Winter is coming and I can't think of a better way to fight the cold than with some hearty Italian cuisine.
Oddly enough for a restaurant at Cape Town's V&A Waterfront, Balducci's manages to be elegant and trendy without being pretentious as well. And even though it's situated at one of the mall's entrances, it has a warm and intimate feeling (as long as you're not sitting close to the front doors, being blinded by fluorescent lights pouring in through the clear glass).
Extensive wine list
Upon being shown to our table for dinner (via the cosy bar for a few seconds to wait), my friend and I were presented with menus the size of a Clicks magazine, with advertising to match. Given the extensive wine list, voted by Wine Spectator magazine in the US as one of the best in the world, it was hard to pick. So we simply went for a bottle of the house red, a blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon that proved to be more than adequate.
For starters, we both opted for soup: onion for him and minestrone for me. Both dishes were a lot more filling than we expected, which is why we didn't bother with the boring slice of brown bread on the side. All that soup also made it hard for us to get through more than half of our even more generously portioned main courses. But the manageress was happy (and very quick!) to pack up my friend's ostrich lasagne and my salmon pizza, which made for a great (and healthy?) breakfast the next day.
Impressive lunchtime specials
The total cost for our food and wine came to a reasonable R465. However, the restaurant currently has a number of impressive lunchtime specials
on sushi, pizzas, pastas, and sirloin. (In the spirit of Cape Town's unique variety of African time, these are available daily until 6pm.) They also have a loyalty programme
that, when coupled with an Entertainer Cape Town voucher
, means great discounts at Balducci's as well as Belthazar and Gibson Burgers, also part of the Slick Restaurant Group. Clearly, there's more than enough reason to go back over and over again, no matter the season!Balducci's is at Cape Town's V&A Waterfront (shop 6162, Victoria Wharf, Portswood Road) and is open daily from 12pm to 11pm. The restaurant can get very busy so it's best to book ahead of time and not be in a rush when you're there to enjoy a meal. Call +27 (0)21 421 6002/3, email moc.stnaruatserkcils@ofni or go to www.balduccis.co.za.