Before moving to Vredehoek I lived in the southern suburbs for four years. Four years I missed out on the excellency of A Tavola, an authentic and utterly delicious Italian restaurant in Claremont. Bernard and I ventured into the ‘burbs to try out its best-kept secret (well, to us it’s a secret – us townies had little to no knowledge of its brilliant existence). Family-owned and run, and catering to families with warmth and pride, A Tavola is a place I could go back to – regularly.
The deep red, spot-lit dining room and patio hosts patrons with ease, specialising in fresh pasta dishes, hearty traditional meals and a well-stocked wine list offering both local and Italian varieties. We shared the Zucchini Fritti; deep-fried baby marrow chips cooked to perfection and sprinkled with Parmesan, paired with a bottle of Fiore Nero Chianti – because, when in Rome (prices and wine list subject to change).
Mains saw us move swiftly on to homemade Italian carbs – tha pasta! B had Fusilli ai Broccoli served with spiral pasta and olive oil, tossed with chilli, garlic, parsley, anchovies and parmesan. I unashamedly gave into the Linguine Pescatore – because I absolutely never say no to seafood pasta if I see it on the menu. It was a smooth dish of thin pasta tossed in a seafood sauce of tomato, mussels, prawns and calamari with a touch of chili and garlic. I added extra chili. And extra garlic. And extra parmesan.
The evening had a slight chill to it, a typical spring night in Cape Town (while Joburg and the rest of the country were no doubt in heat wave). The warm interior was a cosy retreat from the elements; however, in summer I imagine a spritz on the terrace is something we should return for. And the pasta – did I mention the pasta?