Out & About: Cape Town

Head to the heart of Cape Town’s southern suburbs where new restaurant A Tavola is making an impression with its superb Italian cuisine. It’s fast becoming the place to be seen… by Julia Rowand

THE PLACE: A Tavola, Library Square, Claremont, Cape Town

ABOUT: Chef David Haupt opened A Tavola in December. With more than enough experience when it comes to authentic Italian cuisine, they have created a laid-back environment where guests can take pleasure in fabulous food. “You’ll enjoy relaxed café tables both inside and outside, great staff and a constant buzz from the open-plan kitchen,” David explains. A Tavola’s menu changes regularly, always featuring classic dishes as well as a selection of specials. Starters range from light and simple green salads or Parma ham, mozzarella and tomato bruschetta to more substantial dishes such as Parmigiana melanzane – the ultimate Italian bake made with layers of cheese, thinly sliced aubergines and Napolitana sauce. For mains there are excellent meat and fish dishes as well as perfectly cooked pasta. Veal is a speciality: if you’re looking for something healthy, try the flattened, grilled veal, which comes with lemon and Parmesan and an optional helping of spinach. For those not fussed about a little indulgence every now and then, the dessert menu includes gelato, panettone and tiramisu, or you could just sit back with a great cup of coffee or ice-cold limoncello.

ON THE MENU: Poletto al forno, which is oven-roasted baby chicken cooked in rosemary and garlic, served with crispy potato wedges, grilled tomato and zucchini chips. David recommends ordering extra zucchini chips as they’re delicious. For a warming winter meal, he suggests lasagne, involtini di vitello, which is rolled veal stuffed with Fontina cheese, prosciutto and sage leaves, and the tagliatelle polpettine: fresh pasta with a tomato-based sauce, meatballs and peas.

X-FACTORS: Vibey, expertly-cooked Italian food and, in my opinion, by far the best pasta in town. At last, Capetonians living on the southern side of Table Mountain have a sublime new local restaurant to enjoy, and there’s the added bonus of a deli section, with an assortment of fresh breads, imported Italian cheeses, cold meats, pastas and sauces.

A Tavola, Shop 1, Library Square, Wilderness Road, Claremont, 021-671-1763. Open Monday to Friday for breakfast from 8:30am – 11am, for lunch from 12pm – 2:30pm and for dinner from 6pm – 9pm; and for dinner on Saturdays from 6pm – 9pm. Prices range between R48 and R65 for starters, R58 and R115 for main courses, and R38 and R40 for desserts.