When it comes to Cape Town Italian restaurants, specifically pizzas and pastas I’m a snob. Yes I admit it, I’m a total pasta snob. Pasta needs to be cooked to perfection… al dente. Si! Not soft not raw but al dente… Throw it on the ceiling if you need to but make sure its right.
Il Leone must be one of the best Italian restaurants in Cape Town and one its best kept secrets. I first discovered this delightful little place on a business lunch – I.e. an excuse to escape the office, pretend to talk about important things and drink real Italian wine. Our waiter had an authentic Italian accent, a good sign until I spoke Italian with him and he stared blankly back at me – born and bred South African – our falso-italiano. He did however have an amazing talent at choosing our dishes for us; and choosing exactly what we wanted to order. For me he selected the Tagliatelle ai Porcini (yes- fresh porcini mushrooms in Africa!) in an olive oil and garlic sauce. The world around me ceased to exist – wow. All I can say is that it was perfetto. The perfect combination of flavour and texture and I even had some takeaways! He also chose the Penne Gamberetti and Scallopine di Vitello con Porcini (vealescalopes) for the others. Being the addict that I am I obviously sampled these too and have to admit that they also were fabulous. Il Leone definitely falls under my top restaurants in Cape Town for atmosphere and great food, and the Tagliatelle ai Porcini as one of my favourite dishes.
This quaint Italian restaurant is located in Green Point, not far from the V&A Waterfront and Beluga. The ambience is lovely – It’s cosy and quite smart, and always seems to be busy. They could also add a few cheaper wine options to the menu but otherwise its fabulous! Service is also great. I recently took my ladies there for our monthly girls night and by the end of the evening they all walked out converts. Our tradition is to explore a new restaurant or bar once a month and they’ve been begging to go back for seconds. Two dishes that also took my breath away in pure deliciousness were the butternut ravioli in a 4 cheese sauce and the giant artichoke and ricotta panzotti in a butter and sage sauce. Wine: we recommend the Italian Frascati. Absolute perfection and you don’t even need to go to Italy. This is definitely one of Cape Town’s best Italian restaurants!