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Over the last few months, Joburg has become a city of pasta-fiends, lusting after linguine and Instagramming anelli. More and more hip Italian restaurants have opened across the City of Gold serving up stylish, saucy and downright-delicious strands of dough, but there’s one that’s been on our radar this month – Polpetta. This casual, family-friendly restaurant serving up no-fuss, top-quality Italian comfort food recently moved to a new home at The Wedge in Morningside, so we decided to go try it out.
READ MORE ON RECIPES HERE.
We arrived at Polpetta for dinner on a Thursday night and were immediately welcomed by the hands-on manager. We were lucky enough to be seated at a table with a ‘sea view’ as the manager joked, overlooking the parking lot from the first floor of the shopping centre. The new open-air space is simple and spacious, with fairy lights draped across the ‘outside’ section to create the feeling that you’re dining al fresco. Polpetta has focused all of its efforts on the food and not too much on the décor – wooden floors, brick walls and chandeliers with wooden beads blend into the background as servers bring out one excellent dish after another.
READ MORE ON DINING OUT HERE.
There are many standout options to start with – think thinly sliced beef carpaccio topped with fresh rocket, grilled calamari tubes with olive oil and garlic, and steamed mussels finished in a white wine, tomato and cream sauce. We recommend the halloumi and Parma ham – generous cubes of grilled halloumi served alongside paper-thin slices of the crown jewel of Italian meats, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. For mains, you’ll choose from a selection of salads, chopped salads, focaccia breads, pizzas, pastas, baked pastas and grills. To say that the Alfredo pasta is the best thing on the menu isn’t meant to lessen the restaurant’s credibility – it’s just an insanely good Alfredo. An old favourite with ham and mushroom pooled in a cream sauce, we recommend choosing fettuccine as your pasta of choice to really appreciate what’s happening in this dish.
The pizza at Polpetta is also a must. Yes, you’ve probably had fluffy, blistered crust before, but unless you’ve had it here, it doesn’t really count. The Quattro Formaggi topped with mozzarella, gorgonzola, feta and Parmesan is a highlight, with a fermented, chewy, air, bubble-pocketed crust that denies typical pizza categorisation. Otherwise, you can stick with familiar favourites like margarita or pepperoni, or veer into fun, gourmet takes on classics such as Roma and Hawaiian.
READ MORE ON LERATO’S CORNER HERE.
We’ll be back soon to try the smoked salmon pasta in a creamy Napoletana sauce, the gnocchi with broccoli, artichokes, and fresh cherry tomatoes tossed in olive oil and basil pesto as well as the Mediterranean pizza with baby spinach, feta and olives. The next time you’re ogling agnolotti or panting for pappardelle, we suggest you make a beeline for the ‘new’ Polpetta. It’s as much of a place for dinner as it is for a lazy Sunday brunch or a glass of wine with friends … and the kiddies will love it too!
FOOD – 4 stars
DRINKS – 4 stars
SERVICE – 4 stars
AMBIANCE – 3 stars
The Wedge, 255 Rivonia Road, Morningside
011 804 8866
Hello Joburg was first published in April 1980 as a monthly restaurant and entertainment magazine. Over the years we have developed a network of patriotic Joburgers that love nothing more than sharing their experiences in this beautiful city!