection of alcohlic drinks including a house white and red wine (I tried the white wine which was superb) as well as a wide range of soft drinks to enjoy with your meal.
If you’re in Cape Town then make sure you pop into this little gem soon and if you’re in then Joburg look out for a Pasta Cafe popping up in your area soon!