Bodyboard down the Olifants, sleep in a bedouin tent, hike a pristine trail
Posticino Packs a Pizza Punch in Sea Point
Simple Italian ingredients served how you would expect them to be served
Once upon a time, two little boys, named Eric and Jack, sat at the back of a biology class. Instead of focusing on their teacher whilst she sliced open a frog, their minds were awash with pasta, parmesan and aurora sauce. From an early age, their mothers’ had inspired a passion for cooking that would later translate into something beyond their wildest dreams. That day, they made a pact. They promised each other that one day, they would open a place where they would make really good food, so that people could have fun with their family and friends. But over time, this dream was forgotten. Eric fell in love, had two beautiful children and lived in a house in Johannesburg. Until one day, he received a phone call.
“Eric! I have found that restaurant; the one we used to dream of owning. This is the one. Can you come and look at it?”
On our first visit to Posticino, we traced the steps that Eric and Jack once walked. Eric likened these steps to walking into your own home after a long absence. I have to tell you that familiarity and warmth are infectious at Posticino. It is this, and their legendary pizzas, that has cemented their popularity amongst local crowds over the last 12 years.
My partner looked dubiously around himself. ‘Sod it’, he thought, picking up his bowl and licking up the last of a memorable chocolate sauce. Jack gave him a knowing glance. Before we left, he took my partner warmly by the hand and asked: “Are you okay?” Needless to say, we returned the next weekend.
What I love about this restaurant is that, although the Sea Point streets may be a little cold at the moment, you’re only one step away from a little magic. Posticino is characterized by a bustling outdoor terrace, which is a grand entrance to a low-lit, cozy restaurant. The walls are painted with a conversation starter of a motif: worn bricks, creeping vines, angels and profits. The tables, adorned with dark green linen, are placed in delightful enclaves. Posticino is always busy, but this set up enables an intimate and relaxed dining experience. Other diners were professionals, aged 30+ - a group of friends drank and laughed together and a couple sat quietly in a corner, yet the two seemed to co-exist in the same space quite comfortably.
Our friendly waitress helped us to translate glorious sounding menu options. My partner and I have a penchant for sharing food, as we spend most of our time talking about it; so, we started with anti-pasto misto. Our waitress returned with a volcano of Italian cold meats; salami, coppa (dry-cured pork), Parma ham, mortadella (smoked pork), giardinera (pickled salad) and cheese. We enjoyed layering our meat and cheese onto warm foccacia bread (which we had purchased separately). What was essentially a simple concept, was bursting with outstanding taste.
“I tell my staff that they should provide no less than the service they would expect when visiting a restaurant themselves.”
What makes a good waitress is timing, friendliness, knowledge (and, as if on cue, a second jug of Sangria). The restaurant was packed, but this in no way impinged on the attention we received from our waitress. She was always keen to explain the menu and offer recommendations. We never felt like we were rushed, which left plenty of time for each course to go down and appreciate our surroundings. Jack tells me that staff tends to stay with Posticino for a long time. Waiters are getting married and having children all the time and are viewed as extended family.
“A prince should experience the restaurant in a manner no different to our other guests.”
Posticino has served A-list celebrity clientele such as, Edward Norton, but they are not treated differently to any other diners. Once, a prince arrived in a convoy of white Mercedes Benzes and requested to close off the entire restaurant. Eric and Jack refused this request. The prince returned every night for the duration of his stay.
What works is knowing how to use simple ingredients effectively
Much like our meat and cheese starter, main courses are somewhat customizable. You choose the type of pasta you would like, meat or fish, and its saucy accompaniment. On our waitresses’ recommendation, I opted for spinach and ricotta ravioli, with salmon and aurora sauce. The sauce was a rich blend of tomato and basil, with swirls of cream and parmesan. The ravioli consisted of pasta parcels with a generous filling of smoked salmon. Our only qualm was that we wished we’d saved some of our bread to dunk into the sauce. Their pizzas are also worth a mention – smothered in alluring ingredients like caviar and smoked salmon (legend has it that they are some of the best in Cape Town).
Why has this restaurant stood the test of time? Through passion and expertise, these dishes are delicious proof that you don’t have to overcomplicate with fancy ingredients. What works is knowing how to use simple ingredients effectively. A meal can be one of gourmet excellence, but bad service can overshadow. However, Posticino greets with a warm handshake. For me, this Sea Point gem certainly lives up to its reputation as the best pizza parlour this side of Napoli.
3 Albany Mews | 323 Main Road | Sea Point | Cape Town | 0214394014
Cape Town does Italian Chic rather well, don’t you think? For more ideas, be sure to visit our Italian Section
By Lisa Nevitt