Dining Out, Leratos Corner

A candid review … Espresso Caffe & Bistro

Jul 12, 2019, Author: Hello Joburg

It doesn’t matter if you’re a local or an out-of-towner – you’ve at least heard of Espresso Caffe & Bistro (and if not, seriously – are you living under a rock?). One of the longer-standing and more consistent restaurants on Parkhurst’s 4th Avenue, people flock here to eat simple Italian food and drink copious amounts of wine on weekends. The question is why?


Parkhurst Saturdays are a thing amongst my friends, and we usually end up squeezing into one of the last available tables at Espresso weekend after weekend. I get it: along with Rockets, Espresso is the vibiest place on the strip. But when it comes to other dining-out criteria – you know; food, drinks and service – Espresso leaves a lot to be desired these days.

The first thing you’ll notice upon stepping into the busy restaurant is how loud it is (read: it isn’t the ideal place for an intimate gathering). The second thing you’ll notice is the dated black and white décor. Whether or not you pass the holes in the black tablecloths that are draped over the white ones as part of the décor is totally up to you.


Moving on to the menu, you might want to bring along some hand sanitiser in case you’re handed one of the extra-grubby ones. On the upside, the food and drink offering is extensive – think ‘Landmarks’ like halloumi sticks and snails, ‘Trademarks’ like the chicken prego and peri-peri prawns as well as pasta, pizza, salads, desserts and breakfasts.

The first problem I have with the food and drink at Espresso is how they serve my favourite Saturday sip, the Aperol Spritz, in Martini & Tonic glasses. I love this unmistakably orange drink because its vibrant colour lights up toasts, but how am I meant to take a cute Boomerang when it’s served in its competitor’s branded glass? Come on, guys – you know most of us are out here doing it for the ’gram!


Then there’s the food. Oh, the food. While the prego rolls might sound appetising, they sometimes taste like the chef was applying salt with a snow blower that day. And, let’s be honest: a restaurant that trips over its signature dishes is as hard to trust as a person who misspells their own name! Most other things I’ve tried may as well have stayed in the kitchen, except the prawn pasta tossed in a peri-peri cream, which should’ve been sent back to Italy. I thought it tasted like chicken, but a more acute observer said the flavour was like pork sprinkled with fish food.

You have to give credit where it’s due though: the pizza and wine is cheap and goes down well. Just make sure you bring enough cash to pay the bill as there are no card facilities available. The story goes something along the lines of the restaurant not being able to get credit when it first opened, even though that was 21 years ago and still, nothing’s changed (not even those damn tablecloths). You don’t want to risk having your card swallowed by the dodgy ATM inside!

Other than all this, I can totally see why Espresso remains a Parkhurst hotspot of note.

23 4th Avenue, Parkhurst

011 447 8700

Facebook: @espressoparkhurst

Instagram: @espressoparkhurst





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