Zucca is another restaurant I’ve been wanting to try for a while (along with Toni’s next door). Zucca is an Italian restaurant owned by Ricky Turilli who previously owned Andiamo and Porcini and a couple of others, so it has some pedigree.
I quite like restaurants that are located in converted houses, they seem to have more character and sometimes even a homely feel. Zucca is one of thos places. The downstairs section use to be a deli but is now a bar and lounge with restaurant tables on the front and back verandas. Upstairs is the main dining area, a private dining room and a balcony with some small tables. The private dining room could seat up to 12 people and looks like a nice idea for a celebration dinner of some sorts.
The walls throughout are adorned with thousands of bottle openers and corkscrews from around the world, a very impressive collection which must have taken years to accumulate. We were seated in the main dining area upstairs, the private dining room was an option but it was a very hot evening and the main area was a lot cooler thanks to a big fan and a subtle through draft.
Ricky was very welcoming and friendly, an advantage of owner run establishments. He explained to us that we can either order a la carte, or we could go for the family eating option. The family eating option would involve several courses of various dishes which we would all taste and share, cost would be R180 per head. Instinctively we went for the family eating option, but realised on second thought that we were pressed for time and so ended up ordering a la carte. We did make a pact to return and try the family eating option, perhaps in the private dining room.
I ordered a pizza, the Basil Chicken (R57.50), which was similar to what I order at Col’caccio. I wasn’t wild about it. They were quite frugal with the toppings, barely a piece of chicken and avo per piece of pizza. The edges were burnt which kept corrupting the taste of the pizza. The person next to me had the Margherita pizza (R39.50) which looked fine, but I don’t understand why anyone would order a pizza without toppings. Other dishes we tried were the Seared Tuna served with veggies and the Filetto Porcini (R115.50) which was grilled fillet steak topped with porcini mushrooms, served with grilled mediterranean vegetables. It was a really hot night so nobody braved the Oxtail (R87.50) or the Oso Bucco, but I hear they are fabulous. Nobody at our table had a pasta, although one person did have the Lasagne (R64.50) which he seemed to enjoy but I would have preferred more meat and more sauce.
The service was good, the waitress remembered who ordered what at our table of 12 which is always impressive. Plus she never forgot miscellaneous drink orders. Talking about drinks, I didn’t study the wine menu but got the impression it was reasonably priced.
Friends who eat there often tell me their meals are sometimes great, sometimes average but never bad. Considering the prices are not unreasonable, and the place has a nice atmosphere and friendly staff all seasoned with a hint of genuine Italy, I would go back. In fact, I’m looking forward to trying the family dining option.
84 Kloof Street, Gardens
Tel: 021 423 7331
I’ve been so amped to try Toni’s – no one ever wants to go tho – let me know if you ever get there! I’m keen! Lee
Toni’s is great, its also a place where you should order lots of different dishes and share. Having just come back from Mozambique, I can definitely recommend it. Zucca’s always a solid option for an enjoyable night out.
once apon a time after an awful experience that involved kingklip topped with pesto whilst watching the owner shout and swear at a complaining customer, myself and duncan vowed never to eat at zucca again.
a couple of years later… bad memories must have faded and thought we would give it another chance.
the new bar and lounge seemed seedy and the restaurant looked like it needed a good scrub.
the food was shocking, duncan’s lasagne contained minimal bolognaise and was topped with rubbery melted cheese. my calzone was packed with the same rubbery melted cheese, there was no sign of tomato and didn’t get far enough in to report on the presence of ham.
when the waiter picked up our plates and saw that we had left most of everything he asked us if we would like to take the remainders home. we politely said no thank you, we did not enjoy the meal at all. he shrugged and walked off.
we have vowed never to eat at zucca again.
Isobel – you clearly have no food knowledge at all.I have had those dishes and they are amazing and so tasty. It’s people like you that great restaurateurs don’t even want at their venues. I have been a great follower of Ricky and all his restaurants for years. I am Italian myself and think that Zucca is the best authentic Italian restaurant in Cape Town. I can taste the products they use are Italian and of a high quality.
I love Zucca and the service is always great – I have never had a bad meal in the 3 years that I have been going there. I had my birthday party in the Peroni Lounge and it was absolutely FABULOUS :)Viva Zucca…
alexia – restaurant & food reviews are opinions not to be taken personally but rather viewed in a professional manner where they can become constructive points of criticism and hopefully have a positive outcome – thanks for your opinion, i am sure ricky appreciates it and i can assure you that i definitely wont go as far as to insult your food knowledge based on it…
Isobel has a good point. The dishes served to her that evening may well have been sub standard, whether that is the norm at Zucca is more to the point.
I don’t believe one needs to be any sort of connoisseur to appreciate the difference between a good or bad lasagne, it’s pretty standard fare.
We had a function in the Peroni lounge a while back too and the service was terrible and food average. So I think it’s safe to say that Zucca can be good, but that it’s not consistent. Which is what I said in my review originally.