If you pressed 5 Capetonians to tell you which is their favourite Italian Restaurant, you would probably get 5 different answers.
Press me and I till tell you that Massimo’s in Hout Bay is mine by a country mile.
Massimo and Tracy Orione run a truly superb operation. Recognised last year by Trip Advisor with their Certificate of Excellence, this is not just a house of pizza, however fabulous their pizzas might be. Three strong fellows do man the pizza oven and turn out a great variety of thin crispy-based perfection. Really friendly waiting staff too – lovely people.
Massimo’s also offer an Italian Feast, a unique formula you will only find at Massimo’s. For an even handed R185 per person and available for a group of at least 6 adults, The Italian Feast allows you to sample a selection of antipasti and to try all, or most, of Massimo’s pizzas. You will start with shared platters of mixed antipasti, vegetarian, meat or fish followed by side salad, pasta, untimited pizza slice, ready to be shared by your table. It’s a great way to be a bit adventurous and try combinations that you may never order (but they might end up on your preferred list). They stop bringing pizza when you are full.
Choose your wine at the beginning, there is a short but eclectic and interesting wine list and a selection of craft beers, a jug of Shandy and a couple of ciders. Many of the wines on the list are served by the ‘glass’, a 250ml carafe. You’ll find wines from De Westhof, Vondeling, Painted Wolf, Seven Springs a delicious Vino Baruzzo from Mooiplas a delicate blended red to be served chilled. Couple of bubblies too.
When we had lunch there one Saturday recently and Massimo and Tracy had just been out foraging and he walked past us with a couple of perfect porcini which he cooked for us on a pizza with mozzarella. A sublime way to start a meal. I quite often order a pizza bianca, a white pizza with only extra virgin olive oil and crunchy salt on top.
In the Spundini – Tapas style starters – section you will find a selection of hot and cold dishes. My current favourite is the Deep Fried Baby Calamari which they serve with their own aioli, that golden butter of Tuscany, made from Olive oil mayo, heavy with garlic. The Bianchetti, whitebait dropped in seasoned flour and deep fried is a treat. So are the Patate Brave, delicous potatoes served in a tomato sauce. In the cold selection, there are a couple of dishes you will find diffuclt to resist. Amongst them, Carciofi alla Romana, sublime marinated baby artichokes and the quintessential Italian salad, Insalata Caprese, a salad of fiordilatte mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, the three colours of the Italian flag. As a main course, Massimo’s favourite is his Oven Baked Artisan sausages. They are baked in the pizza oven served either with polenta or ovenroasted potatoes and caramelised onion. Delicious Pasta offerings too.
There is a fabulous array of desserts, do not miss their little chocolate cups of with a choice of three homemade