Cape Town's home to one of the world's best Italian eateries outside Italy
You don't have to book an overseas flight to enjoy spectacular Italian food. In fact, one of the world's 50 best Italian restaurants outside Italy is 95 Keerom in Cape Town.
That's according to the latest 50 Top Italy list, which is put together annually by curators from the Italian haute cuisine congress, Le Strade Della Mozzarella Paestum.
95 Keerom - which is placed at number 47 - is the only African restaurant to have made this year's global list, which is topped by Paris's Passerini. Toronto's Don Alfonso 1890 and Tokyo's Heinz Beck round out the top three.
The chef patron of 95 Keerom, Giorgio Nava, came to SA from Italy in 1999 and opened the eatery in 2003.
He says this award is a big compliment and that it’s very important not only for himself, but for his entire team that consists entirely of South African staff.
“We are 16 years old and won many awards but this latest one proves that the standard is very high and we’re still doing the best. It puts us in a league with the best in the world,” Nava says. “Never give up - that is my motto.”
Nava insists that Italian food is not only pizza and pasta. “It’s so much more! Every region has a different type of food. We have meat dishes, fish dishes and a large tradition of pastries,” he says passionately.
In 2013, Nava was crowned the world pasta champion at the World Pasta Championship in Parma, Italy, for a creating a budget-conscious dish of cavatelli pasta with a broccoli velvet sauce and oregano flowers. He says this award is still drawing customers to his eatery six years later.
His recipe for success is simple: “What we do is [create] high quality [dishes] using a variety of South African ingredients cooked in an Italian way.”
If you’re curious to sample 95 Keerom’s cuisine, Nava says the L’Ossobuco alla Milanese (stewed veal shanks), butternut ravioli and tiramisu are firm favourites on the menu.
• The full list of the world's 50 best Italian restaurants outside Italy can be found at 50topitaly.it.