Iconic eatery Casalinga has closed, here’s how you can still get their food

27 August 2020 - 00:00 By Hilary Biller
With lots of wide open space, Casalinga Organic Farm has become a popular venue for picnics.
With lots of wide open space, Casalinga Organic Farm has become a popular venue for picnics.
Image: Supplied/Lara Luis

Many foodies were devastated earlier this month when it was announced that Casalinga Ristorante Italiano, which had been a Joburg institution for more than 30 years, was shutting its doors forever.

While the classic country restaurant is gone, the good news is Casalinga Organic Farm is here to stay, says Antonia de Luca, daughter of the original owners.

She’s taken over the picturesque Muldersdrift venue, which is also home to her plant-based eatery, Leafy Greens Café, and opened a new venture called Il Caffe.

Here, De Luca tells us more about the history of Casalinga and her plans for Il Caffe:

My parents, Peter and Jenny de Luca, started Casalinga Ristoranté Italiano in 1988. They converted old farm buildings, bought bricks and mortar from old mining houses that were demolished in the Randfontein area, and created a unique 60-seater restaurant. My dad was in the kitchen, bringing Italian flair to the dishes, and my mom was in the front, serving tables, hosting customers and creating the special atmosphere that our customers loved.

The restaurant went into lockdown on shaky footing due to the economic slowdown in SA and the trading restrictions were the final nail in the coffin for the business.

In Casalinga's place is my exciting new offering, Il Caffé. It’s housed in the original restaurant venue with a European cafe-styled à la carte menu. Good news too is that we’ve been able to employ most of the staff from the original restaurant.

For the lovers of Casalinga’s old classic dishes, you will find items like their homemade pastas, gnocchi and ever-popular lamb shank on the new menu. We’re also introducing new ideas and dishes that are lighter and more affordable.

Casalinga Organic Farm also has a popular deli and coffee roastery, plus we offer accommodation. With lots of outdoor space, picnics have become quite a thing at the farm where children can play freely and people can bring their dogs on leashes.

Visit casalingafarm.co.za for more info.