Johannesburg: Princi Pastizza

Retro chic meets contemporary sleek at Princi Pastizza, where classic Italian fare is served up with gusto.

Physical Address: Bedford Square, corner Van der Linde and Smith Streets, Bedfordview.

Call 011-622-0131. Open seven days a week from 11.30am – 10.30pm.

THE PLACE

Located next to its sister restaurant Mythos, Princi Pastizza’s clever melding of no-nonsense decor with fine attention to detail is evident in its antique oak beams running across an exposed ceiling, clip-on table lamps, white marble counters, floor-to-ceiling wine racks and the calming white noise of gently flowing water from brushed steel taps. A variety of seating options offers patrons indoor and outdoor tables, a comfy leather couch booth running along one wall and coffee shop-style high counters.

THE CHEFS

With names like Mara Berti and Mariano Tomei, there’s no doubt that Princi’s chefs are bona fide Italian. Having previously worked at Assaggi and Cornuti restaurants in Illovo, Mara heads up the main kitchen, which is visible from Princi’s main floor – another pleasing aspect of the restaurant’s design. Mariano is the head pizza maker at the counter running along one side of the restaurant. With a wealth of experience that includes owning and running the former Toty’s Bar Pizzeria in downtown Joburg, there’s no doubt that Mariano is a man of great skill – the proof is in the pizza!

ON THE MENU

Expect hearty portions of classic Italian fare that includes antipasto platters for starters, fettuccine al meatballs, osso buco and piccata limone for mains and specialities like calamari Princi, sautéed in chef Mara’s special spice mix. Be tempted by side dishes like deep-fried zucchini and mashed potato with Parmesan, and share a focaccia, which extends to a choice of interesting toppings like fresh tomato and feta, and carpaccio.

My quattro formaggi pizza pimped with white anchovies, chilli and garlic was one of the best I’ve had in Joburg. Tiramisu is something I’ve never been known to resist and Princi offers a lovely light version, perfect for post-pasta or pizza overloads. A good selection of widely loved South African wines is available, including Italianstyle options like Flat Roof Pinot Grigio and Terra del Capo Sangiovese. If you’re in a bubbly mood, choose from local MCCs, French champagne and Italian sparkling wines such as lambrusco and prosecco.

X-FACTOR

Enjoying down-to-earth, honest food in Princi’s strikingly simple, relaxed setting with nothing-is-too-muchtrouble style of service makes for a great way to enjoy warm hospitality Italian-style.

By Andrea Pafitis-Hill

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