Woolworths TASTE

QUEST FOR THE BEST ITALIAN (IN JOZI)

ITALIAN FOOD

 is a bit like the Springbok rugby side of the food world. Everyone’s an expert. We know better because we saw it on Chef’s Table, or we went to Tuscany and saw how much it looked exactly like Dainfern (joke!), or because our mother was Italian (here, you may actually have a point). In other words, Italian food may be a serious business, but it’s best we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Which is another way of saying please don’t kill me if I left your favourite spot off this list.

It’s tricky to create a universally acceptable notion of “what counts as Italian”. It’s an iconic cuisine, but also one that is frequently bastardised. It would be impossible to include every restaurant that lists pizza or pasta on the menu on a best-of list, but at the same time, eating Italian shouldn’t necessarily be about food that foregrounds faux authenticity over everything else, as if towers of imported canned tomatoes or driving a Fiat are prerequisites for making a good sauce.

This article lists just a handful of Joburg’s standout Italian restaurants, where the food captures. And the vast majority of their suppliers are South African – by choice. Only very specific items like Parmesan, balsamic vinegar, and (occasionally) Italian tomatoes are imported; otherwise, almost everything required to make the perfect Italian dish is available right here.

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